Updated: 6 days ago
A while back I was asked to compile a list of my spots so that when friends of mine come to visit, they will have the resources available to find the perfect spot to visit according to their wants and needs of that trip. This subsequent list is organized in relative distance from Victor/Driggs, ID; the heart of East Idaho tourism. It is not a complete list, but offers lots of ideas, many of which are family friendly! Each of my blog posts highlight one or two of the many of the listed spots during different times of year. The majority of these spots are only accessible from May - November as seasonal road closures block access except by snow shoe, snow mobile, and snow skis; please keep that in mind. There will be repeat posts of the same spots as I continue to visit and discover more things about them! Also, this list will include areas outside of East Idaho, including but not limited to parts of Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and the rest of Idaho. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have, such as how to get to the spot of your choice!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a text and we can set up a time to chat. 806-437-8382
My Travel List
- as of 2023 -
Organized by distance from Victor, Idaho
- Hike to Packsaddle Lake (swimming! Not too bad of a hike, I think max 4 miles roundtrip?)
- Darby Wind Caves (~12-mile roundtrip hike to a large cave nestled in the mountains + fossils in the rocks!)
- The Victor Emporium (Fun merch and delicious huckleberry shakes!)
- Check any of the valleys along the Teton range, most of them contain trails that venture deep into the mountains!
- Ashton-Tetonia Trail (A walking, biking, and horse/snowmobile trail that extends from Tetonia to Ashton! Maintained by the Idaho State Parks service. Gives you a phenomenal panoramic view of the east-Idaho countryside!)
- Leigh Canyon to Green Lake (Still on my list of places to go, but I finally checked out the road to get there. A more remote location in the Tetons worth exploring!)
There are many more trails, canyons, and roads to be explored from this valley. You could spend months investigating each mountain crevice and peak. The drive from Victor to Swan Valley is beautiful! The pass from Victor to Jackson is equally and more so remarkable but more treacherous, especially in winter.
Alta WY/Teton Canyon (Idaho-side of the Tetons)
- New Sheep Bridge Trail (relaxing 6 mile in-and-out hike through the pine forests of the Tetons)
- Mill Creek Trail (7 mile round-trip trail with a beautiful overlook of Teton Valley and the main peaks of the Tetons!
- Table Mountain (One of the hardest hikes on here; 12-14 miles round trip and major elevation gain (4100 ft - from 6900-11100 ft), but seriously worth it!)
- Devil’s staircase and Alaska basin (you don’t even have to make it to these destinations, the hike to them is gorgeous, but I promise you won't regret making it to either)
- Any hike in the Teton Canyon is worth it, I haven’t done all of them yet, there are longer ones and some that are easier than others (#)
- The drive to Grand Targhee Ski resort is gorgeous as well. (Good Sunday activity)
- Grand Targhee (World-class skiing and snowboarding, but also has mountain biking opportunities! I think that’s worth looking into though I have never done it. Lots of hiking trails in the area too.)
- The overlook on the road to Targhee + mini hike along the ridge offers a beautiful view of the 5 main peaks of the Tetons.
Palisade Reservoir/Swan Valley (ID)
- Square Ice Cream (Rainey Creek Gas Station)
- Boating/kayaking the lake - Tissue Point Boating site and Calamity Campground (My favorite parts of the Reservoir)
- Fall Creek Falls (swimming and pictures!)
- Rafting the River from the dam to the Falls (several miles of a mostly calm but fast-moving river that offer a great view of the valley!)
- Upper and Lower Palisade Lakes hike (14 miles roundtrip; 100% worth it to see beautiful mountain lakes where you can swim, fish, camp, have a fire, etc)
- Drive the backroads from Calamity Campground into the mountains. There are several camping spots and over half a dozen trailheads.
- Drive along Fall Creek into the mountains southwest of the falls. There are many trails, back roads, and quiet camping areas back there. Continue along those roads and you can eventually connect to Skyline Ridge Road and make it to Idaho Falls.
Grand Teton National Park/Jackson Hole (WY) [35$ entry fee into the park per car, prices likely in to increase each year) Additional fees for a watercraft permit and renting.]
- T.A. Moultan Barn and Mormon Row (Unique history and beautiful picture opportunities)
- Schwabacher’s Landing (Iconic pictures of the mountains! A nice nature hike)
- Snake River Overlook (pictures)
- Gros Ventre Road and Slide Lake. - Kelly, WY (Geologically prominent area featuring a massive landslide scar in the face of a mountain. The slide created a lake after damming the river in the gorge. Moose, elk, and other wildlife frequent the hills and fields around this area. Hikes and drives available in and around the canyon!)
- Bridger-Teton National Forest (With campgrounds, hikes, back roads, and much more for miles, there is a lot to explore in the forests and mountains east of the Tetons!)
- Old pioneer structures dot the landscape and can be found in and out of the park. Keep an eye out for old wood cabins! Lots of rich history surrounding the Tetons!
- Follow any dirt and paved road into the hills and you'll be amazed what you find! I have ran into so many different animals and found amazing overlooks doing so!
- Also, a tip, if you see cars pulled off on the side of the road away from any designated parking lot, there is likely an animal! Pull off safely and see if your eagle eyes can catch a glimpse of what moves in the fields and forests!
- Jenny Lake, Leigh Lake, String Lake (boating, fishing, swimming, hiking. These lakes are the busiest destinations in the park)
- Hidden Falls (A great day hike with a stunning waterfall! Usually busy during the day so try to get there early)
- Amphitheater Lake (Difficult Hike) depending on the route you can hike 8-16 miles roundtrip. 3000-4000ft elevation gain. Absolutely incredible views and one of my favorite hikes!
- Delta Lake (Difficult Hike) On my list to do still, I'll let you know how it goes.
- Taggert Lake (A classic, only a few miles to "hike" to get to the lake and enjoy a beautiful day in the Tetons. Add Bradley Lake to the hike and you'll have a nice 6 mile loop through beautiful country!)
- Paintbrush Canyon (Beautiful hike, still on my list to do!)
- Oxbow Bend (pictures and short walk. Probably my favorite picture-perfect location in the greater Teton area.)
- Grand View Point (A wonderful vista overlooking the Teton Range, the hike is doable for most)
- Two Ocean and Emma Matilda Lakes (Two glacial lakes near Oxbow Bend both surrounded by dense forest and beautiful alpine meadows. Hikes the whole family can do!)
- Jackson Lake (Ice fishing, boating, swimming and much more)
- Any drive through park roads is well worth the views of the mountains and wildlife!
- There are more hikes than just these, check AllTrails, and use park resources to find other lesser known or more extensive areas to explore!
- Tour Jackson Hole, find a good restaurant, take pics at the antler arches in the town center. Really neat shops and galleries.
- The Elk Refuge (Literally thousands of elk call the meadows, just outside of Jackson, home during the winter. You may also find Bighorn Sheep, moose, deer, and antelope in the meadows and along the cliffs surrounding the refuge. There is a guided sleigh tour you can pay for at the refuge, though if you drive through town to the east you can find back roads that allow you to access the refuge yourself free of charge. Just don't approach the animals, as is common sense.)
Rexburg/Surrounding area (ID)
- Kelly Canyon (mountain biking, Sunday drive, mine obsidian out of the hillside) Snowboarding/Skiing in the winter. + The mountain roads go for miles and are accessible during late spring-fall, lots of wildflowers and an abundance of forest to explore!
- Crest Creek Nature Trail (nice small hike overlooking the river)
- Wolf Flats, Warm Springs, and Stinking Springs recreational areas. (several hikes, roads, and campgrounds to explore).
- Drive the back roads accessed from Kelly Canyon and Wolf Flats. These roads snake through the hills for miles. There are dozens of camping spots and trailheads in these hills. Worth checking out during the warm months as the roads close Nov-Apr.
- Heise Hot Springs (indoor hot springs surrounded by a recreation area that has access to the river, campgrounds, mountain biking trails, zip lining, golfing, rock climbing, and much more within a few minutes!)
- Rigby Lake (swimming; closest thing to going to the beach lol)
- R-Mountain (unique volcano, fun smaller hike with an great view of the meandering Snake River! It can be a rough one though so don’t be fooled)
- Float Warm Slough (Basically a natural Lazy River) I would advise only floating after the spring thaw passes and the river slows down and calms down a bit. People die almost every year on Idaho rivers because of poor planning, and bad judgement. Be wise.
- Walk through campus and the gardens (always a beautiful and chill Sunday activity; take a trip down memory lane)
- Nature Park, Smith Park, Porter Park; picnic, hammock, frisbee, etc.
- The St. Anthony Sand Dunes! (Stargazing, bonfires, 4-wheeling, fireworks, etc.) + Egin lake
- The Juniper Hills (The hills that bound the sand dunes to the north. These hills have many trails and roads around them accessible mostly by off-road vehicles or by foot. Grassy Ridge Rd to the north of the hills provides the most access to general exploration and Sunday driving when the area isn't closed off (Jan-May) and set aside as a range for wintering elk.)
- Red Road Bridge and Bubble Bridge: Access to the Henry's Fork river. Public land lines the river for a few miles. Perfect for fishing and boating trips!
- Civil Defense Caves (Natural lava tubes that go on for close to a mile; small hike, bring a flashlight!)
- Ice Caves (4-wheel drive cars only!! awesome lavatubes in the middle of nowhere.)
- Teton Dam and Spillway (Failed in the 70s and flooded the entire valley, you would be seeing the remains; really cool, has a unique, somewhat eerie feeling about it.)
- Webster’s Dam (small hike, steep, beautiful, secluded valley) + the drive out there is a popular one: gorgeous fields and great views!
- All Trails (the app) shows more than half a dozen trails around Kelly Mountain and Packsaddle lake that feature streams, falls, peaks etc. I will be exploring these more.)
- Camas wildlife refuge (lots and lots of birds!)
- Labelle Lake Ice Palace (winter attraction that features a man-made ice fortress, pretty sweet!)
Also make sure to check out the White Sparrow Country Store and Big Juds, south of Rexburg, for some great food after your adventures!
Idaho Falls/Ammon ID
- Drive W Sunnyside Rd to Eagle Pass Rd then on to Kepps Crossing Rd (Skyline Rd) for forest and protected wildlife management area access! With potential for hunting, camping, and hiking adventures, this area is stunning! Also provides back road access to Ririe Reservoir at the Blacktail Day Use area, and access to Fall Creek Falls but through the canyons and hills east of Idaho Falls. A much longer, but more exciting route there! Many back roads to explore!
- Ririe Reservoir and Black Tail day use area (Boating, fishing, and some camping)
Ashton/Island Park (ID)
- Harriman State Park (camping, fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, etc.)
- Henry Lake State Park (camping, fishing, boating, and wildlife!)
- Upper and Lower Mesa Falls (small and big hikes depending on what you do, mainly a nature trail to the Upper Falls)
- Abandoned and collapsing train tunnel and hiking/snowmobile trails - trail across the road from Yellowstone Trail parking lot along the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. Do NOT enter the train tunnel. It has continued to collapse and deteriorate, and has gotten worse each year I have been to it. The trails around the tunnel go for miles and offer a great view of the river and canyon below! Great for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, biking, etc.)
- Fish Creek Road (Driving anywhere in the Island Park area is incredible, pick a road and go! This road partially circles Island Park on the east and takes you into incredibly remote forest while still on paved asphalt)
- Big Springs (Beautiful natural spring that marks the beginning of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River)
- Warm River Spring and Trail Canyon at the Warm River Cabin (several trails begin here and follow the Warm River north. The Springs are gorgeous and crystal clear.
- Aldous and Hancock Lake (5 miles) – Continental Divide Trail. 2 cute little lakes in a remote area.
- There are many more small lakes and trails out here! I'll keep adding them to this list as I get out there!
- The Centennial Mountains. Check the north side (accessed from Island Park). There is a wildlife refuge plus a few trails in these stunning peaks. A great Sunday drive activity to see beautiful mountains!
- Sawtell Peak. A drive up this near-10,000 ft peak is sketchy at best, but well worth the view at the top! Near the top of the peak is the Sawtell Peak Trail, which traverses the mountain faces and valleys adjacent to Sawtell for miles. This trail is moderate in difficulty and is listed as trail #165 by the National Forest Service.
Make sure to stop at Main Street 511 and Big Jud's in Ashton for some incredible post-hike food!
Yellowstone and Surrounding Area
- The park speaks for itself! Worth the trip! (Mammoth Hot springs, Lamar Valley (where most of the animals are!), Old faithful, Yellowstone Lake, and much, much more!)
- Union Falls (24-32 mile round-trip hike depending on where you begin, I recommend beginning at Cave Falls overlook)
- *Sheep Falls and Cave Falls (Personal favorites of mine. Accessed by farm roads in the hills east of Ashton. Access to these falls requires a good vehicle, and a good eye for signs pointing to their general locations. Sheep Falls is accessible to ATVs and a good truck, otherwise you need to park about 3 miles up road and venture down the forest path on foot. These falls are part of the Fall River which originates deep in the mountainous terrain between the Tetons and Yellowstone. You actually enter the corner of Yellowstone National Park when visiting Cave Falls (upriver from sheep Falls) thus these falls are more accessible and offer services such as restrooms, and parking.)
- Bechler Ranger Station (multiple hiking opportunities accessed from this south western most entrance to Yellowstone National Park).
- Grassy Lake Road/Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road. So many lakes, trails, streams, campgrounds, etc. Take this road when you have the chance! Only accessible for a couple of months during the summer. Check out Cascade Creek, Loon and Fish lakes, and whatever other roads and destinations you come across. Lots of free camping along most of the road. Truly a backcountry experience.
- The town is fun to walk around, and has an entrance to Yellowstone. It is a tourist town, so be prepared for higher prices and more clueless people wandering around. On a serious note, you need to check out this photographer's shop in town! Yellowstone Camera Store is owned and operated by Christopher Balmer. His story and his work are remarkable!
- Wade Lake (Absolutely worth the trip! What a beautiful, quiet, refreshing lake! This is by far one of my favorite spots on here)
- Hebgen Lake (Beautiful Lake just outside of town, worth checking out at least once!)
- Earthquake Lake (created by a major earthquake around 60 years ago, this lake has unique history. A popular spot to ice skate in the winter)
- Grays Lake Wildlife Refuge and the Blackfoot Reservoir are situated close to one another in the mountains south of Idaho Falls and east of Pocatello. These areas offer stunning views, great hikes, drives, water recreation, and wildlife sightings!
- Bear Lake is located both in Idaho and Utah. A favorite for many locals who enjoy water sports and recreational activities.
Beaverhead, Lemhi, and Lost River Ranges
- Craters of the Moon (hikes, lava tubes, a remarkably rugged landscape. Quite the stop along the Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway)
- Meadow Lake (One of the many lakes and trails I hope to soon explore. Highly recommended by several of my friends)
- Borah Peak (The Tallest peak in Idaho! You can summit this mountain. I've heard the view is stunning!)
- Highway 75 [(Challis to Stanley) Another favorite drive of mine that follows the Salmon River to its head in the Sawtooths. I know there is rather good rafting and fishing along the Salmon]
- *Goldbug Hotsprings (another personal favorite of mine! Natural hotsprings nestled high up in a tight rocky canyon. Be respectful of this area and clean up after yourself. Access to the springs crosses through private property. If we want to keep our public access, we must respect the people and property that allow us to experience such beauty!)
This area of Idaho is high on my list to explore more! There are dozens of hikes, streams, lakes, ponds, and roads that are accessible to the public. The region is very remote with spotty cell service. Plan ahead for potential risks such as wildlife interactions as you are out exploring. I have found ticks in these mountains, so be aware of that too. Also note the dirt road access is not well maintained throughout most of these mountains and some may only be accessed by modified, lifted, and dedicated 4x4 vehicles.
Bear-tooth Mountains and the Absaroka Volcanics (Near Cody, WY)
- Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Fishing, boating, an evening drive, etc. There is rich history out here! Also, the rocks, that the tunnel goes through and in which the dam is built, are over 2.7 billion years old!
- Dead Indian Summit Overlook/pass + Sunlight Valley. An absolutely stunning drive! Access to national forests, deep gorges (Sunlight Bridge), rivers, high jagged peaks, and much more! More rich history in this area.
- Clarks Fork Canyon. Entrance into untamed wilderness! A deep canyon carved by glaciers only 10-12,000 years ago. Beautiful geology!
- Bear-tooth Pass and mountains. This pass takes you up to 11,000 feet overlooking absolutely remarkable scenery! All of which can be accessed through countless trails and roads.
- Redfish Lake (Beautiful camping, fishing, boating, swimming, hikes etc.) An incredible drive out there too!
- Bench Lakes, Fishhook Creek Trail, Marshall Lake, and much more! (Multiple hikes accessed from the Redfish Trailhead, each varying in difficulty. I highly recommend starting simple with the Fishhook Creek Trail!)
- Alturas Lake (tons of hikes around it!)
- Petit Lake (another small lake you can drive to!)
- Sawtooth Lake (and the whole 70 mile inner loop of the Sawtooths! Stay tuned till later this year when I'll have a lot more information on this hike)
- Alice Lake (12 mile hike roundtrip)
- Valley Rd. (A dirt road that provides a step-back view of the Sawtooth Range. A stunning alternative to just driving I-75 through the valley)
- Take random roads and do random hikes! This pure wilderness is best seen up close and quietly!
- Any lake and hike in the Sawtooths would be well worth it, I haven't made it out there too much yet, but if you drive the 4 hours, there will be plenty to do and see. Check AllTrails and Google for hike ideas, there are hundreds of square miles of untamed wilderness out there. I'll keep you posted on what I see and do.
- Shoshone Falls (The Niagara of the West)
- Thousand Springs (kayak to)
- Castle Rock State Park and City of Rocks National Preserve. This place is stunning!! What can I say more than you should go at least once. Whether you want to hike, horseback ride, bird watch, sneak a peak at some elk, or of course rock climb, this place has it all! Well known specifically for being a rock climbing heaven, if you want the full experience, then that's what you should do! There are hundreds of routes, each with stunning views and a challenge for all skill levels.
Star Valley, WY
A remarkable place! Another gate to the Tetons, this valley is lush, green, and offers access to State and National forests, the Palisade Reservoir, and the hills and backcountry of Wyoming.
Boise National Forest
Trails, roads, and scenery for miles!
- The Oregon Trail Trailhead - Ada County. A small, dog friendly trail east of Boise, perfect for evening walks along the cliffs lining the Snake River, with a stunning overlook of Idaho's capital city!
- Drive highway 21 from Boise to Stanley. Idaho's highest highway - the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Route, is one of the prettiest drives I have done here in Idaho! With access to several major trails, including the north and western trails of the Sawtooths, this road is key to your adventure!
Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint
I only add this to the list because it is worth mentioning! The panhandle of Idaho is stunning, very different from the high desert plains and pine forests of the Tetons. There are dozens of lakes and rivers to explore. I recommend the 8 hour trip from East Idaho at least once!
Wind River Range, Wyoming
On my list to explore, stay tuned! Just Google the pictures of this area, it's insanely pretty! I've been told this range is backpacking Mecca.
Additional things to consider:
- Pick a road and drive!! I can't emphasize this enough, you'll be amazed what you find!!
- Meteor Showers in the Summer are common and very easily seen in the non-polluted sky of Idaho.
- There are horseback riding places all over, they can be found with minimal research.
- I recommend making this trip yours! I highly recommend looking around more at places in the area and picking something not on this list! There are countless places around here I have yet to explore that are simply stunning.
- Each town stores a piece of its history and offers different sights, so they are worth stopping in if you like that stuff!
- Idaho Falls is your best bet for “Big city” buying and stocking up in the area.
- I have seen Elk, bear, fox, deer, coyotes, snakes, bald eagles, moose, etc in many of these areas! Keep your cameras ready) Be BEAR Aware, I have found bears or evidence of bears in many of the above locations. Mountain lions, elk, and moose also pose a threat.
- Almost all these areas are free access except the National Park. Jackson Hole is a tourist trap and will suck you dry if you are not careful.
- I have pictures of most of these areas, my Instagram (paintings.byscott), and website are full of them. If you want specifics let me know and I will send some over!
- Google can find 90% of these locations, feel free to look them up! If you cannot find it, I have it marked on a map and can show you. Please reach out with questions!
- ***(All Trails, the app, can provide serious insight into each hike) ***