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Best Hiking Trails in Idaho – USA

Overview

Idaho is a very geographically diverse state in the northwest of the US and has many beautiful mountainous areas to hike, including right outside its capital city of Boise. Some of the main hiking areas include Sawtooth National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Idaho Panhandle National Forest and more. The best months to hike in Idaho vary according to the region. Read on for more information on where and when to hike in Idaho. 

Capital: Boise

When To Hike in Idaho – USA?

May – October: For many of the high mountain areas, June – September are the best months
November – April: Cold/snow

Climate: Continental in the mountainous areas – cold winters, warm-hot summers.  Idaho is in a rain shadow, meaning it gets less rain compared to Oregon and Washington and fewer thunderstorms than Rocky Mountains.

 

Idaho Monthly Weather

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy: Lots of hiking infrastructure, well maintained trails, easy to do independent hiking 

Transportation required: Public transit to some; car for others

Where to stay in Idaho for hiking:

  • Stanley
  • Ketchum
  • Sun Valley
  • Kooskia
  • Boise

 

Top Places to Hike in Idaho – USA

There are no national parks but lots of areas to go hiking, including in the national forests and state parks. There are many trails in the Kaniksu National Forest and Idaho Panhandle National Forest in the Idaho Panhandle. Some of the most popular areas for hiking are in the central part of the state including in Sawtooth National Forest and in Salmon-Challin National Forest, home of the highest peak: Borah Peak (3861 m). Boise National Forest around the capital city is popular. There are also disparate mountain ranges in the southern part of the state that have hiking trails.

Filter out hiking places of Idaho – USA by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Around Boise

  • Boise National Forest
  • Lucky Peak State Park

Preuss Range

  • Meade Peak

Bear River Range

  • Paris Peak
  • Bloomington Peak

Deep Creek Mountains

  • Deep Creek Peak

Bannock Range

  • Oxford Peak
  • Elkhorn Peak

Portneuf Range

  • Haystack Mountain
  • Bonneville Peak

Caribou-Targhee National Forest

  • On the border with Wyoming; hiking trails here

Sawtooth National Forest

  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area
  • Sun Valley/Ketchum – popular ski resort but in the summer, lots of hiking trails

Salmon-Challis National Forest

  • Many hiking trails here

Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

  • Hiking trails here

Idaho Panhandle National Forest

  • Many hiking trails here

Kaniksu National Forest

  • Many hiking trails here

Idaho – USA's Long Distance Trails

  • Idaho Centennial Trail – spans the whole state from north to south
  • Continental Divide Trail – Idaho and Montana

Idaho – USA's Walking & Hiking Resources

Idaho Hiking Books: 

  • https://hikingidaho.com/books/ – helpful resource, has books and other resources, Scott Marchant helpful
  • Hiking Idaho, 3rd Edition, A Falcon Guide, by Luke Kratz, Jackie J Maughan and Ralph Maughan, 2014, Globe Pequot Press/Morris Book Publishing
  • Exploring the Sawtooths: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide, by Matt Leidecker, 2012, Idaho River Publications
  • Backpacking Idaho: From Alpine Peaks to Desert Canyons, by Douglas Lorain, 2015, Wilderness Press
  • Other books listed in the Hiking Literature page of the Idaho Trails Association

 

Idaho Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Idaho:

There are so many fantastic trails in Idaho that it is impossible to pick a handful, but here is a small sampling. You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, official park websites, trail maps/apps, other websites, and tourist offices:

  • Idaho Centennial Trail
  • Alice Lake – Sawtooth National Recreation Area
  • Sawtooth Lake – Sawtooth National Forest
  • Pioneer Cabin Trail – Sawtooth National Forest
  • North Crater Trail – Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Palisades Creek Trail – Caribou-Targhee National Forest
  • Scotchman Peak – Idaho Panhandle National Forest
  • Cervidae Peak – Lucky Peak State Park
  • Mount Borah – Salmon National Forest
  • Kepros Mountain – Boise National Forest

Easy Hiking Trails in Idaho:

  • Table Rock Trail – Boise
  • Stanley Lake to Bridal Veil Falls
  • Bruneau Dunes Loop

 

Idaho Hiking Websites:

 

Idaho Weather Website:

 

Idaho Official Tourism Site:  

 

Idaho Hiking Apps: 

 

Idaho Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

Other Important Points