Idaho is known for its rugged mountains, untamed rivers, and thermal hot springs. This situation remains the same throughout the winter, and the varied terrain provides fresh activities during the snowy season. Winter in Idaho is anything but dull, with activities like skiing through fresh snow and stoking a wood stove in a remote yurt.
Snow activities are catered to at popular winter resorts like Sun Valley. Additionally, like McCall and Stanley, additional winter hotspots offer opportunities for activities like hot spring soaking and winter carnival attendance. Thousands of miles of groomed trails allow for winter adventure across the state parks and national forests of Idaho.
Several Idaho cities host lavish winter activities to evoke the mood of the season. Every season, the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Winter Garden aGlow shines as one of the best winter activities in Boise. Other Boise activities usher in the winter with energy and excitement, much like the Idaho Potato Drop on New Year’s Eve.
Best Places to Visit in Idaho During Winter
Looking for more suggestions on the greatest activities and destinations to visit during the winter? See our selection of the best winter activities in Idaho.
1. Ski at a ski resort and rip the slopes
The state’s almost 20 ski and snowboard resorts are Idaho’s top wintertime tourism destination. These ski resorts each have their own personality and a variety of terrain. Every local has a favorite ski area, and a few mountains in Idaho are popular with skiers from all over the world.
One of these places to go downhill is Sun Valley Resort. Over 2,000 acres of skiable land are available at this relaxed mountain resort, which spans two mountains. The resort provides pleasant options to stay warm on a lengthy winter weekend, including lodging in nearby Ketchum.
2. Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the countryside
More than just downhill activities can be enjoyed in the state’s snowy settings. In Idaho’s snow-prone woodlands, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also quite popular activities.
From plowed Park N’ Ski sites and inside Idaho’s icy state parks, a number of routes are accessible. The ideal places to go to make the most of the lengthy winter season are these reasonably priced ski resorts.
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There are over 20 Park N’ Ski locations in Idaho. At these plowed parking spaces, miles of groomed trails radiate into the nearby forests, but leaving a car there requires a pass. Every region of the state is serviced by Park N’ Ski locations. Many locations have five to ten miles of trails, but some, like Banner Ridge Park N’ Ski in Boise, have over twenty miles.
3. Take a hot springs bath
More hot springs are located in Idaho than in almost any other state. There are several wayside soaking ponds that are ideal for winter in the state’s central mountainous area. The same area also provides businesses with lodging options and facilities with sizable soaking pools.
The area surrounding Stanley includes a number of soaking locations for natural hot springs in Idaho. Within 15 minutes of Stanley, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway leads to Boatbox and Sunbeam Hot Springs. Only a small distance separates the roadway from these hot springs along the route. The brief distance might become slick in snowy circumstances.
4. Participate in McCall’s Winter Carnival
The annual Winter Carnival in McCall is a well-established custom that was influenced by the Payette Lake Winter Games, which were first staged in 1924. At the end of January, tens of thousands of people throng the streets of McCall for this two-weekend community celebration.
5. Snow tubing with the family
There are other ways to experience abrupt elevation changes in Idaho besides skiing and snowboarding. An alternative and more wholesome way to enjoy the slopes is by tubing. Another significantly less expensive downhill sport is tubing.
6. Visit Coeur d’Alene to go eagle watching
Every winter, from November and as late as February, spawning kokanee salmon make their way to Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Bald eagles are drawn to this annual natural migration in search of a winter meal. Birdwatchers and other interested individuals who have binoculars pointed at these majestic raptors contribute to this cycle. The best things to do in Coeur d’Alene include this.
7. Get on a snowmobile
It’s common to use a snowmobile to go around Idaho’s winter landscape. The state’s various elevations are traversed via thousands of miles of interconnecting paths. For backcountry snowmobile travel in Idaho, avalanche education and awareness are essential. Numerous of the state’s alpine communities offer guided trips as well.
Island Park is a well-liked snowmobiling and winter vacation spot in eastern Idaho. This snowy white forest near Yellowstone National Park is traversed by a number of maintained routes.
8. Go to Boise
Boise, the largest city in Idaho, remains a hub of culture all year long. The number of things to do in Boise at this time of year, whether it’s a hot dinner from the city’s expanding culinary scene or live music at an entertainment facility, is unaffected by the brief winter days.
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Boise makes a fantastic starting point for local winter excursions and sightseeing. Snowshoeing and downhill skiing are both popular pastimes in the Boise National Forest to the north. A nearby community mountain in the woods called Bogus Basin offers 2,600 acres of public skiing.
9. Consider a Yurt
Winter in Idaho is synonymous with staying in a yurt. Cabins and shelters in the backcountry also have the same impact.
The U.S. Forest Service and Idaho State Parks have a number of out-of-the-way places where you can build a fire and stay the night. While some backcountry lodges and yurts are reachable with a high-clearance vehicle, others take quite the hike.
10. Take a Lake Coeur d’Alene Winter Cruise
At the southern tip of the Panhandle is a sizable body of water known as Lake Coeur d’Alene, one of Idaho’s best lakes. It hosts water sports all year long and serves as the focal point of the named city. Even though summer is undoubtedly the most popular season, boat cruises in attractive areas are nevertheless appealing in the winter.
The top winter vacation spots in the nation are in Idaho, and they should be experienced at least once. Due to the great combination of adventure, fun, and relaxation that this location provides, the city consistently draws a large number of tourists during the winter.
To assist you in having the perfect holiday, Idaho features a lot of ski resorts, ice rinks, and skiable terrain. Have you ever seen an ice and snow castle? If not, Idaho allows you to adjust that. Your winter spirit will be satisfied at Idaho City.