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Idaho countryside© Lane V. EricksonIdaho countryside
© Lane V. Erickson
When Lewis and Clark crossed America on their way to the Pacific, the most difficult part of their journey was the trek through Idaho. Today, their path is a tree-lined ridge high above the Lochsa River. If your appetite for adventure is as strong as theirs, you've come to the right state.

For example, you can bike your way along the Route of the Hiawatha near Wallace, or perhaps take a spin along the nearby Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes along the Coeur d'Alene River. For sightseers, Idaho offers deserts and hills, as well as streams full of rainbow trout.

Idaho's waters have also carved its spectacular canyons. Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America, and it is famous for the Nez Perce Indian petroglyphs and pictographs found in its caves and rock walls. And Snake River Canyon, near the spectacular Shoshone Falls, provided the backdrop for Evel Knievel's attempted jump in his Skycycle X-2. Don't try this at home.

The Idaho landscape has also been shaped by volcanic forces, notably at the Craters of the Moon, a spooky 750,000-acre national monument filled with volcanic rifts, cinder cones, spatter cones, shield volcanoes and lava tubes. It's a perfect spot for bird watching, backpacking and caving.

Idaho's mountains also provide some amazing skiing, particularly at Sun Valley, which has long been a prime destination for celebs. One of these was Ernest Hemingway, who finished For Whom the Bell Tolls in one of the lodges. He also died in nearby Ketchum, and you will find a memorial to him there, as well as directions to his grave.

A wheat field in eastern Idaho with the Grand Teton Mountain Range in the background© Mike NortonA wheat field in eastern Idaho with the Grand Teton Mountain Range in the background
© Mike Norton
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the state's natural beauty, you can relax in Boise. One of the unusual characteristics of the city is that it is home to the highest concentration of Basques in the United States. You can learn more about the Basque-Americans at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, located in what was once a Basque boarding house.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF