From volcanic lava fields to European-styled wineries, central and southern Idaho offers something to appeal to everyone’s tastes.
This four-day tour, provided by Idaho Tourism, showcases some Gem State best highlights.
Arrive in Boise.
After settling in at the hotel, start at the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site.
It served as a prison from 1872 to 1973, starting as a single cell house and growing to a complex of several distinctive buildings surrounded by a 17-foot-high sandstone wall. Enjoy a tour while walking the gallows and prison cells.
After grabbing a bite to eat, head to the Idaho State Historical Museum.
Founded in 1907, this is Idaho’s largest with a comprehensive collection of more than 250,000 objects.
Get a taste of Boise’s culture by visiting the largest Basque community in the United States at Basque Museum and Culture Center.
The Basques are an ethnic group hailing from a region in northeastern Spain and southwestern France with their own language and customs.
Visitors are guided through a historic building, the 1864 Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga house. Collections include oral histories, music, books and manuscripts. Artifacts present the history of Basque life in Boise.
Tours last 1½ to two hours and can accommodate up to 30 people. Larger groups must call in advance. Extended tours are available after hours for groups of 12 or more.
Enjoy authentic Spanish Basque cuisine for dinner after the tour.
Sun Valley and Ketchum
In the morning, drive to Sun Valley in Ketchum.
Stop on Trail Creek Road. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Memorial, with a bust of the American author and journalist and an epitaph he wrote for a friend who died in a hunting accident during Hemingway’s first visit to Idaho.
For more details, head to the Ketchum/Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum, where the Hemingway Exhibit features photos and memorabilia of his years in Idaho; he died in Ketchum in 1961 at the age of 71.
In the afternoon, head to Frenchman’s Gulch Winery, a European-styled vintner.
Finish the day at Sun Valley Resort.
In summer, Sun Valley offers mountain biking, horseback riding, golf and hiking. In winter, enjoy more than 24 miles (40 kilometers) of trails groomed daily for skate and classic skiing or go snowshoeing.
Spend the night in Sun Valley.
Arco, Challis and Stanley
Head to Arco and visit Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.
View a diverse array of volcanic features and a variety of animal and plant life while touring this 750,000-acre national monument on a seven-mile loop road.
Grab lunch in Arco. Then, after a 1½-hour drive, arrive in Challis. Stop at the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park.
Learn about life in frontier mining towns at Yankee Fork Visitor Center, with museum exhibits, a gold panning station, audiovisual programs and information on local mining history.
For adventure, check out the nearby ghost towns of Bonanza, Custer and Bayhorse; Yankee Fork Gold Dredge; Custer Motorway; and Challis Bison Jump.
Travel to Stanley, and dine at Redfish Lake Lodge before the overnight.
Stanley and Idaho City
Start the last day in Idaho with a Salmon River Guided River trip.
Float the Upper Main Fork of the Salmon River from Sunbeam Dam and Torrey’s Hole. An easy, relaxing 10-mile float is nicknamed “Piece of Cake” on a stretch of the Salmon River. Several licensed outfitters can help arrange excursions.
Wrap up the tour in Idaho City with a stop at Idaho City Historical Area. Explore a quaint Western town with classic storefronts and boardwalks.
Arco, Boise, Challis, Idaho City, Ketchum, Sun Valley and Stanley
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Basque Museum and Culture Center
Frenchman’s Gulch Winery
Land of the Yankee Fork State Park
Old Idaho Penitentiary
Sun Valley Resort