Category: Recreation

Southeast Idaho Recreation Bear Lake Vacation

Southeast Idaho Recreation

Arts and Culture

Photo by Vitit Kantabutra Southeast Idaho Arts & Culture Southeast Idaho has wonderful Performing Arts Theatres and Art Galleries. Find upcoming shows on our Events page. Historic Downtown hosts the First Friday Art Walk every first Friday of the month at locations throughout Downtown. Please visit the websites listed below for more information.

ATV Trails

Southeast Idaho ATV/OHV Trails There are over a 1000 miles of scenic trails to explore in Southeast Idaho for four-wheeling, dirt biking, and razor rides. Bring your ATV/OHV (or rent one) to this vast area of Caribou National Forest and BLM land. Take your ride through the striking Caribou Forest. Vibrant green woods in Spring and Summer and earthy autumn colors during Fall, Southeast Idaho has all the rides you’ve been dreaming of. All non-residents must have a registration sticker for any off-road vehicle.  View our Free Interactive Trail Map on ArcGIS! You can zoom into the area you are interested in, click the trail and print the map or use your smart phone with geolocation! Click on a trail and a window shows trail details. You can export our map to Google Earth, a GPS device or the Avenza Maps App for use in areas with no mobile coverage.

Bike Trails

Mountain Biking and Cycling Trails There are 100’s of miles of mountain bike trails within the public lands of Southeast Idaho! The Portneuf Greenway has miles of scenic bike paths in the heart of Pocatello. We have a Free Interactive Trail Map website! You can zoom into the area you are interested in, click the trail and print the map or use your smart phone with geolocation! Click on a trail and a window shows trail details. You can export our map to Google Earth, a GPS device or the Avenza Maps App for use in areas with no mobile coverage.


Experience Southeast Idaho Birding! All 45 birding sites are listed and each species is indexed on the chart in our Birdwatcher’s Guide to Southeast Idaho Brochure. Request your Free Printed Brochure. Lush green valleys dappled with purple sage, and wetlands nestled into mountain vistas Southeast Idaho captivates travelers of all walks. Bear Lake and Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuges along with Curlew National Grasslands headline the forty five birding sites in Southeast Idaho. Avid birders will want to experience the Bear River area between Preston and Downey, the bird sanctuary at Sterling, and the Snake River area between American Falls and Massacre Rocks State Park. View the Idaho Birding Trail Interactive Map Portneuf Valley Audubon Society Field Trips & Birding Info American Falls Birding Festival The Bird Festival provides bird watchers the opportunity to view a wide variety of birds normally seen in Southeastern Idaho. Field trips to Massacre State Park and the American Falls Reservoir provide a great place for bird watching. The date is timed to overlap wintering birds and the beginning of spring migration. Southeast Idaho Birding Sites

Breweries & Nightlife

Southeast Idaho has amazing nightlife with Breweries, Bars, Sports Bars, Pubs and restaurants that serve alcohol. Many have live bands and dancing. Join in the fun with the links below: Pocatello Area Bars Chubbuck Idaho Bars Lava Hot Springs Bars American Falls Bars Blackfoot Idaho Bars Soda Springs Idaho Bars Fish Haven Idaho Bars Preston Idaho Bars Montpelier Idaho Bars Downey Idaho Bars Malad Idaho Bars Grace Idaho Bars


Southeast Idaho Byways Hitch Up Your Wagon And Take A History Tour Of Southeast Idaho! Drive along the same route that the early Pioneers traveled and relive the history of the old west. Walk in the ruts created by the wagons on the Oregon Trail. Visit museums displaying the actual artifacts they left behind. Explore the homes and churches they built with their bare hands. Learn about Native American life and history.  Use the map below to find all of the stops listed below it.


Southeast Idaho Casinos There are three Casinos in Southeast Idaho owned and operated by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. Their gaming facilities with action fun, high energy excitement and a friendly gaming atmosphere. There are over 800 of the most popular video gaming machines can be found at the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel.

Family Activities

Family Fun in Southeast Idaho You don’t have to go far to find family fun in Southeast Idaho! Year round indoor and outdoor family activities will keep your family returning every year. So bring your family to Southeast Idaho for fun activities and recreation and make forever memories! Find your favorite activity below. Lava Hot Springs Photo by Paul Sweeney


Fishing in Southeast Idaho Native Idaho Trout are plentiful in Southeast Idaho! Southeast Idaho is a paradise for fishermen in the winter and summer. Thirty one fishable reservoirs and many streams, creeks, and rivers are located in the 110 mile length and 105 mile breadth of this travel region. Species include Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Bull Trout, Chinook, Salmon, Kokanee Salmon, Coho Salmon, Steelhead, White Sturgeon, Mountain Whitefish, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, Bullhead Catfish, and Pumpkinseed. Southeast Idaho Fishing Brochure (PDF) Order a printed brochure here. Bear Lake Fishing Report IDAHO FISH AND GAME Idaho Fish and Game stocks millions of fish in Southeast Idaho for affordable family fun. View an interactive map of family-friendly waters and easy access points. Idaho Fish And Game Permits & Stocking and Fishing Reports Find a Southeast Idaho License Vendor Southeast Idaho Fishing Map, Seasons & Rules (pages 29-32) The Idaho Fish & Game Fishing Trailer travels all over southeast Idaho each summer!  It is equipped with fishing gear for use by the public for free, they provide fishing instruction to those that need it, and if you register at the trailer— no fishing license is necessary!

Geology and Caves

Southeast Idaho Geology and Caves The three forces of nature that shaped this landscape to become mountains and valleys are the shifting of the land plates to push the mountains up, two major volcanic eruptions and finally the massive Bonneville Flood. Several rivers and streams ad their courses altered by these natural events, but virtually all the lakes and reservoirs came into being at the hand of man to fill the need for crop irrigation and electric power. Looking at a geographic map of the United States people wonder how Idaho’s eastern and western boundaries were decided in such irregular pattern. The northern and southern borders of the state are nice and straight lines by contrast. The simple explanation is the western border used to be the coastline of the Pacific Ocean until California, Washington and Oregon rose up from the ocean floor pushing Idaho upward to become the western side of the Rocky Mountains. The highest point of the Rockies became the Continental Divide which is defined by where the snowmelt runoff from these mountains goes. This also explains the border of Idaho and Montana. Montana’s water runs southeast to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to the Atlantic Ocean. Idaho’s water runs northwest to the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.  The Bear River is part of the westward flowing slope of the Rockies. It starts in the mountains of Utah and flows northwest to Idaho’s Bear Lake Valley and on to Soda Springs where it turns south through Preston and empties into the Great Salt Lake, which doesn’t make much sense. It travels over 400 miles to cover a distance of only 90 miles. It used to flow through Pocatello to the Snake River and onto the Pacific Ocean.   Then a rift volcano, named China Hat, still visible near the intersection of state highway 34 and US 30 near Soda Springs raised the valley floor and sent a wall of molten lava 40 miles west to Pocatello. A second major flow occurred shortly after following the same path. These lava flows turned the Bear River southward. The remnants of these flows are spectacular to see at Grace, McCammon, Inkom and Pocatello.   The final event affecting the geography of Southeast Idaho occurred just 15,000 years ago. Prior to that a great deal of Utah and Nevada were covered by Lake Bonneville. What is now Preston was underwater but current day Downey was dry. Then at Red Rock Pass the natural dam broke and sent a wall of water estimated to be 300 feet high northwest all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The boulders pictured and the landscape of Marsh Valley were tumbled and polished by this event.


Southeast Idaho Golf Tour You can spend your entire vacation playing golf at a different course each day! We have 12 very different and interesting golf courses. Most locations has parking for RV’s and will make you feel welcome.


Southeast Idaho Hiking Trails Hike Southeast Idaho’s beautiful mountain trails. Explore our mountain streams and rivers while hiking hundreds of miles of secluded trails.  With fun trails and beautiful views, a good time is only a trailhead away! For a hike with stunning scenery, plan your next hiking trip in our beautiful forests! We have a Free Hiking Trail Map website! You can zoom into the area you are interested in, click the trail and print the map or use your smart phone with geolocation! Click on a trail and a window shows trail details and weather conditions! You can also export it to Google Earth, your GPS device or GPS App on your smartphone.

Historic Sites

Southeast Idaho Historic Sites Southeast Idaho is filled with Pioneer Oregon Trail and Railroad Historic sites. Learn about the Oregon-California Trail, Bear River Massacre, Shoshone Bannock Tribe, Malad Valley Heritage, Chesterfield Historic Town and more.

Horseback Riding

Southeast Idaho Horseback Rides Let experienced guides take you on a scenic horseback ride in some of the most beautiful mountains in Southeast Idaho. Horse drawn wagons rides are also a fun family activity! View our Free Interactive Trail Map on ArcGIS! You can zoom into the area you are interested in, click the trail and print the map or use your smart phone with geolocation! Click on a trail and a window shows trail details. You can export our map to Google Earth, a GPS device or the Avenza Maps App for use in areas with no mobile coverage.

Hot Springs

Southeast Idaho Hot Springs Forces of nature created Southeast hot springs for us to enjoy, thankfully without the sulfur or chemical odor usually associated with other natural hot springs.    We have seven developed commercial hot springs including Bear Lake Hot Springs, Bear River Hot Springs, Downata Hot Springs, Indian Springs, Lava Hot Springs Hot Pools, Lava Hot Springs Inn Hot Pools and Maple Grove Hot Springs. They are located in Lava Hot Springs, Downey, Preston area and American Falls.   There are also several hotels listed below that have private hot springs!


Southeast Idaho Hunting Game birds are plentiful.  Vast open spaces support a variety of game birds which prefer landing feeding, and dozens of reservoirs, streams and rivers mean water fowl abound.  Especially worthy of note is the population of Canada goose.  Not only do these geese breed in high numbers in the area, the region is located in the migratory flyway.  These factors combine to make Region Five one of the highest harvest areas for the Great Basin Canada Goose population. Big Game populations are deer, moose and elk.  Idaho hunters are also proficient at archery and you may want to investigate the hunting seasons reserved to bow hunters. Idaho Fish & Game: 208-334-3700 or 1-800-275-3474

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing in Southeast Idaho! Southeast Idaho is home to 31 reservoirs and lakes which makes it easy to find your next ice fishing hole!  There’s great ice fishing at Bear Lake for the Bonneville Cisco, a species found nowhere else on earth.   Catch limits vary widely in the region and licenses are required.  Short term and season non resident fishing and hunting licenses and official information publications are available at sporting goods shops in each community. Southeast Idaho Fishing Brochure (PDF) Order a printed brochure here. You can also get this information online from the Idaho Fish and Game at: Idaho Fish And Game Permits & Stocking and Fishing Reports Find a Southeast Idaho License Vendor Southeast Idaho Fishing Map, Seasons & Rules Bear Lake Fishing Report

Indoor Recreation

Southeast Idaho Indoor Recreation Includes Bowling, Arcades, Roller Skating, Laser Tag, Jump & Trampoline Parks, Axe Throwing, Escape Rooms and Indoor Rock Climbing.

Lakes and Rivers

Southeast Idaho Lakes and Rivers Explore Southeast Idaho’s amazing lakes and rivers! Go fishing, boating, river rafting, swimming and so much more!


Southeast Idaho Learning Opportunities There is so much to learn about in Southeast Idaho. We have museums, geological sites, Pioneer and Oregon Trail sites, a Butterfly Haven and more. So load up the family and go on a old fashioned field trip!


Southeast Idaho Museums LEARN SOMETHING NEW!  There are various local museums to delight your family in Southeast Idaho. When the weather isn’t great, or you’re ready for educational entertainment indoors, check out one of our great museums. Many of our museums are open year round and some are open only in the summer. Each one is marked below. Please visit their websites for hours and details.

Outdoor Recreation

Southeast Idaho Outdoor Recreation Southeast Idaho has wonderful year round outdoor activities including stunning nature, historical activities, mountain trails, water recreation and more. Explore all the wonderful outdoor recreation you can to do below.


Southeast Idaho City Parks Every Southeast Idaho city has at least one public park.  Many have boweries and picnic areas that can be reserved for your family reunion or group activity.

Race Tracks

Rafting and Kayaking

Kayaking & Rafting in Southeast Idaho Southeast Idaho has great whitewater rafting and kayaking rivers! If you are looking for a great family activity try floating our rivers on an tube!

Rock Climbing

Southeast Idaho Rock Climbing Ross Park and Massacre Rocks are some of the great Rock Climbing areas in Southeast Idaho. Visit  the Mountain Project Website for detailed info. Pocatello is home to the oldest rock-climbing competition in America! Mark your calendars for the Pocatello Pump! This competition has divisions for locals and non-locals. Contestants and spectators come from all over to see and participate in this fun rock climbing event.  Photo by Paul Sweeney.


Site Seeing In Southeast Idaho Country roads take you to Idaho! Take a road trip to see our breathtaking mountains, valleys, lakes and streams. Drive our Scenic and Historic Byways and learn of the first people that beheld the vast untouched country of Southeast Idaho. Bring your camera to take pictures of the memories you make! 


Pebble Creek Ski Area Pebble Creek is a vertical playground that attracts Downhill Skiers and Snowboarders of all abilities. Located 20 minutes south of Pocatello in the Caribou Targhee National Forest, Pebble Creek boasts 2200 vertical feet, 1100 skiable acres, 54 runs and terrain for all levels from beginners to those demanding an honest challenge. Look for extra fun in Stash Park with natural features and two terrain parks with rails, boxes, jumps and bonks.   Southeast Idaho Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails Snowshoeing Many summertime trails make great places to enjoy winter’s scenic beauty. The Highline Trail or the Bear River countryside, where steam from natural geothermal waters rise, create stunning photography opportunities. Rentals are available at Baker Ranch in Lava Hot Springs. Take a loop or head up a mountain draw with Fido with the Idaho State Parks and Recreation Park n’ Ski program. Just South of Pocatello, seven plowed lots provide access to five different trails with out-and-back experiences, loops and even a ripping downhill. Cross Country Skiing Seven miles south of Pocatello is the East Fork Mink Creek Nordic Center with 20km of groomed skate and classic ski trails as well as snowshoe trails and a sledding hill. Kelly Park in Soda Springs offers about 7km of groomed trails. Baker Ranch in Lava Hot Springs has a groomed trail for beginner and intermediate skinny skiers.  Trails We have several Nordic Ski Parks and hundreds of miles of open trails. Get some fresh Idaho winter air! Free Interactive Idaho Cross Country Ski Map on ArcGIS!  Our maps show many of our main ungroomed trails but most unplowed roads can be used. Click on an area of the map to see a larger printable map. Map Legend Pocatello – Mink Creek Area Nordic Ski Map Pocatello – East Mink Creek Nordic Center Map Pocatello – Portneuf Range Nordic Ski Map Soda Springs – Kelly Park Nordic Ski Map Soda Springs – Bailey Creek Trail Nordic Ski Map Resources Idaho State Parks & Recreation Park & Ski Passes Pocatello Cross Country Ski Foundation Soda Springs Ski Association – Kelly Park Ski Map Portneuf Range Hut System – You must make reservations to use a yurt at the ISU Wilderness Rental Center Office located downstairs in the Student Union Building. Yurts are locked and location maps will be given only to renters. Call 208-282-2945.

Snowmobile Trails

Southeast Idaho Snowmobiling An undiscovered snowmobile playground awaits you in Southeast Idaho. This vast area of Caribou National Forest and BLM land offers over 600 miles of groomed trails plus open play areas of powdery virgin snow, and all of the best challenges, excitement, and magnificent scenic winter country you can handle. Easy access to trail heads, and snowmobile rentals, are available in most of the Southeastern Idaho communities. Warming huts, yurts, and several lodges are easily accessible from the trail. Southeast Idaho Snowmobile Trail Maps Free Interactive Southeast Idaho Snowmobile Trail Map on ArcGIS! Zoom into the area you are interested in, click the trail and print the map or save it as an interactive PDF to use with the free Avenza Map App on your smart phone!  Request Free Printed Snowmobile Maps by Mail! You can also pick one up at most Visitor’s Centers in our area. Don’t forget to register you snowmobile! View and PRINT your own Snowmobile Map! Our maps show many of our main ungroomed trails but most PUBLIC unplowed backroads can be used by snowmobiles. Maps are in Adobe PDF format. Map Legend Montpelier Snowmobile Map Southern Bear Lake – Preston Snowmobile Map Northern Bear Lake – Preston Snowmobile Map Pocatello – Mink Creek Snowmobile and Nordic Skiing Map Portneuf Range – Inkom/Lava Snowmobile Map Cottonwood – Downey/Swan Lake Snowmobile Map Malad Snowmobile Map Blackfoot – Bone & Wolverine Snowmobile Map Southern Soda Springs Snowmobile Map Eastern Soda Springs Snowmobile Map American Falls – Sublett Area Snowmobile Trails Idaho laws prohibits the use of snowmobiles on public and National Forest roads which are plowed and maintained for use by four-wheeled vehicles. Forest Service Snowmobile Trail maps are available at all area Forest Service offices Monday through Friday. SNOWMOBILE RENTALS Find Snowmobile & UTV Rentals in Bear Lake Lava Outdoor Fun Rentals in Lava Hot Springs SNOWMOBILE GROOMING REPORTS Bear Lake State Park Grooming Report SNOWMOBILE RESOURCES Idaho Parks and Recreation Website – Find snowmobile registration rates, register your snowmobile online and get more information. Idaho State Snowmobile Association NRCS Snow Depth and Temperature Reports & Interactive Map Soda Springs Ranger District (208) 547-4356 Caribou Basin Guard Station Johnson Guard Station Stump Creek Guard Station Montpelier Ranger District (208) 847-0375 Eight Mile Guard Station Cub River Guard Station Egan Basin Guard Station Clear Creek Guard Station Westside Ranger District (208) 236-7500 Pebble Creek Guard Station Summit Guard Station

Visitor Centers

Water Parks and Swimming Pools

Swimming Pools in Southeast Idaho  Southeast Idaho has Swimming Pools in nearly every city. There are also many lakes and reservoirs you can go swimming in. Lava Hot Springs and Downata Hot Springs are open on most winter weekends.

Water Sports

Southeast Idaho Water Sports Southeast Idaho has  many lakes and reservoirs for swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, boating and sailing. The Bear River and Portneuf River are great for whitewater rafting, Kayaking and tubing. Rent a boat, jet ski SUP-Boards, Wakeboards and water toys in Bear Lake!


Southeast Idaho Wildlife The Southeast Idaho region has vast areas of sagebrush deserts, forests and the water preserves that are teaming with wildlife. We have five designated Wildlife Management Areas included in the list below.  Bring your binoculars and camera and get some exercise looking for Idaho wildlife in it’s natural habitat.


Southeast Idaho Ziplining & Rope Courses Go Ziplining and run Rope Courses in Southeast Idaho! Zipline Adventure and Ropes Course and also has high ropes course, geodesic dome and climbing wall.