Southeast Idaho High Country features a variety of outdoor adventures and activities for every season. No matter the season visitors choose, their vacation will be filled with excitement exploring the great outdoors. From snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter to mountain biking and water activities in the summertime—plenty of recreation activities await them in this outdoor lover’s paradise.
Here’s a look at the different activities ready to be discovered in Idaho’s High Country:
Mountain biking and hiking during the fall are the perfect activities to witness the beautiful scenery and changing leaves in Southeast Idaho High Country. With more than 1,000 miles of trails for off highway vehicles and biking, fall is a great time to explore the trails of the area and feel the crisp, refreshing breeze on your shoulders.
Idaho Parks and Recreation offers detailed, interactive maps for exploring trails and scenic routes on the go. ATV trails are a fast and scenic way to explore nature and experience the mountaintop vistas of Southeast Idaho.
Dirt bikers and smaller Off Highway vehicles will appreciate the rugged Highline Recreation Trail, featuring 55 miles of mountainous terrain between Preston and Soda Springs.
For those looking to camp during the fall, the Oneida Narrows Reservoir & Campground features 12 campsites with picnic tables and campfire rings, perfect for roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories under the starry sky in Southeast Idaho.
The reservoir also features great fishing opportunities with Smallmouth Bass, Walleye and Yellow Perch populated within the reservoir. With boat ramps and docks available, families can spend a full weekend here.
For a true Idaho adventure, hit the slopes at Pebble Creek Ski Area. With 2,200 vertical feet, this property features 2 terrain parks, and 1,100 skiable acres with 54 runs for all skill levels. The on-site Winter Sports School is ready to assist beginners and those looking to perfect their form on the slopes. The East Mink Creek Cross Country Center has 20 kilometers of groomed skate and classic ski trails for skiing and an on-site yurt for staying warm. Or rent some snowshoes and break some trail in the backcountry.
Visitors can test their skills with ice fishing at one of the area’s 31 reservoirs and lakes. The Bonneville Cisco is a species of fish only found in Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho. And while a license is required for ice fishing, they are readily available at sporting goods shops within each community.
After a long day of fun in the snow, relax at one of the many natural Hot Pools in Southeast Idaho. From Lava Hot Springs, Riverdale Resort, Downata Hot Springs and Maple Grove Hot Springs, these pools are great throughout the year. With no sulfur or chemical odor, the hot pools are a natural way to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of adventure in the outdoors. In addition to public hot pools in the area, many local resorts and hotels also have them available for guests.
With springtime temperatures, the outdoors become a playground for mountain bikers and hikers in Southeast Idaho. The City Creek Trail System, located in Pocatello, features a 52-mile trail system for hiking, running and biking in the foothills adjacent to town.
The American Falls Reservoir is the largest reservoir on the Snake River with 56,000 acres of open space perfect for boating and fishing . Rainbow trout are the most popular fish caught in the reservoir, and boaters have access to boat ramps and also shore-side fishing. Birding enthusiasts can also appreciate the area between the reservoir and Massacre Rocks State Park as it is a migration corridor for many species.
The Alexander Reservoir in Soda Springs is another local haven for birding enthusiasts along with the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Spring migration peaks during mid-March to early April with Canada geese, mallards, Franklin’s gulls and White-faced ibis all calling this area their home.
Adventure enthusiasts will have no trouble finding thrills in Southeast Idaho High Country during the summertime. Whiz down the Zipline in Lava Hot Springs, bike or hike to mountain lakes, or paddle board the turquoise waters of Bear Lake. Plentiful campgrounds traverse the area and an abundance of watersport activities are readily available and in high demand.
Cool down in the pool at the Lava Hot Springs Olympic Swimming Complex featuring an Olympic-sized swimming pool with 10 meter diving platforms, speed slides, a shaded water playground area for little ones, and an indoor pool with a poolside aquatic climbing wall. The Indoor Aquatic Center is open throughout the year. While in Lava Hot Springs, float the Portneuf River from one end of town to the other on what has been named the “best tubing river in the U.S.”
Another entertaining water park for families is Ross Park Aquatic Complex, which has a zero-depth kids pool and interactive water play equipment, a lazy river and water slides making it the perfect place to play and cool off after a day out on the trails. Soak up the sun and relax in Southeast Idaho during the summertime temperatures.
Bear Lake, also known as the Caribbean of the Rockies, attracts boaters, paddle boarders and water-skiers to its 120 square mile sparkling water during the summer. Swimmers can enjoy two miles of beach on the north end of the lake and an additional 1.5 miles of beaches to the east. Boaters are also encouraged to drop a line and fish in the lake. Accessible boat ramps and campgrounds are located around the lake.
For those dreaming of sleeping under the stars this summer, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest features 2.8 million acres of space perfect for summer camping trips and picnics. Vacationers can choose from RV sites, cabin rentals or one of the primitive camping sites to call their home. Bring your bike as the forest also features a variety of mountain biking and hiking trails ready to be explored.
Adventure beckons to travelers in Southeast Idaho High Country with activities ready to jump into year-round. From watersports to hot pools and journeys through the snow, the area welcomes them to create their own adventures, no matter the season.
Ready to start planning a vacation in Southeast Idaho High Country? Here’s a look at the best places to stay, top places to explore and the High Country calendar of events filled with activities perfect for outdoor adventures.