Southeast Idaho Scenic Tour

Freeways are always located on the most wide open and therefore least scenic land and that is true of I-15 in Southeast Idaho. Take the back roads to see the best Idaho has to offer!

Start with a copy of our Birding Trails in Southeast Idaho Brochure  (PDF)  because you will see a lot of interesting birds and wonder what they are, especially at Grays Lake and Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuges plus shorebirds at American Falls Reservoir. See Sandhill Cranes at Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

From 1-15 get off at Arimo, drive west to the middle of the valley, then look at the four equidistant mountain peaks that define Marsh Valley. They are Oxford (southeast), Wakely (southwest), Old Tom (northwest), & Bonneville (northeast). Drive on west to Garden Creek Gap (pictured on the right) and enjoy it’s unusual geology & beauty. Go back the same way or you’ll get lost. From I-15 get off at Downey and drive southeast to Red Rock Pass then to the Bear River Massacre site further on. Preston is next where there are two scenic choices, state Hwy 34 north to Grace and Us 30 or state Hwy 36 west to I-15 at Malad.

US 30 from McCammon to Soda Springs and on to Montpelier is the Oregon Trail Auto Route with several historic signs that may lure you to additional adventure. The choice at Soda Springs is north on state Hwy 34 to Grays Lake Refuge or continue southeast on US 30 to Montpelier, then southwest on US 89 to the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bear Lake State Park on the north shore of the lake.
Us 91 at Preston looking west at Oxford Peak with steam rising from Bear River.

Bloomington Canyon and Minnetonka Cave are both worthwhile photo opportunities. The best photos of the turquoise colored Bear Lake are further south and with some elevation on the side road to the west. Final scenic tip is to backtrack to Ovid and take Hwy 36 west over the top of the Highline Trail.
Bear Lake “Caribbean of the Rockies”.

Take the Bear River Heritage Area Road Trip!