Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Best Idaho Road Trip Itinerary


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Berri Delp



Embarking on a road trip is an exhilarating way to explore the beauty of a destination. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, Idaho is a hidden gem that offers a diverse array of stunning landscapes, charming small towns, and outdoor recreational activities. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a nature lover, Idaho has something to offer everyone.


This road trip itinerary will take you on a week-long journey through Idaho’s most captivating destinations. From the vibrant capital city of Boise to the breathtaking mountains of Sun Valley and the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park, you’ll be amazed at the variety of experiences that await you. Along the way, you’ll discover hidden gems, encounter friendly locals, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Idaho is renowned for its outdoor adventures, and this road trip will showcase the best of the state’s natural beauty. From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and kayaking, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Idaho’s pristine wilderness. You’ll also have the chance to explore charming towns, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and soak in the rich history and culture of the region.


Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking solitude in nature, a couple searching for a romantic getaway, or a family looking for a fun-filled vacation, this Idaho road trip itinerary has something for everyone. So buckle up, hit the open road, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the picturesque state of Idaho.


Day 1: Exploring Boise

Start your Idaho road trip adventure by exploring the vibrant capital city of Boise. Known for its lively downtown area, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities, Boise offers a little something for everyone.


Begin your day with a visit to the Idaho State Capitol Building, an architectural masterpiece that showcases the state’s history and government. Take a guided tour to learn about the building’s unique design and the important role it plays in Idaho’s political landscape.


Next, head to the Boise River Greenbelt, a scenic pathway that winds along the banks of the Boise River. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll as you soak in the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Make a stop at Kathryn Albertson Park, a serene oasis with ponds, water features, and a variety of plant and wildlife.


For lunch, explore the vibrant food scene in downtown Boise. From farm-to-table eateries to ethnic cuisine and food trucks, you’ll find a plethora of options to satisfy your taste buds. Don’t forget to try some Idaho potatoes, a local specialty!


In the afternoon, visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary, a former prison that offers a fascinating glimpse into Idaho’s criminal past. Take a guided tour and learn about the lives of the inmates who once called this place home.


End your day at the Basque Block, a unique neighborhood that pays homage to Boise’s Basque heritage. Explore the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, where you can discover the history and traditions of the Basque people. Enjoy a delicious Basque dinner at one of the local restaurants, and if you’re lucky, catch a traditional Basque dance performance.


After a day of exploration, relax and unwind at one of Boise’s many breweries or rooftop bars. Sip on local craft beers or enjoy a handcrafted cocktail as you take in the panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, catch a live music performance at one of the downtown venues for a memorable evening.


At the end of the day, rest up at one of the charming hotels or B&Bs in Boise, ready to continue your Idaho road trip adventure the next day.


Day 2: Sun Valley and Ketchum

On day two of your Idaho road trip, venture to the iconic resort town of Sun Valley and its charming neighbor, Ketchum. Known for its stunning natural beauty, world-class skiing, and vibrant arts scene, this area is a must-visit destination in Idaho.


Start your day with a scenic drive from Boise to Sun Valley. Along the way, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the Idaho countryside and the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. Be sure to make a stop at the Shoshone Falls, known as the “Niagara of the West,” and marvel at the power and beauty of these cascading waterfalls.


Upon arrival in Sun Valley, take some time to explore the famous Sun Valley Resort. This upscale mountain retreat has been attracting celebrities and outdoor enthusiasts for decades. Stroll through the village, browse the boutique shops, and grab a cup of coffee or a light snack at one of the charming cafes.


If you’re visiting during the winter months, take advantage of the incredible skiing and snowboarding opportunities on Bald Mountain. With its wide range of groomed slopes and challenging trails, it’s the perfect destination for winter sports enthusiasts of all levels. Alternatively, if you’re visiting in the summer, enjoy hiking and mountain biking on the numerous trails that crisscross the area.


After your outdoor adventures, head to Ketchum, a quaint town located just a few miles south of Sun Valley. Explore the art galleries, boutiques, and antique shops that line the streets of downtown Ketchum. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, a cultural hub that showcases a variety of exhibits and performances throughout the year.


For lunch, indulge in a delicious meal at one of the local restaurants in Ketchum. From fine dining establishments to casual eateries, you’ll find a wide range of culinary options to suit your taste.


In the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll along the paved Wood River Trail, which follows the Big Wood River and offers picturesque views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is perfect for walking, jogging, or biking and provides a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


As the day comes to a close, treat yourself to a relaxing soak at the nearby Frenchman’s Hot Springs. Surrounded by nature, these natural hot springs offer the perfect opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate. Take in the breathtaking sunset views as you soak in the warm mineral-rich waters.


After a day of exploration, head back to your accommodation in Sun Valley or Ketchum and prepare for another exciting day of your Idaho road trip.


Day 3: Sawtooth National Recreation Area

On day three of your Idaho road trip, immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Located just north of Ketchum, this rugged and pristine wilderness area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.


Start your day with a scenic drive along the breathtaking Sawtooth Scenic Byway, also known as Highway 75. This winding road offers spectacular views of towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and dense forests. Keep your camera handy as there will be plenty of opportunities for memorable photos.


Once you arrive at the recreation area, lace up your hiking boots and explore one of the numerous trails that traverse the rugged landscape. The popular Sawtooth Lake Trail is a must-do, offering jaw-dropping views of the jagged Sawtooth Mountains and the serene alpine lake nestled at their base.


If you prefer a more leisurely activity, rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the pristine waters of Redfish Lake. Surrounded by towering peaks, this picturesque lake provides a peaceful setting for relaxation and exploration. You can also try your hand at fishing, as Redfish Lake is home to a variety of trout species.


For a unique and memorable experience, take a scenic boat tour on the Redfish Lake Shuttle. This guided tour provides fascinating insights into the natural and cultural history of the area as you cruise along the calm waters. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bald eagles, osprey, deer, and moose.


In the afternoon, visit the Stanley Museum, located in the charming town of Stanley. This small but informative museum showcases the rich history and heritage of the area, including its mining past and the construction of nearby dams.


As the day draws to a close, find a cozy spot along the shores of Stanley Lake or Alturas Lake to witness a mesmerizing sunset over the mountains. The golden hues reflecting off the water and illuminating the peaks create a truly magical atmosphere.


After a day of exploring the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, return to your accommodation in Ketchum or Stanley, filled with awe and gratitude for the spectacular natural wonders you have encountered.


Day 4: Craters of the Moon National Monument

On day four of your Idaho road trip, venture into the otherworldly landscape of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Located in the Snake River Plain, this unique geological area is a testament to the volcanic activity that shaped the region millions of years ago.


Begin your day by driving from Stanley to Craters of the Moon National Monument. As you approach the park, you’ll be greeted by a surreal landscape of ancient lava flows, cinder cones, and volcanic formations.


Start your exploration at the visitor center, where you can learn about the park’s geology, history, and wildlife. Park rangers are available to provide information and guidance for your visit.


Embark on a self-guided tour along the park’s well-maintained trails, such as the Devil’s Orchard Trail or the North Crater Flow Trail. These paths will lead you through the most fascinating areas, showcasing lava tubes, spatter cones, and other volcanic formations.


For a more immersive experience, consider taking a guided ranger-led tour or joining a cave hike. These specialized tours provide a chance to explore the lava tubes and underground caves that are unique to this area.


After your exploration, enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the designated picnic areas within the park. The serene setting amidst the ancient lava fields is a perfect backdrop for a relaxing meal.


In the afternoon, visit the Inferno Cone, a volcanic cinder cone that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Hike to the top and marvel at the vast expanse of lava fields and the distant peaks of the Pioneer Mountains.


As you leave Craters of the Moon, make a stop at the nearby town of Arco. Known as “The Atomic City,” Arco is home to the first city in the world to be powered by nuclear energy. Visit the EBR-I Atomic Museum to learn about the town’s fascinating nuclear history.


As the day comes to an end, find a spot to witness the mesmerizing sunset over the lava fields. The vibrant hues of orange and purple against the dark volcanic rock create a truly enchanting spectacle.


After a day of exploring Craters of the Moon National Monument, head to your accommodation in Arco or the nearby town of Carey, ready to continue your Idaho road trip adventure.


Day 5: Idaho Falls and Yellowstone National Park

On day five of your Idaho road trip, embark on a journey to Idaho Falls and the iconic Yellowstone National Park. Get ready to witness awe-inspiring natural wonders and experience the unique wildlife that call this region home.


Start your day by driving from Arco to Idaho Falls, a charming city nestled along the Snake River. Explore the historic downtown area and stroll along the scenic River Walk Trail, which offers stunning views of the river and its cascading waterfalls.


Take some time to visit the Museum of Idaho, where you can learn about the area’s history, archaeology, and natural sciences. Discover fascinating exhibits that showcase the region’s Native American heritage and the legacy of the Oregon Trail.


For lunch, indulge in some mouthwatering cuisine at one of the local restaurants in Idaho Falls. From classic American fare to international dishes, there’s something to suit every palate.


In the afternoon, make your way to the world-renowned Yellowstone National Park. As you enter the park, be prepared to be greeted by breathtaking landscapes, including towering mountains, vast forests, and extraordinary geothermal features.


Begin your Yellowstone adventure with a visit to the iconic Old Faithful geyser. Watch in awe as this famous geyser shoots hot water and steam high into the air at regular intervals. Be sure to check the predicted eruption times to ensure you don’t miss this natural marvel.


Continue exploring the park by visiting other geothermal wonders, such as the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring and the bubbling mud pots of the Fountain Paint Pot. These unique geological features are a testament to Yellowstone’s volcanic past.


Keep a lookout for the park’s abundant wildlife, including bison, elk, bears, and wolves. Yellowstone is known for its diverse ecosystem and offers amazing opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography.


End your day by witnessing a magical sunset over the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Marvel at the stunning waterfalls, such as the Upper and Lower Falls, which cascade down the canyon walls, creating a truly mesmerizing sight.


As the day comes to a close, find accommodation within or near Yellowstone National Park, ready to continue your exploration of this iconic destination the next day.


Day 6: Teton Valley and Grand Targhee Resort

On day six of your Idaho road trip, venture into the breathtaking Teton Valley and experience the outdoor wonders of Grand Targhee Resort. Surrounded by the majestic Teton Range, this area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Begin your day by driving from Yellowstone National Park to Teton Valley, a picturesque valley located just west of the Tetons. As you make your way through the valley, you’ll be treated to incredible views of rolling hills, open farmland, and the snow-capped peaks in the distance.


Start your exploration with a visit to Driggs, a charming town in Teton Valley. Explore the local shops, art galleries, and eateries that line the streets of downtown. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some delicious locally grown produce or visit the weekly farmers market.


After exploring Driggs, make your way to Grand Targhee Resort, located just a short drive from the town. This world-class ski resort transforms into a summer playground, offering a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy.


If you’re visiting during the summer months, take advantage of the resort’s extensive hiking and mountain biking trails that wind through lush forests and alpine meadows. Enjoy the pristine mountain air while immersing yourself in the beauty of the surrounding nature.


For a unique experience, consider taking a scenic chairlift ride to the summit of Fred’s Mountain. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the Teton Range and the valley below. Don’t forget your camera!


In the afternoon, try your hand at horseback riding through the picturesque landscapes surrounding the resort. Follow experienced guides as they lead you through mountain trails, providing insights into the area’s history and wildlife.


After a day of outdoor adventures, relax and unwind at the resort’s spa or take a dip in the pool and hot tubs. Treat yourself to a soothing massage or simply enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding mountain scenery.


In the evening, dine at one of Grand Targhee’s restaurants and savor a delicious meal made with locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere and recount the day’s adventures with fellow travelers or locals.


As the day comes to a close, find accommodation at the resort or in Teton Valley, ready to continue your exploration of Idaho’s natural wonders.


Day 7: Coeur d’Alene and Lake Coeur d’Alene

On the final day of your Idaho road trip, immerse yourself in the beauty of Coeur d’Alene and the stunning Lake Coeur d’Alene. This charming resort town is known for its pristine lake, outdoor activities, and vibrant downtown area.


Start your day by driving from Teton Valley to Coeur d’Alene, located in the northern part of the state. As you approach the town, you’ll be captivated by the sparkling waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding forested hills.


Begin your exploration with a visit to Tubbs Hill, a scenic nature reserve located just minutes from downtown. Take a leisurely hike along the trails that wind through the forested slopes, offering breathtaking views of the lake and the city skyline.


Next, head to City Park, situated along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Enjoy a picnic by the water or rent a kayak, paddleboard, or boat to explore the pristine waters of the lake. Take in the panoramic views and soak up the tranquility of this natural playground.


For lunch, wander through the bustling downtown area, lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and a variety of dining options. Indulge in some local cuisine or try some freshly caught fish from the lake at one of the waterfront restaurants.


In the afternoon, visit the iconic Coeur d’Alene Resort. Take a scenic lake cruise aboard the resort’s luxurious cruise boat, which offers a narrated tour of the lake’s history and landmarks. Marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains.


For golf enthusiasts, a visit to the resort’s world-class golf course is a must. Play a round amidst stunning views of the lake and immaculate fairways. If golf isn’t your thing, explore the resort’s shops, indulge in a spa treatment, or relax by the infinity pool.


To end your day in Coeur d’Alene, take a stroll along the Coeur d’Alene Boardwalk. Enjoy the charming atmosphere as you pass by art installations, fountains, and sculptures. Treat yourself to a scoop of homemade ice cream from one of the local shops as you soak up the vibrant energy of the town.


As the day comes to a close, find a cozy spot along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene to witness the spectacular sunset over the water. The vibrant colors reflecting off the lake’s surface create a magical and serene setting.


After a day of exploration and relaxation, find accommodation in Coeur d’Alene, ready to reflect on the incredible adventure you’ve had on your Idaho road trip.



Your Idaho road trip has taken you on a remarkable journey through the diverse landscapes, charming towns, and natural wonders of the Gem State. From the vibrant city of Boise to the awe-inspiring scenery of Sawtooth National Recreation Area, and from the otherworldly formations of Craters of the Moon to the iconic Yellowstone National Park, you’ve experienced the best that Idaho has to offer.


Throughout your adventure, you’ve immersed yourself in the outdoors, hiking through rugged trails, exploring lava fields, and marveling at stunning waterfalls. You’ve discovered the rich history and cultural heritage of the state, from the Basque Block in Boise to the Atomic City of Arco. You’ve savored delicious local cuisine, interacted with friendly locals, and created memories that will last a lifetime.


Idaho’s natural beauty, from the towering peaks of the Teton Range to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene, has left an indelible imprint on your heart. The state’s commitment to preserving its wilderness areas through national parks and recreation areas has allowed you to fully appreciate and immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes.


As your Idaho road trip comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on the experiences and adventures you’ve had. Cherish the memories of hiking through pristine forests, witnessing captivating sunsets, and encountering wildlife in their natural habitats. Remember the delicious meals, the friendly locals, and the feeling of open road and endless possibilities.


Whether you are a nature enthusiast seeking outdoor adventure or a traveler eager to explore new destinations, Idaho has proven to be a hidden gem that should not be overlooked. The state’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality make it a perfect destination for an unforgettable road trip.


As you bid farewell to Idaho, carry with you the spirit of adventure, the love of nature, and the memories of a journey that has left you with a profound appreciation for the beauty and wonders of this remarkable state. Until your next road trip, may you continue to seek new horizons and create lasting memories.