Cities and Towns of Southwest Idaho
Southwest Idaho is true river country. Its geography is a tapestry of some of the West's most powerful and abundant river sources. River rafting is a way of life on the Boise, Payette and Snake Rivers, where class strength can range from a lazy float to an adrenalin-charged class V. The popular Snake River cuts across the base of the region, heading northwest until it reaches the Oregon and Idaho border, where it turns abruptly north and forms the boundary between the two states and the dramatic Hells Canyon.
But river rafting and fishing aren't the only things to do in this area. The Snake River canyon provides the ideal setting for observing wildlife that is not normally found in the more populated areas of Idaho. Some 24 different species of raptors receive protection from the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA), south of Boise. The NCA supports education and ongoing raptor research projects. Hiking, fishing and boating are permitted on portions of the NCA's 600,000 acres. Swan Falls Dam, built in 1901, lies within the NCA and is the oldest hydroelectric dam on the Snake River. Semi-primitive camping is located above and below the dam.
Bruneau Dunes State Park, south of Mountain Home, is evidence of this region's unique geologic history. Dunes towering as high as 450 feet are replenished by decomposed lava rock that is scoured off a nearby plateau. Scientists believe this shaping and sculpturing of these sand dunes can be traced back several millennium to the Bonneville Flood, some 15,000 years ago, when the Snake River was forced to change course to its present path.
Numerous scenic drives stitch the Southwest region, linking the capital, Boise, with remote and awe-inspiring scenery. Southwest Idaho Travel Association can provide a list of scenic routes to take.
A variety of landscapes await exploration in Southwest Idaho - from fertile valleys to alpine forests, from deep canyons to high desert mountains.
Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
The constant updrafts above desert floor in this stretch of the Snake River Canyon provides the ideal hunting ground for rare birds of prey.
Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey
See a variety of birds of prey close up through one way glass. The giant harpy eagle has a wingspan of nearly seven feet.
Bruneau Dunes State Park
The tallest single structured sand dunes in America rise up to 470 feet above several bass-filled lakes. Bighorn sheep scale the cliffs above Bruneau Canyon.
Headwaters River Company. PO Box 1, Banks, ID 83602. Phone: 208-793-2348. Offers a variety of rafting trips on the South Fork Payette and kayak instruction.
Boise Click here for Boise
The eastern gateway to the awe inspiring Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America.
These outfitters run rivers that flow through isolated backcountry. Experience natural beauty, white water, history, and a diversity of wildlife. There is time for fishing, hiking, exploring long abandoned cabins, mines, and Indian sites, and for enjoying ecologically sound camping.
Meadow Ranch - Cascade
The ranch is endorsed by the Orvis company as a Fly fishing lodge. Offers private cabins with roomy living areas, baths and kitchens for snacks and coffee; "Hearty gourmet" cuisine features prime rib, Cornish game hen and salmon. Activities are guided by professional fly fishermen on blue ribbon trout waters and experienced horsemen using well-mannered, mountain-wise horses.
Site of the annual Three Island Crossing, a reenactment of the pioneers crossing the Snake River on their trek west.
Cascade Raft and Kayak. 7050 Hwy 55, Horseshoe Bend, ID 83629. Phone: 208-793-2221; Toll-free: 1-800-292-7238.
Whitewater rafting and kayak trips on the Payette River. Kayaking instruction and kid's adventure camps, near Boise
During the mid-1800s gold rush, it was the largest city in the Northwest. Gold fever was rife, and it is said that of the 200 men and women buried at Boot Hill, only 28 died of natural causes.
The north fork of the Payette River crashes and tumbles down this narrow, picturesque alpine Valley, joining the 20 mile long Cascade Reservoir, and Payette Lake. A year round center of outdoor activity, as people partake in all kinds of water or snow sports.
The City of McCall
Designed more for residents, this web site includes city services, events and newsletter.
The McCall Area Chamber of Commerce on-line magazine featuring information, contacts, and photos from The Heartland of Idaho.
McCall Idaho - Ski Town USA
A travel article with photos about McCall's winter offerings. (Part of the High On Adventure web site, an online, world-wide travel magazine.)
McCall Winter Carnival
Features ice sculptures and torch-light parade. January 30 - February 8.
Operates half-day, one-day, two-day and four-day rafting trips on the Salmon River.
Skiing is the focus of this Resort and its web site includes a web cam and weather conditions on the mountain. Nearby McCall is the home of numerous Olympic skiers. Whitewater rafting and mountain biking are on offer in summer.
Ponderosa State Park
named for the Ponderosa Pines, some 500 years old and 150 feet tall, which shade the campgrounds. Trails on this peninsula park wind through deep woods, a spongy marsh and arid sagebrush flats. Located just north of McCall on the Payette Lake
The mild climate and wooded streams of Treasure Valley once attracted six different Indian tribes for a two month trade fair and salmon bake. Today, the Valley's rich volcanic soil is used to produce over 70 cash crops, including grape growing. Sample the Valley's bounty at its wineries, and many fruit and vegetable stands.
Caldwell Click here for Caldwell
Caldwell Night Rodeo
Meridian Click here for Meridian
Cherry FestivalIdaho Press Tribune. 1618 N. Midland Boulevard, PO Box 9399, Nampa, ID 83651. Phone: 208-467-9251. E-mail
Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest -
Initiated in 1953, the contest is held in the third full week of June, and includes nightly entertainment by musical groups from around the U.S. The Contest now certifies fiddling contests in 29 states. Find here event schedules, contestant and ticket information, and past winners.
Best selection of books on
Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.
Idaho Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places, 8th Edition by Julie Fanselow. This guidebook features fun, unusual and different things travelers want to see and experience. Discover the best in local dining, quirky cultural tidbits, hidden attractions and unique finds. Order now...
Compass American Guides: Idaho, 3rd Edition by John Gottberg. Written by longtime Idaho residents, this book provides in-depth coverage of the history and culture. Also features are photographs, insider tips and detailed color maps. Order now...
Idaho Road & Recreation Atlas (Benchmark Maps: Idaho), 3rd Edition. Discover Idaho's recreational activities and beautiful scenery with this atlas that contains field checked Landscape Maps TM, an updated recreation guide and a usable GPS grid. Learn all about the Gem State before visiting. Order now...
Moon Idaho, Sixth Edition by James P. Kelly. This food, wine and travel writer offers his own unique perspective and local knowledge of Idaho by providing original trip ideas along with all the details to plan your vacation. Discover hot springs, birding, skiing and much more. Order now...
Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho by Ken Retallic and Rocky Barker. This new edition of Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho features updated information, including new hunting regulations and the Access Yes! program. Updated hub city information includes hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, sporting good stores, veterinarians, auto repair services, and much more. Order now...
Idaho the Whitewater State by Grant Amaral (Author), Laura Andrews (Editor, Illustrator), Doug Ammons (Designer, Editor), Mary Williams (Author). The complete guidebook to the rivers of Idaho. Containing over 100 different runs, 100 maps, 16 color and 52 black and white photos, The Whitewater State is the best-selling Idaho guidebook. Order now...
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