Peaks to Craters Video Highlight: Craters of the Moon

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Twin Falls

Twin Falls

Even before the Shoshone and Bannock tribes called this area home, prehistoric people lived there for thousands upon thousands of years, as evidenced by arrowheads and other items discovered here. By the middle of the 19th century, settlers were arriving by stagecoach, and dry-land farmers had come to stay. Yet, it wasn’t until I.B. Perrine founded the Twin Falls Land and Water Company that the valley began thriving, using a series of canals that transformed the desert into the rich agricultural area that exists today. The town was named for the nearby waterfall cascading over a broad series of rocks which, during World War II, also hosted a relocation camp for Japanese Americans that held more than 10,000 detainees. Today, residents from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, and many Latin countries add a unique flair to the city.

Twin Falls Visitor Center

Begin at the Visitor Center, which delivers stunning views of Snake River Canyon and the 486-foot Perrine Bridge. The outside of the building is surrounded by the Cooper Norman Agriculture Heritage Plaza, featuring interpretive signage that tells the story of irrigation and agriculture that makes the area the country’s most diverse food basket. The historic Perrine Stagecoach on display once ferried guests from the Perrine Hotel to Shoshone as I.B. Perrine hosted Eastern investors to help create his dream of making the desert bloom. Foods of the region are also on display. 

2015 Nielsen Point Place, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-733-3974, M-Sat 8AM-5PM

Downtown Twin Falls Walking Tours

Enjoy a stroll through one or more of the three historic districts: City Park, Downtown, and the Warehouse, encompassing more than 50 locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You will also discover art, boutiques, breweries, and a restored theater, nestled among the historic structures.

Downtown tour begins at 202 Main Avenue South

Downtown Twin Falls

Orton Botanical Garden

Plants native and unique to Idaho have been gathered to illustrate the beauty of drought-tolerant plants: cacti, yuccas, and more. Displays also illustrate how plants support pollinators and wildlife.

867 Filer Avenue West, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-734-7959, F-Sat 9AM-6PM

Centennial Waterfront Park

You will find breathtaking views of the I.B. Perrine Bridge and Perrine Coulee Falls here. Pillar Falls is about 1.5 miles upstream, headed towards Shoshone Falls. Auger Falls Heritage Park features a historical homesite and gold mining remnants. Nearby, Shoshone Falls, dubbed “the Niagara of the West,” at 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide, is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States that surpasses the height of Niagara Falls. 

Park is open Dawn to Dusk, Shoshone Falls is located at 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade Road, Dawn to Dusk, March 1-Sept 30 $5 per car

Herrett Center for the Arts and Sciences

Among the variety of exhibits at the Herrett, you’ll discover an emphasis on prehistoric American artifacts, fossils and archeological specimens, ancient stone tools, and Native American cultural items. The Center also features the Faulkner Planetarium and Centennial Observatory as well as the Jean King Gallery of Contemporary Art.

315 Falls Avenue, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-732-6655, Tu-F 9:30AM-9PM W-Th 9:30AM-4:30PM. Sat 1PM-9PM, Free

Filmore Inn

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Fillmore Inn, 102 Fillmore Street, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 702-580-3310  This top-rated bed and breakfast is tastefully decorated with period furniture and antiques, complemented with the finest linens and bedding.

Destination Distinctive Dining 

Milner’s Gate, 208 North Shoshone Street, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-293-8250, Craft brews and food 

Elevation, 195 River Vista Place, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-737-0486, Fine dining  

Buffalo Café, 218 Fourth Avenue West, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-734-0271,  Café and diner

Destination Distinctive Retail  

Hands on Pottery Studio, 147 Shoshone Street North, Twin Falls, ID 83301, 208-736-4475, M-Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun Noon-5PM  Paint your own pottery, or work in painting, mosaics, fused glass, or silver. 

The Twin Falls Center for the Arts, 195 River Vista Place, Twin Falls, ID, 208-734-2787, Tu-F 10AM-5PM  Representing Magic Valley artists who work in oil, acrylic, watercolor, glass, paper, enamel, clay, fiber, encaustic, engraved gourds, jewelry, mixed media, and woodwork.


Jerome Idaho


Established in 1907 and surrounded by beautiful farmland and purple mountains, Jerome was founded by the Kuhn Brothers as part of the North Side Twin Falls Canal Company. During World War II, the county was home to the largest of the 11 relocation centers holding Americans of Japanese ancestry throughout the West. Today, the town has two history museums, a farmers market, festivals, and outdoor recreation. Numerous lava rock structures surround Jerome, including the wind-carved Balanced Rock, the bubble of Wilson Butte, and Devil’s Corral.

Jerome County Lava Tunnel

Because the area was once covered with exploding volcanoes, lava caves and tunnels have been discovered all around. From downtown Twin Falls, take the Hansen Bridge and follow the highway north of the interstate. Pull over at the first of the two gravel roads after E 750 S, leading into the desert terrain. A high-clearance vehicle is required to drive this road. We suggest walking because of the uneven roads. Walk 1.7 miles and look for ‘cave’ rock. The opening of the cave faces east and is fairly small. Once inside, the cave opens up and leads for over a mile into the earth. The end of the tunnel is tall and grand. 

Jerome County Lava Tunnel
Minidoka National Historic Site

Minidoka National Historic Site

As wartime hysteria mounted after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt forced more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes, jobs, and lives and relocate to internment camps. Minidoka commemorates more than 9,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned here. When it closed, the land was divided into small farms and given to returning white veterans through a lottery system. The 1.6-mile walking trail and interpretative signs document the history, and the Visitor Center features a film and interactive exhibits. 

1428 Hunt Road, Jerome, ID 83338, 208-825-4169, F-Sun 10AM-5PM Free 

Destination Distinctive Dining 

La Campesina, 1232 South Lincoln Avenue, Jerome, ID 83338, 208-324-5438

Mountain View Barn, 392 East 300 Street, Jerome, ID 83338, 208-969-0784

Jerome County Historic Museum

Located in a 1910 railroad depot, the museum features 100 years of history in Jerome County. Exhibits tell the story of the North Side Irrigation Project and its towns and people. Materials from the Minidoka Relocation Center are also on display.

212 First Avenue East, Jerome, ID 83338, 208-324-5641, Tu-Sat 1PM-5PM, Free, Donations Welcome

Idaho Falls Farm and Ranch Museum

At this museum hosting several historic buildings, a barn, a church, and farm equipment, Live History Days enable visitors to experience authentic farm life in the 18th century. 

520 South, 450 East, Jerome, ID, 83338, 208-324-5641, Appointment Only, Tours Adults $5


Set in the middle of lava fields and farmland irrigated through a system of man-made canals, Shoshone was planned in anticipation of the Union Pacific Railroad. It once had the widest Main Street in the world, with four sets of tracks running through the center of the business district. The lava fields have proved useful, with lava rock used in many unique rock structures, homes, businesses, churches, and even circular water cisterns. Multicultural residents hail from the Basque region of Spain, Portugal, Hispanic and Asian countries, as well as from Scandinavia. The large mansions of sheep barons and railroad officials coexist with the more modest homes of Basque sheepherders, rail workers, farmers, and small businessmen. 

Governor's Mansion B&B

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Governor’s Mansion B&B 315 South Greenwood Street, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-886-2858

In what was one of several original Gooding family homes in Shoshone, Governor Gooding did not live in this bed and breakfast, which doubles as a historic site. Still, family members did.

Destination Distinctive Dining

Manhattan Café, 133 South Rail Street West, Shoshone ID 83352, 208-886-2145

Burrito Lady, 103 North Greenwood, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-944-0816

Destination Distinctive Retail

Second Time Around Antique Mall, 102 South Rail Street East, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-886-7787


Shoshone Historic Walking Tour

A self-guided walking tour of historic buildings includes the Lincoln County Courthouse, McFall Hotel, JC Penney Store, The Governor’s Mansion, Methodist Church, and Soloaga Basque Boarding House. Brochures are available at the Lincoln County Visitor Center. 

102 South Rail Street East, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-886-7787

Idaho’s Mammoth Cave and Shoshone Bird Museum of Natural History

The largest volcanic cave in the world was formed millions of years ago when a violent eruption filled the valley with more than 600 feet of lava. Native Americans used the cave for shelter and food preservation. In 1902, early sheepherders stumbled onto the opening, and the US Government used it to store supplies for 8,000 people during the Cold War. Shoshone Bird Museum of Natural History was founded by an eccentric man with a love for nature who brought mounted animals and birds, long-forgotten fossils, and artifacts of ancient people from around the world. The buildings were constructed from wood scraps from a local sawmill. 

251 West Thorn Creek Street, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-329-5382, Daily 9AM-6PM through Oct 1, Weekends only in Oct, Adults $12

Shoshone Ice Cave

Shoshone Ice Cave

One of the largest known lava ice caves in Idaho, the entrance to this chamber filled with ice, is located about 100 feet under the lava. You can also explore the artifact museum. 

1561 State Highway 75, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-886-2058, F-Sun 10AM-6PM, Adults: $12, Seniors 62 Years Old and Over and Military: $10, Children 4 to 12 Years Old: $8, Children 3 and Under: Free. 

Black Magic Canyon

You also have the option to view or trek Black Magic Canyon, an unusual, otherworldly, and supernatural canyon north of Shoshone, which the Big Wood River carved through 800,000-year-old basalt lava flows, leaving behind a surreal landscape of twisted and sculpted black rock. Be careful, the rocks can be slippery, and rattlesnakes have been sighted.

Idaho State Highway 75, Shoshone, ID 83352, 208-866-2331


In 1824, fur trader Alexander Ross discovered the summer residence of the Bannock-Shoshone tribes in a region that was later populated with prospectors, settlers, and others who arrived by wagon, horseback, and stagecoach. The Oregon Short Line railroad was built to haul out ore, stimulating a boom starting in 1879. Local mines produced more than $60 million of silver and lead before the silver crash of 1893. Tragedy struck in 1905 when fire from a gasoline leak swept through the business district and again in 1957 when 8 tons of dynamite and 56 artillery shells accidentally detonated at a nearby mine.

Silver Creek Hotel

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Silver Creek Hotel  721 North Main Street, Bellevue, ID 83313, 208-725-8282 The Wood River Valley’s newest boutique hotel blends modern luxuries with local services.

Destination Distinctive Dining

7 Fuego, 200 South Main Street, Bellevue, ID 83313, 208-788-1034

South Valley Pizzeria, 108 Elm Street, Bellevue, ID 83313, 208-788-1456

Mahoney’s Bar and Grill, 104 South Main Street, Bellevue, ID 208-788-4449


Hayspur Fish Hatchery

Hayspur State Fish Hatchery

Funded by fishing licenses, the Hayspur State Fish Hatchery distributes catchable rainbow to area waters. It collects eggs to raise them in a building with 20 early-rearing vats, 15 covered 24-foot circular ponds, four small raceways, and six large production raceways.

71 Hayspur Lane, Bellevue, ID 83313, 208-788-2847

Silver Creek Preserve

Flowing at the base of the Picabo Hills, this high-desert spring-fed creek attracts an abundance of wildlife, including eagles, hawks, songbirds, waterfowl, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, deer, moose, and elk. As many as 150 species of birds have been identified along the self-guided nature trail, which begins at the preserve visitor center.

165 Kilpatrick Bridge Rd, Bellevue, ID 83313, 208-788-2200


This farming town, founded by Mormons in 1884, is nestled in the foothills. Even though Carey was decimated by the Great Depression, it is growing again after evolving into an affordable bedroom community for Sun Valley.

Carey Lake Wildlife Management Area

Carey Lake Wildlife Management Area

Created to provide a quality wetland habitat for migrating and resident waterfowl, the shallow lake and surrounding area are a draw for bird watchers. Spring populations of mallard, pintail, and teal Canada Geese, peacefully coexist with sandhill cranes, American bittern, Virginia rails, sora, grebe, plovers, pelicans, and other species. 

One mile east of Carey, 208-324-4359, Daily, year-round

Goodale’s Cutoff

As the Julius Caesar Merrill party traveled through here on the Oregon Trail, which parallels the highway between Craters of the Moon to Arco. They described this part of Idaho as “a desolate, dismal scenery covered with an unvarying mass of black rock, with not a shrub, bird nor insect in sight. John Jeffrey began promoting a spur trail referred to as Goodale’s Cutoff, named after Tim Goodale, an Illinois-born trapper/trader, who was persuaded by a group of immigrants to lead them through the cutoff when gold was discovered on the Salmon River in 1862. The nearly 800 men and 300 women met up with more wagons at Craters of the Moon Lava Field, which remained relatively safe during the cutoff for their guide. Vestiges of the Cutoff are visible at many points along Highway 20/26/93 between Carey and Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Some have said that the ocean of lava flows and cinder cone islands at Craters of the Moon is a “weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself. ” President Coolidge designated it to preserve what he called “the most unusual and unearthly lunar landscapes.”  It is so unique that Apollo astronauts used the area to learn to detect good rock specimens in an unfamiliar and harsh environment. Encompassing three major lava fields, and 400 square miles of sagebrush steppe grasslands, the Monument covers 343,000 acres. The 60 distinct solidified lava flows that form the Craters of the Moon Lava Field range in age from 15,000 years old to just 2,000 years. Lying along the Great Rift of Idaho, where molten lava shot through to form surrounding mountains, almost every variety of basaltic lava, as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes, and many other volcanic features are represented. Shoshone legend speaks of a serpent on a mountain who, angered by lightning, coiled around and squeezed the mountain until liquid rock flowed, fire shot from cracks, and the mountain exploded. After visiting the Visitor Center, take the Park’s 7-mile Loop Road. You can also take the Devil’s Orchard Nature Trail and explore Inferno Cone and Indian Tunnel. The rugged landscape of the monument remains remote and undeveloped, with only one paved road across the northern end.

1266 Craters Loop Road, Arco, ID 83213, 208-527-1300, Daily 9AM-4PM, $20 per vehicle


Best known for being the first community in the world to be lit with atomic power from EBR-1, the world’s first peacetime use of nuclear power paved the way for nuclear power to be used commercially. In 1961, the SL-1 reactor was destroyed through an operator maintenance error, the United States’ only fatal reactor accident. The Idaho National Laboratory is also located here.

Number Hill

Towering over the city, Butte County High School graduates have painted the year of their graduating class for more than 100 years.

Idaho Science Center

Idaho Science Center

A collection of historical nuclear informational material depicts the Manhattan Project and the development of a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, the Desert Hawksbill Sail, with its “devil” hull number 666 jutting from the ground. The conning tower is known as the “Devil Boat.” Exhibits also highlight the development of the first usable electricity at EBR-1. This area was also the location of the first Naval Reactor Station, the birthplace and training center for the Navy’s nuclear program. 

440 South Front Street, Arco, ID 83213, 208-527-3770

EBR-I Atomic Museum

If there’s time, take a short drive on US 20/26 towards Idaho Falls to visit Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 (EBR-I). Colorful, interactive displays also tell the story of EBR-I’s sibling, Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 2 (EBR-II), which once powered much of the site and operated with a novel closed fuel cycle. The museum also has two aircraft nuclear propulsion prototypes, a reactor control room, remote handling devices for radioactive materials, radiation detection equipment, and more. You can walk through the museum using the self-guided tour instructions or take a guided tour.

U.S. Highway 20/26 between Idaho Falls and Arco, 208-526-0050, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, Daily, 9AM–5PM, Free

King Mountain Hang Glider Launch Site

An internationally renowned launch site for hang gliding and paragliding that regularly hosts national championships, King Mountain draws pilots worldwide to the only designated air trail in Idaho.  

3237 West 3400 North, Moore, ID 83255, 208-407-7174

Pass Creek Area

On the way between Arco and Mackay, a short detour off the route takes you to Pass Creek, where limestone walls tower over the canyon floor in the Challis National Forest. A well-graded dirt road leads to unique rock formations. 

From Mackay, take US Highway 93 south for 7 miles to Pass Creek Road. Turn left and follow the road for 4 miles to reach the Pass Creek Narrows.


Surrounded by the tallest mountain peaks in Idaho, Mackay was settled in 1880, and a decade later, copper mining began. Investor John Mackay gave the mine’s general manager permission to play any town he wished and named it after him in a show of loyalty. Along with a smelter on the Lost River, Mackay also had the Oregon Short Line Railroad build a spur from Blackfoot. Shortly after its founding, the town boasted a brick schoolhouse, two major hotels, a bank, an opera house, two churches, a number of lodging houses, and dozens of company-owned homes. Today, Mackay is surrounded by farms and ranches.

Mackay Mansion

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Mackay Mansion Bed & Breakfast 217 Spruce Street, Mackay, ID 83251, 208-309-2337

Irish immigrant John William Mackay rose to prominence as one of the Bonanza kings of the Comstock Lode. Unlike his other mansions, this residence was constructed to entertain stockholders and potential mine investors. 

Destination Distinctive Dining

Jillie Dee’s Bakery, 221 Main Street, Mackay, UD 83251, 208-201-1933

Bear Bottom Inn, 412 Spruce Street, Mackay, ID 83251, 208-588-2483

Ken’s Club and Steakhouse, 302 South Main Street, Mackay, ID 83251, 208-588-9983

Mineshaft Cookhouse, US 93, Mackay ID 83251, 208-588-9903

Destination Distinctive Retail

Antiques by Alice and Bea, 219 South Main Street, Mackay, ID 83251, 208-867-6066


Mackay Mine Hill Tour

Relics, structures, small mines, and remnants of houses in “copper city” dot the wild backcountry of Mine Hill, dating from 1879 when ore was discovered. Over the years, almost a million tons of ore have been removed from the mountain. Interpretive Sites along the 15-mile loop road include the Smelter Site and Hardrock Mining Exhibit, Aerial Tramway Tensioners and Towers, Cossack Tunnel and Compressor Building, Horseshoe Mine and Taylor Sawmill, Anderson Cabin, White Knob Townsite, Aerial Tramway Headhouse, Ausich Cabin Site, Cliff City Town Site, Cliff City Cabin, Cliff City Smelter, Shay Railroad Trestle, and the Empire Mine Ore Bin Location. Three color-coded routes for ATVs, Cars, and 4WDs graded by difficulty are available at Mackay City Hall, South Custer Historical Society Museum.

Lost River Museum

Housed in a restored century-old church, the Lost River Museum showcases a variety of artifacts including mining tools, ranching equipment, vintage clothing, household utensils, railroad memorabilia, theater memorabilia, local moonshiners, and historical photographs illustrating life in the past.

312 Capital Avenue, Mackay, 208-588-3148, Memorial Day-Sept, Sat-Sun 1PM-5PM, or by Appointment, donations accepted.

Lost River Museum

Lower Cedar Creek Springs

Stunning natural springs and a roaring creek mark this canyon, surrounded by some of Idaho’s tallest peaks. The 1.5-mile trail follows Lower Cedar Creek past a historic 1920s hydraulic dam that supplied electricity to the town of Mackay from 1912-1940. The hike ends at the “Hole in the Rock,” where a spring gushes directly out of the rock face.

From Mackay, take Main Street, which turns into Bench Road for 1.9 miles to Lower Cedar Creek Road, turn left, and follow the road 3.7 miles to the Lower Cedar Creek trailhead parking area.

Big Lost River Access

The Big Lost River’s surface flow does not reach any larger river but vanishes into the Snake River Aquifer at the Big Lost River Sinks, giving the river its name. 

From Mackay, take Main Street South, which turns into Smelter Road, follow the road for 1 mile, turn right, and drive approximately 2 miles to the day-use parking area for the Big Lost River Access Trail, located on the north side of the road.

Mackay Dam and Reservoir Recreation Site

Proceeding now north on the Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway, the control tower of the 67-foot high Mackay Dam, which impounds the Mackay Reservoir, now a recreation site, was repeatedly dynamited when farmers believed that the dam, instead of the drought was the cause of their lack of water. Three years later, it came under the control of the Town of Mackay, which the town celebrates every year with a free barbecue.

Located on Highway 93, approximately six miles north of Mackay, 208-879-6200

Battleground Cemetery

Overlooking Mackay Reservoir, established by pioneer families, is Jesse McCaleb’s burial site, the only fatality in the Lost River Valley from the Indian Wars of 1878. 

Chilly Slough

The scenic landscape of this 3,000-acre spring-fed palustrine, which extends more than six miles up the Thousand Springs Valley to distant hills, hosts a variety of vegetation plus 134 different species of birds, 27 mammals, 6 reptiles, 3 amphibians, and 3 species of fish. It is also home to the Idaho Birding Trail. Depending on the season, you can expect to see migrating waterfowl and raptors, including falcons and bald eagles, waterbirds, and shorebirds.

Located at the base of Mt. Borah on US Highway 93, 208-879-6200

Whiskey Springs

The remains of the Whiskey Springs homestead and stage stop, located at Chilly Slough, is believed to have been owned by the family of Claudius Larter, who built the stage station in 1910. The log gas station was resurrected in the 1920s to serve auto travelers on US 93.

Mt. Borah/High Peaks of the Lost River Range

Seven of the Lost River Range peaks, topping 12,000 feet surround Mt. Borah, at 12,662, the highest peak in Idaho, looming overhead in grey limestone. A hike up the mountain requires over 5,000 feet from trailhead to the summit to log your name in the summit box. 

Mackay Earthquake Site

Mackay Earthquake Site

In 1983, an earthquake rocked the region, leaving a 21-mile fault scarp that is still healing and causing the summit of Mt. Borah to rise seven feet. 

2.5 miles east of US 93 on Double Springs Road

Willow Creek Summit

Look south at the Big Lost River Valley and the Lost River Range and north to Twin Peaks and Antelope Flat to enjoy spectacular views from the Willow Creek Summit at 7,200 feet.

Grand View Canyon

Still further north on US 93, the Grand View Canyon, carved out by a sea, covered this part of Idaho some 380 million years ago.

Spar Canyon

Along a gravel road connecting US Highway with Highway 75, this valley abounds with Pronghorn antelope, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, coyotes, and foxes. Mountain lions and bobcats have been spotted as well.


After gold was discovered in 1873, Challis was established as a stop-over and freight drop before a road was built into the newly discovered mines in the Yankee Fork Mining District. By 1896, sheepherding had replaced mining as the major industry, and the area was embroiled in the sheep and cattle wars. The mining camps eventually became ghost towns while Challis flourished.

North Custer Historical Museum

The History of North Custer County and Challis is beautifully displayed in permanent and traveling exhibits in this newly remodeled rustic structure on Main Street.

1211 South Main Street, Challis, ID 83226, 208-879-2846, Memorial Day – Last weekend in October Hours vary.

Challis Historic District Walking Tour

Many of the original buildings from the late 1870s, still standing in the Old Challis Historic District and Challis Brewery Historic District, reflect typical mining-town architecture. Several stone buildings were constructed from rhyolitic scree and quarried tuff from the bluff above town. Historic structures include Butcher’s Meat Market, Custer County Jail, Challis High School, and many private residences. 

Main Avenue, North Avenue, and Pleasant Avenue from Ninth Street to First Street, The walking tour begins at the North Custer Historical Museum

Challis Hot Springs

Challis Hot Springs

If there’s time, relax in the Challis Hot Springs before dinner.

5025 Hot Springs Road, Challis, ID 83226, 208-879-4442, 8AM-9PM, seven days a week from the third Friday in March until the last Saturday in October, Day-use passes are available for adults (18 years old and older) for $10/day

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Tea Cup Cafe and Bakery Bed and Breakfast 200 Main Street, Challis, ID 83226, 208-879-5050. 

Two bedroom, two bath apartment located right on Main Street in Challis. Enjoy the patio and gazebo sipping your espresso or morning coffee, surrounded by beautiful mountain views. Enjoy a light or hearty breakfast.

Destination Distinctive Dining

Village Inn, 310 US-93, Challis, ID 83226, 208-879-2239 

Y-Inn Cafe 1200 Main Street, Challis, ID 83226 208-879-4426

Challis Lodge and Lounge 1220 East Main Street, Challis, ID 82336 208-879-2251

River of No Return Brewing Company 8105 Highway 93, Challis, ID 82336, 208-879-7667

Tea Cup Cafe and Bakery B&B


Land of the Yankee Fork State Park and Interpretive Center

Yankee Fork preserves a mining camp established on the Salmon River, named because everyone in the party was a Yankee. Even though no gold was discovered immediately, prospectors stayed on and finally found gold in 1870. Soon after, the Yankee Fork Mining District was organized, and after the discovery of the General Custer Mine in 1876, the area began to flood with miners. By 1910, the three popular sites, Bonanza, Custer, and Bayhorse, were all but deserted. The interpretive center illustrates the area’s mining heritage through exhibits, a gold panning station, and audiovisual programs. The grounds also feature a ¼ mile trail detailing the archeological finds of a nearby Challis Bison Jump Site. 

Junction of US 93 Milepost 244.5 and Idaho 75, Milepost 244.2 Adults $2/Family $5

Custer Motorway

Custer Motorway Adventure Road - Yankee Fork Road

For an authentic Idaho mining town experience, explore this stage and freight wagon toll road that was used by mining supply trains running from Custer and Bonanza delivering gold bullion to Challis. The only access for a decade, tollkeepers charged $4.00 a wagon and a team of four animals, plus 50 cents for each additional animal. Initially, the stage fare was $11.00, dropping to $8.00 by April 1880. The backcountry Forest Road 070 trip is scattered with several stagecoach stations, old barns, mining equipment, deteriorating log cabins, and weathered grave markers. Explore the ghost towns of Bonanza, Custer, and Bayhorse and the old tollgate. Interpretive signs provide more information. From start to finish, the loop drive is 98 miles with 46 miles of dirt/gravel road with no services and 52 miles of paved highway. Get a map at the Land of the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center. Stop at the Custer Cemetery, the McGowan Museum at Custer, the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, and the Sunbeam Dam Interpretive Site.


Salmon Idaho


The Salmon River region remained undisturbed until 1866, when mining discoveries sent settlers flowing in. Before that, Lewis & Clark crossed the continental divide at Lemhi Pass, following the Salmon River through the present site, ascended the North Fork of the river at the present-day town named after the confluence, and crossed into present-day Montana near Lost Trail Pass. The sole female in the party, Sacajawea, was born near Salmon. From 1910 to 1939, Salmon was the western terminus of the now-defunct Gilmore and Pittsburgh Railroad.

Salmon River Scenic Byway

Moving north on US 93, the Tower Rock Recreation site is located at Milepost 315, Tower Creek “Pirimids” where Lewis and Clark camped in 1805, at milepost 315.7, and the Village of North Fork, with an interpretive kiosk revealing the story of the downriver reconnaissance by Lewis and Clark, located at Milepost 326.2.

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Syringa Lodge Bed and Breakfast  13 Gott Lane, Salmon, ID 83467, 208-756-4424Located on a bluff overlooking the town and the river, Syringa Lodge, built of large spruce logs on an old homestead, also has an unobstructed panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.

Destination Distinctive Dining

The Junk Yard Bistro 405 Main Street, Salmon, ID 83467

Oddfellows Bakery 510 Main Street, Salmon, ID 83467

The Shady Nook 501 Riverfront Drive, Salmon, ID 83467



Sacajawea Interpretive and Cultural Center

Since Sacajawea was born near here, this is the perfect place for an interpretive center dedicated to her that deepens connections to the Agai’dika Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Western frontier life, and the natural environment. Explore the walking trails and view a presentation in the Meriwether Theater.

2700 Main Street, Salmon, ID 83467, 208-756-1188, Tu-F 10AM-Noon and 1PM-4PM, Adults $5/Family $12 

Lemhi County Historic Museum

Celebrating those who have lived in the area since the late 1800s, the museum features clothing, beadwork, arrowheads, ceremonial accessories, and photographs showcasing the lives of the Shoshone tribe. Exhibits also feature Salmon’s early mining history, and the museum is involved in the Gilmore Mercantile and Fred and Thelma Ramey Salmon Grange Museum.

210-214 Main Street, Salmon, ID 83467, 208-756-3342, Memorial Day-Oct 15, M-Sat 11AM-3PM, Adults $2

Lost Trail Pass Visitor Information Center

On the border between Idaho and Montana, the dramatic view from the center has changed little since the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through the divide. 

US Highway 93, Milepost 350.8


C. P. Higgins and Francis Worden opened a trading post on the Blackfoot River in 1869, followed by the Mullan Road connecting Fort Benton with Walla Walla, Washington. Fort Missoula was opened in 1877 to protect the growing community. The arrival of the railroad in 1883, along with the Missoula Mercantile Company, made the city a trading center. The University of Montana opened in 1895. Missoula’s location within a heavily forested area made logging the mainstay industry until the mid-1970s. Saws could be heard over two miles away on a clear summer night.

Downtown Missoula Historic and Art Walking Tour

Learn more about Missoula on the downtown walking tour, which has one of the largest collections of buildings listed on the country’s National Register of Historic Places. Locations like the Atlantic Hotel and the Diner Café, with huge historic neon signs that have long been repurposed, peacefully coexist with the 1910 Missoula County Courthouse and the 1909 Palace Hotel. The downtown partnership has funded over 20 works of public art that appear along the route.

Destination Distinctive Accommodations

Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast 6980 Deadman Gulch Road, Missoula, MT 59804, 406-203-3187 The gardens here frame breathtaking views of the Bitterroot River. Elegant breakfasts go along with the Inn’s lovely décor. Guest rooms have private baths with jetted tubs, air conditioning, amenities, and Wifi.

Destination Distinctive Dining

Catalyst Café 111 North Higgins Avenue, Missoula, MT, 59802, 406-542-1337

American cuisine café. 

Scotty’s Table 131 South Higgins Avenue, Unit P3, Missoula, MT 59802, 406-549-2790 Fine dining in Missoula. 

Tamarack Brewing Company 231 Front Street West, Missoula, MT 59802, 406-830-3113 American pub and bar, vegetarian and vegan options.

Destination Distinctive Retail

Missoula Art Galleries 

The Artists’ Shop 127 North Higgins, Missoula, MT 59801, 406-543-6393

Missoula’s premiere co-op fine craft gallery. M-F 10AM-6PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-5PM

Dana Gallery 246 North Higgins Avenue, Murphy-Jubb Fine Art 210 North Higgins Avenue, Suite 300, Radius Gallery 114 East Main Street and The Art Hang-up 839 South Higgins Avenue

Lake Missoula Tea Company 136 East Broadway, Missoula, MT, 59801, 406-926-1038 Teas from around the world, including blends made in small batches.

Hometana 312 North Higgins Avenue, Missoula, MT 59801, 406-224-4166

Ducrey Chocolate Maker 311 East Front Street, Missoula, MT 59801, 406-218-7396


Montana Museum of Art and Culture

Located on the University of Montana campus, this museum now has 11,000 pieces, including works by Rocky Mountain artists and historic European works and collections from Southeast Asia, American Impressionists, contemporary Native American artists, ceramics, and public art sites across the campus. European masters include Rembrandt, Delacroix, Boucher, Piranesi, and Daumier, along with 20th-century artists Miro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Chagall, Dali, Picasso, Remington, Merritt Chase, and Andy Warhol. 

Across from the Adams Center off East 6th Street. University of Montana Campus. 406-243-2019. Tu-Sat Noon-6PM. Free, donations accepted.

Montana Natural History Center

The Montana Natural History Center features displays of the flora and fauna, ecosystems, and geology in the state, including the Montana Ecosystem, The Magic Planet, a Naturalist Forest Station, Glacial Lake Missoula, Explore Fossils, Explore Geology, and the outdoor Nature Adventure Garden.

120 Hickory Street, Suite A, Missoula, MT 59801, 406-327-0405, T-F 9AM-5PM, Sat Noon-4PM, Adults $4

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Fort Missoula was established by the US Army in 1877 to protect settlers in the region. Nearly 100 years later, the Historical Museum encompasses 32 acres with over 20 historic structures and a collection of nearly 50,000 artifacts.

3400 Captain Rawn Way, Missoula, MT 59804, 406-728-3476 M-Sat 10AM-5PM, Sun Noon-5PM

Riverfront Walking Trail

The riverfront walking trail along the Clark Fork River takes you past McCormick Park, the Old Milwaukee Depot, John H. Toole Park, and other scenic and historic treasures in Missoula.