As the weather turns cool, Idaho’s magnificent landscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and golds vibrantly weaving themselves into a warm, picturesque backdrop. While the eastern U.S. is legendary for its fall colors, you might be surprised to learn that Idaho is a work of art all of its own – you just have to know where to look! But unlike back east where those colors hang around for awhile, Idaho’s rapidly changing seasons means there’s no time like the present! So grab a camera and a jacket and get ready for the first half of our breathtaking
This lengthy autumn journey will take you all across Idaho's southern and western half.
1. City Creek, Pocatello
For hikers and bikers looking for prime fall scenery, City Creek is one of the best spots in Southeast Idaho. Winding under arched trees and through colorful meadows, this storybook setting is a beautiful place to immerse yourself and take Instagram-worthy photos. For an even better view, hike up to Kinport Peak to view the colors from above.
2. Mink Creek Road, Pocatello
This scenic road cuts through a heavily forested valley with plenty of hiking and photography trails along the way. The Cherry Springs Nature Area boasts a plethora of vibrant deciduous trees and the West Fork of Mink Creek is features gentle, flowing streams that nurture the lush landscape.
3. U.S. 30 to Bear Lake
If you're driving down to Bear Lake, it'll be hard to keep your eyes on the road with lovely patches of beauty like this dotting the drive. But once you reach the lake, your inner photographer will go giddy at the combination of azure blue waters and vibrant foliage surrounding the water.
4. Sun Valley
While you're in the area, take a stroll through South-Central Idaho's quaintest valley. Postcard-worthy streets are lined with colorful trees while large parks boast vibrant leaves and meandering pathways, Brush up on some culture at the same time by visiting the Sun Valley Botanical Garden or by taking a walking art tour.
5. Boise River Greenbelt
25 miles of winding scenery make this walking and biking trail in the heart of Boise idyllic in every season, but come fall the non-native landscaping is absolutely magical. Take a few side adventures through Kathryn Alberson Park and Julia Davis Park to capture some unrivaled beauty, then take a hike up to Table Rock to see the City of Trees absolutely glowing with autumn beauty from above.
6. Stanley and the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway
Central Idaho is always like something out of a dream, but the area around Stanley in autumn is a whirlwind of unexpected color in places you wouldn't expect.
7. Boulder Mountains
The Boulder Mountains, nestled in the Sawtooths Wilderness and easily viewed from the Ketchum-Sun Valley area form a spectacular autumn backdrop.
8. University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden
University of Idaho
Moscow is widely known for its beautiful tree-lined streets and beautiful architecture, and fall is truly an amazing time to explore this beautiful college town! But if you head onto the University of Idaho campus, you can get up close and personal with some of the most vibrant autumn foliage you've ever seen simply by taking a walk through their arboretum. Hundreds of deciduous trees are bursting into glorious color this time of year, making it the perfect place to take a romantic walk or snap some gorgeous photos.
9. Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
This scenic wilderness haven in Northern Idaho features an auto tour road that will show you the glorious colors of the Selkirks and the open meadows like never before. Or, take your journey one step further and explore the town of Porterhill - an overlooked gem that is swoon-worthy in autumn.
If you thought Idaho was beautiful before, this road trip will take your breath away and make you fall in love all over again! Tailor this trip to your budget and timeframe, and be sure to explore our other side-trips and recommendations to truly make this the perfect family or romantic vacay.