The title of this article is a bit misleading because, as you might know from personal experience, in general, Idahoans absolutely love heights. No matter the soaring altitude of the mountain, gorge, landmark, or manmade structure, odds are we want to climb it. Hike it. Bike it. Or probably even jump off of it in some daredevil fashion.
But whether you want to leap fearlessly from Idaho’s tallest peaks or simply take in the landscape, there’s no doubt that there are a number of scenic overlooks and awesome views in Idaho that can be downright inspiring for those who want to experience the beauty of Idaho from a new perspective. The following are nine terrifying views in Idaho that will either make your palms sweat or simply take your breath away.
1. Schweitzer Mountain Summit
Schweiitzer Mountain Resort is a bit of a hidden gem compared to many of Idaho's other mountain destinations. But a ski lift ride to the summit is all you need to experience Idaho like never before -- 6,500 hundred feet up, to be exact. Here, you'll find stunning views of the Pend Oreille in the distance.
2. Bruneau Canyon Overlook
Bruneau's overlook is an easily accessible spot from which to view Southern Idaho's beloved basalt and rhyolite canyon, carved by the wild and scenic Bruneau River. Narrow and impressive, the sheer drop from rim to riverbed is an incredible 800 feet. For perspective on just how intimidating this canyon is, check out the person standing in the top right corner of the photo.
3. Galena Summit Overlook
Just north of Ketchum and sitting at an altitude of well over 8,000 feet, the Galena Summit overlook offers majestic 360-degree views of the Sawtooths that are so stunning, you'll come back again and again.
4. Silver Mountain Resort Gondola Ride
Terrifying views can be found in the most unexpected of places. The longest single-stage, human-capacity gondola in the world is right in Idaho, and it's simply fabulous! Silver Mountain’s epic lift runs for 3.1 miles from Kellogg to the Mountain House and climbs over 3,400 feet for a ride that offers some of the best unrestricted panoramic views in the state. But while checking out this winter wonderland experience in Idaho's mountains is a must, a visit during the warmer months is just as incredible for a visual treat of Idaho's lush, green valleys.
5. Boise Table Rock
For lovely sunrise, sunset, or urban cityscape views just minutes from the heart of downtown, a short hike up to Boise's Table Rock is a must. This view is well-traversed by Boise locals, but out-of-towners would do well to experience this unique capital city treasure as well.
6. Pittsburg Saddle Overlook
Overlooking Pleasant Valley, Hells Canyon, and the Oregon rim, Pittsburg Saddle offers a fantastic view of the Snake River valley on Idaho's border. The view can be especially stunning in early spring as vibrant grasses take over. Simply follow Deer Creek Road for about 9 miles to the summit.
7. Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Dedication Point
The Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area is one of Idaho's best kept secrets, despite housing one of the world's most dense concentrations of raptor wildlife. This conservation area was originally established in 1993 to protect the unique environment and support the thousands of nesting birds of prey, including falcons, eagles, hawks and owls, but Dedication Point also makes for a scenic bird's-eye view into the plunging canyon.
8. Hells Canyon Overlook
Truly, no photo could ever do this overlook justice. The variations in depth, the shadows of the formations on either side of the canyon, and the hazy heat of Idaho's grueling seasons will test even the most talented of photographers. But a visit here during the golden hour makes for a breathtaking view that, looking straight down, might just challenge your tolerance of heights.
9. Borah Peak
Naturally, the tallest mountain in Idaho is going to offer up our best-for-last view -- and believe me, it'll make your knees tremble a little. At nearly 13,000 feet, Borah is the highest peak in the Gem State, found in the central portion of the Lost River Range. The standard route to climb this demanding mountain is along the Southwestern ridge, and while the spectacular, fear-inducing views are worth it, do be cautious -- this climb is not for beginners.
Exploring Idaho’s best and most terrifying scenic views is not for the faint of heart, but for the determined Idahoan, the beauty and solitude are well worth it. What other overlooks and fear-inducing scenic views in Idaho are your favorite?