Nature May 23, 2016
Take These 9 Country Roads In Idaho For An Unforgettable Scenic Drive
Whether out for a scenic Sunday drive, or looking for a relaxing road trip with some breathtaking rolling and winding landscapes along the way, Idaho has hundreds of beautiful roads perfect for easy country driving. From pristine scenic byways to challenging back mountain roads, Idaho has it all. So fill up your tank, turn up the radio, and enjoy the incredible scenery that Idaho has to offer around every corner.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. White Pine Scenic Byway
Beginning near Cataldo at the intersection of I-90 and Highway 3, the White Pine Scenic Byway will take you through lush green areas of the St. Joe National Forest, crossing multiple rivers, and on down to the rolling hills of the Palouse.
2. Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage, Oldtown
Running from the Idaho-Washington border in Oldtown to Sandpoint, this southern leg of the International Selkirk Loop offers miles of relaxing river scenery -- 28 miles of it to be exact. This journey will take approximately 40 minutes and will take you alongside the scenic Pend Oreille River, where you'll see a working logging mill as part of the "historic" part of this drive.
3. Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway
Starting just over the border in Jordan Valley, Oregon and meandering through rhyolite canyons and unique rock and desert formations all the way to Grandview, this scenic byway is the perfect drive to get away from it all. You'll find utter solitude here as you climb and descend through juniper forests, into sheer-walled canyons, and around desert creeks for close to two hours.
4. Henry's Fork Historic Byway & Lost Gold Loop
Running from Rexburg to Island Park along the snake river and Salem Highway/U.S. 20, this 81-mile byway pays homage to Idaho's first European settlement, led by Andrew Henry of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Primarily expansive desert and wildlife habitat, after crossing into Island Park and Idmon you'll find yourself in a lush oasis of undisturbed Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem countryside.
5. Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway
Without a doubt one of Idaho's most diverse stretches of scenery, this byway runs along the Lost River Range and features many of Idaho's tallest mountain peaks. You'll find wetlands, high desert, and the unearthly landscape of the Craters of the Moon. Begin at ID-75 and US-20 to Carey. US 93 to Arco, continuing on US 93 to Junction of US 93 and Idaho 75.
6. McCroskey Skyline Drive
This 20-mile drive offers unrivaled prairie scenery not found anywhere else in the state, including the opportunity to see Steptoe Butte, abundant wildflowers, and grazing elk and deer. Here, you'll meander through a traditional western forest as well as an eastern one in terms of the tree-lined landscape and enjoy the rolling lushness of the Palouse in all its glory.
7. Moyie Falls to Cabinet Gorge
Traverse the Purcell Trench, visit scenic Sandpoint, and follow the pristine shores of Lake Pend Oreille before ending near the Montana border. You'll enjoy lush a tree line and have the opportunity to visit the incredible Moyie Falls.
8. Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway
Meander through the dense forests of Southern Idaho into the mountainous heart of Idaho near Stanley along Highway 21. You'll cross high valleys, Lucky Peak. and the South Fork of the Payette River before landing in the Sawtooth Wilderness. This beautiful, easy drive will take you around 3 hours, and there is plenty to see and do if you need to get out and stretch your legs!
9. International Selkirk Loop
For a "two nation vacation," this extended drive will take you not only through Northern Idaho's scenic small towns and countryside, but into Washington and over the border into Canada... how's that for an adventure? This loop has been repeatedly named in the top 10 most beautiful drives in the country, so while it doesn't stay completely in Idaho (sorry!), all 250 miles of it are absolutely worth it. The entire loop
follows the crystal-clear rivers and lakes that were historically were used for transportation, so you'll also get some history thrown in as well.
More info and directions
Next weekend can’t get here soon enough. Now, who’s up for a road trip?