When it comes to chart-topping, world-leading…well, anything, humble Idaho isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But our fascinating geologic landscape, unique culture, and underrated history has all contributed to the wonderful state we are today – and has broken a few world records in the process, as well as some national ones. Not to mention a few quirky Guinness Book record attempts along the way!
From our biggest and boldest natural wonders to our man-made achievements, Idaho leads the country (and often the globe) with these epic things:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Idaho is home to the "highest navigable river in the world."
The St. Joe River, which has its headwaters in the high Bitterroot mountains of Northern Idaho, flows from an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet-- 6,487 feet, to be exact. While there are tiny, babbling "rivers" found at higher elevations around the world, the mighty Joe is the only river of its elevation large enough to boat, fish, play, and otherwise enjoy.
2. The longest single-stage gondola ride in the world (and the longest gondola ride, period) is in Northern Idaho.
The Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg may be making a name for itself with their fresh powder and indoor waterpark, but their 3.1 mile gondola ride is still holding fort when it comes to this world record.
3. Idaho holds the Guinness World Record for the longest straw bale maze.
Found in humble Rupert, ID and made official in 2011, the Garden Cents "Mega Maze" had to meet certain requirements: 1. Be fully enclosed. 2. Be tall enough for the average adult to be unable to see over the walls 3. Be at least 12,916.7 square feet in size. 4. Be continuous. Official measurements were nearly 8x the record: a whopping 96,847 square feet--over two miles of twists and turns! The now-defunct maze also boasted a 3D component, climbing tower, and more. It was published in the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records.
4. The deepest river gorge in the country is right here in Idaho.
Now, you might've heard that before, but maybe this will help put a new perspective on it: At its deepest point in its meandering journey along the Iddaho-Oregon border, Hells Canyon plunges down over 7,900 feet to the Snake River. By contrast, the Gran Canyon is only 6,093 feet deep- just a little over a mile. That means Hells Canyon is about 1,800 feet
deeper than its Arizona counterpart, although a little over half as deep as the deepest canyon in the world: the Tsango Canyon in Tibet.
5. The most expensive bull in the world came from Idaho.
It sounds like a silly world record... until you hear the price. $600,000 for a Hereford bull. The high price tag was due to a perfect muscle-to-size ratio, outstanding color, perfect lineage, etc. The 13-month-old Hereford weighed a whopping 1,410 pounds at the time of the 2013 sale. The hefty price beat the previous world record of $301,000.
5. In Bruneau, ID you'll find the tallest single-structured sand dune in the world.
This sandy monstrosity towers at 470 feet above its immediate base and is quite the intimidating sight for sand-boarders.
6. Craters of the Moon is the largest lava field of its kind in the world.
There are seemingly hundreds of volcanic formations out there, but the Holoene-aged basalt craters of our very own first national monument is the largest expanse of such forms on the globe.
7. The world's longest floating boardwalk is set on one of the most beautiful lakes in Idaho.
This 3,300-foot-long, 12-foot-wide walkway on Lake Coeur d'Alene isn't just a chart-topper--it's also a favorite evening stroll for locals to catch a sunset over the water. Seating, quaint promenades, a bridge, and eye-popping views of the marina make this one picture-perfect destination you won't want to miss!
8. The largest beagle in the world is also the only dog-shaped B&B on earth.
The product of two skilled chainsaw artists with a love for canines and a passion for hospitality, this is one truly unique and treasured world record. Set in the lush meadows of Cottonwood, ID, the two-story "Sweet Willy" at the Dog Bark Park Inn can sleep up to four people in its Dog Suite loft.
9. The longest main street in the world...is in small town Idaho.
Island Park's unique incorporation history means the town was built around U.S. 20-- a highway lined today with lodges, restaurants, and rental businesses. And since 36.8 miles of the highway are in city limits, the city of Island Park proudly boasts that it has the "longest Main Street in America," despite that "street" being anywhere from 500 to 5000 feet wide.
10. And, of course, the world's only "Floating Green" is right here in Idaho as well!
The Coeur d'Alene Resort is renowned throughout the northwest for its award-winning views of the lake and stunning, high-end accommodations. But this lavish experience is also for the golfer who wants a totally unique experience golfing - literally - on the water at the driving range. But the most spectacular addition to the course is the floating 14th hole-- a man-made island that changes location.
How many of these did you know about? Are there any other world record sights and events that we can add to the list?