Skip to content

Family Fun

Photo courtesy of Idaho Tourism.

Southern Idaho is the spot for the family that loves adventures — on the slopes, on the river, or even through history! With camping and affordable lodging throughout the region (and only a short drive away from hubs like Boise and Salt Lake City), Southern Idaho is a great spot for a family getaway.

Go for Thrills on the Hagerman Reach

The free flowing Hagerman reach of the Snake River features an 8-mile whitewater trip with multiple Class II and Class III rapids that are ideal for families. Idaho Guide Service offers guided whitewater trips on the Hagerman reach on a daily basis for $50-$70. It’s a perfect day trip that you’ll want to do over and over again. The Hagerman reach also can be run by folks with their own rafts, kayaks, SUPs, and whitewater gear. Make sure you wear a life jacket!

What to know: Check out Idaho Guide Service’s website for rates and availability; this is definitely a summertime excursion.

Camp at Lake Cleveland

When it’s hot outside, Lake Cleveland is heaven on earth — at 8,300 feet, it stays nice and cool when the valley below is scalding. Go fishing, SUPing, canoeing, or kayaking on the lake or head out for a hike. Check out the lookout tower, too!

What to know: Lake Cleveland is just 15 miles from Albion, and the drive includes an astonishing 3,600 feet elevation change! Be prepared for colder temperatures at night.

Hit the Trail in the South Hills

Try the Harrington Fork Trail, the first trailhead in Rock Creek Canyon south of Kimberly, or the Hummingbird Trail near Magic Mountain. The Harrington Fork of Rock Creek is a sweet hiking trail that leads into aspen forests along the creek. The trail goes for many miles, so bring a lunch and hike a couple of hours uphill and return to the trailhead.

The Hummingbird Trail is accessed from Rock Creek Road and Magic Mountain Resort. Once you reach Magic Mountain, take Rogerson Road to the west for nine miles. Look for a wooden sign that says “Home of the Hummingbirds.” Numerous hummingbird feeders have been placed along the trail and are maintained by volunteers. The birds are in the area until mid-September, when they migrate south to warmer climes.

What to know: Bring sturdy walking shoes and plenty of water and snacks, plus a few layers in case the weather changes unexpectedly.

Find a New Fishing Hole

Anderson Ponds and Oster Lakes at the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area are a great place to take kids. They are easy accessible and full of bass, bluegill, and crappie.

Thousands of kids have caught their first fish at Dierkes Lake in the Snake River Canyon because of the great access next to the spring-fed pond. There is a walking/biking trail around the lake when you’ve caught your fill of bass, bluegill, and trout.

What to know: Dierkes Lake is located in the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, three miles east on Falls Avenue and 1.25 miles north on 3300 East. The gate fee is $3. The Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, located near the town of Hagerman, is free and open to the public. Fishing is open from March 1-November 1.

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

Did you know that the horse evolved right here in Idaho? The Hagerman Horse, or Equus simplicidens, Idaho’s state fossil, was the first true horse. It was about the size of a modern Arabian horse but most closely resembled a zebra.

Kids will be wowed by the ancient history on display here, including fossilized remains of sabertooth cats, a hyena-like dog, mastodons, sloths — even camels! There are more than 3,000 new fossil fragments found every year, making it one of the richest fossil sites in the world. Check out the Paleontologist Junior Ranger programs while you’re there.

What to know: Check out the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument Visitor Center at 221 N. State Street in Hagerman first. You’ll get an overview of the area and see some spectacular fossils on display.

Take the Whole Family Skiing

It’s all about stress-free skiing in Southern Idaho. Uncrowded slopes. Great options for all ages and abilities. And prices so affordable that you’ll want to return again and again.

Located just 25 miles off I-84, Pomerelle resort has two key features: Next-to-zero lift lines and an average of 500 inches of snow. Snowboarders and skiers love Pomerelle’s long season, down-to-earth attitude, and easy-on-the-wallet rates. The area has 24 daily groomed ski runs, gladed tree skiing, and night skiing. Head to the Base Lodge for a bite at the cafeteria or head to the Outdoor Grill. Pomerelle also ahs a rental shop and accessory shop.

Magic Mountain Resort, just outside of Twin Falls, offers skiers and snowboarders easy access to Southern Idaho’s world-famous snow. There are three lifts and 11 trails on the 120-acre mountain and a 740-foot drop. Magic has a rental shop with affordable skiing and snowboarding packages ($20-$25), or you can get a bit more adventurous and take a turn on their snowshoes or snow bikes.

Soldier Mountain Ski Resort is short on frills but long on thrills. A favorite destination for families who loves its affordable lift prices, Soldier Mountain is also a top pick for cat skiers thanks to its awesome snowcat (watch a flat-screen TV while you head up!) and the promise of powder at 10,095 feet. The homey lodge serves homemade burgers, chili, and snacks to skiers who need to refuel after tackling Soldier’s 1,150 acres of terrain.

What to know: Buses to Magic Mountain Resort are available for $10 from Jerome Lincoln Plaza, Claude Sports, the Swensen’s on South Washington in Twin Falls, Maxie’s Pizza in Kimberly, or Hansen Market.