Are you ready for a summer full of epic adventure? We are giving out the local secrets to see the most gorgeous areas in Southern Idaho! They will take you all around the pretty towns of Buhl, Rupert, Fairfield, Gooding, Albion, and even more! There are some amazing places hidden in the beautiful high desert region.
Starting with a local favorite, Lake Cleveland. This gorgeous alpine lake is only open for a few months of the year so it is a must for the summer checklist! Not only is the clear lake perfect for a swim on a hot day, but it provides the best camping spots around! Be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time as the campground can fill up quickly. The views here are unbelievable, and there are many paths located around the lake to hike. Sleep under the dark, starry skies of Idaho on top of a mountain. Mt. Harrison is a short drive away showcasing the beauty of the valley below.
Head down the mountain, and onto the City of Rocks National Reserve. It got its name for good reason; there are giant and beautiful rocks scattered for miles! Some of the best climbing routes are located in the City, as well as great hiking trails. When it’s time to refuel after a hard day of hiking and climbing, get dinner at Rock City Pizza! Next door is a beautiful lodge called the Almo Inn. Sleep here to see epic sunsets because the backdrop to the west is mountain peaks! Photo opportunities are endless in the area.
There is camping all through the City of Rocks, and at its neighbor, Castle Rocks State Park. Although there is a lot of camping, be sure to book ahead of time to assure there is a spot. Camp out in the Willow Glamping Yurt at Castle Rocks for an experience of a lifetime. The yurt is furnished with a queen sized bed, a microwave, water, and more than your average yurt.
Next we will take you deep into the valley below, to one of our favorite lakes around, Lake Walcott. Stop in Rupert for brunch at Sophie’s Chatterbox for a hearty breakfast. Lake Walcott State Park is a great place to hang out with the family and take a swim in the water. Enjoy the views of the mountains above as you cool off in the gorgeous lake.
Jerome and Twin Falls
Head over to Twin Falls for some waterfall chasing. This city of waterfalls showcases dozens year round, but some are a must-see this summer. Mermaid Cove, which is just outside Jerome on the north side of the canyon is a quick hike to see the beautiful cove. Continue hiking down the canyon to see it develop into a huge waterfall! On the opposite side of the Snake River Canyon flows Perrine Coulee Falls. Walk behind these falls to get cooled off on a warm day. Venture further to Centennial Waterfront Park to spend some time on the Snake River, too! Because summer can be dry, the water levels fluctuate and are not as high compared to spring time. This makes exploring on the river easy! Hop along the rocks on the edge of the Snake River and discover places no one has explored before.
Castleford and Buhl
Balanced Rock State Park is mostly known for its giant rock that balances on a 3 foot platform. The rock formations span more than just this particular one, and there is even a camp ground in one of the side canyons! When entering from the south-east end, take the first turn on the left. This will lead you to a beautiful creek sitting below the towering rock walls. There is plenty of shaded area for a hot day. Picnic tables, restrooms, and fire pits are available as well.
After Balanced Rock, drive into Buhl and get ice cream at Cloverleaf Creamery! Their locally made dairy products are delicious! Magic Valley Brewery is located just down the road for local and delicious food. They brew more than beer too, so be sure to try the outstanding sodas they have on draft. After replenishing in Buhl, drive to Box Canyon and view the aqua blue water. Box Canyon can be a short walk, or a long hike. The long hike will take you past a waterfall and to more aqua blue pools along the way.
The Little City of Rocks is the largest local secret around! The wilderness study area is located north of Gooding , off a dirt road on the west side of HWY 46. Here, you can park your vehicle or drive in about a mile. The road is typically muddy and not safe for vehicles that do not have high clearance. The views are breathtaking. The rocks and hills seem unreal. Be sure to pack water, it can get dry out in the desert! Horseback riding is also allowed here. The best food around is hands down at Zeppes Pizza and Subs. Customize the best pizza you have ever tasted at this cool, family friendly, restaurant. There is an entire arcade attached!
The last item on the summer checklist is visiting the mountains in Camas County. Mountain Bike at Soldier Mountain all summer long! There are hidden hot springs nearby too. Worswick Hot Springs is accessible by driving all the way in. It is a short walk from the parking lot. Skillern Hot Springs are a 6 mile round trip hike. Both of the springs are soothing, and not well known by most. Enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains while taking a dip in one of the hot pools. Camping is allowed at specified camp grounds. End the day with comfort food at the Wrangler! We recommend the Huckleberry Milkshake and their sweet potato fries!
Enjoy the summer sun in Southern Idaho without all the large crowds compared to other tourist destinations. Find hidden gems only locals know to feel like a true explorer of the land!