In these strange times of uncertainty, we want to remind you that your Idaho state parks will remain open and are a great place to explore the outside world--while still maintaining a safe distance from others.
Your safety and well-being is a top priority to us, so we've implemented a few changes for the health of both you and our staff. Click here to see what changes we've made.
But recommended social distancing shouldn't stop you from getting outdoors. There are plenty of safe ways to recreate! So we've put together a list of ideas and places for you and the whole family to explore, while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Get your trail time in
The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a whopping 73 miles long and is fully paved, making it the perfect trail for biking and hiking. Plus, with 73 miles of available trail, you'll likely not run into anyone!
And the Coeur d'Alene Parkway, which is a portion of the North Idaho Centennial Trail is another great isolated trail option in North Idaho. The Parkway offers 24 scenic miles that meander along the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene and the Idaho/Washington border.
Take advantage of an already socially distant sport: fishing! All North Idaho parks offer opportunities for fishing, including Winchester State Park, home of the elusive Tiger Muskie fish. Or Heyburn State Park, which has more than 5,700 acres of land and 2,300 acres of water. It's safe to say that you can remain a safe distance from everyone with more than a 1,000 acres of water between you and the family across the lake.
There are three North Idaho state parks, each with their own amazing disc golf course (well, Farragut has five, actually). And Dworshak is working on getting theirs up and running as well! But with more than half a dozen courses to choose from just in the North, you'll definitely be able to maintain the recommended 6 foot distance.
Harvey's Hemlock Hideaway at Priest Lake -- Origin Story
Harvey’s Hemlock Hideaway, the new disc golf course at Priest Lake State Park, was named in honor of Harvey Burns. Park Manager, Lonnie Johnson tells his story, “Harvey Burns was a longtime volunteer at Priest Lake State Park. Harvey and his wife Gene started here in the early 2000’s. Harvey’s wife passed away in 2015, but Harvey kept returning to the park volunteering because it felt like family. Harvey was 89 years old and was going to return in 2018, but he unexpectedly passed away in May. For his years of volunteering, his smile, his zest for life, and always making people smile and laugh, I proudly wanted to name this new course and family activity after my friend Harvey Burns.”
South (and Central) Idaho
Trails, trails, trails
Idaho literally has more than 10,000 miles of trails for all varieties of users: hikers, bikers, snowmobilers, ATV-enthusiasts, equestrians...
While Idaho state parks do not permit motorized recreation on their trails, Land of the Yankee Fork is the perfect jumping off point to more than 2,000 miles of motorized BLM land. And while you're there, explore the historic mining towns of Custer and Bonanza. Then hit the trails on your ATV and put about 100 miles between you and the next human being.
If you're venturing a little further south, then stop at any one of the Idaho state parks and discover the unique scenic beauty of their trails.
Between combined sister parks City of Rocks and Castle Rocks State, there is more than 15,000 acres of land. Plus, the amazing granite spires of rock that tower hundreds of feet into the sky are absolutely jaw-dropping. Click here for a map of the Ranch Unit Trails at Castle Rocks.
Or you could try your hand at climbing the tallest single-structure sand dune in the U.S. at Bruneau Dunes State Park.
More disc golf!
FYI: All of the aforementioned parks are also great places to fish!
With only four eastern parks, we'll just highlight each of them and their many safe social distance activities
Bear Lake State Park (southeast)
Bear Lake, which is split between Idaho and Utah, is famed for its beautiful crystal blue water and is a hot spot for water sports. But, in light of it being still quite chilly, the beaches are likely to be mostly empty, making it the perfect place to relax with a good book, fish, or explore. It's also a really good bird watching location.
Not to mention, Bear Lake is home to the Bonneville Cisco, a fish found nowhere else in the world.
Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park lies within an 11,000-acre wildlife refuge, part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, so you'll likely run across a moose or two in your adventures. Always treat wildlife with respect and maintain a safe distance. We always recommend engaging in social distancing from wildlife.
Hike, bike, and equestrian adventures...oh, and really amazing fly fishing
With 11,000 acres comes a lot of trail miles, each with their own unique beauty. Meander along river banks, through lush evergreen forests, and mosey through the meadows at Harriman. Plus this park has some of the most amazing fly fishing in the world, and it's not just us that say that!
Henrys Lake State Park
Harriman may be famed for fly fishing, but Henrys Lake is famed for all kinds of fishing! One of Idaho's great high mountain lakes, Henrys is the kind of place that fishers dream about. Anglers fish for Cutthroat, Brook and Cut-bow Hybrid Trout in what is considered one of the finest trout fisheries in the West.
Henrys Lake has campsites 83 campsites nestled around the 6,000 acre lake. Grab a site, take a hike, then sit back and relax lakeside. What better way to self-isolate than by an isolated lake in East Idaho?
The Ashton-Tetonia Trail is a 29.6 mile trail that stretches between (you guessed it!) Ashton and Tetonia, Idaho. Created from an abandoned railway, the trail passes over three historic trail trestles and winds through beautiful Eastern Idaho. Visitors can experience the trail by hiking, biking, horseback riding, as well as Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in winter.
Another fun activity to do alone or with your family is wildflower searching. With spring finally here, there are little buds popping up all over the place. How many can you find?