Idaho, though perhaps not the best known for hikes, is abound with outdoor adventures for all age ranges and skill levels. This list is by no means comprehensive; however, we have made an effort to pick the best hikes in Idaho at various skill levels. Remember, use common sense and take your time.
Hiking is a sport that can catch people unaware. Plan for twice the time than you think it will take and make sure you have a backpack with supplies of all kinds. Turn around if you think you can’t handle it and bring children depending on their age and ability.
Perhaps the easiest hike on the list, this ten-mile hike of mellow hills and trails has views of roaring waterfalls and Mt. Reagan. It’s located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Starting, you will head into the forest, follow a creak, and then climb up a mellow hill for a few miles. Once at the top, you will see a meadow where you can break before either turning around or heading up steeper areas for great views of Alpine Lake and Mr. Reagan. At the lake, relax and have a snack.
City of Rocks National Reserve Trails
If you are looking for an option for younger members of your family, then this set of trails might have what you are looking for. In the City of Rocks National Reserve, you’ll find over 22 miles of hiking trails. However, you have options. For example, Window Arch Trail for a very short jaunt (300 feet each way.) On the other hand, try your hand at the Geological Interpretive Trail for a 1.2-mile loop or the Castle Rocks Trail in Castle Rocks State Park for 5 miles of fun. Each trail option has arches, windows, and other natural features that make them an exciting way to get outside.
South Bitch Creek Canyon
As the longest trail on our list, the South Bitch Creek Canyon trail and Carrot Ridge Trail are only for older teens and parents. Keep in mind this section of the country is wild with grizzly bears and all sorts of other creatures. You will need to be prepared with all the appropriate gear and protection. If you do it though, you will see 21.7 miles of pristine wilderness and great views. It’s perfect for backpacking on a weekend as two days make for the perfect amount of walking each day.
Wilderness Trail to Echo Crater
At Craters of the Moon National Monument, you will find this 8-mile round trip perfect for families with older kids. You can explore pahoehoe lava flows, the Broken Top cinder cone, lava trees, and other wonders! Remember, this is a lonely and hot hike so you will need to bring everything with you in a pack, including a good bit of water.
Toxaway to Alice Lake Loop
You might want to think about backpacking for two or three days on this adventure. While the epic 19-mile hike can be done in one day, you won’t be able to enjoy nearly as much of this jewel. Along the path, you will find jagged peaks, ridges, meadows, creeks, waterfalls, and more. Taking a path from Toxaway to Alice Lake will leave you in the Sawtooths among alpine lakes, basins, and ridges for the perfect set of views around.