Only Alaska and California have more uncultivated, uninhabited wild places than Idaho, a decidedly natural and rugged state. The state's pristine wilderness is left mostly unchanged, with almost all the same native plants and animals that Lewis and Clark observed traveling west through Lemhi Pass over 200 years ago.
Idaho is blanketed with the Rocky Mountains from north to south. Dozens of individual ranges like the Bitterroot, which borders Montana and the Sawtooth in Central Idaho, make up this western portion of the Continental Divide. It's these Sawtooth Mountains that beckon backpackers to their scenic vistas with crystal-clear alpine lakes and scraggly mountain peaks. For the adventurer, Idaho's mountains offer rock climbing, winter sports and challenging hunting opportunities. The terrain challenges rafters as well, with over 3,000 miles of white water.
Idaho boasts the largest, surviving elk herd in the world. Climb high and breath deep as you follow game trails and wallows scouting Rocky Mountain elk in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. The brisk clean air and beckoning solitude of the River of No Return Wilderness exemplify Idaho's wild side. An expedition into the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 offers unmatched hunting and fishing for outdoorsmen and women.
Moose, cougar, wolf and bighorn sheep remind visitors of the land's untamed nature.
Next is Idaho's Salmon River. Anglers have never seen fishing rods bend like they do here. Chinook and sockeye salmon, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, steelhead and even sturgeon battle these waters. Idaho's 26,000 miles of fly-fishing rivers and streams provide soothing sounds of rushing waters. And make no mistake, the repetition of beautiful casts and endless scenery will fill your cooler with filets and your heart with joy.
The Snake River Plain in the south is one region that provides growing space for not only the potatoes the state is known for, but sugar beets, alfalfa hay and Austrian winter peas. Dairy barns rise on secluded farms, and cattle roam ranches in the heart of breathtaking mountain ranges. The best of wilderness and agriculture unite in Idaho's diverse landscape.
From top to bottom, Idaho stuns all who wander through it. In the northwestern portion of the state, Hells Canyon is split by the Snake River. The canyon is the deepest gorge in America, diving deeper than even the Grand Canyon. Shoshone Falls in South Central Idaho, also on the Snake River, eclipses the height of Niagara Falls by 50 feet. And buried within the rocks and soil, 72 types of precious stones are prevalent in places like Idaho's Stanley Basin.
As if the mountains in Idaho weren't gorgeous enough, the Gem State polishes up garnet, opal and topaz to share with the world.