THE SAWTOOTHS: Seeing the Sawtooth Mountains from the shore of Stanley Lake is the ultimate in views. You’ve got water, forests and mountains. It’s breathtaking whether you’re there in summer or winter. Get there: From Boise on Idaho 21, turn on Stanley Lake Road, 5 miles before getting to Stanley. Alternative view spots: Looking from Redfish Lake, from the town of Stanley or even looking north from Galena Summit on Idaho 75 is nice. email@example.com
CITY OF ROCKS: It’s difficult to pick out the best views in City of Rocks National Reserve, southeast of Burley, but the Twin Sisters give you a hint of what’s to come. The reserve and Castle Rocks State Park at Almo offer excellent chances for all kinds of rocky views, whether hiking, horseback riding or driving in summer, or snowshoeing in winter. You’ll love the tall spires, steeple rocks and juniper country.
Getting there: From the Treasure Valley, drive east on Interstate 84 past Burley to the Declo exit. Head south to Declo and continue on Idaho 77. You’ll go through the towns of Albion and Elba to Almo. It’s about 200 miles; figure about 3 1/2 hours from the Valley.
The California Trail pioneers followed in their covered wagons and went over this groove in the horizon.
You can learn more about the history and the geology of the City of Rocks and how to get there by checking online at www.idahoparks.org, then clicking on parks and then City of Rocks.
Or try www.us-national-parks.net/, then click on Idaho, then on Idaho National Reserve City of Rocks.
The area is worth the more than 200-mile trek from Boise. It's historical and geological values, scenery and opportunities for recreation led to the area's designation as City of Rocks National Reserve in 1988.
This unit of the National Park System is managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation firstname.lastname@example.org
SHOSHONE FALLS: Stand on the overlook not far from Shoshone Falls near Twin Falls and you’ll soak in the beauty of the Snake River Canyon. The falls is called the Niagara of the West and is actually 52 feet higher than its famous New York counterpart. Except in drought years, the Snake River pours over pancake-shaped rocks in the spring. In winter, there’s a different view, with lower flows and ice forming on the rocks.
Getting there: Take the Twin Falls exit south off Interstate 84 and drive through Twin Falls following the signs to the falls. email@example.com
Snow-covered Oregon rimrock is seen from Pittsburgh Saddle on the way into Hells Canyon. Pete Zimowsky
FROM PITTSBURG SADDLE: The view is startling as you come up Deer Creek Road from the White Bird area and hit Pittsburg Saddle overlooking Pleasant Valley, Hells Canyon and the Oregon rim, sitting above the Snake River. The view can be especially dramatic in early spring, with snows remaining on the Oregon side and lush grasses starting to green up.
Getting there: Drive north out of Riggins on U.S. 95 to just before White Bird. Take a left on old U.S. 95 and cross the Salmon River. Take Deer Creek Road for about 9 miles to the summit. firstname.lastname@example.org
OSPREY POINT: It’s easy to reach Osprey Point in Ponderosa State Park in McCall. It’s a short drive or mountain bike ride to the high point, where you can look over the 1,000-acre peninsula that makes up the state park and also see a spectacular view of Payette Lake. You can take in colorful views in summer and fall, or get a totally different look in the winter.
Getting there: Drive to McCall and follow the signs to the state park. email@example.com
MAGRUDER ROAD: The spectacular views along north-central Idaho’s Magruder Road are everywhere you turn and around every bend on the twisty, narrow road. Just look at the expanse of mountains going off into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Turn around and relish the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. It’s not easy getting here. It requires a 100-mile backcountry drive across the state, a lot of it on gravel and dirt roads.
Getting there: From Grangeville, head toward Elk City. Beyond Elk City is the turnoff for Magruder Road. firstname.lastname@example.org
HELLS CANYON: The view down nature’s immense granite hallway in Hells Canyon looking north from the area around Hells Canyon Dam makes you stop in your tracks and ponder the cliffs that rise up thousands of feet. Look on the Idaho side of the canyon and you might see a mountain goat hanging by its toenails (hooves) on one of the rock outcroppings.
Getting there: Take Idaho 71 west and north out of Cambridge to Hells Canyon Dam. It’s about 62 miles from Cambridge. email@example.com
BRUNEAU CANYON OVERLOOK: Walk to the edge of Bruneau Canyon on a windy day and you’ll be hanging on to the rocks, but you’ll still be totally in awe of the 800-foot slice in the earth. It’s a chance to gaze into the Owyhee Wilderness and take in the massive basalt canyon.
Getting there: Take Hot Springs Road out of Bruneau for 15.6 miles; turn right and go about 3 miles. You can get gas and food in Bruneau. firstname.lastname@example.org
MCCALL AREA: From the top of Brundage Mountain you can see stunning Payette Lake, Nick Peak and other surrounding mountains. On a clear day you can even see Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains.
Getting there: Drive to Brundage and hop on a chairlift. (Now you will have to wait until ski season; scenic summer chairlift rides are over.) email@example.com
SUN VALLEY AREA: It feels like the whole world is before you when you get off the chairlifts at Sun Valley Resort and look toward the Wood River Valley and surrounding mountains, including the Boulders, Pioneers and Smokies.
Getting there: Take a gondola and chairlift ride to the top of Bald Mountain. firstname.lastname@example.org