Idaho's oldest building, North America's deepest canyon, and military heritage sites await at these family-focused State Parks:
Families will be fascinated by this historical park, which is home to the state's oldest building. You can also visit a Parish house from the 19th Century, a historic cemetery and an informative Visitor Center. The Cataldo Mission church dates back to the 1850s and makes a worthwhile endpoint for bike rides along the Coeur d'Alenes from Harrison. What's more, children can play on more than 18 acres of parkland.
It may sound foreboding, but this picturesque park is in fact entirely family friendly. The 'hell's gate' in question is in fact the deepest river gorge in North America. The park is also home to the winding Snake River, which offers endless water sports activities, and there are dozens of hiking and biking trails to explore. Playgrounds and the proximity of Nex Perce National Historic Park make Hells Gate well worth a visit.
Navigate an orienteering course and visit a model airplane flyer's field. Visit a World War II Naval Training Center Museum and play on the beaches of Lake Pend Oreille and Beaver Bay. There's so much to explore and experience in this 4000-acre park. And because its well away from any light pollution, a map of stars appears over the park come nightfall.
Sprawling prairies, rugged walking routes, and wondrous mountain ranges call hikers to scenic wanderings in Idaho. Here's where to find some of the best trails in the state:
Discover the prairies that distinguish Idaho's landscape so markedly from other states'. The Palouse prairies are overlooked by the elevated sections of the park, offering superb views that will spur you on during your hike. McCroskey Park offers a total of 32 hiking trails winding through the wilderness. As you ascend, resting spots have benches where you can catch your breath and refresh before pressing on.
Running along the Canadian national border, this splendid park is ringed with snow dusted mountains that sit alongside glittering lakes. Go berry picking and hiking along its trails, wander across its beaches, and paddle in its waters. Priest Lake is one of Idaho's most varied parks, offering a dazzling array of landscapes.
Named for its high density of Ponderosa trees, this 1000-acre park is a favourite in all seasons. Climb its trails to serene lookouts over Payette Lake, which are famous throughout the state for their scenic beauty. Osprey Point and North Beach are some of the other best-known viewing platforms. Along the way, you can enjoy wildlife spotting.
Go scuba diving at Idaho's answer to the Caribbean, or gallop through Yellowstone. Here are the State Park musts for outdoor adventures:
Henry's Fork is a unique geological attraction that sits within the Yellowstone area. It is a base for fly fishermen and offers fantastic horseback riding opportunities. Explore the park's 11,000 acres of geological marvels and discover wildlife like moose, cranes, and trumpeter swans.
Head to the oldest State Park in the Pacific Northwest, spanning a sprawling 6,000 acres of land. With over 2,000 waterways running through the park, and the 3 lakes of Benewah, Chatcolet and Lake Couer d'Alene, you have the perfect natural playground for all types of adventure sports.
Known as the 'Caribbean of the Rockies' for its vivid colors, Bear Lake is a mecca for scuba divers, sailing enthusiasts, and water skiiers. Cannon ball from its beaches, wander through the nearby Cache National Forest, and discover Minnitonka Cave. Fact fans should note that the lake gets its color from limestone dissolved in the water, which is also responsible for the formations that encrust the cave's interior.