5 Breathtaking Scenic Drives in Idaho

Ready to hit the road?

In Idaho, taking the road less traveled is a wonderful way to explore the state. Some of Idaho’s scenic byways have historic significance, while others provide access to natural attractions and outdoor recreation. Roll down the windows and feel the fresh air and true wilderness as you sweep through the mountains and valleys of Idaho’s vast landscapes.

1. Thousand Springs Scenic Byway


Photo: Josh Packer

  • Location: Begins at Interstate 84 near Bliss and follows US 30 southeast through Twin Falls to Idaho 50, then north on Idaho 50 to I-84.  Also US 93 from Twin Falls north to I-84.
  • The best time to see Shoshone Falls is spring through mid-July.
  • Attractions include Thousand Springs State Park Complex–a series of five parks; Hagerman Valley; the Snake River; Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument; Thousand Springs; Herrett Center Planetarium, Museum & Observatory in Twin Falls; Perrine Bridge & Canyon Rim Trail System; Shoshone Falls; and historic downtown Twin Falls.
  • Drive Time:  67.8 miles.  Allow 1.5 hours.
  • Full services available in Bliss, Hagerman, Buhl, Kimberly, and Twin Falls; partial services in Filer.

2. Sawtooth Scenic Byway


Photo: Madison Sankovitz

3. Mesa Falls Scenic Byway


Photo: Josh Packer

  • Location: Beginning at Idaho 47 in Ashton, the route travels northeast 12.4 miles to the old Bear Gulch Ski Area site, then northwest along Forest Service Route 294 ending at US 20.
  • Attractions include Upper and Lower Mesa Falls and Harriman State Park.
  • Drive Time: 28.7 miles. Allow 1 hour.

4. US 26 E through Palisades Reservoir


Photo: Josh Packer

  • Location: Beginning at the northwest end of Palisades Reservoir, the road winds about 20 miles along the edge of the water.
  • Amazing foliage in the fall and makes for a perfect pit stop between Idaho Falls and Grand Teton National Park
  • Drive Time: 20 miles. Allow about 1 hour.
  • There is a gas station just before you reach the reservoir and lots of restaurants and places to stock up on snacks between Idaho Falls and the reservoir.

5. Lake Coeur D’Alene Scenic Byway


Photo: Rose Freeman

  • Location: Beginning at the junction of Interstate 90 and Idaho 97, the route travels south along the eastern shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and ends at Idaho 3, where it meets the White Pine Scenic Byway and its southern route to the Palouse.
  • Wildlife is expansive and diverse, with eagle watching at its peak in December and January.
  • Attractions include Lake Coeur d'Alene, Blackwell Island, and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
  • Drive Time: 35.8 miles. Allow 1.5 hours.


Discover more adventures in Idaho at Visit Idaho.

Cover photo: Josh Packer

Published: October 17, 2016

Visit Idaho

Idaho is home to thousands of miles of biking and hiking trails, rugged mountains, pristine lakes, 18 ski areas, and more recreational whitewater than any state in the lower 48. Find spectacular scenery and endless re...

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.

Autumnal Plum & Ginger Breakfast Feast

/

Recently we escaped for a weekend to a little camp spot up in the Catskill Mountains. Little did we know, a storm was rolling in so the night was spent bundled up listening to rain on the tent roof.

2 Saves

5 Tips for Finding Beautiful Fall Foliage in Massachusetts

/

1. Foliage Maps There are a bunch of tools and foliage maps online that you can use to find the perfect place to visit.

0 Saves

Trekking to Machu Picchu Without a Guide

/

Day One - The Departure | Humantay Distance: 1.5 miles Elevation Gain: +1200 ft     Our alarms were set for 5:30 AM.

2 Saves