Backpacking the Alice Toxaway Loopis one of the most popular routes in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. The main loop can be done in either direction and is 18 miles RT. Many people choose to do this in one day, others 2 nights, 3 days, or what we did - 5 nights, 6 days! There really are endless possibilities for however long you want to stay. This route passes through giant forests, tall, sharp peaks, steams, and of course, several lakes with the two most popular being Alice Lake and Toxaway Lake. Because we had a whole week, we not only did the main loop but also ventured over to Edna Lake and Imogene Lake plus bagged a small, unnamed peak.
Fall Creek Falls is located in the Challis National Forest in the Wildhorse Creek area, about 45 minutes from the Mt.Borah Trail head. This is a super easy trail that anyone can do, dogs and kids included. The short 0.7 mile path leads to this beautiful cascading waterfall that has a viewing deck but if you're feeling adventurous, you can easily walk to the base or top of the falls. The best months to visit are June through October.
Hiking to Mt.Borah (12,662 ft), Idaho's state high point, is located in the Lost River Range within Challis National Forest. This peak is not for the faint of heart or weak. The trail gains 5,200 ft in just 4.2 miles and crosses the famous "Chicken Out Ridge" (COR). There is nothing technical along the main trail, but COR is considered a class 3 scramble. It has really good hand holds and while a rope is provided in one spot, you don't really need to use it to get up/down. Always check your that your hand holds are safe and stable before putting your weight on it. This is a super popular trail since it's the tallest mountain in Idaho, so on a Saturday in August we saw closet to 80 other hikers. During the week you will see less people, but it's still a popular spot.
City of Rocks National Reserve is located near Almo, Idaho and is a popular area for climbing, hiking, camping, and learning about geology and local history. This area has several nicknames such as "the silent city", just "the city", and "steeple rocks", but whatever you want to call it, you're sure to find some adventure here. This area is rich with history, as pioneers made their way through this area along the California Trail. Several rocks, cabins, and replica wagons are marked with historical markers.
Maple Grove Hot Springs is located at the Northern end of the Bear River, along the scenic Oneida Narrows Reservoir in South Eastern Idaho. There are three large soaking tubs, plus a larger therapy pool. The tubs are formed from rock and mortar, and every pool offers a great view of the reservoir. This hot springs is not as well known as some of it's neighboring hot springs, so you'll see few people and tourists soaking here. There's no nearby restaurants, so its best to bring your own snacks or picnic lunch and the closest gas station is in Preston, ID. The water at Maple Grove Hot Springs is free flowing, sulphur free, and odor free, so you won't come out smelling like rotten eggs.
(photo courtesy of 91 Days in Idaho)
Lava Hot Springs is located in Idaho, about a 2 hour drive north of Salt Lake City. The natural, geothermal hot springs range in temperatures from 102F-112F degrees. The hot water is full of minerals, but has no sulfur, and therefor no bad smells of rotten eggs lurking in the air. Lava Hot Springs is open year round, but the best time to go, of course, is the Winter months. With five outdoor hot pools, the steam from the hot springs wraps around people and creates a very relaxing atmosphere. The red tents above provide shade on sunny days. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack to the hot springs - sitting for too long in hot water will dehydrate you and will make some people feel faint.