This route simply offers some of the most stunning views in the entire American West. Bring plenty of film ... you'll need it. Along this route you will see vastly different landscapes and topologies that are characteristic of the American Western frontier. During the first part of the drive you will travel through a deep canyon and then through lush green alpine forests while viewing portions of the Rocky Mountains. In the middle you will travel through numerous mountain passes and by rivers, lakes and streams. By the end you will be see stark lava fields and finally complete the tour with a view of a refreshing waterfall.
Towns/Cities You'll Pass By/Through
This is a rural scenic drive for the most part. The few towns it passes through are Ketchum, Stanley, Lowman, Idaho City, and finally Boise. The roads are in good shape and a lot of fun to drive. You start your way out by twisting through a great canyon section and then climb up and into the mountains.
Attractions & Points-of-Interests Along the Way
This route offers extensive fishing and hiking opportunities along the way. This route specializes in seeing what nature has to offer. Not too much to do in the way of man made amenities. The amenities below are described when starting the route in Twin Falls, going north into the mountains and turning east and heading down into Boise:
Shoshone Falls - just east of Twin Falls Idaho off of Falls Avenue, you will find the Shoshone Falls. These cascading falls plunge an awesome 210 ft in all. Best seen in the spring when the mountain melt-off waters are at their highest levels.
Shoshone Idaho - you'll pass a bridge that stands an incredible 486 feet over the Snake River. The town itself has buildings that are built from authentic volcano lava blocks. From here on the route you will be amazed at how the landscape changes because of the ancient lava beds that cover the ground.
Mammoth Cave - located 8 miles south of Ice Caves. Here you guide yourself through the caverns using a rented propane lantern.
Ice Caves - just north of Shoshone, these caves are buried within lava beds and are open for tours (May - Sep).
Ketchum and Sun Valley - here you will be able to get a bite to eat, find a place to stay, and check out some craft shops. The beauty of this area inspired Earnest Hemingway as he wrote "For Whom The Bell Tolls." The Hemingway Memorial is located in this area as well as the author's grave in a small graveyard in northern Ketchum.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area - this area offers miles of pristine Rocky Mountain hiking opportunities. In the early summer the slopes are covered in a breathtaking display of wildflowers.
Galena Summit Overlook - make sure you take the time to stop here at this overlook which is located before you reach the Galena Summit. From this 8,000 plus ft. perch you will see the Salmon River and its Valley that was carved out by slow retreating glaciers thousands of years ago.
Red Fish Lake and Red Fish Lake Visitor Center (July - Labor Day) - a pristine mountain lake with a mirror like surface reflecting the Sawtooth Mountains.
Stanley Ranger Station offers information on local hiking (M-F).
Park Creek Overlook - 18 miles past the Banner Summit, from here you will get your first great view of the surrounding Sawtooth Range.
Elk Mountain Overlook- from here you will get a great view of Stanley Lake.
Sawtooth Overlook - offers great views and is close to the Kirkham Hot Springs. The National Forest Service allows visitors to enjoy these refreshing hot springs free of charge.
Lowman - from here you will see the results of the 1989 devastating lightning-caused forest fire that destroyed nearly 50,000 acres of forest. Along the route the government has strategically install exhibits explaining the devastating power of forest fires.
Idaho City - former gold rush town. The Boise Basin Historical Museum (will illustrate the history of local gold mining.
Sandy Point - hot springs bathing area
Boise - a large city with unlimited amenities. The city has many different museums including the Idaho Historical Museum and the World Center for Birds of Prey.
Returning to Boise can be done the fast way by taking I-84 or the slower yet more scenic way by reversing the route.