Idaho, often referred to as the “Gem State,” is a treasure trove of natural wonders and diverse landscapes, making it a haven for hiking enthusiasts. From rugged mountain trails to serene lakeside paths, Idaho offers a multitude of hiking experiences that cater to all levels of adventurers. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 hiking trails in Idaho, each offering a unique glimpse into the state’s breathtaking scenery.

Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

Here is a list of the hiking trails discussed in the post:

  1. Sawtooth Lake Trail
    • Location: Stanley, Idaho
  2. Hell’s Canyon Rim Trail
    • Location: Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area
  3. Alice-Toxaway Loop
    • Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area
  4. Shoshone Falls Trail
    • Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
  5. Borah Peak Trail
    • Location: Salmon-Challis National Forest
  6. Craters of the Moon – Inferno Cone Trail
    • Location: Arco, Idaho
  7. Priest Lake – Navigation Trail
    • Location: Priest Lake, Idaho
  8. City of Rocks National Reserve – Window Arch Trail
    • Location: Almo, Idaho
  9. Palisades Creek Trail
    • Location: Irwin, Idaho
  10. Hiking the Centennial Trail
    • Location: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Let’s explore the top 10 best hiking trails in Idaho, one by one.

  1. Sawtooth Lake Trail

    • Location: Stanley, Idaho

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

Nestled in the heart of the stunning Sawtooth Mountains, the Sawtooth Lake Trail is a jewel among Idaho’s hiking routes. This 10-mile round-trip trail takes hikers through alpine meadows, rocky terrain, and snow-capped peaks. The grand finale awaits at Sawtooth Lake, a pristine alpine lake surrounded by towering granite peaks, offering an awe-inspiring view that rewards the effort of the trek.

  1. Hell’s Canyon Rim Trail

    • Location: Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

For those seeking a blend of rugged terrain and expansive vistas, the Hell’s Canyon Rim Trail delivers a hiking experience like no other. Following the Snake River, this trail offers breathtaking views of North America’s deepest river gorge. Hikers can choose from various sections of the trail, each providing a different perspective of the canyon and its diverse ecosystems.

  1. Alice-Toxaway Loop

    • Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

The Alice-Toxaway Loop is a backpacker’s dream, winding through the pristine Sawtooth Wilderness. This 19-mile loop immerses hikers in a landscape adorned with alpine lakes, wildflower-strewn meadows, and panoramic mountain views. The loop takes adventurers past Alice Lake, Toxaway Lake, and a host of other scenic spots, creating a truly memorable backcountry experience.

  1. Shoshone Falls Trail

    • Location: Twin Falls, Idaho

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

Known as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is a natural wonder that deserves a spot on every hiker’s list. The Shoshone Falls Trail offers a short, paved walkway leading to viewpoints that showcase the grandeur of the falls and the Snake River Canyon. It’s an easily accessible hike that provides a perfect opportunity to appreciate the power and beauty of Idaho’s waterways.

  1. Borah Peak Trail

    • Location: Salmon-Challis National Forest

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

For the ambitious hiker, the Borah Peak Trail is a must-try adventure leading to the highest point in Idaho. Standing at an elevation of 12,662 feet, Borah Peak rewards those who conquer its challenging ascent with unparalleled views of the Lost River Range and surrounding landscapes. The trail is steep and strenuous, making it a true test of one’s hiking prowess.

  1. Craters of the Moon – Inferno Cone Trail

    • Location: Arco, Idaho

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

Embark on a journey through a surreal volcanic landscape at Craters of the Moon National Monument. The Inferno Cone Trail is a short but steep hike leading to the summit of a cinder cone. From the top, hikers are treated to panoramic views of the vast lava fields and unique geological features that define this otherworldly terrain.

  1. Priest Lake – Navigation Trail

    • Location: Priest Lake, Idaho

best hiking trails in idaho

Escape to the serenity of Priest Lake with the Navigation Trail, a scenic 8.2-mile loop that takes hikers along the lake’s picturesque shoreline. This trail offers a peaceful retreat into nature, with dense forests and pristine waters providing a tranquil backdrop. It’s a perfect hike for those seeking a balance of adventure and relaxation.

  1. City of Rocks National Reserve – Window Arch Trail

    • Location: Almo, Idaho

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

City of Rocks National Reserve is a haven for rock climbers, but hikers will also find its geological wonders captivating. The Window Arch Trail is a short 0.8-mile loop leading to an impressive natural arch with expansive views of the surrounding rock formations. It’s a perfect introduction to the unique geological features that define this reserve.

  1. Palisades Creek Trail

    • Location: Irwin, Idaho

Palisades Creek Trail To Upper Palisades Lake – NATIVE LENS

Palisades Creek Trail, nestled in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, is a scenic hike following the meandering Palisades Creek. The 8.8-mile out-and-back trail takes hikers through lush forests, meadows, and along the creek, culminating in the beauty of Lower Palisades Lake against the backdrop of the Teton Range.

  1. Hiking the Centennial Trail

    • Location: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Idaho

Stretching for 24 miles along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the Centennial Trail offers a picturesque hike with views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The trail caters to various skill levels, making it a favorite for both casual day hikers and those looking for a longer trek. The trailhead at the Coeur d’Alene Resort provides a stunning starting point for this scenic journey.

In conclusion, Idaho’s hiking trails offer a diverse array of experiences, from the alpine beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains to the volcanic wonders of Craters of the Moon. Whether you’re tackling the highest peak in the state or enjoying a serene lakeside stroll, each trail reveals a unique facet of Idaho’s natural splendor. So, lace up your hiking gears, grab your backpack, and embark on unforgettable adventures through the spectacular landscapes of the Gem State.

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