In Idaho, taking the road less traveled is a wonderful way to explore the state. Some Idaho byways have historic significance, others provide access to natural attractions and outdoor recreation, yet all have extraordinary scenic beauty. View the state's entire byway system at www.idahobyways.gov.
City of Rocks Back Country Byway:
This route begins along Idaho 77 at Albion south to the Connor Creek Junction, and continues south through Elba and Almo and the scenic City of Rocks National Reserve. From the reserve, the route follows Birch Creek to the City of Oakley and the Oakley Historic District where it joins Idaho 27. Views include the Kelton Road of the Oregon Trail and Hudspeth's Cutoff of the California Trail, as well as beautiful vistas of the City of Rocks National Reserve; 49 miles.
Elk River Back Country Byway:
This road begins in Orofino at Idaho 7 and junction of Wells Bench Road, crosses the North Fork of the Clearwater at Dent Bridge, then to Elk River where it joins Idaho 8 to Bovill. The route can be characterized as an all natural, no frills, individualistic and unpretentious pathway through north central Idaho. Travelers quickly enter a vast evergreen forested landscape that draws one deeper and forward towards the horizon of the Clearwater Mountain range; 57 miles.
Fort Henry Historic Byway:
This route begins at North Rexburg U.S. 20 Exit, onto Salem Highway, to St. Anthony Sand Dunes on Red Road and on to A-2 Road Junction. Continue on A-2 north, then east to Island Park and U.S.20. Views include wide-open sagebrush lands, rustic ranchlands, the Nez Perce Trail and Indian battlegrounds; 81 miles.
Gold Rush Historic Byway:
This byway begins at the junction of U.S. Highway 12 and follows Idaho Highway 11 on the Clearwater River at Greer. Views include the Clearwater River, the Weippe Prairie and wanders past historic sites of the gold rush era of the mid-to-late 1800's; 42.5 miles.
Hells Canyon Scenic Byway:
The road begins on Hells Canyon Road from Oxbow Bridge near Copperfield, Oregon, north along the Idaho side of the Snake River to Hells Canyon Dam. This byway offers travelers views of the deepest canyon in North America; 22 miles.
Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway:
This drive begins at the junction of Interstate 90 and Idaho 97 and follows Idaho 97 south and east along Lake Coeur d'Alene to Idaho 3. Enjoy picturesque views of Lake Coeur d'Alene; 35.8 miles.
Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway:
The byway is located 20 miles southeast of Salmon off of Idaho 28. Turn east from Idaho 28 at the Tendoy store. Follow a loop to Lemhi Pass at the Continental Divide and back to Tendoy. The byway offers majestic views of the Beaverhead and Bitterroot Mountains and traverses a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail; 39 miles.
Lost Gold Trails Loop:
This route begins on A-2/Red Road Junction at the "Y" east of Dubois, routing to Old Highway 91 north to Dubois to Spencer. Then east on Spencer/Idmon Road connecting to Idmon/A-2 Junction and Fort Henry Historic Byway. Continue north towards Kilgore and east to Island Park, or if you choose, turn south and return to the "Y" Junction. Views include sheep grazing lands, canyons, opal mine fields; 47.8 miles.
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway:
This byway begins at the Junction of U.S. 20/Idaho 47 in Ashton, northeast 12.4 miles to the old Bear Gulch Ski Area site, then northwest along Forest Service Route 294 to the northern end at U.S.20. This route offers travelers a scenic drive along the Falls River and past Upper and Lower Mesa Falls; 28.7 miles.
Northwest Passage Scenic Byway:
Formerly called Clearwater Canyons Scenic Byway, this route begins in Lewiston and follows U.S. 12 northeast to the Idaho-Montana border; also follows Idaho 13 from Kooskia to Grangeville and the junction of U.S. 95. This route offers travelers the passage that Lewis and Clark first discovered in their trek west in the early 1800's; 202 miles. Lewiston to Montana, 176 miles. Kooskia to Grangeville, 27 miles.
Oregon Trail Bear Lake Scenic Byway:
Bear Lake straddles the Idaho-Utah border and boasts sandy beaches, great water sports, fishing, boating, and the famous Bear Lake State park. This byway follows Bear Lake north on U.S. 89 to Montpelier, then north on U.S. 30, where you leave the Cache National Forest and enter the Caribou National Forest.
Owyhee Uplands Back Country Byway:
The loop begins 80 miles southwest of Boise. It can be reached from the west through Jordan Valley, Oregon, and from the east, on Idaho 78 near Grand View, Idaho. It offers travelers views of high desert country and the Owyhee Mountains; 101 miles.
Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage:
This route begins at the Washington state line and follows U.S. 2 to Sandpoint. Views include the Priest River Historic District, where log drives once occurred, the beautiful Pend Oreille River with its recreation areas, and along Kalispel Indian historic and cultural areas; 28.5 miles.
Payette River Scenic Byway:
The road begins at the junction of U.S. Highway 95 at New Meadows along Idaho 55 south to Idaho 44 west of Boise. This lovely byway offers travelers views of mountain forests, Payette Lake, Cascade Reservoir and the white rapids of the Payette River; 111.7 miles.
Peaks to Craters Byway:
Without a doubt this byway has the most diverse stretch of road in Idaho. You will experience wetlands, the vistas of the high mountain desert, expansive lava flows, and the Lost River Mountain Range boasting nine of Idaho's twelve highest peaks including the highest peak, Mt. Borah.
Pend Oreille Scenic Byway:
The route begins at U.S. Highway 95 north of Sandpoint and follows Idaho Highway 200 east to the Montana state line. This drive offers travelers a panoramic view of the northern rim of Lake Pend Oreille and the Cabinet Gorge; 33.4 miles.
Pioneer Historic Byway:
The drive begins at the Utah state line and follows U.S. 91, then Idaho 34, north to U.S. 30 and then east to Soda Springs where it meets he Oregon Trail - Bear Lake Scenic Byway. From there, north on Idaho 34 toward the Wyoming state line. This route passes through early Mormon settlements, pioneer trails and numerous historic points of interest; 127.0 miles.
Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway:
The route begins at Boise on Idaho Highway 21 and travels northeast to the junction of Idaho Highway 75 at Stanley, following the Boise River, the South Fork of the Payette River and several smaller creeks. Views include heavily timbered country, high mountain valleys and the Sawtooth Mountains; 130.9 miles.
Sacajawea Historic Byway:
This byway begins at the intersection of Interstate 15 and Idaho 33 at Exit 143, follows Idaho 33 about 12 miles west to its junction with Idaho 28, and follows Idaho 28 northwest for 120 miles to Salmon, Idaho. This route follows along the Lemhi River for much of the distance passing mining areas and other significant historical sites between the Lemhi and Beaverhead mountain ranges; 132 miles.
Salmon River Scenic Byway:
Beginning from the Montana state line south on U.S. 93 to Challis, the route travels west to Stanley on Idaho 75. Travelers enjoy views of the main fork of the Salmon River from near its headwaters as well as views of the White Cloud, Lemhi and Bitterroot mountain ranges and the Lost River; 161.7 miles.
Sawtooth Scenic Byway:
Beginning on Idaho 75 north to Stanley from Shoshone, this route follows the Wood River through agricultural land to the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley and through Galena Summit. Travelers are treated to views of the headwaters of the Salmon River through its high mountain valley; 115.7 miles.
Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway:
South to north, the byway route begins on Idaho 45 at Walters Ferry, to Map Rock Road, to Chicken Dinner Road, to Lowell Road, to Plum Road, to Homedale Road, to Allendale Road, to Ustick Road, to Fargo Road, to Dixie Road, to Wamstad Road, to Apple Valley Road to the intersection with U.S. 20/26, to Nyssa, Oregon bridge. Travelers can view wineries, vineyards, and orchards; Fort Boise; Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge; Map Rock Petroglyph; and agricultural and scenic vistas along the entire route; approximately 53 miles.
St. Joe River Scenic Byway:
From St. Maries at the junction of Idaho 3 and Forest Hwy 50 (FS 50), this byway travels east along the St. Joe River for 75 miles. At a point near Conrad Crossing the route heads in a northeast direction towards St. Regis, Montana. The byway offers many recreational opportunities and historical sites to explore; 89 miles.
Teton Scenic Byway:
Beginning on Idaho Highway 31 at Swan Valley northeast to Idaho 33 at Victor, then north on Idaho 33 at Victor, this route continues north on Idaho 33 to Idaho 32, north on Idaho 32 to Idaho 47 at Ashton. The byway offers travelers panoramic views of the Snake River Valley, the western slope of the Tetons and the Falls River; 68.9 miles.
Thousand Springs Scenic Byway:
This beautiful drive begins at Interstate 84 near Bliss and follows U.S. Highway 30 southeast through Twin Falls to Idaho 50, then north on Idaho 50 to Interstate 84. A third leg runs along a U.S. Highway 93 spur from downtown Twin Falls at a junction with U.S. Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 93 north across the Perrine Bridge and the Snake River Canyon north to Interstate 84. Views include the Snake River, the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, numerous fish hatcheries, Shoshone Falls as well as the Thousand Springs; 67.8 miles.
Western Heritage Historic Byway:
From Meridian Idaho Highway 69 begins on the southbound road from exit 44 of I-84 and runs for eight miles to East Avalon Avenue in Kuna. Turn south on Swan Falls Road and continue for 21 miles through the Birds of Prey National Conservation Area all the way to the end of the road at Swan Falls Dam within the Snake River Canyon; 30 miles.
White Pine Scenic Byway:
Beginning at the junction of Interstate 90 and Idaho 3, west of the Old Mission at Cataldo, this route follows Idaho Highway 3 south to the junction of State Highway 6, then southwest to a junction with U.S. Highway 95 at Potlatch. Panoramic views include farm land, extensive forests, rivers, mountains and the largest stand of White Pine trees in North America; 82.8 miles.
Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway:
This drive begins in downtown Sandpoint on U.S. Highway 95 and follows U.S. 95 north through Bonners Ferry to the junction of U.S. 95 and Idaho 1, then proceeds north on Idaho 1 to the International Border at Porthill. This route is a part of the Selkirk International Loop which traverses scenic Canadian and Washington State byways and connects with U.S. Highway 2 and the Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage; 48.2 miles from Sandpoint to junction of U.S. 95/Idaho 1, 11 miles to the International Border.
Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway:
The route travels along the Banks-Lowman Road. It can be accessed either at Banks along Idaho 55 or at Lowman along Idaho 21. Either point of access brings the traveler back to a route leading to Boise. The drive offers travelers views of the pristine whitewater rapids of the South Fork of the Payette River and an area rich with eagles, osprey, elk, deer and great trout fishing; 33.0 miles.