The Best National Parks in Idaho

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Last Updated on: 15th September 2021, 10:57 pm

Looking for the best national parks in Idaho? From national parks to national monuments to preserves, here are the best Idaho national parks!

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The Best National Parks in Idaho

Here we go!

California National Historic Trail

From the interpretative trails to the educational programs, there is so much to see in California National Historic Trail. This gorgeous trail passes through Idaho, California, Oregon, and Utah and boasts many interesting landscapes.

Visitors often experience the Idaho section of the trail by exploring the City of Rocks where names of past visitors are inscribed on the walls. On visit, you can travel the footsteps of the earliest settlers in this region and learn about their history.

City of Rocks National Reserve

Located across Utah, the City of Rocks is known for its spectacular rock formations largely composed of granite.

This 14,000-acre reserve is a popular spot for rock climbers and features routes ranging from 30 to 600 feet for climbers at different skill levels. Visitors without prior climbing experience can also participate in the fun by joining the park’s climbing program.

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Other activities popular at this historic land include biking, hunting, horseback riding, hiking through the beautiful trails, and camping in one of the 64 campsites scattered around the park. Most of the camping sites feature a picnic table, fire grill, and other features for visitors’ convenience.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Located in South central Idaho, Craters of the Moon NM offers fun outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and camping. This 752,000-acre preserve boasts a scenic landscape, volcanic formations, lava flows, cinder cones, and flood basalt areas.

Craters of the moon was named a national monument in 1924 by President Calvin Coolidge and features many beautiful sights wherever you look.

Visitors often come here to explore the scenery, exhibitions about the history of the region, and the spectacular moonscapes. If you are visiting here, the Visitor’s Center is the best place to start as it features information about the history of the national monument.

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

This national monument is about 2 hours from the City of Rocks and visitors can explore the scenic drive, hike the Oregon trail and visit the Visitor Center.

Hagerman is home to the largest and most fascinating collection of Fossils in the USA. The fossils found in this area are known as the Hagerman Horse Fossils and dates back to the late Pliocene Epoch, making it one of the most important archaeological sites in the country.

Visitors touring this national monument can view the Hagerman Horses, the millennia-year-old plants/animals, and exhibitions that showcase the history of this region.

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail

From hiking to experiencing the history and culture of the region, there is something for every visitor to enjoy at the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. Ice Age Floods Park is a network of routes that connect natural sites and facilities created by the Glacial Lake Missoula Flood that occurred about 18,000 years ago.

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This Ice Dam is located in Northern Idaho, a mile south of Washington, and stretches 3,000 sqm into Montana.  Ice Age Floods was named the first National Geologic Trail in 2009 and it has sites in different states including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montanna.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Located in Northwest Oregon, this trail is named after the famous duo, Lewis and Clark. The trail commemorates the duo’s expedition across the states between 1804 and 1806  while searching for an all-water route to the Pacific Ocean.

Lewis & Clark is part of the US National Trail Systems covering over 4,600 miles and cutting through over 16 states including Idaho, Maryland, Oregon, Illinois, and Washington.

This park is perfect for vacations as tourists can enjoy hiking, driving, exploring meadows on horseback, biking along the rugged path, or traveling by car.. In winter, visitors can enjoy skiing and snowshoeing while experiencing the trains.

Minidoka National Historic Site

Minidoka commemorates the Japanese-Americans that were imprisoned during World War 2 at the Minidoka Internment Camp.

Here, visitors have the opportunity to learn about one of the World War II internment campsites.

Minidoka War Relocation Center was established by President Franklin Roosevelt after signing an order that forced about 120,000 Japanese-Americans into 10 relocation centers.

Minidoka was one of the relocation centers and more than 9000 Japanese-Americans were unjustly imprisoned here. Visitors can explore the interpretative trails past the historic structures and signs like the prison blocks and watchtower.

Nez Perce National Historical Park

Nez Perce Historical Park spreads over 4 states; Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington but its main visitor center is at Lapwai, Idaho.

This park features over 38 locations but visitors can see most of the site’s features in a day’s drive. This site is named after the Niimiipuu indigenes who were called Nez Perce and it commemorates their lives, history, and story. 

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At the visitors center, visitors can watch the movie about the park before they explore the 38 sites spread over the park.

You will also find interesting artifacts, exhibitions, information, and archeological displays of the story of the Nez Perce people at the park’s Visitor Center. Visitors can also explore the museum, vast valleys, mountains, and the different species of animals that live around the area.

Oregon National Historic Trail

From the delightful landscapes to the interpretive centers, there is so much to see in this 2,200-mile trail.

The Oregon National Historic Trail marks the route of the country’s largest migration and is one of the 19 national historic trails in the US. According to records, 300,000 to 400,000 travelers used this route to reach their destinations between 1840 and 1860.

Visitors can enjoy a lot of activities here including hiking, horse riding, biking, visiting interpretative trails and museums.

Yellowstone National Park

Established in 1872, Yellowstone is one of the awe-inspiring parks anyone can visit in the United States. A small portion of this incredible park is in Idaho while a significant part is in Wyoming.

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