Local residents know a quick getaway is as easy as exploring their own region, where Southern Idaho’s scenic byways beckon with adventure and scenic views. Here are a few suggestions for fun day trips, all using Twin Falls as a starting point.
The Thousand Springs Scenic Byway, from Bliss to Hansen, takes you through the beautiful Hagerman Valley. Notable sites include the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and Thousand Springs State Park. The Hagerman Wildlife Management Area offers unparalleled wildlife viewing – look for waterfowl, eagles, ospreys, ducks and geese by the thousands.
“There is a lot to do in the area,” says Mark Bolduc, who owns the Hagerman Valley Inn. “We’ve got fishing, hiking, birds, biking. We’ve got the 1000 Springs Resort, Miracle Hot Springs and Banbury Hot Springs. And there are river tours by boat that point out historic sites and wildlife, and even serve dinner.”
After a swim at the hot springs or an afternoon of bird watching, head to the Snake River Grille, where you can chow down on familiar menu staples or sample locally raised alligator, sturgeon, trout and more. And don’t miss the near-legendary ice cream from Cloverleaf Creamery in Buhl.
The 49-mile City of Rocks Backcountry Scenic Byway, from Albion to Oakley, winds past some of the area’s most gorgeous terrain. Do not miss Lake Cleveland, Castle Rocks State Park and City of Rocks National Reserve, both of which offer year-round recreational opportunities.
The Pomerelle Mountain Resort in Albion is a major skiing destination in season. In the summer, guests take the chair lift up Mount Harrison to play the resort’s 18-hole disc golf course, or just hike and enjoy the scenery and wildlife.
“The Albion Valley is all about the view,” says Jody Burrows of the Pomerelle Resort. “You can see deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, wolves ... This is God’s country you see when you look out and survey the land.”
Hungry? You can enjoy a great burger al fresco at the Snowbird Grille at Pomerelle, or try the highly recommended Almo Outpost for a great steak and pioneer pudding.
After hiking, climbing, horseback riding or taking in the view via car at City of Rocks, take a break at Durfee Hot Springs for a leisurely soak.
“People love to come and relax after they’ve been to City of Rocks,” says proprietor Jackie Henson. “It makes an amazing day trip. You can get here easily, do some hiking and biking, picnic and swim, and be home in no time.”
The Sawtooth Scenic Byway runs for 115 mile from Shoshone to Stanley, taking you through the Sawtooth National Recreation area. Just off the byway, Craters of the Moon National Monument is one of Idaho’s most fascinating places – a vast lava field, much of it prehistoric. Explore the Indian Tunnel, Dew Drop, Beauty, Boy Scout or Buffalo caves (get a permit first at the park’s visitor center), hike, enjoy the wildflowers or, in winter, cross-country ski.
Enjoy golf at the Jerome Country Club or 93 Golf Ranch, where you can attempt its 18-hole, 7,000-foot course – the longest in Southern Idaho.
The Shoshone Snack Bar boldly claims to serve the biggest ice cream cones in the world, and for lunch you can’t lose with the Manhattan Cafe, renowned for its pies.