Ever bird watch or play disc golf at Lake Walcott State Park? There are also hiking opportunities at Craters of the Moon along with snow sledding at Gooding County Snow Park, plus hunting in Jerome and at other top-notch hunting areas.
Oh, and City of Rocks National Reserve offers rock climbing in the warmer weather and cross country skiing when cold.
Residents of the Magic Valley and Southern Idaho are lucky to have daily access to an abundance of recreational amenities that are normally promoted as tourism destinations. For example, locals can pretty much fish year round at Thousand Springs State Park, which is also becoming a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts from throughout the United States.
A 64-Pound Carp
Kelton Hatch with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the fishing in Southern Idaho was amazing in 2011 – including a record rainbow trout of 34 pounds caught at American Falls Reservoir along with a carp weighing more than 64 pounds snagged at C.J. Strike Reservoir – and he predicts that local fishing will be even better in 2012.
“Magic Valley also boasts some of the best walleye fishing in the country, and it’s not uncommon to see catches of 18-pound walleyes pulled out of both Oakley Reservoir south of Burley, and Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir south of Twin Falls,” he says.
Look, There's an Elk
Hatch says the same kind of good results are available to hunters, with elk and antelope in abundant supply, plus the Hagerman Valley provides some of the best waterfowl habitat in the entire Northwest.
“This region is home to natural marvels such as the Snake River, Thousand Springs and Shoshone Falls, along with a vast desert land mass,” Hatch says. “There are ample hunting, angling and other adventure opportunities to satisfy anyone who enjoys the outdoors.”
Meanwhile, outdoor adventurers can also enjoy biking, walking and hiking at Dierkes Lake Park, and there are numerous biking and walking trails throughout the scenic Snake River Canyon near Perrine Bridge. The bridge itself has become an international destination for bungee jumpers and parachute base jumpers.
“If you are into running like our running club is, there aren’t many nicer places to train in the world than the Snake River Canyon,” says Bill Greene, coordinator of Team Weenie Running Club out of Twin Falls. “We started our club in 2001 with 12 local members and today there are 240, and we meet every Saturday morning to train in the canyon.”
Snake River Canyon Marathon?
Greene says Team Weenie – whose unusual name is derived from the Independent Meat Company packing plant in Twin Falls where many of the runners are employed – even has a long-term plan to link all the canyon trails together and eventually stage a marathon.
“Can you imagine running a marathon through the Snake River Canyon?” Greene says. “What an incredible experience that would be.”
He also points out that the unusual natural landscape of Southern Idaho includes its elevation of 3,800 feet, which can be advantageous to competitive runners and bicyclists.
“A lot of people don’t know that we have such a high elevation, so if our club members go to a road race in sea-level cities like Portland, Seattle or San Francisco, we do well because we’ve trained in the altitude,” he says. “Southern Idaho has so much to offer anyone who loves the outdoors. Nature has been very kind to us.”
Read about more fun outdoor activities in Twin Falls, ID.