Trail Guide Books - Idaho Hiking Guidebooks

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Hiking Idaho's Trails


Idaho trails offer extraordinary scenery and outdoor activities for hikers, bikers, horseback riders and fishermen, as well as for those who simply love to be out in the mountains and desert.  Hiking in Idaho is paradise, for the solitude, scenery, superb fishing, and unspoiled nature.  


Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Trails of the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness


“A lot of land this Idaho.” -- Ernest Hemingway once remarked to a friend


Idaho’s mountains are not only wonderful places to hike, bike, ride a horse or see wildlife, but the land they cover is immense. More than 20 million acres of national forest extend over almost 40% of Idaho. The state is third in forest acreage only to California and Alaska. Idaho has over 19,000 miles of trails.


There are seven designated Wilderness Areas in Idaho, including the largest one in the lower 48 states, the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness at 2.3 mllion acres. It is a wilderness so remote that elk and deer use its trails more than humans do.  Its Middle Fork and Main Salmon rivers, which are designated wild and scenic rivers, are two of the most popular in the country for kayaking and whitewater rafting.  Yet away from the rivers, few people travel the trails and solitude is likely.  


The Sawtooth National Recreation Area's 756,000 acres are part of the Sawtooth National Forest's 2.1 million acres.  Within this area, often called the SNRA,  the Sawtooth Wilderness is well-known for its breathtaking jagged peaks and pristine lakes. The SNRA's other ranges are equally beautiful but unique. Some peaks of the Cecil d. Andrus White Cloud Wilderness are as white as vanilla ice cream, and the mountains are swirled with gray and pink stripes.  "There are those who visit the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) and leave convinced they have found the center of the universe.” – The Sawtooth Society, Protecting, Preserving and Enhancing the Sawtooths since 1997.  

Upper Ocalkens Lake, White Clouds

Upper Ocalkens Lake, White Clouds, 

Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains


Hell's Canyon

Hell's Canyon,  Trails of Western Idaho


The rugged Hells Canyon Wilderness holds the black goblin-like peaks of the Seven Devils and 8,000-foot deep Hells Canyon, the deepest river-cut gorge in North America. Sharp blocks and iridescent sheets of black lava are featured in Craters of the Moon National Monument, scene of the youngest lava flows (2,100 years) in the state, and their recent eruptions range in age up to 15,000 years. The City of Rocks National Monument and Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park host several trails among magnificent towers that offer some of the best rock climbing in the world.  

“There are no tourist attractions described here, but rather out-of-the-way places and uncrowded sanctuaries with a special charm and character, places with some elbow room where you can leave the trail and amble along a ridge or an open hillside, and where your view, and the thoughts of your mind, are clear and unobstructed”- Ron Watters (Foreword:  Trails of Eastern Idaho)  


East Pass Creek -open  to enlargeEast Pass Creek,  Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

Herd Lake - click to enlarge
Herd Lake,  Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

Lake Basin - click to enlarge
pond near Lake Basin,  Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

Thompson Cirque Lake - click to enlarge
Thompson Cirque Lake,  Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

Upper Baron Lake - click to enlarge

Upper Baron Lake, Sawtooths,  Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains


Bloomington Lake - click to enlarge

Bloomington Lake near Bear Lake,  Trails of Eastern Idaho

Castle Rocks State Park - click to enlarge

Castle Rocks State Park,  Trails of Eastern Idaho

Flowers near Big Lost Lake - click to enlarge

Flowers near Big Lost Lake, Smoky Mountains,  Trails of Western Idaho

Fishhook Creek - click to enlarge

Fishhook Creek, Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

Alpine Lake on Iron Creek - click to enlarge

Alpine Lake on Iron Creek, Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains

Canadian Buffaloberries - click to enlarge

Canadian Buffaloberries,  Wild Berries of the West



Horstmann Peak - click to enlarge

Horstmann Peak from Alpine Way Trail,  Trails of the Sawtooth and Boulder-White Cloud Mountains


As you travel the trails in these areas, be sure to follow the “leave no trace” ethic. Learning about the fragile ecosystems you travel through will help you understand that leave no trace is the key to preserving these ecosystems for all of us to enjoy, now and in the future. The growing season at mountain elevations is only a few weeks each summer, so any damage takes hundreds of years to disappear.  



Margaret Fuller's guidebooks give you knowledge that is essential for traveling Idaho's trails safely and tell you what maps and equipment are needed. They describe the access roads for the trailheads and give the length, elevation gain, and difficulty of the trails. They also emphasize the need for obtaining information on current trail and road conditions and weather predictions from the local forest, BLM, or park office before starting out.  An experienced guide from the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association can make a multi-day hiking trip much easier by carrying your gear while you walk or ride.  


Idaho is truly a great state, see more about visiting and exploring Idaho at Idaho’s Official Travel and Tourism site, and more about all outdoor recreation opportunities in Idaho at the Idaho Parks and Recreation official site. 


If Idaho's skiing history holds your interest, Ski the Great Potato: Idaho Ski Areas, Past and Present by Margaret Fuller, Doug Fuller and Jerry Painter is an essential. You'll find the histories of the 21 current Idaho ski areas and of the 72 historical or "lost" areas in this interesting new book. The book gives the basic facts about each area and how it started, and it includes little stories of some of the people who skied at each one. There are stories of stolen snow plows, an exploding stove, and a young woman who on a very cold night froze to the seat of a porta-pottie.  


“Idaho is dear to us and we hope our visitors will enjoy their time spent in the state.  We are blessed with many areas where, by following Margaret’s suggestions, one can be alone for as long as desired in an environment which will rejuvenate, while causing one to forget foreign travel.  Beauty, solitude and the opportunity for enjoyment abound in Idaho.  One only has to be properly prepared.  By following Margaret’s advice, you will experience a new world unfolding before your eyes with every step.  All we ask is that you use the land, but don’t abuse it.  Our resources are finite and there are many generations to come.” – Cecil d. Andrus (Foreword:  Trails of Western Idaho)


  “Happy hiking!”  -- Margaret Fuller  


All images  © Margaret Fuller - all rights reserved.

Images may not be copied, downloaded or used in any way without the written permission of Margaret Fuller 

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