Idahoan Expanse: Places You NEED to see in Idaho

There was nothing but time between the end of the quarter and starting my new job in Grand Teton National Park. This meant that there was ample time for a good old fashioned road trip! Now, I would say that I am pretty well traveled in the state of Idaho, but I didn’t realize just how magical this state really was. For five days, I traveled the Idahoan Expanse, and here are the magnificent places that I explored.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

It’s name does it complete justice, Craters of the Moon is a place that looks like it has been lost in space and time. Early in the season, the park has few visitors and your choice of places to camp out. The towns nearby are very small, and offer few if any services. I would hands-down recommend camping  out here because the silence of this place is mesmerizing.  All the hikes in this monument park are pretty short, 5-7 miles tops. We made sure to do them all and went into each corner of the park in a three day time span.

Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park

A diamond in the rough! We were informed of this place by some friends in Boise, and oh man they did us a favor. The tallest sand dunes in North America stands at 470′ high and you can climb to the top! This is a phenomenal place to camp, and the amenities and access to the dunes make it well worth it. If you arrive in the summer and fall, there in an observatory that would give you unmatched views of the stars.

Greater Boise Area

Jump Creek Canyon is a short hike just outside Nampa Idaho. After about an hour’s drive, you come upon a lush canyon and parking area. We went to the Jump Creek Falls, and also took the more strenuous hike up to see views of the Canyon itself (it comes HIGHLY recommended by us, but not in the heat!).

Challis Hot Springs

I LOVED this place. They had very accommodating tent camping sites, showers, bathrooms, and hot springs! Challis also had 2 different pools, one of which was around bath temperature (96 degrees) and a hot pool, which ran from 100 – 107 degrees. We even had an amazing home cooked breakfast for a small fee! One of my favorite stops on our trip through Idaho!

Banbury Hot Springs

This was an unexpected but favorite stop through southern Idaho: Banbury Hot Springs. We got the best camping spot on the river for $15 (which included the camping site and access to the hot spring) and for a small fee of $30 got to rent some paddle-boards for the day on the Snake River. It will definitely be a must go stop when coming through this part of the state again. If you’d like to check them out, here is there website:


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