Tucked between Oregon, Washington, Montana and Wyoming, the Gem State combines rugged peaks and High Plains deserts. Sun Valley, in the central region, offers world-class skiing and year-round wilderness recreation. The lakeside resort towns of Coeur d’Alene and McCall are also winter wonderlands, but they also shine in the summertime with an endless array of outdoor activities.
Idaho has large tracts of designated wilderness allowing for world-class fly-fishing in blue-ribbon trout streams and pristine rivers that spawn chinook salmon. Favorites include the Salmon River, Silver Creek Preserve and the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.
The Payette River north of Boise offers Class III-IV rapids for memorable daylong river-rafting excursions. For longer trips, rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which winds through the remote Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness, is an unforgettable experience.
Idaho’s climate is moderate, even in the winter, and any season is a good time to visit.
Sun Valley Dining Options
While in the Sun Valley area, I enjoy lunch at Cristina’s (520 Second Street East, Tel.  726-4499) or Rasberrys (411 Building Fifth Street, Tel.  726-0606) in Ketchum, and the Sun Valley Club (200 Sun Valley Road, Tel.  622-2919) overlooking the golf course with views of Bald Mountain.
In addition to winter ski vacations, I like to visit Sun Valley during the three weeks in July and August when the Sun Valley Summer Symphony (120 North Second Avenue, #103; Tel.  622-5607) is playing. Internationally acclaimed musicians perform in the 1,600-seat Sun Valley Pavilion. Another option is the lawn area behind the pavilion, which is especially suited to attendees with children or those who prefer to picnic and socialize during the concerts.
Idaho has large tracts of designated wilderness allowing for world-class fly-fishing in blue-ribbon trout streams and pristine rivers that spawn chinook salmon. My favorite spots are along the Salmon River, in the Silver Creek Preserve and on the South and Henry’s forks of the Snake River.
The Payette River north of Boise offers Class III-IV rapids for river rafting. The entire family enjoyed our trip with Cascade Raft and Kayak, which included a gourmet meal on the bank of the river afterward. For longer raft trips, I recommend the Middle Fork of the Salmon that winds through the remote Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness. Contact Far and Away Adventures.
A Memorable Drive
There is a beautiful four-hour drive through the Sawtooth Wilderness area and Boise National Forest between Sun Valley and McCall (Highways 75, 21 and 55) featuring memorable stops at Galena Summit, the breathtaking Redfish Lake and the historic town of Stanley. The road winds along the Salmon and Payette rivers. Closed in winter months.