Touring the Byway
116 Miles | 6 Days / 5 Nights | Gateway City: Twin Falls, Idaho
We recommend beginning your trip in Twin Falls, the gateway to southern Idaho’s Snake River Canyon. Learn about the region’s history and vegetation at the Herrett Center for the Arts and Science and the Orton Botanical Gardens, catch sight of Perrine Coulee Falls and Shoshone Falls, the spectacular waterfalls that gave the town its name, and spend your first evening relaxing on the porch of a quiet residential bed and breakfast.
On Day Two, you’ll travel to Shoshone, a geologically fascinating city that sits atop a series of underground volcanic lava tubes. See the homes and neighborhood shops that use the lava rock as a building material on a Historic Walking Tour, then grab a jacket to get a firsthand look at Idaho’s Mammoth Cave, the Shoshone Ice Caves, and Black Magic Canyon. Pioneers, prospectors, and homesteaders are the theme for Day Three as you first pass through Bellevue, once a major center of Idaho’s powerhouse mining industry. You’ll want your binoculars once you get to Hailey, first to spot the stamped tin ceilings that still exist in many buildings in the city’s Historic District, then to see how many of the 100 species of birds you can find at the Draper Wood River Preserve. Afterward, curl up in front of the fireplace in a historic bed and breakfast
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
Discover one of the largest volcanic caves in the world open to the public! Millions of years ago, a volcanic eruption filled the valley with a river of molten lava that got blocked off at its head and left a hollow tube in its wake. A rare and stunning lava cave was formed, which provided shelter and a food preservation system for Native Americans and later, U.S. Government supply storage during the Cold War. A self-guided tour of the caves takes about 30 minutes and requires 1/4 mile walking out and back. Lanterns will be provided, a light jacket and additional flashlight is suggested. The adjacent museum hosts the surprisingly large collection of Richard Arthur Olsen, an eccentric hunter, history lover, and outdoorsman. Featuring animal and bird mounts, long-forgotten fossils, and artifacts of ancient people, most of the mounted animals on view were taxidermied by Olsen himself.
Connecting people to southern Idaho’s unique beauty, this community garden fosters environmental conservation through education, displays, and plant collections. Gardens on view include a wildflower garden, serenity garden, Garden of Infinite Compassion, a pet memory garden, and plots representing the five distinct biomes of the region like sagebrush steppe, lava rock, and alpine.
As the oldest arts organization in the Wood River Valley, this museum believes that a community needs art and culture to be both vital and sustainable. Rotating gallery exhibits showcase a wide variety of artistic media and techniques, and programming includes lectures, workshops, a professional artist residency, and partnerships with local schools.
Discover 360-degree panoramic views of the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains from nearly every spot in this scenic park! The perfect place to relax between adventure activities, the park offers a playground, baseball field, easy walking paths, and grills for a fun family cookout. If your schedule allows, make a stop here at night for a front-row seat to some of the clearest skies in the world. As the first Gold Tier level Dark Sky Reserve in the United States, this area of Central Idaho provides first-class stargazing opportunities.
With 756,000 acres of pristine mountain landscape, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is one of the West’s most breathtaking scenic expanses. The headwaters of four major rivers, over 700 miles of trails, 40 peaks rising over 10,000 feet, and over 300 high-mountain alpine lakes beckon adventure enthusiasts of all types. Popular activities within the recreation area include hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking and whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing. The Stanley Ranger Station is the recreation area’s best entrance point for those staying near Stanley. Visitors can easily access numerous trails and lakes as well as obtain information, area maps, and a narrative automobile tour highlighting the area’s history and most impressive sights.