FROM THE RAZOR-EDGE PEAKS of the Sawtooths to Bruneau’s 400 ft sand dunes, eerie lava plateaus to sage-covered desert and rushing whitewater rivers — Idaho’s one diverse state.

Wild to its very core, with 37 million acres of public lands open to explore, even the average photographer seems to come back from the Gem State wielding Ansel Adams-level shots. Here are 25 photos of Idaho we can’t stop looking at.


Pioneer Cabin, Sun Valley

Originally built in 1937 as a ski shelter, today Pioneer Cabin marks the 9,500ft summit of one of Sun Valley’s most popular hikes. Famous for its views out to the western front of the Pioneer Range, the 7.5-mile trail takes hikers through wildflower meadows.
Photo: Ray J. Gadd


Bathing at the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

From fly fishing to whitewater rafting through the roaring gorges that cut through the Rockies, Idaho’s famous for its cold waters. But there are also some 340 hot springs dotted across the state, and 130 hit just the right temperature for bathing—that’s a higher concentration than anywhere else in the country.


Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Ketchum

Every October, 1,500 woolies strut their stuff down Ketchum's Main Street in the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival. This five-day fest pays homage to the West's ranching heritage (and specifically to the region's Basque ties) with a ton of events including sheepdog competitions, cooking classes, wool workshops, dancing, music, and storytelling.
Photo: Michael Edminster


Mountain bikes and hot springs

Slipping into a backcountry pool after cruising around on a mountain bike all day is a pretty great experience. This shot was taken on the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, which passes by a number of designated wilderness areas including the Frank Church-River of No Return and the Selway-Bitterroot. Cycling by such remote scenery means you'll get plenty of chances to spot megafauna—look out for elk and deer.
Photo: Casey Greene


Barbecue on the Middle Fork

You won't find electricity or cell service when you go out on a multi-day rafting trip along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, one of the most remote areas in the contiguous US. But go with a local outfitter like Solitude River Trips and you will get open-grill barbecues on the beach, drinks on ice, your tent set up for you, and 106 miles of world-class rafting through a guaranteed 300 rapids. Adrenaline junkies should check out the river in June—that's when those Class III and IV sections are at their gnarliest.
Photo: Solitude River Trips


Paragliding, Sun Valley

Sun Valley's Bald Mountain may be famous for its ski slopes, but it's also a 3,200 ft-high launchpad for paragliders. If you fancy your chances, grab the chairlift to the top and then soar off the crown of Baldy on a tandem flight with local outfitter Fly Sun Valley. They're experts at searching out those summer thermals.
Photo: Fly Sun Valley


Fly fishing at Silver Creek

Forty miles south of Sun Valley, Silver Creek is often hailed as the “crown jewel” of the Rockies’ spring creeks. The upper section is the spot to test your skills (and patience) as you cast to rainbows and brown trout.
Photo: Ray J. Gadd


Frank Church Wilderness Area

Covering 2,366,907 acres of untamed land, the Frank Church Wilderness Area is the Lower 48’s largest single wilderness area. The canyons and crystal clear water of the river draw adventure-seeking rafters and kayakers who come to paddle one of the longest stretches of undammed water in the country.
Photo: Ray J. Gadd


Sawtooth National Recreation Area

The 756,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area is arguably more wild than any national park—precisely because it’s not one. Idaho’s most famous mountain range is known for its big wall climbing and mountaineering. Its tallest peaks are Thompson Peak (10,751 feet) and Mount Cramer (10,716 feet).
Photo: Sawtooth Mountain Guides