Southern Idaho is off the beaten tourist route and has so many beautiful places to discover. The Snake River weaves through the state with its crystal green waters. Kayaking on it will lead you to the hidden cove of Blue Heart Springs. The water is so clear you can watch the fish swim by the bubbling sands at the bottom. Driving more upstream will take you past many waterfalls including the massive rock formations that make up Shoshone Falls.
The southern part of the state is filled with canyons that give some reprieve from the sun and long stretches of rocks formations, with the more famous ones given names liked Balanced Rock.
The state is also home to the City of Rocks, which is filled with rocks that stand up like skyscrapers as the name suggests. An entire day is just enough to scratch the surface of this reserve and do a hike that will take you past some of the parks most famous views and climbing rocks.
Southern Idaho was definitely a welcome surprise on our road trip to the more famous parks of Utah and California.
Chris and I had been talking about doing this trip for years, and finally in Summer 2022, we were able to make it happen. We packed up the microcamper for what would be our longest road trip yet. Seven weeks of living out of our vehicle and traveling almost 9000km from Vancouver to Prince Rupert, up the remote Cassiar Highway into Yukon, over to Whitehorse, down into Skagway and Haines, Alaska, up the stunning Haines Highway to Haines Junction, onto the Alaska Highway back through Whitehorse and into Dawson Creek, then back down to Vancouver via the rugged Tumbler Ridge.
Utah's Mighty 5 National Parks have some of the most jaw-dropping scenery we've ever seen. The large concentration of arches, rock formations, balanced rocks, and red canyons is truly incredible. Whether you're looking for challenging hikes or a comfortable car ride through some of the most impressive natural formations on earth, Utah's Mighty 5 are the parks to visit.
Our visit started with Arches, the eastern-most park, and over 8 days of travel, we made our way westwards through Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. The trip could be done in less time, but as it was this trip really only allowed us to properly see 4 of the 5 parks, we skipped over Canyonlands - we'd seen it before, and we wanted plenty of time in the other parks.
As this was our second visit to Arches, we knew exactly what we wanted to do: Climb up to Delicate Arch for the first time, visit Tower Arch, and re-do the hike we loved back in 2018: Devil's Garden. The hikes did not disappoint and provided the right combination of challenging terrain and stunning arches to look at.
Capitol Reef had not originally been on our list, but we figured since we'd be in the area, it was worth the detour off the major highway to check out. It's a bit smaller than the other parks, but very worthwhile. The hike up to Cassidy Arch and the drive through the canyon gave us absolutely stunning views.
Bryce Canyon's amphitheater is something to see. The way the rocks come together to form arches, bridges, and tunnels as you weave your way through the canyon makes the steep hike back up worth it.
Negotiating the crowds at Zion took a bit of getting used to, but being at the park for the first shuttle up the canyon allowed us to experience the hikes without the large crowds.