The "City of Trees." The state capitol. Stop by the Boise Ranger District Office (5493 Warm Springs Ave.) for a cassette tape tour of the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway. The Old Penitentiary, one of only four U.S. territorial prisons still in existence, offers daily tours and exhibits.
Settlers came here in 1848 looking for gold. They found it. In fact, Idaho City and Boise Basin were the West's biggest strikes. Today, parts of the town have been restored so you can see what the Rush was all about. Try panning for gold in a local stream bed. Belly up to the bar of an authentic saloon. Relax in a hot spring. And while you're at it, be sure to visit the Information Center (on the left in the center of town) for more details on what to see and do.
Located at mile marker #73 is the Lowman Ranger District Office. In July 1989, it was a mighty busy place a lightning storm blasted the Boise National Forest, and when the smoke cleared, 46,100 acres were burned. Stop at the Ranger Office for a free map of "The Lowman Fire", then follow the burn via interpretive signs along the road. And just a few miles past Lowman, another hot spot - 140 Fahrenheit, to be exact. That's Kirkham Hot Springs and Campground, one of more than 200 hot springs in the state.
The Sawtooth Mountains and Wilderness
Continue north, and on the right the western peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains come into view. Welcome to the Sawtooth Wilderness, 217,000 pristine acres of lodgepole pine, steelhead, and remote places to camp. The Challis National Forest, on your left, is the gateway to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Another 2.3 million acres of wilderness. All told, there are more acres of roadless wilderness in Idaho than any place else in the lower 48 states.
The Town of Stanley
Coming into Stanley at mile #125, you'll see the first signs of civilization. A fence. Stanley Lake Overlook and its breathtaking views are next. And then, it's on to Stanley, where three Scenic Byways converge. Don't miss Valley Creek Lodge & RV Park, our recommended place to stay, on your left just as you enter town. Stanley boasts an historical museum, a Visitor Information Center (open summers), lodging, restaurants, camping, and recreation not to mention some of the prettiest scenery anywhere. The local tackle shop has an assortment of the right flies. River rafting outfitters will be glad to arrange a memorable trip for a day or for a week.