Explore your public lands in Idaho.
Our map features recreation sites on public lands throughout the state across public land management agencies. Find your next hike or camping destination, decide where to fish, climb, hunt, make the most of the snow, enjoy the water, or plan a roadside picnic along a scenic drive out west.
Modern explorers may wonder why Idaho has stayed off their adventure screens for so long. Over 60% of the state is public land, including vast forests, miles of sagebrush grasslands, and numberless lakes, hot springs, mountains, and rivers. Hells Canyon and Sawtooth National Recreation Areas boast some of the most breathtaking scenery in the county, and through both run world-class fishing and boating rivers, the Snake and the Salmon. Other Wild and Scenic Rivers include the Middle Fork of the Clearwater, the route which Lewis and Clark followed on their historic trek, and the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the "river of no return," which shoots through the second-largest wilderness in the lower 48.
In fact, with four wilderness areas in addition to the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho has more designated roadless wilderness than any other state in the conterminous US. These, surrounded as they are by national forests, provide extensive habitat for wildlife of all types: moose, elk, deer, bear, mountain lions, coyotes, raptors, and countless small birds and mammals. In the clear and abundant waters live anadromous (ocean going) steelhead and salmon, as well as wild trout and hatchery-stocked bass, trout, salmon, and other game fish. The number of blue ribbon fisheries are astounding, and from Henry's Fork to Dworshak Reservoir, the record catches are equally incredible.
If you did miss all this, you're not the first. Despite reports from Lewis & Clark of friendly Nez Perce natives, thousands of settlers walked right through Idaho without stopping, visions of Oregon's bounty propelling them onward. When gold fever drove thousands more into the hills of California and Nevada, they ran right past Idaho. Only when the rushes settle down did miners and homesteaders start to trickle into Idaho. A few strikes, and boom towns sprang up, fading away quickly. Timber in the north created a steadier economy, and irrigation brought large scale agriculture (Famous Potatoes!). Soon enough, pressure from settlers caused conflicts with the unremittingly helpful Nez Perce, bringing to a head the most tragic chapter in Idaho histoy, the persecution of Chief Joseph. Today, the Nez Perce are honored for their culture and contributions throughout the state, in the various branches of the Nez Perce National Historic Park and Nee Me Poo National Historic Trail.
Take some time to explore the wonders of Idaho here. You will discover a wealth of detailed information about where to go and what to do while touring the public lands of this state.
In our Shop & Maps sections, you can purchase books, maps, and other educational items to make your virtual or real visit truly rewarding. To begin your journey, click on recreation site, use the filters above, or start searching.
For information on lodging, museums, tribal lands, and commercial attractions or services, contact the Idaho Division of Tourism Development. For information about hunting and fishing regulations and licensing information for Idaho, please contact the Idaho Game and Fish Department.
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