The National Parks in Idaho to Visit
There are six different, unique national parks in the state of Idaho for you to cross off your bucket list. Whether you visit each separately or see them all in one big road trip in your Bowlus luxury travel trailer, each offers natural beauty, scenic hiking trails, and camping experiences exclusive only to that park. Each park is individual in its draw, and you should check each one out when traveling around the beautiful state of Idaho.
City of Rocks National Reserve
First on the list is the City of Rocks National Reserve, also known as the “Silent City.” Thanks to erosion, mass wasting, and weathering, the reserve is full of unusual landforms like arches, tafoni, and panholes. That’s part of what makes it such a mecca for rock climbers, hikers, and adventurers.
The reserve has 22 miles of hiking trails that take campers to see the most stunning sites it has to offer. The trails vary from easy to strenuous, and there is also plenty of opportunity for backcountry exploration. If you’re looking for a quick, easy trail, try the Window Arch Trail. If you want more of a challenge, the Geological Interpretive Trail is one of the best hikes in the entire reserve. Although it’s just over a mile, it guides hikers through many of the reserve’s geological wonders along with interpretive stations that explain the forces that created them.
Rock climbing is another popular activity to take part in at the reserve. There are more than 600 different climbing routes, varying from traditional routes to sport routes and from 30 feet to 600 feet. If you’ve never climbed before, the park rangers also offer first time climbing sessions to teach you how to climb safely.
At the end of the day, while there are lodges to stay in, you won’t need them when you bring your luxury travel trailer. There are two campgrounds to choose from—the City of Rocks Campground and the Smoky Mountain Campground. Both can be reserved ahead of time.
Although there are public bathrooms, you won’t have to use those. The Bowlus offers an expansive, hotel-style bathroom with a separate shower that provides you with a continuous source of hot water. You can shower in privacy without having to worry about walking across a public campground. And with teak and chrome finishes and a spacious medicine cabinet and vanity, it’ll be like you never left home.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
The Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve doesn’t look like it belongs in Idaho; it looks like it came straight out of a science fiction movie. The scenery was designed by lava flows and volcanic formations, which created a variety of caves and trails to explore.
The outdoor activities at the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve include both hiking and caving. To do either, you’ll need to obtain a permit ahead of time. According to their statistics, however, less than 100 people do so, meaning you can explore without dealing with crowds of people.
The Wilderness Trail is the best way to see everything the preserve has to offer, but keep in mind that the lava flows have created jagged terrain, so wear appropriate shoes. If caving is more your thing, five caves are open to visitors. You are allowed to explore on your own, as long as you have a permit.
When you’re done hiking across the lava flows and exploring the caves at Craters of the Moon National Park, you’ll be ready to clean up and put your feet up for a while. The best place to do that is the Lava Flow Campground, located close to the visitor center and some of the more popular hiking trails. The campground doesn’t take reservations and doesn’t have electrical hookups, but that won’t make any difference when you travel in a Bowlus. With the potential to go off-grid for two weeks, thanks to the largest lithium iron phosphate batteries in the travel trailer industry, you can spend the night anywhere without worrying about losing power or comfort.
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
If archaeology is your thing, Idaho’s Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument should be at the top of your list. More than 200 species of fossils have been found there, including the famous fossil named after the park—the Hagerman Horse.
Because of the park’s archeological importance, it’s important to stick to the established hiking trails. Many of them will take visitors past the areas where the most fossils have been found. You can also hike on the Old Oregon Trail or to the Snake River. Pick up a map at the Visitor Center, or download one from their website before heading out to see all of the available trails.
While there are no campgrounds available at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, there are plenty of boondocking opportunities just outside of it. When you’re not tied down to electrical hookups, you can park your luxury travel trailer anywhere. You’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable memory foam bed and the privacy of your own, secure space. With Marine LED reading lights, designer drapes, and wood inserts, you can read or relax as you please. It’s like taking your own hotel room with you, anywhere you go.
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Nez Perce National Historical Park is another park that can be visited but not camped in. Anyone exploring the national parks Idaho offers should make sure to visit and learn more about the indigenous people that called the land home. There are several historical sites to visit and a few short, interpretive trails to walk. The Heart of the Monster is our personal favorite.
Before leaving the park, make yourself a quick lunch in the kitchen of your luxury travel trailer. With a two-burner Italian-style cooktop that uses propane gas and a high-efficiency refrigerator and freezer to store plenty of groceries in, you can whip up a gourmet meal in no time flat.
Yellowstone National Park
By far the most well-known and popular national park in Idaho is Yellowstone National Park. It was also the first national park in the country, and it’s as wondrous to see as it is complex.
Hiking and camping are the top draws for visitors, and for good reason. With more than 2.2 million acres to explore, you’ll be able to find your exact, perfect adventure. The park has more than 900 miles of hiking trails, as well, which you won’t need a permit to explore. You can see all of the features that Yellowstone is so famous for, up close and personal.
The Fairy Falls trail is one of the most popular, around six miles long. It guides hikers past one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the park, as well as through young pine forests and both the Spray and Imperial geysers. The Mammoth Hot Springs trail through terrace structures is also incredibly popular. It can be a strenuous hike, however, and there is thermal activity, so it’s important to stay on the trails.
Because of the sheer size of the park, there are plenty of opportunities for camping. However, only five of them can be reserved ahead of time, which is always recommended if you’re visiting during the busier months. The Bridge Bay Campground offers views of Yellowstone Lake, which is one of the biggest highest-elevation, fresh-water lakes in the country.
However, if you want more privacy, Grant Village campground has more than 400 campsites so you can park your luxury travel trailer as far away from other campers as you want. No matter which campground you choose, you’ll be grateful for the comfort and privacy of your Bowlus at the end of a long day of hiking.
With six different national parks to explore, Idaho can keep adventurers interested and engaged for as long as they want to be. When you take the trip in your Bowlus, you visit on your terms. When you don’t have to worry about checking into a hotel at a specific time or finding a campsite with electrical hookups, the world opens up even more. Don’t let anything hold you back any longer. Invest in your freedom with your own luxury travel trailer, then get out and see the country the way it was meant to be seen.