You don't have to venture far to experience some of Idaho's wildest winter scenes. A 150-mile loop that begins and ends in Boise threads through an old gold rush town and past nordic skiing trails, hot springs, and a winter range for elk.
The route follows scenic stretches of the Boise River and South Fork Payette and Payette Rivers. Start just after dawn to spot bald eagles near Lucky Peak Reservoir on State 21 ― and still have time for hiking, soaking, and elk viewing in Garden Valley by dusk.
WHAT: Half-pound burgers, thick onion rings, and a view of the Payette. WHEN: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Wed-Mon. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 101 Riverside Dr., Horseshoe Bend; 208/793-2651.
WHAT: Homestyle breakfast with fresh ingredients and Trudy's local gold rush lore. WHEN: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. HOW MUCH: $$. WHERE: 3876 State 21, Idaho City; 208/392-4151.