Southeast Idaho is potato country. At its center is the county of Bingham, where one third of America's potato crop is grown and processed. The city of Blackfoot is home to the Potato Expo, a cornucopia of information and relics featuring America's best loved spud. Potato aficionados can get a glimpse of the world's largest potato chip and other unique trivia. Those out of state visitors who make a stop at the museum will also get a baked potato with admission.
Southeast Idaho is also known of its list of natural attractions: Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, at the southern tip of the region, provides protection for Canada Geese, canvasback ducks, trumpeter swans, and other migratory birds that have shown a decline over the past years. Fishing, wildlife photography and hunting (with permit) are permitted on the refuge. Bear Lake State Park, located next door, is a favorite high-altitude destination for boaters, skiers and naturalists. Located at 5,900 feet, it is open in the winter for snowmobiling. Nearby Minnetonka Cave provides an underground tour of stalagmites and other natural phenomena. The Bear Lake-Caribou Scenic Byway links all of these sights in a 2-3 hour picturesque drive.
Like so much of the Northwest, Southeast Idaho is intersected by the Oregon Trail, which carried thousands of emigrants on their search for a better home. The National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier is located on the spot of an original encampment. Massacre Rock State Park commemorates early pioneers with interesting displays and has a campground for summer visitors.
Winter attractions include skiing and snowboarding at Pebble Creek Ski Area as well as Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing throughout the region. Winter travelers should take note that some roads are closed due to high snowfall in this region.
The amazing blue of this lake is due to the soluble carbonates in the water, and the way they refract the light. The lake has several species of fish found nowhere else in the world, and a juniper and pine shoreline. It is a popular swimming spot in summer, with boat launch and camping facilities.
Massacre Rocks State Park
named for a skirmish in 1862 in which ten people were killed. Until then, this break in the rocks had been used safely by thousands of emigrants on the Oregon Trail. Featuring lava rock formations, the park is home to almost 300 species of desert plants and over 200 species of birds.
Take a guided tour through many rooms of the cave which is half a mile long and full of stalactites, stalagmites and fossils.
Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival and Rodeo - August
The Shoshone and Bannock were two tribes which dominated Southeast Idaho. They spoke different languages, but shared a similar lifestyle, migrating to hunt buffalo, deer and antelope. This festival has Indian games, art exhibits and a colorful war dance competition.
Centre of the largest potato producing community in the world, producing a third of the US potatoes (and you know how Americans love their "fries"!)
Eastern Idaho State Fair - September
Begins Labor Day weekend and runs for eight days. Ranked one of the top five agricultural fairs in the US. Horse racing, rodeos, rides and exhibits.
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Idaho Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places, 8th Edition by Julie Fanselow. This guidebook features fun, unusual and different things travelers want to see and experience. Discover the best in local dining, quirky cultural tidbits, hidden attractions and unique finds. Order now...
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Rockhounding Idaho: A Guide to 99 of the State's Best Rockhounding Sites by Garret Romaine. This is the one must-have book for anyone interested in collecting rocks, minerals, fossils and gold in the Gem State. Over 200 pinpoint GPS coordinates in 99 collecting locales, covering widely known fee-dig operations, four-wheel-drive adventures into the deserts and long winding drives through the mountains. Order now...
Idaho the Whitewater State by Grant Amaral (Author), Laura Andrews (Editor, Illustrator), Doug Ammons (Designer, Editor), Mary Williams (Author). The complete guidebook to the rivers of Idaho. Containing over 100 different runs, 100 maps, 16 color and 52 black and white photos, The Whitewater State is the best-selling Idaho guidebook. Order now...
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