Idaho City Day Trip Ideas
I was searching online the other day for a fun day trip from Boise where I could see some fall leaves when I realized that the old ghost-town of Idaho City might be the perfect option. It’s only about 45-55 mins from Boise depending on how quick you’re driving and is a fun little activity to do on a weekend.
Idaho City used to actually be the largest city in the Northwest—bigger than Portland. Once you go, that will be super hard to believe, but back in the mining days, this town was hopping! It’s now become half a ghost town and half a working town. The population is only about 450 people and it’s what I would call “podunk Idaho” (no offense to the locals) but I had a blast visiting for the day.
Looking for more ghost towns in Idaho? Check out this list of 10 spooky ghost towns in Idaho! While we’re at it, let’s be friends on Instagram at @travelingspud!
Here are some fun day trip ideas in Idaho City:
The Springs at Idaho City
This was honestly the highlight of my time in Idaho City! Just look at that private pool! You definitely need to book ahead (especially in the fall and winter), but you can pick between the private pools or the communal hot springs. They also provide other spa treatments like massages and facials. This time, my boyfriend and I opted for the private pool that you can book for an hour at a time. It costs $45 for the hour and fits up to 4 people. You can also book a day pass to sit in the regular pool for $17 and in both the private and the communal, waiters will bring you drinks and food. My friends recommend the Mediterranean Plate!
Visit the Idaho City Historic District
The old-town of Idaho City is soo cool and definitely worth checking out when you go! If you just drove straight down the main highway through Idaho City you’d think there were about two buildings there, but once you turn left into the town you’ll see a bunch of cool old buildings! Definitely make sure to stop at the old jail or pest house and all of the little old houses near there. Walk along the boardwalk to check out the trading post, county courthouse, museums and some old markets and shops.
Take a Hike
There are plenty of hiking trails near Idaho City. I wanted to see fall foliage, so we went on the Charcoal Gulch hike and it was the perfect length. It took us 2 hours to the top and bottom, but there wasn’t anything at the top (no view or lake or anything) which was a slight bummer. If you want something different, here are some other hikes in the area.
Go to Diamond Lil’s Local Saloon
I can’t even believe we randomly stumbled up on this place! It was a diamond in the ruff…literally. If you’re looking for grungy, cluttered, perfectly middle of nowhere Idaho vibe, then go here for a drink and a burger and to listen to some old juke box music. We sat up at the bar and enjoyed checking out the local scene, which is a little bit of a culture shock if you ask me. 🙂 Be sure to go into the bathrooms as they are decorated with attractive men and women in swimsuits!
Try some Sarsparilla or just eat ice cream
Sarsparilla is a soft drink that people back in the day used to drink when alcohol wasn’t around. Now you can try it yourself and get some ice cream as well! Head to Sarsparilla Ice Cream Parlor & Gift to get your sweet tooth on! This photo isn’t of the parlor, but it’s of another building that I didn’t find when I was there, so be sure to find it when you go and send me a pic!!
Historical Walking Tour
I didn’t do this personally, but saw a lot of people on tours and want to do one myself next time. There’s a lot of history in this little town and it would be fun to learn more about it. Go here to schedule a booking.
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