BOISE, Idaho â Sandwiched neatly between the Rocky Mountains' majestic climes and the Snake River's winding â sometimes raging â waters, Southwest Idaho is home to some of U.
S.'s most beautiful wilderness, vibrant cities and authentic small-town Americana. And it's all accessible from a network of a few state and federal highways, perfect for a summer vacation.Starting in Boise, Idaho's biggest city, adventurers can explore an urban environment that's great for the whole family. The largest ethnic Basque community in the country, it offers a variety of cultural opportunities, like the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the Idaho Aquarium, as well as a thriving jazz scene and film culture.Crossing through the southwest portion of Idaho, the Oregon Trail BackCountry Byway showcases Idaho's pioneer spirit and leads travelers by some of the state's greatest points of interest. Starting at the crossing of the Snake River, travelers will follow the route of the pioneers as they crossed the Idaho desert in a covered wagon pulled by weary oxen. The scenic byway is just more than 100 miles and starts southeast of Boise.Adrenaline junkies, adventurous families, and lovers of the outdoors will find plenty to pique their interest. From the endless miles of bike paths and mountain trails to rushing whitewater and multitude of state parks, Southwest Idaho is a treasure for everyone. In the summer, area ski resorts opentheir lifts to mountain bikers while the melting snow creates ideal whitewater playgrounds in the rivers and canyons below. State parks offer a little bit ofeverything: stargazing at Bruneau Dunes and Observatory, camping and hiking at Ponderosa, water slides and swimming at Eagle Island. Just outside Boise, Zip Idaho has the state's longest zip lines for the extreme adventurers. TheThunder Mountain Line takes travelers on themed rides through stunning Idaho vistas. There are also hot air balloon rides, jet boat tours, fly fishing trips, and wild birds of prey to pass the time.The naturally abundant Snake River Valley is home to more than 16 wineries and 1,400 acres of vineyards. It has been designated an American Viticultural Area, making it one of the country's more significant wine growing regions.Travelers thinking about a whitewater adventure can navigate furious class IVs to family-friendly class IIs; there is rafting for all styles. Outfitters like Cascade Raft and Kayak and Hell's Canyon Raft can help find the best river and trip fit. Cascade Raft and Kayak has a little bit of everything on the Payette River. Choose between playful half and full days of rafting, perfect for the whole family or serious whitewater including a trip titled âThe Plunge.â For a longer rafting trip imagine paddling through class IIIs and IVs on the Snake River between the towering rock walls of Hell's Canyon. Hell's Canyon Raft offers trips between three and six days with hikes and historic sites mixed in with rafting.