Throwing this out to the masses in hopes of some recommendations. I’m planning an epic 2 month road trip this summer following roughly this route:
I made a similar trip last year to pick up my GFC, but it was only about 3 weeks long and didn’t go as far west or south. I’d love to crowdsource some cool things to do/see along the way. I’m Ideally looking for recommendations for cool events, great hiking/mtn biking trails, interesting landscapes, great hole-in-the-wall eats, and unique local activities. I’ll be setting out on this adventure 1 June and have a family reunion in Washington state 23-27 June. Otherwise my itinerary is pretty open. For me this trip marks the end of 13 years in the Air Force and the pursuit of other opportunities. Roller coasters, white water rafting, national/state parks, state fairs, concerts, fireworks…I’m open to any and all suggestions. If you just want to get some GFCers together I’m down to share war stories over beers and s’mores any day. I look forward to your suggestions and hopefully getting to meet a couple of you along the way.
Consider some of the WABDR (Washington Back Country Discovery Route), Bethal ridge is amazingly beautiful and an iconic photo spot. Some other nice places along there also. And thank you for you service.
You’ll be real close to the Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain in SE Oregon. Worth adding a day or two to swing through that zone. There are multiple hot springs in the area. Also grab a milkshake at Fields Station.
My mom used to live in Loon Lake so I’ve spent some time up north of Spokane. Lake Roosevelt is beautiful. My family rented an Airbnb on Sacheen lake this summer so that’ll be basecamp for a couple days. Any recs for MTN biking trails? This’ll be the first time I’ve had my bike with me out there so hoping to find something fun.
Batey-bould is a single track orv trail not to far from there I’ve never took my mtb but I have ridden it on my dirt bike years ago and seen a few people do it on mtb, also bead lake has a single track around a portion of it and can be connected to forests service roads to make a pretty good loop
Second @BRUH89, Beacon Hill is some of the best riding in the Spokane area, if not the best. There are some trails at Riverside State Park too, but I haven’t checked them out in years.
Your route south out of the Spokane area is one of my favorite drives in eastern WA. If you have a chance, swing into Walla Walla and spend the night up in the Blue Mountains. Really underrated part of Washington.
Awesome! The whole reason for going south through UT is Zion, Moab, Arches, and Bryce Canyon. Never been but always wanted to so this is my opportunity. Definitely looking to see the high points, but would love any personal favorites anyone might have!
Disclaimer: I know this is going to be a lot of info, but hopefully something will be useful for you while planning your trip. I’ve explored quite a few of these roads since I moved to Eastern Idaho 2 years ago and the beauty never ceases to amaze me. I feel like most people take I-84 and completely miss out on all the amazing things Idaho has to offer, and that’s a shame. So, if it were me, I’d avoid that whole I-84 stretch. While the Blue Mountains are beautiful, there’s a whole lotta nothing out there from Baker City to Snowville.
Coming from the Spokane areaI recommend jumping on Hwy 95 through Moscow/Lewiston and then Hwy 55 (at the Y) south to Boise via the Payette River Scenic Byway.
It’s a beautiful drive along the Salmon River and Payette River with tons of mountain views, lakes, and wildlife through the canyons, mixed with wide high mountain prairies and winding mountain pass roads. Even if you take the rest of I-84 from here, you’ll have packed a ton of scenery in to get you through the cow farts of Jerome.
One of the other options from Boise is to take the backroads through the Sawtooth Mountains (which is some of my favorite territory in Idaho) by either:
A) Following Hwy 21 up through Idaho City to Hwy 75 and Stanley and Sun Valley. There is hiking, hot springs, and camping through this whole area.
B) Continue to Mountain Home, then turn north on Hwy 20 and follow that east through huge alpine valleys full of farms.
From there, you can continue on Hwy 26 to Craters of the Moon, and then get back on I-15 to continue on to Utah.
The other option from the Spokane area is to make your way through Pullman (stop for some Wazzu ice cream and a tin of Cougar Gold cheese), then take Hwy 12 up through Lolo Pass. This follows close to the old Lewis & Clark Trail along the banks of the Clearwater River. There are lots of places to camp along this route, do some fishing, etc.
You can take a small detour up the Gold Rush Historic Byway.
After exiting in Lolo, you can head south on Hwy 93 through Salmon and Challis along the Salmon River Scenic Byway. Salmon is a sleepy old town, and the road takes you along the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. There is hiking, hot springs, ghost towns, and mining town all around this area.
This is epic. I’ll be seeing my mom between Spokane and Moscow for a couple days so I’ll likely continue in that direction. I’ve got a buddy in Boise too. I plan to do some house hunting in the Missoula/Lolo area for my life after the Air Force so I’ll be hitting that before Spokane. I do agree that eastern ID is often overlooked. I remember summers at camp in Stanley and driving through the Craters of the Moon growing up.
Thank you so much for the recommendations. This is why I love this community!
The Missoula/Lolo area is such an awesome area. We have a lot of family in Washington, so we make that trip several times/year and we always try to go through there on the Montana route whenever we can. The fishing, hunting, camping, etc. is everywhere up there. If I could find an excuse to move to Darby, I’d do it in a heartbeat.