Seeking a laid-back road trip? A journey that takes you through the heart of American history while also appreciating natural wonders? Whisk yourself away to Southeast Idaho, where the crowds are few and the attractions are plentiful! Three days is never enough on any vacation, but this itinerary will offer a sampling of the region and leave you yearning for more.
This article was created in partnership with Southeast Idaho High Country. All photos provided by Southeast Idaho High Country.
Throughout your journey in southeast Idaho, you’ll find a range of accommodations, from camping to historic hotels. Vacation rentals are aplenty around Bear Lake, while Lava Hot Springs features cute boutique hotels. Pocatello is the largest town in the area, and certainly has the widest range of accommodations and other traveler amenities.
Day One | Bear Lake, Idaho
Bear Lake is simply enchanting. Known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” the turquoise blue waters of this massive natural lake beckon travelers from around the world. The lake is very family-friendly and offers something for everyone, from adventure-seekers to those looking for a laid back afternoon. Explore the waters on a sailboat, personal watercraft, stand-up paddleboard, rent a kayak, or just simply hang out on the beach.
Off the lake, there are plenty of trails to explore on foot, bicycle, horse and ATV. The golf course offers vistas over the lake and features a fully stocked pro shop and all of the gear you may need. History buffs will appreciate a visit to the Paris Tabernacle Historical Site, offering visitors a glimpse into lives of homesteaders in the Bear Lake region.
Day Two | Soda Springs & Lava Hot Springs
Unlike Yellowstone, you can actually play in the natural water features and geyser erupting at Soda Springs. A quirky claim, Soda Springs holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s only captive geyser! Barely north of Soda Springs is Hooper Springs, a unique place where naturally carbonated water bubbles from the ground and you can blend your own cola.
The area surrounding Soda Springs has multiple points of interest along the famous Oregon Trail. Those curious, should consider exploring prominent features such as the wagon ruts at the Oregon Trail Golf Club, and Thomas Corrigan Park which is teeming with Oregon Trail sites.
Lava Hot Springs
Travelers adore the cute downtown in Lava Hot Springs. The real reason you’ll want to spend time in this small town is the relaxation at their world famous hot springs. Notably, the waters are free of odors, sulfur and chlorine. Additionally, for those who just can’t get enough, several of the hotels in Lava Hot Springs feature their own pools.
Floating down the Portneuf River through Lava Hot Springs on a raft or tube is popular, and certainly fun for the whole family. More adventurous kayakers should explore the rapids on the Bear River. Note: the whitewater on the Bear River is highly technical and only recommended for expert boaters.
Day Three | Pocatello, Idaho
Adventure seekers will relish the mountain biking possibilities near Pocatello. Over 52 miles of singletrack trails span the hills outside of town, perfect for all riding levels. Within the city, there are several unique attractions and hidden gems such as the Museum of Clean. Just up the road from Pocatello is the renown Idaho Potato Museum. You might also be delighted to try one of the breweries in Old Town Pocatello, or even the world-class sushi restaurant.