Totally Boise Blog


What To Do On A Day Trip To Idaho City

Last updated October 06, 2021 by Mariah Hebbeln

When the Gold Rush was hot, many eager and ambitious miners and following industries came in search of riches to the Boise Basin area. We know it now as Idaho City, and the year was close to 1862. Over the many years of prosperous mining years, it’s projected that roughly $250 million for gold was mined out of the Boise Basin mountains, hills, and rivers.

Just under 40 miles away from the center of Boise, you can access Idaho City by Highway 21 heading East. Once you cross the bridge over the mighty Lucky Peak Reservoir, you’ll come into some of the most spectacular views within minutes of the Treasure Valley. Winding through the mountain hills and tree-lined highway, you’ll find the Boise Basin, and soon after, Idaho City.

Idaho City is close enough that you can pack up the car, hit the road, and be up there in less than an hour. We’ve gathered the ultimate list of what to do, see, eat, and stay while you visit this historic town that was so integral to Idaho’s first history.

What To Do On A Day Trip To Idaho City
Image Credit: Idaho Chamber of Commerce
What To Do On A Day Trip To Idaho City
Image Credit: Idaho Chamber of Commerce

Where to Eat:

In Idaho City, you’re sure to find good home-cookin’ style food. Here are a few stops we’re sure to make when we visit.

  • Trudy’s Kitchen
  • Gold Mine Grill, Saloon, and Hotel
  • Sarsparilla Ice Cream Parlor
  • Walulla Coffee Shop
  • Diamond Lil’s
  • Harley’s Pub
  • Season’s Mountain Dining & Grocery

Where to Stay:

We can all admit the importance of finding a comfortable, clean, and relaxing place when visiting Idaho City. Here are a few places that you can’t go wrong with booking a stay at.

  • Inn the Pines
  • The Gold Mine
  • Cottonwood Street Inn
  • Creekside Campground
  • Idaho City Hotel
  • The Prospector Motel
  • Cowboy Campground
  • Idaho Creekside Cabin
  • Ponderosa Highway Retreats
  • Sarsaparilla Suites

What to Do:

Idaho City is one of our favorite places to visit as we can truly embrace the history of Idaho and understand how we got to where we are today. Places that help make our visit to Idaho City amazing:

  • The Springs
  • Visitor Center
  • Pon Yam House
  • Boise Basin Museum
  • Idaho City Old Time Photo Studio
  • Simply Fun - Historic Walking Tours
  • Idaho City Scavenger Hunt
  • Rockhounding
  • Geocaching
  • Pioneer Cemetery
What To Do On A Day Trip To Idaho City
Image Credit: The Springs

Where to Shop:

Who else loves a reason to shop? No better excuse than visiting a new city and shopping for their local goods. Where to shop in Idaho City:

  • Idaho City Trading Post
  • BoCo Sluice Box
  • BoCo Collectibles
  • Three Firs Pottery
  • Back In Time Antiques
  • Second Hand Mo’s
  • Simply Fun
What To Do On A Day Trip To Idaho City
Image Credit: Idaho Chamber of Commerce
What To Do On A Day Trip To Idaho City
Image Credit: Idaho Chamber of Commerce

Where to Hike or Snowshoe:

Season-round you can find fun activities to do in Idaho City. Whether you’re enjoying a summer hike or a snow-filled snowshoe day, we recommend you check out these nature spots.

  • Buena Vista Trailhead
  • Mores Creek Summit Trailhead
  • Grayback Gulch Campground
  • Lower Crooked River Trailhead
  • Charcoal Gulch

Tips and Advice for Visiting Idaho City

  • Note the speed limit when you come into town. It quickly shifts from the highway speed of 55 mph to 25 mph. These small-town cops are looking to keep their city residents safe, and will happily give you a hefty speeding ticket if you’re caught driving too fast.
  • The area is a mixture of private and public land. Look for “No Trespassing” signs posted to be respectful of people’s private lands. There are plenty of maintained forest roads and trails in the Idaho City / Mores Creek Summit area that will give you access to plenty of stunning Idaho wildlands.
  • Consider staying the night to get the full experience. Many great in-town stays are listed above and the small town of Idaho City will appreciate the business.
  • Dress for the weather! You do not want to be left walking around in the cold without a good coat or hiking through the rivers or trails without the proper shoes. Idaho City can get a few inches of snow in the winter, or just as hot as the valley in the summer.
  • If you’re staying overnight and are planning on creating a campfire, consult our previous blog on fire safety and Idaho’s reliance on everyone doing their part.
Keep Idaho Safe During High Fire Risk Season Blog

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