- 131 miles (210 km)
- Allow 3 hours.
- Expect to pay fees at the various attractions along the way.
Traveling through the shaded roads of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the Ponderosa Pines Scenic Byway offers adventure, solitude and breathtaking scenery. From gold rush towns to rushing waters, there are hundreds of things to explore.
Start the byway in Boise, which was named by French Explorers after they crossed the arid plains. The green trees of the area earned the name 'boise,' or wooded. History lovers enjoy tours of a U.S. territorial prison, and outdoor lovers have a great time at Bogus Basin just outside the city. If you ski in the winter or picnic during the warmer months of summer, the views of the surrounding area are stunning.
Grab an interpretive tape of the tour before leaving Boise and continue into Idaho City. In 1848, settlers came looking for gold and found it, as Idaho City and Boise Basin were the biggest strikes in the West. Wander through parts of the restored Old West town and see what the rush was all about. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospector and search for your own gold in a local streambed or push open the swinging doors of an old saloon for a drink.
Continue down the road past Lowman where you can find a hot spot -- 140 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact. The Kirkman Hot Springs and Campground is the perfect place to unwind and soak tired muscles, one of more than 200 hot springs in the state. As you leave Lowman and head north, the drive brings you into a full view of the western peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains and the start of the Sawtooth Wilderness. Spend countless hours exploring acres of ponderosa pine and steelhead, and hide away from civilization in remote camping spots in the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, the Challis National Forest or the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.
Once you reach Stanley, explore the historical museum and learn about the history of the area, or peer into the windows of rustic ranger stations. Enjoy some of the outdoors by fishing in the waters of Stanley or Redfish Lake or test the rapids on the Salmon River.
For those that truly enjoy spending time away from the bustle of the cities, the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway is the perfect getaway spot. From wooded glades and calm lakes to the wildness of an Old West gold rush, this byway will give you the chance to relax and enjoy yourself away from the stress of daily life.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Boise National Forest (ID)
Created in 1908, this national forest contains ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, and plenty of opportunity for recreation.
Salmon National Forest (ID)
The Salmon-Challis National Forest covers over 4.3 million acres in east-central Idaho. Rugged and remote, this country offers adventure, solitude and breathtaking scenery. The area is a highly desired destination for hunting, fishing, white-water rafting
Sawtooth National Forest (ID)
The Sawtooth Forest has archaeological and historical sites which reflect our heritage for the past 10,000 years.