Idaho is located in the northwest region of the United States. Its odd panhandle shape (only 50
miles wide on its
north side and 300 miles wide on its south side ) is surrounded east by Wyoming and Montana,
south by Nevada and
Utah, west by Oregon and Washington and north by British Columbia, Canada.
More than half of Idaho's 80,000 square acres are occupied by the Northern Rocky Mountains.
Therefore, the rugged
and wild state is sparsely populated, with just over 1.2 million residents.
Most of the residents live in urban areas, in and around the cities of Lewiston and Coeur d' Alene
in the northwestern
region, and Boise, the state's capital and largest city, located at the base of the Frank Church
River of No Return
Wilderness Area, in the southwest region.
The abundant lakes and rivers of Idaho, such as Snake River and Salmon River and Pend Oreille
Lake are used to
irrigate more than 3 million acres in the plains and valleys of the state, producing a good crop of
wheat. As expected, potatoes and wheat are one of the main sources of Idaho's income. Idaho
depends on tourism, as a good source of income, too. Appropriately so, since tourists spend
more than 2.5
billion dollars each year.
The main tourist attractions in the mountainous state are natural: Hiking in the forests among tall
stands of timbers,
searching for wild flowers in the woods (several varieties of orchids grow here), fishing in the
many lakes and
streams, hunting in the backcountry, skiing in the snow-capped mountains and driving amid
Visitors enjoy driving along the state's many scenic highways. Particularly highways
meandering past the historic
route forged by Lewis and Clark and highways that lead to ghost towns like Silver City.
Idaho's past is steeped in mining, and Silver City, just southwest of Boise, has many remnants to
prove it, such as old
mine workings, old buildings and old cemeteries. Not completely barren of live folk, Silver City
is still home to
about 300 people.
Sun Valley and Couer 'd Alene are two more towns on the must-see visitors list.
Couer 'd Alene's world class amenities - such as five star resorts, cosmopolitan shopping, fine
championship-quality golf courses - draw first time tourists from all over the world; the town's
sheer prettiness brings
Sun Valley was discovered in the early 1935 by Count Felix Schaffgtosch, a gentleman hired by
Railroad president Averell Harriman, who was looking for a place to build a world-class ski
resort. So excited were
the two men after viewing the region that would ultimately become Sun Valley, it only took 7
months to build the
resort. The word spread and soon famous illumines like Errol Flynn, Clark Cable and Gary
Cooper were regulars.
Climate in Idaho is seasonal with cold winters and hot summers throughout the state, the only
difference is, it's
slightly colder and wetter in the mountainous areas.
There are many major highways in Idaho, and getting around is easy. Remember, however, that
heavy snowfalls in
the winter months result in highway closures.