Sunday, October 16, 2011

There’s More to Idaho Than Potatoes

Powell to New Meadows copyWe’ve spent time in Idaho over the last six years, but hadn’t explored the western side of the state along Highway 95.  We left  Bitterroot Mountains, and  continued on Highway 12 along the Lochsa River, eventually joining the Clearwater River and descending into the valley and the small town of Kooskia (koos-ski).  The drive along the Lochsa River is one of our favorites; rugged mountains, tall trees, beautiful river – AND it’s downhill.  There’s not much out here, a few Forest Service and State Highway facilities; otherwise it’s just miles and miles of unspoiled scenery. 
Lochsa River
Lochsa River2In Kooskia, the scenery changed from forested mountains to grassy hills with a winding, up and down road.  To our East stretched the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, an area of over one million acres, while to our West were the rolling hills and farms of the valley.  We spent a night in Grangeville, at the Bear Den RV Resort, a great Passport America park with the cleanest laundry and recreation room we’ve ever seen.  White Bird Battlefield OverlookWe took a ride down the road to see the White Bird Battlefield, the first of what would become a number of battlefields during the journey of the Nez Perce.  As we stood at the battlefield overlook, we noticed the sign describing the history of White Bird Grade, and we could see the old road in the distance.  White Bird Grade SignIf you click on the picture and  look closely, you can see how the old road goes back and forth, back and forth, as it climbs up the grade.  And yes, we had to try it.  It was an interesting drive and we had to wonder how big rigs must have struggled going both up and down. 

Old White Bird Grade
From Grangeville, we travelled down White Bird Grade (the new one), a slow seven miles of 7% grade.  At the bottom, we once again met the Salmon River, and continued along the valley to the small town of New Meadows.Salmon River Canyon
Salmon River
We got into the utterly forgettable Meadows RV Park early in the day, and drove into the mountains to visit the resort community of McCall.  Located on the South shore of Payette Lake, McCall is a community of condos, marinas, and the typical assortment of galleries and gift shops.  It’s a pretty place, and the lake view, with the mountains in the distance, demanding that we take a break to sit in the shade and relax before heading back to the park.  Payette Lake
Payette Lake MarinaWe’re on the road, heading for Boise – C’mon back and visit with us!


  1. I LOVE Idaho. It's hard to beat the scenery of the Sawtooths and north. I stayed in the same campground in Grainger. Ditto about the cleanliness. Lovely owners-they were so nice to me and my pup. The drive around Payette Lake in McCall was very nice.

    Funny I have some of the same pictures on my blog as you have on yours. You brought back memories. In McCall, I stayed in an RV resort that was sold while I was there.

    The hills around Lewiston were incredible. I could go on and on...Stanley was like heaven to my husband and me--we discovered it in the early 2000s...population has climbed to 100 since.

    Enjoyed the post. Thanks.

  2. We haven't spent much time in Idaho...just passing through on our way to somewhere else. Your photos and commentary have piqued my interest. Looks like beautiful country.

  3. We have also explored that area. Really enjoyed that part of Idaho. The story of the Nez Perce is interesting. The rivers in that area are beautiful. My daughter Sandra was a white river guide on all those rivers. Engoy the west.