The great outdoors beckons to me today as much as it did in my youth. When I was young I could run and explore and hike as I pleased. I was one of those children who liked to go barefoot and even in the mountains I enjoyed the ground under my feet. Today I don’t run much and my hiking distance is much reduced.
Idaho has some of the most beautiful places to visit. The seasoned hiker has a large variety of places to hike in to where the beauty of nature is exquisite in Idaho. For families with toddlers in strollers and loved ones in wheelchairs and for the adventurous who pride themselves in being independently active, (my son in his wheelchair was one of these) Idaho has something for everyone. Here are some of my favorite trails ranging from places that are handicapped accessible to the steep and the rugged.
American Falls State Fish Hatchery
2974 Fish Hatchery Rd., follow signs from Hwy. 39 at American Falls Dam in southeastern Idaho near the American Falls Dam. Ph (208) 226-2015 The Hatchery is open year round 7:30am to 4:00pm. The hatchery is wheelchair accessible. The two mile walking path is gravel and is manageable for parents with strollers. The American Falls Hatchery is located just downstream from the American Falls Dam. Here they raise rainbow and cutthroat trout for stocking in southeastern and northern Idaho. Visitors can see the life cycle of rainbow trout from eggs to 25-inch long fish in the incubation building and 20 outdoor raceways. The large fish viewing and feeding pond is impressive. If you enjoy bird watching then you will enjoy the 2-mile nature trail near the hatchery.
Ashton – Tetonia Trail
Starting at Marysville by Ashton, heading south there is a nice 30 mile path along an old abandoned rail line. The scenery is awesome and the path is good. Six miles down the path is the Conant Creek crossing. (See accompanying photo.) This may be a good point for those in wheelchairs and strollers to turn around and head back to their start. Still the view is awesome to there. The whole 30 mile stretch makes a great bike ride.
Craters of the Moon National Park
Along highway 93/26 south of Arco
If you go here, go in June. The flowers are beautiful. Yes flowers grow on the lava. There are many paths and areas to hike. Some are wheelchair accessible. Their goal is to provide universal access to as many of the major features within the developed area as possible. http://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm
Harriman State Park
3489 Green Canyon Rd, Island Park, ID 83429 208-558-7368
This is a lovely place to hike. Early mornings are beautiful here. Many of the trails are easy and are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
Hells Half Acre
Located along Interstate 15 between Shelley, Idaho and Rose, Idaho there is an interesting area to explore called Hell’s Half Acre. It is a very new lava flow. Pull off the freeway at the rest stops and take a small walk around. The walk on the southbound is very much wheelchair accessible. The Northbound is a little more rugged.
Idaho Falls River Walkway
Also known as the Idaho Falls Greenbelt in downtown Idaho Falls, the walk around the river is very nice for all. There are several loops and parks along the way. You can view a slide show that I put together of the river walk by opening up the above link.
From Arco take the Arco highway 93 and stay on the road towards Macky, Idaho. Turn off the main road onto Antelope Creek Road about 23 miles then take Forest Road 135 and Forest Road 137. It is about a thirty minute drive from the main road to the trail head. Park your car and head up the trail. This is a short hike into the lake of about 1.5 miles. The trail is steep at places and so it is not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers. The lake is beautiful, with good fishing and camping.
3592 N. Park Ln. American Falls, ID 83211 (208) 548-2672
This place of interest is located just along Interstate 86 between Pocatello and Twin Falls not far from American Falls. Here you can see for yourself the trail the pioneers took going west. Some of the pathways are wheelchair accessible.
North Menan Butte
The North Menan Butte is one of two lava tuff cones. This is an interesting place to explore if you have an interest in geology. If you hike all the way around the bowl it is a 3 mile hike. The going can be rough and this is not a place for strollers. Nor is it wheelchair accessible. There are rattle snakes and be sure to take water. I advice you to stay on the path. There are several ways to get there. Head north on the first road east of the Menan store in the small town of Menan and cross the river heading towards the buttes. Take the road between the buttes and the trail head will be on your left.
The trail head is at 9,000 feet elevation. The path to the lake has a gain of 200 feet for Phyllis Lake elevation is at 9,200 feet. To get there follow highway 75 south from Stanley for seventeen miles. Take the gravel (road #209) Fourth of July Creek Road east and continue ten miles just before the Fourth of July Lake trail head is road 053 which is the Phyllis Lake jeep trail heading south. The hike in to the lake is a little rough for wheelchairs however there have been groups who have made it in.
Victor to Driggs trail
This trail is a paved route that runs between Driggs and Victor in Eastern Idaho. It is an 8 mile long Asphalt path that follows the old Union Pacific right away. The scenic Teton Valley on the Idaho side of the Tetons. This is an awesome place to visit and a totally wheelchair accessible pathway.
There are many, many more places to hike in Idaho. These listed are just some of my favorite. For more information about hiking in Idaho see the Visit Idaho website.