Best Backpacking in Idaho

Day hiker follows a trail into the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Nestled in the heart of the American Northwest, Idaho boasts a mesmerizing tapestry of wilderness that beckons outdoor enthusiasts and backpacking aficionados alike. With its rugged mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and expansive forests, the Gem State offers an unparalleled backdrop for unforgettable backpacking adventures. Whether you are a seasoned backpacker seeking a challenging ascent or a nature lover yearning for solitude amidst scenic vistas, Idaho’s diverse landscapes have something to offer for everyone. Join us as we traverse through the top backpacking destinations in Idaho, where nature’s grandeur and untamed beauty reign supreme. Lace up your boots and get ready to explore the best backpacking trails that this remarkable state has to offer!



Alpine Lakes Wilderness

In the heart of nature’s untamed beauty lies Alpine Lakes Wilderness, a pristine sanctuary where breathtaking alpine landscapes converge with crystal-clear waters and dense evergreen forests. This captivating expanse, surrounded by the rugged Cascade Mountains, offers a serene haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike, beckoning them to explore its hidden treasures and forge unforgettable memories amidst its unspoiled splendor.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness:

  • Immersive Alpine Landscapes: Traverse through a diverse tapestry of alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks, and glacial lakes, treating your eyes to awe-inspiring vistas at every turn.
  • Pristine Wilderness Experience: Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and embrace the tranquility of nature, as Alpine Lakes Wilderness offers a true back-to-the-wild experience.
  • Abundant Hiking Trails: Choose from an extensive network of well-maintained trails, catering to all skill levels, leading you to hidden gems and majestic viewpoints.
  • Unforgettable Camping Opportunities: Pitch your tent beside glistening lakes or beneath star-studded skies, relishing the solitude and the soothing sounds of nature.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Encounter a myriad of wildlife species, from deer and marmots to elusive mountain goats, making your backpacking journey even more enchanting and memorable.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Water Filtration System, Hiking Boots, Portable Stove, First Aid Kit


White Pine Lake

White Pine Lake beckons adventurers with its serene allure tucked amidst towering mountain peaks. Surrounded by a pristine wilderness, this hidden gem offers a captivating escape where turquoise waters mirror the sky above. Hikers and nature enthusiasts are drawn to explore its scenic trails, while the soothing melody of rustling pines and the occasional call of wildlife add to the enchantment of this natural wonder.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in White Pine Lake:

  • Breathtaking Alpine Beauty: White Pine Lake’s stunning alpine scenery with its crystalline waters and rugged mountains make backpacking a visual feast for nature lovers.
  • Solitude and Tranquility: Escape the hustle and find solace in the serene wilderness, away from the crowded city, offering a perfect setting for contemplation and relaxation.
  • Rewarding Hiking Trails: Explore a variety of well-marked and challenging trails leading to majestic viewpoints, rewarding hikers with panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.
  • Pristine Camping Spots: Set up camp beside the glistening lake, surrounded by towering trees, and fall asleep under a canopy of stars, embracing the ultimate camping experience.
  • Abundant Wildlife Encounters: Encounter a rich diversity of wildlife, from curious squirrels to elusive deer, offering nature enthusiasts an opportunity for unique and memorable wildlife sightings.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Water Filtration System, Portable Stove, Camping Cookware


Sawtooth Mountains

Nestled amidst the rugged expanse of nature, the Sawtooth Mountains stand as a testament to untamed beauty. With their jagged peaks and pristine alpine lakes, this majestic range beckons adventurers to embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of wilderness. Amidst the whispering pines and the echoing calls of wildlife, visitors can immerse themselves in a world of serenity and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Sawtooth Mountains:

  • Spectacular Mountain Scenery: Traverse through the breathtaking vistas of the Sawtooth Mountains, where rugged peaks and glacial valleys create an unparalleled visual feast for backpackers.
  • Abundant Outdoor Activities: Explore a myriad of outdoor pursuits, from hiking and rock climbing to fishing and boating, ensuring an adventure-filled trip for all enthusiasts.
  • Remote Wilderness Experience: Discover the thrill of escaping the crowds and immersing yourself in the unspoiled wilderness, offering a true sense of seclusion and tranquility.
  • Crystal-Clear Alpine Lakes: Refresh your spirit by camping near the pristine alpine lakes, their crystal-clear waters inviting you to take a dip in nature’s own sanctuary.
  • Diverse Wildlife Encounters: Witness a diverse array of wildlife in their natural habitats, including deer, elk, mountain goats, and various bird species, making your backpacking experience all the more captivating.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Portable Stove, First Aid Kit, Trekking Poles


Seven Devils Mountains

Amongst the vast wilderness of Idaho lies the Seven Devils Mountains, a rugged and majestic range that beckons adventurers to embrace its untamed beauty. With soaring peaks, deep canyons, and pristine alpine lakes, this enchanting landscape offers an unparalleled opportunity for backpackers to discover nature at its most awe-inspiring. Amidst the tranquil solitude and breathtaking panoramas, one can forge unforgettable memories and experience the true essence of the great outdoors.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Seven Devils Mountains:

  • Dramatic Mountain Scenery: Seven Devils Mountains present an awe-inspiring backdrop with their rugged peaks, deep canyons, and stunning vistas, offering a visual feast for backpackers.
  • Challenging Hiking Trails: Embrace the thrill of conquering challenging trails that lead to rewarding viewpoints, granting you a sense of accomplishment and unmatched panoramic views.
  • Remote and Serene Wilderness: Escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, as this secluded wilderness offers tranquility and a chance to connect with nature on a deeper level.
  • Pristine Alpine Lakes: Camp by the glistening alpine lakes, surrounded by tranquility, and awaken to the beauty of crystal-clear waters mirroring the surrounding peaks.
  • Unique Geological Formations: Explore the captivating geology of the area, from mysterious rock formations to deep canyons, revealing a rich natural history waiting to be uncovered.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Water Filter, Camping Cookware, Flashlight


Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Amidst the vast Idaho landscape, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve stands as a testament to ancient volcanic activity. This otherworldly expanse, dotted with lava flows, cinder cones, and lava tubes, offers a surreal and captivating experience for visitors. Wander through the moon-like terrain, witness unique geological features, and immerse yourself in a dramatic landscape shaped by the forces of nature, creating a journey unlike any other.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve:

  • Unique Volcanic Landscape: Explore an otherworldly terrain shaped by ancient volcanic eruptions, featuring lava fields, cones, and caves, making it a truly distinctive backpacking destination.
  • Geological Wonders: Witness the fascinating geological formations, lava tubes, and rugged landscapes, providing an opportunity to delve into the area’s rich volcanic history.
  • Stargazing Opportunities: Experience unparalleled stargazing nights far from city lights, as the dark skies above Craters of the Moon offer a celestial spectacle like no other.
  • Surreal Photography: Capture stunning and surreal photographs of the lunar-like landscape, creating memories of an unforgettable adventure.
  • Solitude in Nature: Revel in the solitude and serenity of the preserve, offering a chance to connect with nature and find peace amid the striking desolation of the volcanic wilderness.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Water Filter, Portable Stove, Camping Lantern


Selkirk Mountains

The Selkirk Mountains stand as a majestic and unyielding wilderness, inviting adventurers to embark on a journey of discovery. These rugged peaks, cloaked in ancient forests and adorned with gleaming alpine lakes, offer a haven for nature enthusiasts and explorers alike. Amidst the pristine landscapes, the call of wildlife and the whisper of the wind through the trees create a symphony of untamed beauty.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Selkirk Mountains:

  • Spectacular Mountain Scenery: Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Selkirk Mountains, with their dramatic peaks and lush green valleys, offering a visual feast for backpackers.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, deer, mountain goats, and even the elusive grizzly bears, making your backpacking experience all the more captivating.
  • Remote Wilderness Adventure: Venture into the untamed wilderness, away from the beaten path, and embrace the solitude and tranquility of this unspoiled landscape.
  • Abundant Alpine Lakes: Discover the allure of pristine alpine lakes, nestled amid the mountains, inviting you to camp beside their shimmering waters and relish the serenity of the surroundings.
  • Challenging Hiking Trails: Challenge yourself with a variety of hiking trails, from moderate to strenuous, rewarding you with panoramic vistas and a sense of accomplishment at every turn.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Sturdy Footwear, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Water Filtration System, Portable Stove, Sunscreen


Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, a haven of natural wonders, invites adventurers to immerse themselves in its untamed splendor. With rugged mountain ridges, dense forests, and pristine alpine lakes, this wilderness area offers an idyllic escape into the heart of nature. Home to an array of diverse wildlife, the region’s serene solitude beckons explorers to embrace its captivating beauty and forge unforgettable memories amid the unspoiled landscape.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Selkirk Mountains:

  • Untamed Natural Beauty: Experience the raw and untamed beauty of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, with its rugged mountains, lush forests, and breathtaking alpine lakes, creating a stunning backdrop for your backpacking adventure.
  • Secluded Wilderness Escape: Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life as you venture into this remote wilderness, offering a serene and tranquil retreat far from civilization.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, elk, moose, and various bird species, making every moment in the wilderness a unique and enriching experience.
  • Challenging Hiking Trails: Challenge yourself with a variety of hiking trails, each rewarding you with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture the beauty of the wilderness with your camera, as every turn in Scotchman Peaks offers picturesque scenes and opportunities for stunning nature photography.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Tent, Backpack, Water/Snacks, Camping Stove, Sun Protection, Backpack


Coeur d’Alene National Forest

Within the embrace of nature’s magnificence lies Coeur d’Alene National Forest, a captivating realm of lush woodlands and sparkling waters. This enchanting forest, tucked away in Idaho, offers a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts seeking solace and adventure. With its diverse landscapes, from rolling hills to towering peaks, visitors can revel in the serenity of dense forests and revel in the allure of pristine lakes, forging an unforgettable connection with the great outdoors.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest:

  • Spectacular Scenic Diversity: Coeur d’Alene National Forest boasts a stunning array of landscapes, from dense woodlands to picturesque lakes, providing a visual feast for backpackers.
  • Abundant Outdoor Activities: Embrace a plethora of outdoor pursuits, including hiking, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching, ensuring an adventure-packed experience for all nature enthusiasts.
  • Tranquil Wilderness Escape: Escape the chaos of daily life and immerse yourself in the serenity of the forest, finding solace and peace amidst the unspoiled wilderness.
  • Pristine Lakeside Camping: Set up camp beside pristine lakes, offering the perfect opportunity to relax, fish, and witness breathtaking sunsets reflected on the water’s surface.
  • Rich Flora and Fauna: Encounter a diverse array of plant and animal species, from majestic elk to vibrant wildflowers, enriching your backpacking journey with unforgettable encounters.

Recommended Gear:  First Aid Kit, Backpack, Sleeping Bag, Tent, Water Bottle/Snacks, Camping Cookware, Sturdy Footwear


Merriam Lake

Merriam Lake, a tranquil oasis embraced by lush wilderness, beckons with its pristine waters and serene ambiance. Encircled by a symphony of flora and fauna, this captivating enclave offers a respite from the clamor of modern life. A place where reflections dance upon the surface and nature’s melody soothes the soul, Merriam Lake is an idyllic haven for those seeking solace.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Merriam Lake:

  • Breathtaking Scenery: Immerse yourself in the stunning vistas of Merriam Lake, with its majestic mountains, crystal-clear waters, and verdant forests.
  • Adventure Awaits: Embark on thrilling backpacking trails, conquer challenging terrains, and discover the thrill of outdoor exploration.
  • Tranquil Retreat: Escape the urban bustle and find serenity in the peaceful ambiance, far from the distractions of daily life.
  • Wildlife Wonder: Encounter diverse wildlife in their natural habitat, adding a touch of wonder to your backpacking journey.
  • Lasting Memories: Camp under starlit skies, forge bonds with fellow backpackers, and create unforgettable memories in this pristine natural setting.

Recommended Gear: Hiking Boots, Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water/Snacks, Camping Stove, Multi-Tool


Gospel Hump Wilderness

Gospel Hump Wilderness, an undisturbed expanse of rugged terrain, beckons adventurers to discover its uncharted beauty. With its untamed landscapes and untrodden paths, this wilderness offers a sanctuary for those seeking an authentic communion with nature. Embrace the call of the wild as you navigate through its diverse ecosystems, where every step unveils a glimpse of raw, untouched magnificence.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Gospel Hump Wilderness:

  • Pristine Wilderness: Experience the unspoiled beauty of Gospel Hump Wilderness, a haven of untouched landscapes and diverse ecosystems.
  • Challenging Trails: Conquer rugged terrains and challenging trails, catering to backpackers of all skill levels, offering a true test of outdoor prowess.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Escape the noise of modern life and find solace in the tranquil embrace of nature’s untouched beauty.
  • Rich Biodiversity: Encounter a plethora of plant and animal species, offering a unique opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.
  • Off-the-Grid Adventure: Disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in an authentic outdoor adventure, forging memories that will last a lifetime.

Recommended Gear: Binoculars, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filter, Backpack, Multi-Tool, Hiking Boots


Related Posts:

Hiker wearing backpack in Glacier National Park, Montana

Best Backpacking in Montana

Exploring the rugged wilderness, immersing ourselves in nature’s splendor, and embarking on epic adventures – this is what backpacking in Montana is all about. The

Senior man hiking with trekking poles and backpack in a meadow during the autumn season in Vermont

Best Backpacking in Vermont

Vermont, a land of pristine landscapes and untamed wilderness, beckons adventure seekers from far and wide. With its rugged mountains, lush forests, and enchanting lakes,

Family of hikers with backpacks walking down the stairs and enjoying the view of Zion National Park in Utah

Best Backpacking in Utah

Embarking on a thrilling backpacking adventure through the stunning landscapes of Utah is a dream come true for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Utah,