With 80 recognized mountain ranges, Idaho is home to some of the most spectacular scenery and most rugged landscapes in the United States.
Dominated by the Rocky Mountains, Idaho's Shoshone Falls on the Snake River,
drops 212 feet making it higher than Niagara
Hells Canyon, also on the Snake River,
is a gorge that is deeper than the Grand Canyon. More
about Shoshone Falls.
Idaho can be divided into three major land regions geographically;
the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia Plateau and the Basin and Ridge Region.
Rocky Mountains: The Rocky Mountains area is the state's largest area and extends from the Idaho
the narrow strip of Idaho that runs between Washington and
Montana and borders Canada.) south and along the Wyoming
border. The Rocky
Mountains area is characterized by steep gorges, deep canyons and swift streams and rivers. Idaho has 50
mountain peaks that climb into the sky over 10,000 feet. Borah Peak, Idaho's
highest point rises 12,662 feet above sea level.
The Bitterroot Mountain Range lies along the Montana border in the Idaho Panhandle. The Continental Divide
passes through Idaho in the Bitterroots.
Visit the Bitterroot National Forest.
The Coeur d'Alene Mountains in the northern Panhandle lie to the west of the Bitterroot Mountain Range.
This triangular area of mountains stretches from
Lake Pend Orielle in the north to Coeur d'Alene Lake in the
south. The highest peak in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains is Grizzly Mountain at 5, 950 feet.
South of the Coeur d'Alene Mountains are the
Clearwater Mountains and south
of the Clearwater Mountains are the Salmon River Mountains. The
Bighorn Crags, bare
granite worn into sharp ridges and spires, are found in the Salmon River Mountains. This mountain range is
almost completely circled by the Salmon River.
South of the Salmon River Mountains are the impressive
an extremely rugged series of granite peaks and beautiful meadows and alpine lakes. 33 mountains in this range
exceed 10,000 feet above sea level.
The Seven Devils Mountains
rise along Idaho's border with Oregon in the west. To the west of the
Seven Devils Mountains, lies the Snake
River and Hells Canyon. From the summits of the Seven Devils Mountains to the bed of the Snake River, the deepest
gorge in North America is over 7,800 feet, deeper than the Grand Canyon.
In central Idaho, the Lost River Range extends 70 miles, northwest to southeast, from the Salmon River
almost to Arco. It's bordered on the west by the Big Lost River Valley and the Salmon River and on the east
by the Little Lost River and Pahsimeroi Valleys. The Lost River Range is a vast wilderness of snow-capped peaks
and home to Borah Peak, Idaho's
highest mountain as well as six other 12,000 foot peaks.
The Lemhi Range
runs in a southeasterly direction about 100 miles from the Salmon River to the Snake River Plains. This chain
of mountains is from 10 to 15 miles wide. The Lemhi Range is bordered on the west by Pahsimeroi and Little
Lost River valleys and on the east by the Lemhi and Birch Creek Valleys. The highest point in the Lemhi
Range is Diamond Peak at 12,197 above sea level.
Further south, the Blackfoot Mountains form a group of barren ridges that trend from northwest to
southeast for more than 50 miles between Idaho Falls and Soda Springs. From the west, slopes of the
Blackfoot Mountains climb roughly 2,400 feet above the Snake River. On the east, the slopes rise
only 600 feet above Willow Creek and the Blackfoot River. Blackfoot Peak is the highest point in this
range at 7, 404 feet. Wolverine Canyon, a scenic gorge, is on the western slope of the Blackfoot Mountains.
Columbia Plateau: The Columbia Plateau Sweeps out of Washington, into
Idaho at the base of the Idaho Panhandle, and follows the Snake River across southern Idaho. The
Snake River Plain,
built up of lava flows, covers strips of land 20 to 40 miles wide on each side of the Snake River.
Potatoes and Sugar Beets, Idaho's leading crops are grown on the
Snake River Plain.
Basin and Range Region: This land area lies in southeastern Idaho along. A part of the Rocky
Mountain region lies to the east of the Basin and Range Region. This area is characterized by grassy plateaus and deep valleys in the
( Idaho Close-up )