Epic Central Idaho Road Trip: Twin Falls To Stanley, Salmon & Missoula

Are you thinking about taking a road trip through Idaho? Well if you ask me, central Idaho is where you should concentrate your attention because this region is the reason the state has the nickname the ‘Gem State’.

Pettit Lake, Idaho

This part of Idaho is under-rated and mostly unheard of as a travel destination. Perhaps central Idaho doesn’t get much attention with travel media due to the state’s reputation as being just flat agricultural land filled with only cows and potatoes. It probably doesn’t help that central Idaho is not positioned along popular routes that connect big cities and national parks which adds to the unfamiliarity of this part of the state among travelers.

Most motorists completely overlook Idaho in favor of Wyoming’s national parks or make a beeline for Oregon and Washington along the I-84 from Utah, which I am sure many Idahoans are actually happy about.

But if you’re one of the few who have Idaho, and specifically central Idaho on your radar, you’re in for a wonderful surprise as there is no doubt in my mind that once you visit, you’ll agree this is one of the most beautiful destinations in the United States.

Combine The Sawtooth Scenic Byway & The Salmon River Scenic Byway For The Ultimate Idaho Road Trip!

This road trip combines the Sawtooth Scenic Byway and the Salmon River Scenic Byway through Idaho’s central region. It begins in Twin Falls and travels north along Highway 75 to Challis, and then continues on Highway 93 to Missoula, but of course you could do this road trip in reverse too.

If you are traveling by air you will need to fly into Boise, rent a car from there, and then drive down the I-84 to Twin Falls. See this article on the best stops between Boise and Twin Falls to make the most of that drive. Otherwise, you can fly into Missoula and head south from there.

If you are driving up from Salt Lake City after road-tripping to Utah and Arizona’s national parks it is understandable that you head straight to Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park if you have a limited amount of time.

However, if you would like to consider adding central Idaho to your road trip, you can take the Sawtooth Scenic Byway up to Challis and then cut across to Wyoming via I-93 and Idaho Falls. The I-93 is also known as the Peaks To Craters Scenic Byway and is another magnificent drive worthy of adding to your Idaho bucket list.

Central Idaho Map

The driving itinerary

Distance: 435 miles
Drive Time:
10 hours

Suggested Stops

Twin Falls
Sun Valley
Pettit Lake
Redfish Lake
Custer Ghost Town
Bayhorse Ghost Town
Goldbug Hot Springs

Suggested Travel Time

5-7 Days

  • Twin Falls: stay one or two nights
  • Ketchum: stay one night
  • Redfish Lake/Stanley: stay one night
  • Salmon: stay one night
  • Missoula: stay one night

2-3 Days

  • Redfish Lake/Stanley: stay one night
  • Salmon: stay one night

Best Stops & Things To Do Between Twin Falls, Stanley, Salmon & Missoula

Twin Falls

Best Stops On An Idaho Road Trip

This Idaho road trip begins in Twin Falls which is located in south-central Idaho. The landscape here is vastly different to the other destinations you will visit on this driving itinerary through central Idaho on your way to Montana.

Twin Falls is home to high desert terrain and has a semi-arid climate which means you can expect good weather almost year-round. While at first glance most visitors will make the assumption that there is nothing to do in this land of endless flat agricultural fields, they are soon surprised once they see the spectacular Snake River Canyon open up before them.

This deep canyon in which the impressive Snake River travels through provides a number of recreation opportunities whether it’s relaxing by the riverside, fishing or kayaking at Centennial Waterfront Park.

Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho
Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls

Some of the top attractions that need to be on your Twin Falls bucket list include Shoshone Falls, Perrine-Coulee Waterfall, and the Perrine Bridge.

The Perrine Bridge is a Twin Falls landmark and one of the highest bridges in the United States. If you are up for the challenge and not afraid of heights, take the short walk across the bridge to find out how very high above the canyon this bridge really is. I guarantee walking out to the middle of the bridge will get your heart racing!

Perrine Coulee Waterfall In Twin Falls
Perrine Coulee Waterfall

Twin Falls has become one of our favorite destinations to visit in summer due to the number of scenic state parks to explore and endless opportunities to enjoy water activities.

One of the best state parks for swimming in Twin Falls is Box Canyon State Park where you’ll find crystal clear water seeping from rock walls into a brilliant blue pool inside a secluded canyon. This spring flows at a rate of 180,000 gallons per minute making it the 11th largest spring in the United States!

If you plan to stay overnight in Twin Falls, I recommend staying at the Comfort Inn in Jerome or Best Western in Twin Falls. The latter is within walking distance to the Perrine Bridge and Canyon Rim Trail.

>>Read: 21 Really Cool Things To Do In Twin Falls

Ketchum & Sun Valley

Ketchum, Idaho

As you drive into the Wood River Valley, the high desert landscape of southern Idaho begins to turn forested and more mountainous. The resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley are cradled in the heart of this picturesque valley.

Even though Ketchum is the largest of both towns and where you’ll find the majority of hotels, shops, and restaurants, it is still often referred to as Sun Valley by visitors. Sun Valley is located only one mile from Ketchum, hence why both names are used interchangeably.

The area is most famous for being a premier ski destination however both Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain are still relatively uncrowded when compared to other big name ski resorts in the U.S.

But there is more to Ketchum and Sun Valley than just winter activities. Once the snow has melted, visitors can enjoy a plethora of outdoor pursuits such as hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and fishing. There are a good number of outfitters in downtown Ketchum where you can pick up outdoor gear or organize guided trips whether it be for fly-fishing, climbing, or backpacking.

If outdoor adventure and energetic pursuits is not your cup of tea, Ketchum is still sure to please you with its shopping and dining scene. The main street through downtown Ketchum is lined with historic buildings and there are several notable restaurants as well as boutique stores offering everything from local art to high end fashion.

Over in Sun Valley, you’ll find the Sun Valley Mall which is home to popular retail outlets like H&M, Macys, Nordstrom Rack, Vans, and more. There are also more dining options which include Red Robin, Dippin’ Dots, Burger Joint, and Boba Time.

Hike To Pioneer Cabin

Pioneer Cabin Trail Near Ketchum, Idaho
Pioneer Mountains on the Pioneer Cabin Trail

If you enjoy challenging hikes as much as I do, you’ll definitely want to add the Pioneer Cabin Trail to your hiking bucket list! The trailhead is only nine miles from Ketchum so if you are looking for adventurous things to do while in the area this hike is sure to please you.

Pioneer Cabin Trail is an 8.5 mile loop hike that begins at an elevation of 6,950 feet and climbs 2,500 feet to a small wooden cabin that was built in 1938 by the Sun Valley Company.

The terrain switches from forested to high alpine meadow. After reaching the top of some relentless switchbacks, undulating lime green hills appear which seem to roll for miles in every direction.

About an hour down and up a dusty hiking trail you’ll eventually reach the cabin. Large letters painted on the cabin roof claim that “The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get” which couldn’t be more of a true statement.

Pioneer Cabin Hiking Trail In Central Idaho

This hike had been on my bucket list for a few years so I was really happy to finally tick it off. The trail was much more strenuous than I had thought it would be but as all hikers know — the harder the hike, the better the reward is at the end!

The views of the Pioneer Mountains from the cabin are simply spectacular!

Cool Off At Pettit Lake

Pettit Lake In Idaho

Magnificent Pettit Lake sits at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains and can lay claim to being the third largest lake in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. This pristine glacier-made lake sits at an elevation of 6,996 feet and is a brilliant turquoise-green color.

Things to do here include swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and backpacking. In fact, some of the best hiking and backpacking trails in the Sawtooth Recreation Area can be accessed from Pettit Lake.

The Tin Cup Trailhead is a popular jumping off point for backpacking trips into the Sawtooth Wilderness. You can also hike to beautiful Alice Lake and Toxaway Lake from this trailhead.

Pettit Lake In Central Idaho

There is a campground at the north end of Pettit Lake but campsites are first-come first-served. In the summer this campground fills up quickly! If you know you want to stay here be sure to arrive early in the morning to snag a spot.

Pettit Lake is located two miles off Highway 75. Keep an eye out for road signs pointing you in the right direction. Even if you don’t plan to hike or camp here, you should still make time to stop for sightseeing no matter how brief because of the sheer beauty of Pettit Lake.

Read: Hiking To Alice & Toxaway Lake As A Day Hike – Yes You Can Do It!

Explore White Clouds Wilderness Area

White Clouds Wilderness Area

The White Clouds Wilderness Area is not as well-known as the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and therefore does not see as many visitors. It is also not the easiest place to reach however this is what makes it all the more special!

I had noticed the White Clouds while on a day hike to Alice Lake as their peaks are visible from the east side of the Sawtooth National Forest. The pale peaks of the White Clouds are dramatically different from the Sawtooth Mountain Range. These peaks are a result of them being made up of metamorphic limestone rock.

There are several peaks here over 11,000 feet and while these striking mountains are alone worth making the trip to the White Clouds Wilderness Area, there are also dozens of pristine alpine and sub-alpine lakes that are just as impressive.

To get to the White Clouds you’ll need to take Forest Road 209 to Fourth of July Trailhead. On google maps type Blackmon Peak into the search bar to get directions. You can actually hike to Blackmon Peak’s summit which is the mountain seen in the picture above on the far left.

You should know that the dirt road to reach the White Clouds Wilderness Area is very narrow and rough. It is an extremely slow-going drive so be sure to account for that if you are on a tight schedule.

A high clearance vehicle is recommended but in saying that, our campervan made it out there without any issues. That’s not to say we didn’t see (or help) a few other drivers out of some sticky situations.

Is it really worth the effort to visit the White Clouds on this road trip? Well it depends on how much of a hardcore adventurer you are. If you like to hike, backpack, or enjoy fishing, there are some great hiking trails and alpine lakes to fish.

We loved the White Clouds but then again we love intrepid adventures. If you really want to get off the beaten track, the White Clouds Wilderness Area is perfect for that!

Spend A Day At Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lakes in Idaho. This stunning alpine lake is the largest lake found within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and has some of the clearest water you’ll ever see! The entire lake is comprised almost entirely of snowmelt with very little sediment entering the waterways which contributes to its clarity. Towering behind Redfish Lake are the prominent peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains.

This place is a popular summer destination for Idahoans so don’t be surprised to see the lakeshore packed with holiday-makers every day between July and September. The reason for the lake’s popularity, besides its beauty of course, is due to the range of facilities here which include a hotel, cabin rentals, restaurant, bar, and marina. There aren’t many lakeside destinations in Idaho with such facilities except for in Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene, and McCall. But Redfish Lake is definitely the prettiest of them all!

There is so much to do at Redfish Lake including swimming, kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding, boating, fishing, hiking, and horse riding. You won’t need your own gear either as the marina offers watercraft rentals, lake tours, and a boat shuttle to the far end of Redfish Lake for hikers and backpackers.

If possible, try to arrange at least a one night stay on this road trip at Redfish Lake (or nearby in Stanley). The Redfish Lake Lodge offers hotel style rooms and rustic cabins plus there are nine different campgrounds that can accommodate RVs and tents. Trust me when I say this is a place you won’t want to leave so make plans to stay here as long as your itinerary allows.

Take A Guided Horseback Ride with Mystic Saddle

Horse Riding At Redfish Lake in Central Idaho

One of my favorite things to do at Redfish Lake is to take a guided horseback ride with Mystic Saddle. They offer a number of different trail rides for all skill levels from a two-hour loop ride to Little Redfish Lake to all day adventures in the Sawtooth Wilderness.

Every year my husband and I try to do a different trail ride with them and we are never disappointed. So far we have done the ride to Little Redfish Lake, the four-hour ride to Bench Lakes, and an all-day ride to Marshall Lake. The all-day ride to Marshall Lake made our legs and butts sore for weeks but it was so worth it!

Reservations are not necessary for the two-hour rides but are recommended. Be sure to book in advance if you’d like to do a longer trail ride with them.

Adventure in Stanley

Stanley, Idaho

Stanley is an outpost that sits at the base of the Sawtooth Mountain Range. This quaint western town has a small community of less than one-hundred hardy, year-round residents. The residents are hardy people because come winter, this is one of the coldest places in the United States!

While Stanley may be small, it is oversized in adventure and is slowly growing its reputation as a basecamp for outdoor enthusiasts. No matter which outdoor activity it is that you want to pursue, Stanley has you covered; whether it’s hiking, backpacking, white water rafting, or fly-fishing.

But if it’s relaxation that you are after, Stanley is a great place for that too. There is nothing better than kicking back in your camp chair in Stanley and soaking in the natural beauty of the area. Every which way you look is impressive and awe-inspiring.

Fly Fishing In Stanley, Idaho
Fly-fishing on the Salmon River in Stanley

If you’re looking for low-key activities, pay a visit to Stanley Lake where you can enjoy views of the Sawtooth Mountains without having to hike any strenuous trails. For hikers, the must-do hiking trails near Stanley include the hike to Sawtooth Lake and the hike to Goat Lake.

My favorite place to eat in Stanley is the Mountain Village Saloon which has good food and a great atmosphere. Also check out Stanley Baking Co. for breakfast and baked goodies. And for the best pizza in town head to Papa Brunee’s!

Nightlife is surprisingly lively in Stanley with a host of outdoor concerts and festivals held throughout summer. Be sure to check out the Velvet Falls Dance Hall event calendar to see what live shows are happening during your visit.

Stanley is a destination we fell in love with at first sight. The first time we visited we stayed three days, the second time was for one week, and the third time was a whole month! If we didn’t have to leave I’m not sure we would. There is no doubt in my mind that you will fall in love with Stanley’s phenomenal location and endearing character too!

I recommend staying at least one night in Stanley because it is one of the highlights on this Idaho road trip. Lodging is limited so you should try to book your hotel room in advance if possible. There are several hotels in town and a number of vacation homes in the area.

Read: 17 Best Things To Do In Stanley For Adventure Seekers

Take In Heavenly Views From Mountain Village Hot Spring

Mountain Village Resort Hot Spring In Stanley, Idaho

One of the best things about central Idaho is the abundance of hot springs that can be found across the region. My favorite hot spring in Idaho is the Mountain Village Resort Hot Spring which happens to be right in Stanley!

This natural hot spring is piped into a man made tub which is very deep and spacious. It is so large that it can comfortably fit eight to ten people. The spring-fed pool is housed inside a rustic log cabin with doors that are kept wide open. Views from the hot tub are heavenly as the barn doors of the cabin face the craggy peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains.

On one particular visit (pictured above) I was fortunate enough to catch a storm rolling in. The menacing grey clouds over the mountains produced some incredibly loud and almost frightening thunderous sounds while a mesmerizing lightening show played out in the distance.

Reservations are required to use this hot spring and there is a fee unless you are staying at the Mountain Village Resort. If you can’t get a reservation there are many other hot springs nearby including another only steps away from this one.

Read: 5 Awesome Hot Springs You Can Find Near Stanley, Idaho

Soak In The Views at Boat Box Hot Spring

Boat Box Hot Springs Near Stanley, Idaho

Boat Box Hot Spring is guaranteed to be the quirkiest hot spring you will ever come across! This hot spring which is sometimes referred to as the “witches cauldron” due to its unusual cauldron-shaped tub is a must soak experience.

A soak in this tub comes with dreamy views of forest-covered mountains and the wild and scenic Salmon River. You can relax here while listening to the sound of the gushing river and wind whistling through pine trees.

This unique hot spring is located only a few short miles north of Stanley. Since it is a novelty hot spring and so close to Stanely (a town that’s beginning to pop up on the radar for more and more people), you are unlikely to have this tub to yourself… unless you plan a visit during the off-season or get here very early in the morning.

Boat Box is located on Salmon River Scenic Byway. Although it is located right beside the highway it can be easy to miss because it is situated near a bend in the road.

Read: Boat Box Hot Spring: How To Find The Quirkiest Hot Spring In Idaho

Swim or Fly-Fish on the Salmon River

The drive between Stanley and Salmon is nothing short of breathtaking. Here, the Salmon River Scenic Byway begins its journey north along Highway 75 meandering beside the rushing Salmon River. The Salmon River is one of America’s Wild and Scenic Rivers and it was given the title due to being the longest free flowing river (425 miles) within one state in the lower forty-eight.

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System is a collection of exceptional rivers that have been designated to protect their free-flowing condition, water quality, and outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Essentially they are the national parks of rivers in the United States.

Take your time driving this stretch as there are many pull-outs along the way to stop and enjoy river views. A lot of the pull-outs have interpretive displays that explain the historical or geologic significance of the stops.

There are also many places you can stop to go for a swim in the river which I highly recommend doing. A few words of warning — the water is very chilly! But totally worth diving in for the electrifying and recharged feeling you gain afterwards. Fly-fishing along this portion of the river is also a lot of fun.

Does the thought of jumping into a body of really cold water frighten you? Well don’t worry, you can still experience swimming in the Salmon River at Sunbeam Hot Springs. Although you won’t exactly be swimming, you can still sit in the Salmon River as these hot springs are located right in the river itself.

You will know you’ve reached Sunbeam Hot Springs when you see several cars pulled over on the side of the road. The other major clue is to keep a look out for steam rising from the river.

It is interesting to note that between Stanley and Salmon, the region transitions from a mountain to desert climate as you’ll notice once you arrive in Challis where you’ll experience hotter temperatures during the summer months. Even at night, the temperatures around Challis and Salmon do not cool down nearly as much as they do near the Sawtooth Mountain Range which is good news if you’re planning on camping.

Visit Custer Ghost Town

Custer Ghost Town In Idaho

If you’d like to experience what life was like in a 19th-century prospecting town, a visit to Custer will certainly give you some insight. This ghost town is filled with clues of its former activity. You’ll find rusted mining equipment and machinery scattered throughout the old mining district.

Custer was first settled in 1879 because discoverers had struck gold here a decade earlier. A mining company was established along with a mill close by, all of which you can still see standing today.

It wasn’t long though before mining dried up and residents began leaving until there was noone left by 1910. The former town was in danger of becoming completely obsolete until it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Several of the buildings have since been restored to their former glory such as the schoolhouse, the Empire Saloon, and a few private cabins.

Custer Ghost Town is now one of the most popular ghost towns in Idaho to visit on a road trip. It is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the United States and a place that needs to be on your Idaho bucket list.

You will find Custer Ghost Town on Yankee Fork Road in Land of the Yankee Fork State Park near Sunbeam. Be sure to visit the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge on the way.

Note: Instead of getting back on Highway 75 you can continue along Yankee Fork Road to Challis. This route is very scenic but involves driving on a rough dirt road for many miles. It is an adventure and a half! I recommend this detour only if you have visited the area multiple times and looking for somewhere new to explore. There is no cell service so be prepared for any troubles you may encounter like flat tires, etc. When we drove this stretch of road, only one car drove past so just know that help will be few and far between if you get stranded.

Read: Visit Custer Ghost Town: The Best Preserved Ghost Town In Idaho!

Visit Bayhorse Ghost Town

Bayhorse Ghost Town In Idaho

Bayhorse Ghost Town is another ghost town located in Land Of The Yankee Fork State Park. Just like Custer, Bayhorse was once a boomtown in the 1880s for silver and gold mining.

This former town reached its mining peak in 1888 but that would be the last year the smelter and mines would operate at full capacity. A number of tragedies occurred in 1889 including a fire which destroyed several buildings. This, coupled with the decline of silver and lead prices eventually lead to the closure of the Bayhorse mines in November.

This is my favorite of the two ghost towns mentioned on this driving itinerary and we have visited this one several times. If you only have time to visit one ghost town, I recommend choosing Bayhorse because the drive to get there is especially scenic.

Go Camping in Challis

A free campground near Challis in central Idaho

About 14 miles north of Bayhorse is Challis, a small town that has the only decent grocery store between Ketchum and Salmon so be sure to stop for groceries and gas here if you need.

There are many free campgrounds in the vicinity of Challis which we enjoyed camping at, plus a handful of private campgrounds with facilities. It seems most people prefer paying for the private campgrounds so you’ll likely find the primitive campgrounds empty.

We loved having these BLM campgrounds all to ourselves and never once felt concerned about our safety. In fact, we’ve probably never felt safer. I only mention this because we had several friends text us concerned about our safety after sharing photos of our camping locations around these parts. I guess they had seen one too many horror movies. Yes, it is fairly remote in the central Idaho region but I assure you it is safer here than in any city.

From Challis, Highway 75 turns into Highway 93. If you don’t plan on camping near Challis, keep heading north towards Salmon and continue taking in the majestic Idaho views. If you are a wildlife enthusiast keep a lookout for Bighorn sheep and Antelope along the way.

Detour: Instead of continuing the drive north on Highway 75, you can take Peaks To Craters Scenic Byway south to Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Hike To Goldbug Hot Springs

Goldbug Hot Springs In Central Idaho
Goldbug Hot Spring

Perched on the side of a cliff are a series of magical pools. The largest pool is heart-shaped and fed by a warm creek. Water from the heart-shaped pool spills into a mini-waterfall that feeds several smaller pools below it.

These pools are wedged in between two mountains in the Salmon-Challis National Forest and offer a soaking experience unlike any other! From each of the pools are some of the most outstanding views of Central Idaho where you can enjoy mountain and valley vistas.

Goldbug Hot Springs is arguably one of the best hot springs in the Northwest and a must visit destination if you are driving the Salmon River Scenic Byway. If you enjoy adventure travel you won’t want to miss this stop!!

This dreamy destination does require some effort to reach, however the effort is truly worth it. To reach Goldbug you’ll need to hike about two miles along a moderately-strenuous trail. The hiking trail has 1,300 feet elevation gain but most of the hike is quite mellow and the steepest incline happens near the end of the hike.

Goldbug Hot Springs In Central Idaho

While you can hike to Goldbug Hot Springs year-round, keep in mind during winter you’ll be hiking through the snow. The best time to visit is in summer and fall.

Because Goldbug Hot Springs is located in backcountry, it doesn’t see as many visitors as the hot springs near Stanley. If you time your visit right, that is early morning or late afternoon, you might get lucky and have the place all to yourself!

Discover Salmon

Downtown Salmon. Photo by High Country News

After visiting the Goldbug Hot Springs your next stop is Salmon. We were really surprised by the local residents of Salmon in terms of how hippy they seemed to be which is not really what we were expecting out in the middle of Idaho. There were plenty of guys getting around with dreadlocked hair, lots of eateries offering organic food, and a vibrant community spirit. Strange.

I’m sure the stereotype of Idaho being full of rednecks had influenced our preconceptions about this place but the truth was far from this. In fact, Salmon reminded us of our peace-loving, hippy hometown of Byron Bay all the way back in Australia where buskers line the main street through town and drum circles on the beach are a nightly event. I’m not saying Salmon was as lively as Byron Bay, but it definitely embodied the same sort of spirit.

If you’re looking for interesting things to do in town stop by the Sacajawea Interpretive Cultural & Educational Center and Lemhi County Historical Society to learn about the history of the area. Both museums cover topics on local geology, mining, and ranching, as well as showcasing artifacts from the Shoshone people which include an extensive collection of clothing, beadwork, and arrowheads.

For the best baked goods you will ever have take yourself to Odd Fellow Bakery as early as possible. This is because their bakery items sell out fast! And I mean fast. Don’t be surprised to see a line out the door here throughout the day. Seriously, the croissants here are the best we’ve ever had and their behemoth-sized bear claws are out of this world! They also bake bread daily and the loaves weigh something like two pounds. Not exaggerating at all; their bread is very dense and filling.

As an example of how good the bakery is here, we once drove out of our way by about four hours when we were on a road trip back to Washington state from Minnesota. While it would have been quicker for us to drive through Montana into the evergreen state, we purposely took the detour from Missoula into Idaho to get our hands on the pastries here one last time.

If you think that’s crazy, I’m ashamed to admit that we also once drove from Yosemite to Santa Cruz for clam chowder with the risk of missing a flight that same day from San Francisco! Yup, that’s the kind of silly decision-making people we are… well, at least I am anyway. But the moral of the story is, if you like buttery and doughy pastries, don’t miss stopping in at the Odd Fellow Bakery.

Salmon is a good place to stay overnight as there are several hotels to choose from. You can look for hotel options in Salmon here.

If you would prefer to stay at a campground we recommend Wagonhammer RV Park which is about 20 miles north of town. This RV resort has lovely grassy sites, wifi, and super clean bathrooms/showers which is really nice if you’ve been camping at primitive campsites for the last few days.

Drive Through The Bitterroot Valley

Moving north you will eventually reach the Montana state line. From here, Highway 93 follows the Bitterroot River all the way to Missoula. This drive will take you through the picturesque Bitterroot Valley where there are a plethora of forest roads that lead to endless hiking, fishing, and other outdoor opportunities in the Bitterroot National Forest. Along the way are many peaceful campgrounds to relax and unwind.

Detour: Just before you get to Missoula you’ll reach Lolo Pass where you can take Highway 12 all the way to Lewiston in Washington state. This scenic byway through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest offers lots of hiking and biking opportunities along with cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. In addition, there are several secret hot springs that await along this stretch.

Lolo Hot Springs

A popular place to stay in Lolo is the Lolo Hot Springs Campground and Cabins Resort which as you may have guessed offers a hot spring pool for guests along with a restaurant, live music on weekends, and guided horseback rides.

Missoula which is the end of the line for this road trip is an hour drive north of Lolo. A stay of one or two days is recommended to explore all the great things this mountain town has to offer. In summer you can float the Clark Fork River, attend free outdoor concerts, visit the farmers market, or enjoy a craft brew in the sunshine.

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