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  1. Default Seattle to LA via Idaho and Salt lake City

    Hi all,

    We are a family of 6 from Australia now planning our fourth trip to the US.
    Our 21 day road trip itinerary is something like this:
    Seattle 3 days
    Portland 2 days
    Boise ID 1-2 days
    Twin Falls 1-2 days then drive the Sawtooth Scenic Byway and check out the Craters of the Moon NP.
    Possibly somewhere like Pocatello ID 1-2 days.
    Salt Lake City 2 days then head toward the coast via Route 50
    Stay somewhere on Route 50 on the way to San Francisco (2 overnight stops).
    San Francisco 3 days then travel Highway 1
    Pismo Beach CA 2 days

    I guess my main queries are:
    1. Our travel dates are early December. I have never driven through snow. Are roads like the Sawtooth Byway likely to be open?
    2. Any suggestions on must see places in this part of Idaho.
    3. Is Boise worth more than 1 night?
    4. Any suggested routes from Twin Falls to Pocatello that can take in the Sawtooth Byway. I guess i'm wondering if I head from Twin Falls thru Shoshone and then turn right on Route 20 to Craters of the Moon NP then to Pocatello. Or is the better scenic diving areas further North on Route 75?
    4. Any suggested scenic routes off the interstate roads from Pocatello to Salt Lake City?
    5. Any suggested stopovers (need 2) between Salt Lake and San Francisco? Or indeed is Route 50 worth it? I do love lonely roads.

    The rest of the trip is no problem but it's just the areas I have highlighted that I an unsure and also the driving conditions. Any help or feedback would be much appreciated.

    Thanks guys


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default By the Numbers

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    1) The Sawtooth Byway is a state highway, ID-75, and while that doesn't mean that it will be kept open as a priority during a snow storm, it should be cleared in relatively short order thereafter.

    2) A couple of places you might want to look into include Bruneau Sand Dunes, Bruneau Canyon, the Thousand Springs of the Snake, Hagerman Fossil Beds.

    3) That's entirely up to you, but you could easily spend a day exploring the Boise area (see above) as well as the city itself.

    4) The Sawtooth Byway portion of ID-75 doesn't really start until north of US-20. If you really wanted to drive the Sawtooth, you'd head out of Boise on ID-21 to Stanley and then head south on ID-75. It doesn't seem necessary to go that far out of your way in this part of Idaho to find scenery.

    5) Fortunately, breaking up your trip along US-50 into three roughly equal drives leaves you spending your two nights in some interesting places, Elko and Reno In Elko, check out the family-style Basque inspired [url=]menu[url] at the Star Hotel, and outside Reno is the historic town of Virginia City.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Elko is on I-80, not US-50. If you are taking US-50, you would stay in Ely.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Idaho, an area worth visiting, even in winter.

    From Boise to the Sawtooth, take ID 55 to Banks and then head to Lowman via Garden Valley. ID 21 from Boise to Lowman, via Idaho City, is not a very pleasant drive in the best of weather. The route via Banks and Lowman is very scenic. Continue on ID 21 - The Ponderosa Scenic Byway - to scenic ID 75 via Stanley Lake, Stanley and Galena Pass 8700 ft - all worth a stop - as is Red Lake.

    Heading south on ID 75 will take you through the ski resort of Sun Valley and the quaint towns of Ketchum and Hailey. South of there you will see the lava fields come right up to the road, and just north of Shoshone are the Ice Caves.

    When in Boise, check with the authorities about the road conditions. The ramger station, forestry offices or visitor bureau should have that information. If 55 is not passible, then 21 will be a lot worse, south of Lowman. North of Lowman it is a very good road, and regularly plowed in winter.

    Rather than spending two nights in Boise, I'd look at spending a night in Stanley or Sun Valley, or even Challis, if you want to venture that far north. There's a great bakery in Stanley.

    Since this is your fourth trip, I take it you are well aware of the reciprocal arrangement of AAA with the Australian automobile clubs - RACV, NRMA, etc.


  5. Default

    Okay thanks guys. I guess that leaves me with 2 choices:
    1. After Boise take in the Bruneau Sand Dunes, Bruneau Canyon, the Thousand Springs of the Snake, Hagerman Fossil Beds which all follow in a in the direction toward Twin Falls and allows us to drive the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway. Then stay at Twin Falls and the following day to Shoshone Falls, Craters of the Moon and onto Pocatello. Or:
    2. ID 21 - The Ponderosa Scenic Byway stay at Stanley then south on 75 to Craters of the Moon and Pocatello.

    Two Great choices i'd say. Probably safer with number 1 but i'll do a bit of research.
    One other quick question. Would you know of any alternate drives from Pocatello to Salt Lake City (Off the 15) that could take in some scenery and/or attractions as this is only a short drive?

    Thanks again for your valuable advice. Very much appreciated.


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