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Outdoor Activities in Eastern Idaho for Spring and Summer

Once the snow begins to clear and the temperatures rise, eastern Idaho becomes a whole new playground. People trade their skis and snowboards for wakeboards and mountain bikes. They ditch the slopes and hit the swimming holes and rock walls instead. There are so many different possibilities for outdoor activities in the spring and summer, that you have no excuse to stay inside. Try out one of these popular activities this year.


Due to the COVID-19 virus, some of these activities may be stalled. Renting equipment or enjoying certain areas may not be possible. Be sure to follow local COVID-19 guidelines and stay safe while you have fun.


Although Idaho is known for its colder weather in the winter months, the summer still brings the heat. If you are looking to escape the hot air and cool down for a while why not check out one of eastern Idaho’s local swimming spots. Swimming is a great way to cool down, relax, and have fun in the summer. Plus, it helps that Eastern Idaho is home to quite a few swimming holes and rivers that are fun to swim in and float down. Not all of these places to swim are free, however, many of them are very affordable for the whole family. Here are some of the most popular swimming spots in Eastern Idaho.

Be sure that wherever you go swimming you are cautious and safe, especially since most of these places do not have an active lifeguard on duty. Some safety tips for swimming are to never swim alone, to never drink alcohol and swim, to never dive headfirst, and to make sure the water is deep enough and there are no rocks. Make sure that if you don’t know how to swim well you are prepared with a life jacket or helpful flotation device. Alert your group if you are not a strong swimmer and avoid swimming in deep or swift water.

When you feel well prepared, safe swimming is one of the most enjoyable summer activities in Eastern Idaho. So what are you waiting for? Grab a floaty, some sunscreen, and some bug spray and get swimming.


For some, myself included, the water is a happy place. The summer months bring the joy of having the wind whip through your hair as you glide along the water and feel the warm summer sun beat down on your skin. Boating is a fun experience and one that Eastern Idaho provides to all of its residents and visitors. The lake and reservoir water may be colder than you might expect, but that doesn’t diminish the fun.

Many boaters enjoy participating in other activities such as tubing, wakeboarding, water skiing, and fishing while they are out on the water. These sports add an extra thrill while you are out boating. If you have a boat, be sure to check out one of these local spots in eastern Idaho.

If you don’t have a boat cut out for water sports or fishing, try your hand at canoeing or kayaking by renting one at your local outdoor store. Idaho Adventure Rental in Idaho Falls, The Outdoor Resource Center and Hawkes Canoe and Kayak Center in Rexburg, the Egin Lake Adventures, Experience Island Park or High Mountain Adventures in Island Park all offer rental options for kayaks, canoes, or even paddleboards.


If you don’t have a speed or recreational boat but you still want to get out on the water, try canoeing or kayaking. Canoeing and kayaking are both intense workouts, not only for your arms but also for your core and your back. Even for just a lazy day on the lake, it will amaze you how much work it takes to get from one side to the other.

There are a few key differences between canoeing and kayaking, but the biggest differences are the paddle and the stroking techniques. If you are simply enjoying a calm lake, you won’t need to know too much technique, but don’t head for rapids until you are skilled enough to handle them. Canoeing and kayaking can be as relaxed or adventurous as you choose, though it’s smart to always wear a life jacket and never go out in bad weather.

The following river and lake areas are great for kayaking and canoeing. You will find rentals close to all of these areas.

Canoe areas: 

Kayaking areas: 

Viewing nature from a kayak or canoe is a completely different experience than hiking, biking, or climbing. It’s truly remarkable to witness scenery that is only visible from the middle of a lake or down a forgotten river bend. When in east Idaho, try canoeing or kayaking for an enjoyable and new experience.

Mountain Biking

If you’re into thrill-seeking adventures, be sure to check out the trails in Eastern Idaho for mountain biking. Mountain biking is a difficult, yet incredible sport that will have you sore and smiling by the end of your ride. There are many trails in Eastern Idaho for mountain biking and you’ll find that many of them have become quite popular.

In the summer months, Kelly Cannon ski resort becomes a mountain bike course with many fun, downhill trails. Mountain biking at Kelly Canyon will give riders the experience of downhill trails without all of the Klein since Kelly Canyon operates the ski lift to allow bikes and passengers to travel up the mountain. If you don’t mind the uphill battle that comes with mountain biking there are plenty of other trails located close to Kelly Canyon ski resort, Ririe, and Pocatello.

If you plan on mountain biking be sure to do it safely. Always wear a helmet and practice good trail etiquette by never modifying trail features, riding at your appropriate level, staying on the trail, and sharing the trail. Be sure to greet hikers, horseback riders, and other cyclists early to make them aware of your presence; slow down as you pass them or get off the trail to allow them to pass.

Mountain biking is quickly becoming a favorite activity among Idaho residents, so join the fun and try out a trail for yourself.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is not a sport for the faint of heart. If you are afraid of heights then you might consider a different sport. Rock climbing is an activity that requires plenty of gear and knowledge. If it is your first outdoor rock climbing adventure instead of at an indoor gym, you will want to go with someone who is familiar with the sport and the area you are climbing. Here are three popular spots for rock climbing in eastern Idaho.

Before you head off into the wilderness to climb some rocks, be sure that you have all of the gear you need. Treat it like you are Santa Claus. Make a list and check it twice. In some cases, rock climbing is impossible unless you have all of the ropes, carabiners, and harnesses you need--be diligent in your packing list so you don’t have to worry about anything missing. Be smart when you climb. Don’t climb in dangerous weather, don’t trespass on private property, and don’t climb without a helmet.

Although rock climbing is more in-depth and difficult than some sports, the thrill of climbing is worth it. The views you’ll get while rappelling down a cliff after finishing a tough climb reward your effort. Switch up your indoor climb by getting outdoors and appreciating what eastern Idaho has to offer.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding provides a unique way to explore the hills and trails of eastern Idaho. Feeling the strong muscles of a horse beneath you as they easily maneuver trails ridden with roots and rocks is majestic. Pair that feeling with the beautiful scenery of eastern Idaho, and you’ve got one unforgettable experience. Appreciating nature with such a strong and magnificent animal may help you to feel more at one with your surroundings.

Some places for horseback riding in Eastern Idaho include Harriman State Park, the Palisades, and the Yellowstone Branch Line Trail in Ashton, Idaho. Each of these trails provides exquisite scenery and new adventures. Dry Ridge Outfitters in Harriman State Park hosts trail rides through the park, allowing guests to appreciate the protected land with ease. However, be sure to book your experience as their schedule fills up fast.

Hop in the saddle and see eastern Idaho in a new way.


Spelunking is the hobby of cave exploration. If you are afraid of the dark or claustrophobic, I wouldn’t recommend spelunking as a new hobby for you...but if those things don’t bother you, cave exploring is a fun activity in east Idaho. Caves are mysterious places that spark curiosity in most people who come across them. That curiosity makes it no surprise that caves are a popular spot for people to explore. Some caves in eastern Idaho include:

Some of these caves are easier to get to than others, so do your research before heading out. For example, the roads to the Civil Defense and Ice cave are often washed out and hard to maneuver without a vehicle with good clearance and 4-wheel drive. Be sure to bring a flashlight and a jacket with you when you explore any cave, as they get to freezing temperatures and complete darkness.

You might be disappointed to find graffiti and broken glass in these caves. Respect each site you visit by following the seven leave no trace principles and be courteous to other visitors.


Part of eastern Idaho’s charm is its abundant wildlife and quiet outdoors. This combination is heavenly for people who love to fish. Eastern Idaho has scores of places where fishers can enjoy the peaceful calm of the outdoors while they cast their lines and wish for a bite. The following places are just a few of the places you can fish in eastern Idaho. The options are plentiful, but make sure you have permission to fish in other areas and that you have a license.

Some of the more popular species of fish in Idaho include Trout, Steelhead, Salmon, Mountain Whitefish, Bass, Crappie, White Sturgeon, Muskie, Catfish, and Walleye. Before heading out for a fishing trip, brush up on your fish identification so you are familiar with species that shouldn’t be harvested, like the native Bull Trout.

Fishing is enjoyable for some all year round, but the summer months provide warmer temperatures and longer days perfect for a day at the river or lake.

ATV Riding

A summer day spent ripping through trails on a motorcycle, four-wheeler, RZR, or other off-road vehicle is a day well spent. There are many places in eastern Idaho where thrill-seekers can kick up dust and play.

These are just some of the trails available for off-road enthusiasts. Before an ATV is ready to ride they should have an Idaho OHV registration sticker. However, registered ATV’s from states like Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Utah are also acceptable. Many of these trails allow camping, although you might need to reserve one ahead of your trip or contact the Forest Service to make sure camping is allowed where you ride.

If you are ready to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, hit the trails of eastern Idaho.


Camping is an excellent way to experience the outdoors and to appreciate the natural beauty of Idaho. The feeling of being outside, the smell of a campfire, and seeing the stars at night are just a few perks to camping. If you’ve been feeling the need to get away, try camping. There are many campgrounds in eastern Idaho for you to enjoy.

Wherever you camp, be courteous to future guests by following the seven leave no trace principles. Be responsible for your fire and your campsite. If you don’t have camping equipment, some outdoor stores will rent you tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads to make your camping experience more complete.

Camping anywhere is a fun experience and eastern Idaho is no exception.


Perhaps one of the most popular outdoor activities in Idaho is hiking. What makes hiking so attractive is that you can basically do it for free. Many hikes don’t require a permit or a pass, and you don’t need very much equipment. For the most part, all you need is a sturdy pair of shoes, water, and a map--although sun protection, food, a first aid kit, and layers are nice to have on hand as well. If you plan on backpacking you will need more tools and supplies than you would for a typical day hike. You’ll need a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, water purifier, and whatever else you might want to bring on your trip.

When you go hiking, it is important to be prepared. You’ll want to research the trail before you go to make sure the area is safe and that you will have what you need. Researching trails is also important so that you do not hike a trail out of your comfort level. You would not want to accidentally hike a difficult trail when you planned to hike an easy one. The difference between a difficult and an easy hike does not always have to do with mileage, sometimes it is concerning steepness and other hazards.

Researching your trail may include calling the forest service for tips and recommendations--and permission to camp. The forest service will alert you to any potential danger concerning weather, obstacles, and animals. In Idaho, it is wise to always carry bear spray on back-country hikes. As with most outdoor activities, don’t go hiking alone. Hiking and backpacking in groups will add security and protection.

If you are looking to do an easy, quick day hike, be sure to check out our article on popular hikes in eastern Idaho. If you are looking for a greater challenge or something off the beaten path, check out one of these following trails in eastern Idaho.

Any of these trials will provide you with a good workout and spectacular views of beautiful eastern Idaho.

You don’t have to go far to have a fun time! Eastern Idaho is a backyard of fun activities waiting to be discovered. Whatever activity you decide to enjoy, be courteous to others by following the leave no trace principles and being responsible. The travel suggestions in this list are just skimming the surface, there are numerous trails, camping spots, and rivers to explore. Come enjoy all the spring and summer activities eastern Idaho has to offer. 

Hannah Anderson

About the author

Hannah Anderson

Hannah Anderson, a Nevada native, moved to Idaho four years ago to study at Brigham Young University-Idaho where she earned a bachelor's degree in communication. She enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, and exploring all that Idaho has to offer.

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