HWY 55 Guide

Hwy 55 — the essential Idaho road trip that takes you from sandy desert to green mountain views.

hwy 55 idaho map

Marsing and the Snake River

HWY 55 starts in Marsing, ID. Set along the Snake River, this quaint, historic town is a jumping-off point to some of the country’s most remote backcountry, and is a great spot to see the Snake River. Along the Snake River you will find boating, fishing, swimming, biking trails and camping.

snake river hwy 55 travel ideas guide

Snake River

Idaho Wine Country

Just across the river from Marsing is Sunnyslope, home to some of Southwest Idaho’s best wineries.

idaho wine country road signs

Sunnyslope wineries right off of HWY 55

Standout wineries worth a visit:

  • Huston Vineyards
    Our estate vineyards are well-tended, nourished by the abundant sunshine of the Snake River Valley.
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  • Ste. Chapelle Winery
  • Koenig Vineyards
  • Fujishin Family Cellars

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

Great Blue Heron HWY 55 travel ideas guide

Great Blue Heron. Checkout Deer Flat’s bird watching observatory for something unique.

Nature lovers will appreciate a stop at Deer Flat to explore the walking trails around Lake Lowell and ample birding opportunities. The Visitor Center has a selection of interactive activities for the kids as well as a viewing window facing an osprey nest!

Local’s Tip:

There is a beautiful picnic area next to the Visitor Center if you want to relax before continuing your drive.

Boise Metro Area

Farmer’s Market on 8th Street in Downtown Boise

The Boise area is full of restaurants, cultural attractions and places to stay. Here are a few places to check out on your way through:

  • Roaring Springs Water Park
    For some of the best family fun around, check out Roaring Springs!
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  • 8th Street in Downtown Boise
  • The Village at Meridian
  • Eagle Island State Park

The Payette River

Payette river boating hwy 55

Enjoy some whitewater rafting down the Payette River!

As you leave the valley behind and head into the foothills, you’ll drive alongside the beautiful and rugged Payette River for the next 35 miles. There are many ways to enjoy the river. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Cascade Raft and Kayak
    Since 1985, Cascade Raft and Kayak has been offering the best in Idaho whitewater rafting trips. As Idaho’s favorite outfitter, they offer trips for all ages and abilities – from the family-friendly “Splash” leisurely float to the class IV rapids and towering canyon walls of the “Plunge” adventure.
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  • Banks, ID
    Stop for a quick leg stretch and see where the North and South Fork of the Payette River meet, a popular put-in spot for rafters and kayakers alike.
  • Smith’s Ferry
    A popular access point to the River with a rustic lodge and gas station. Stop and watch the whitewater rafters or get in the water yourself! During snowy months this is a great jumping off point for miles of snowmobiling and snowshoeing trails. Keep your eyes on the sky for bald eagle sightings.

Cascade

Cascade Lake Idaho hwy 55 travel guide ideas 

Lake Cascade, home for camping, fishing, boating and so much more!

No HWY 55 trip is complete without a stop in Cascade, ID. This beautiful mountain town next to Lake Cascade is a perfect spot for taking in some stunning views and resting before you continue your adventure! Take a step back in time with a stay at the romantic Ashley Inn or camp at one of the many campgrounds surrounding the lake, such as the shaded French Creek Campground on the west side of the lake. If you are looking for the ideal spot to access outdoor summer and winter activities, look no further!

Local’s Tip

Cascade is a great place to go mushroom hunting. Look for morel mushrooms in the spring for a real delicacy!

Don’t miss out on:

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • ATV Trails
  • Biking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Hot Springs
  • Snowboarding/Skiing
  • Sledding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Sleigh Rides
  • And so much more!

McCall

McCall Idaho HWY 55 Travel Guide Ideas

Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho

Finish your Hwy 55 road trip with a bang at the much loved ski and lake town – McCall! A true four-season recreation hub, visitors and locals alike enjoy epic skiing and snowboarding on Brundage Mountain and an impressive array of shopping and dining in the historic downtown. Things don’t slow down in the summer when the slopes turn into a mountain bike mecca; Payette Lake provides endless boating and swimming opportunities with a beach right downtown.  

Local’s Tip

For one of the most beautiful golfing experiences of your life, take your clubs to Jug Mountain Ranch, a high country golf course with a great course and stunning views.

Must see and dos:

  • A Little Weekend Lift

    Whether you're into thrillin' or chillin', Brundage has a mountain bike adventure that fits.

  • Whitewater Guide

    Famous whitewater for big time adventure, and big time fun! No experience needed to create a completely unforgettable experience.

  • Fun In The Sun Guide

    Whether you are hunting for an idyllic camping spot in the mountains or your next big adventure in the desert, Southwest Idaho delivers.

Show weather

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Boise

51°F

McCall

38°F