SW Idaho winters: Beautiful outdoors, cozy indoors
Winter in Southwest Idaho
Start planning for winter
Winter in Southwest Idaho is simply too beautiful outside, too cozy inside, and too much fun inside and out to not experience for yourself. While planning your stay, don't miss out on any experiences during your trip!
Glide on Grove in Boise
Holiday Happenings in SW Idaho
Make this year the year you visit family and friends in Southwest Idaho for the holidays. Even better, make it epic.
To help, we’ve assembled a list of holiday season activities to help you get your cheer on.
Owyhee County Museum’s Christmas Bazaar: Go gift-shopping and get your Christmas tree in Murphy, about 30 miles south of Nampa. Trees go on sale at 10am December 2.
Glide on Grove: An iceless skating rink in the heart of downtown Boise. Take laps around the city tree while spirited holiday music fills the Grove Plaza. The free activity opens Thanksgiving weekend. Learn more here.
Idaho Capitol Tree & Decorations: While the spectacular state Christmas tree stands tall on the capitol steps, the interior of the capitol also gets blanketed in festive decorations. Make time to enjoy both! The official tree-lighting event schedule is still TBA — but look for it near the end of November or the beginning of December.
Indian Creek Plaza’s Winter Wonderland: This relatively recent addition has now become a holiday tradition. Ice skate. Shop. Stroll creekside enjoying fabulous lighting displays — with over a million lights! — in beautiful downtown Caldwell. Join the opening weekend event starting November 17.
Canyon County Christmas Show: Scheduled for November 17-19 at the Ford Idaho Center. Find gifts and take photos with Santa! More info here.
Scentsy Commons: Each year, the home fragrance company lights up the exterior of its Meridian-based headquarters with a stunning walk-through display. The highlight for many is the football field length light tunnel. Wow!
Christmas in Color: A drive-through light show at Expo Idaho. Find tickets here.
Eagle Country Christmas: A traditional small-town holiday gathering near Heritage Park in charming downtown Eagle. December 2, 1-6pm. Food, gift shopping, and plenty of family fun. Details are on the city’s website.
Sleigh Ride & Tree Hunting: Join Idaho Sleigh Rides on a memorable wagon ride to pick your Christmas tree starting the day after Thanksgiving. Reservations required. More here.
A Ferry Merry Christmas: Enjoy a shopping bazaar, Santa’s arrival, pancakes with the elves, a light display, and more. November 24-25. Events in downtown Glenns Ferry and at the Elmore County Fairgrounds. More here.
Christmas Tree Lighting: The lakeside community of Cascade pulls out all the stops for their lighting ceremony. Festivities start in the afternoon and include ornament making, cookies, a visit from Santa, and more. Saturday, December 2nd, 4pm at 115 N Main St.
“Only in SW Idaho” Winter Experiences
Winter is just another adventure season. And fortunately, Southwest Idaho winters feature adventures for everyone.
Get into the backcountry! These ski- or snowshoeing-in yurts sleep six in a cozy, furnished space with spectacular mountain views. Your only neighbors will be birds and other wildlife. Sure, there’s no TV and potentially limited cell service, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Spend your days Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, or just watching the flakes fall.
Get out into the backcountry with expert guides. The Brundage Mountain team offers snowmobile tours to scenic spots like Granite Lake, Goose Lake, and the Brundage Mountain Lookout. A once-in-a-lifetime experience available that visitors to Southwest Idaho can experience all winter long!
The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge (ISDC) includes three races in the Cascade/Long Valley area. Events start January 20th and run through February 1. An Iditarod and Yukon Quest qualifier!
This is just one of those things you must experience to believe. Start with a magical ski or snowshoe down a torchlit trail to a rustic yurt, where you’ll be served a multi-course culinary meal like no other. Absolutely otherworldly!
Ever fished on the ice, through the ice? Several lakes in the Cascade area, including Lake Cascade and (ironically) Warm Lake, permit ice fishing for perch and trout. We highly recommend a guide to ensure your trip is safe, smart, and productive. Or stop by Tamarack Outfitters for more information. Ice fishing season for Tamarack runs January 12-March 30 and offers fully guided trips, including snowmobiles, heated shacks, rods, live-scopes, rods, and tackle.
Don’t Miss This
- November 8-late December: Broadway in Boise – enjoy a show
- November 17-19: Caldwell’s Winter Wonderland Opening Weekend Festival – holiday fun for the whole family
- November 21-27: 36th Annual St. Alphonsus Festival of Trees – enjoy the Christmas spirit while giving back… 100% of the proceeds benefit the St. Alphonsus Cancer Institute
- November 24-25: Canyon County Festival of Trees – beautiful display of Christmas trees benefitting Nampa & Caldwell Meals on Wheels
- November-April: Idaho Steelheads Hockey – the greatest show on ice
- December 1: Meridian Winter Lights Parade – Join Santa as he brings his magic to light the city
- December 1: Marsing Christmas Parade
- December 2: Boise Holiday Parade
- December 2: Eagle Country Christmas – Celebrate Christmas with small-town charm and fun family festivities
- December 1-2 & 8-9: “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Glenns Ferry Historic Opera Theater
- December 15-24: Ballet Idaho presents The Nutcracker – A Christmas classic… not to be missed!
Whether you’re gliding through pockets of pristine powder, snowshoeing through frozen forests, or curling up in a cozy lodge, these three mountains deliver the ultimate winter adventure.
Where you stay can be a defining memory of any trip. So choose wisely. We’ve assembled some ideas and inspiration for unforgettable places to stay on your next visit to Southwest Idaho.