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Idaho state parks offer something special

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Enjoying the quiet solitude of an overnight stay in one of the park’s cabins located along the Snake River is what it’s all about in winter, spokeswoman Katherine Pruett said.

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It’s as simple as that. Visitors in winter practically have the state park to themselves. It’s only you and the birds along the Snake River.

Camp cooking? Forget about it. How about pecan crusted Idaho trout at Camela Winery a short stroll away? Have a nice Chardonnay to go with it.

The park is located in Glenns Ferry, just off I-84 about 90 minutes from Boise.


You can travel from the Treasure Valley in about 2 hours and have choices on how to spend the day —ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, winter camping or even staying in a yurt. There’s lots of variety for playing in the snow.

The big thing is ice fishing for perch and trout.

Snowmobilers can reach groomed trails from the park within a 10- to 15-minute drive. The more adventurous even take off across the frozen lake to hit the trails.

Lake Cascade State Park is a few blocks from the city of Cascade for dining, lodging, groceries and fuel, assistant manager Tracy Osborn said.

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The state park at McCall has world-class Nordic ski trails that go along scenic Payette Lake and through a dense forest of ponderosa pines.

There are more than 12 miles of groomed ski trails and 3 miles of snowshoe trails.

The park’s deluxe cabins also make it easy to enjoy the trails.

"Wake up in one of the deluxe cabins, have some coffee and enjoy the view," park office manager Eunice Broome said. "Before leaving out on your adventure, start a hearty meal in the slow cooker."


Thousand Springs State Park, southeast of Hagerman, has several different sections scattered between Hagerman and Buhl for winter hiking and bird watching.

The area is laced with waterfalls, springs and a mixture of wetlands, canyons and sage country that are all within a short driving distance of each other.

The first park section is Malad Gorge, a little over 90 minutes on I-84 east of Boise.


Massacre Rocks is unique in the winter because hikers have the opportunity to walk along the Snake River and see some of the river’s bottomlands that can’t be seen in periods of high water, park manager Kevin Lynott said.

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