Idaho, United States

About Idaho

The state of Idaho is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called Idahoans. Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890 as the 43rd state. Idaho is a mostly mountainous state, with an area larger than all of New England. It is landlocked, surrounded by the states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and the Canadian Province of British Columbia. However, the network of dams and locks on the Columbia River and Snake River make the city of Lewiston the farthest inland seaport on the west coast of the continental United States.

Idaho Tourism and Recreation

Tourists come to Idaho primarily for outdoor recreation—river trips, skiing, camping, hunting, fishing, and hiking. There are 19 ski resorts, of which by far the most famous is Sun Valley, which opened in 1936. Boise is the most popular destination within the state.

Tourist attractions include two national parks, the Craters of the Moon National Monument and the Nez Perc National Historical Park, and the Hell's Canyon and Sawtooth national recreational areas. A sliver of Yellowstone National Park is in Idaho. Portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Oregon Trail lie within the state as well.

Idaho Climate

Idaho’s climate is diverse and influenced by weather patterns off the Pacific Ocean. Generally, the northern part of the state receives more precipitation than southern Idaho, which has warmer summer temperatures.

The highest annual average temperatures for Idaho are found in the lower elevations of the Clearwater and Little Salmon River Basins, and in the stretch of the Snake River Valley from the vicinity of Bliss downstream to Lewiston, including the open valleys of the Boise, Payette, and Weiser Rivers. At Swan Falls the annual mean is 55° F, the highest in the State. Obsidian, at an elevation of 6,780 feet in Custer County, has the lowest annual average, 35.4° F, with such places as Sun Valley, Stanley and Island Park not far behind.

The annual average percentage of possible sunshine ranges from about 50 in the north to about 70 in the south. Winter, with its frequent periods of cloudy weather, has about 40 percent of possible sunshine in the large open valleys of the south and less than 30 percent in the north. In July and August the average percentage rises to the upper 80s in the southwest and to near 80 in the east and north.

To a large extent, the source of moisture for precipitation in Idaho is the Pacific Ocean. In summer, there are some exceptions to this when moisture-laden air is brought in from the south at high levels to produce thunderstorm activity, particularly in the eastern part of Idaho.

Idaho Transportaion

Idaho is among the few states in the nation without a major freeway linking the two largest metropolitan areas of Boise in the south and Coeur d'Alene in the north. US-95 links the two ends of the state, but like many other highways in Idaho, it is badly in need of repair and upgrade. In 2007, the Idaho Transportation Department stated that the state's highway infrastructure faces a $200 million per year shortfall in maintenance and upgrades. Interstate 84 is the main highway linking the Southeast and Southwest portions of the state, along with Interstate 86 and Interstate 15.

Major airports include the Boise Airport serving the southwest region of Idaho, and the Spokane International Airport (located in Spokane, Washington), which serves northern Idaho. Other airports with scheduled service are the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport serving the Palouse; the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport, serving the Lewis-Clark Valley and north central Idaho; The Magic Valley Regional Airport in Twin Falls; the Idaho Falls Regional Airport; and the Pocatello Regional Airport.