Idaho is among the most mountainous states in the United States . Prior to its formation as a state , congressional lobbyist George M . Willing made the claim that the word Idaho was a Shoshone word meaning “ the sun comes from the mountains ” or “ gem of the mountains ”. Even after the claim was later found to be erroneous , the name stuck . Idaho started as a territory in 1863 , and later became the gem state in 1890 .
While Idaho may not be a Shoshone word , it does stay true to the falsified translation , and is filled with peaks and valleys . From the Pacific Northwest to the Rocky Mountain desert and Yellowstone ’ s hydrothermal wonders , the mountain ranges of Idaho exhibit the extremes of beauty across multiple unique vistas . Idaho knows no shortage of rocky , snow-capped peaks trailing down to forests of green filled with wildlife . From A to Y : Albion to Yellowjacket , the mountain ranges of Idaho not only provide vital habitats and climates for animals but also displays a beauty unparalleled by any other state .
The main freeway running across southern Idaho is designed to center itself in some of the few flatter stretches of the state , avoiding some of the best views only a few short minutes away . Opting to drive some of the roads less traveled opens the door to treasures known to few people outside of true Idaho natives and adventurous travelers .
Heading north from the Boise , Highway 55 and 95 travel along the Payette River line , flanked by river rafters , kayakers , mountain ranges , and lakes . McCall and Cascade mark the middle stretch of these highways with beautiful lakes , historic triathlons , boating , hiking , and more . Further north they meander through 8 national forests , including Payette , Wallowa-Whitman , Nez Perce , Saint Joe , Lolo , Coeur d ’ Alene , Kaniksu , and Kootenai , each containing numerous mountain ranges that spread over state lines . Not only is a drive along this highway vast and beautiful , but it is also sprinkled with small-town discoveries like salmon fishermen and vendors of handmade goods .
The Couer d ’ Alene mountains crown northern Idaho with unmatched beauty and wildlife . With the Sawtooth Mountain Range bisecting the state and the Bitterroot range lining the east ,