There are several reasons Idaho Falls is named the outdoor enthusiast’s dreamland.
Especially when the coldest season of the year tends to be generously converting it into a winter wonderland.
If you’re visiting it would be a shame not to take advantage of this. Especially with the wide variety of unique winter activities for all ages.
Towards the end, I’ll also suggest some of the best indoor activities the city has to offer, whenever you feel like it.
Let’s sleigh into it!
📌 TIP: I've listed the activities in random order. Starting with the outdoor activities, and wrapping it up with the indoor ones.
📖 Table of Contents
- The Best Outdoor Winter Activities in Idaho Falls
- 1. Visit the Stunning LaBelle Lake Ice Palace
- 2. Snowshoeing or Cross-country Skiing at Harriman State Park
- 3. Relax in the Outdoor Hot Spring at Heise Hot Springs
- 4. Ride a Snowmobile Through Yellowstone National Park
- 5. Snow Tubing at Kelly Canyon Resort
- 6. Stay In One of the Cozy Backcountry Yurts
- 7. Go on an Ice Fishing tour with Southern Idaho Fishing Excursions
- 8. Join the Ice Skating at Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto Ice Arena
- 9. Visit the Majestic Idaho Falls Temple
- The Best Indoor Winter Activities in Idaho Falls
- Locations of the Best Winter Activities in Idaho Falls (Map)
The Best Outdoor Winter Activities in Idaho Falls
Though I’ve decided to exclude skiing from the list don’t worry. This doesn’t mean a lack of opportunities to get familiar with forward gravity at its best.
1. Visit the Stunning LaBelle Lake Ice Palace
This family-owned business is run by Jim and Shannon Youngstrum, their 6 kids, and the rest of the team. Each year they put in their best to create the ice palace of the season. The Scandinavian name comes from Jim’s grandmother who traveled from Norway to the states.
Besides exploring the ice palace, you’ll also get to meet popular Disney characters and raindeers. Experience live music, fire shows, and the option of riding a horse sleigh among others.
And if you’ve ever wanted to try a slide completely made of ice, you’ll also find that here.
They also serve a wide variety of tasty foods. Such as Mexican street food, wood-fired pizza made of fresh ingredients, and homemade donuts. And at their ice bar, you can linger your thirst with various drinks and hot coffees.
And you’ll find the palace at 688 N 4200 E (Google Maps).
2. Snowshoeing or Cross-country Skiing at Harriman State Park
Hiking through snow might sound challenging, but equipping yourself with the right pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis will make it much easier and more fun.
The nearby Harriman State Park offers several trails for everyone. I suggest picking a popular route on AllTrails and downloading their popular app to navigate.
The most popular route is the 2.5 miles Ranch Loop. It’s suitable for most levels and will take you past multiple buildings including historical cabins.
Once you’re ready for action, you’ll find the entrance to Harrison State Park at 3489 Green Canyon Rd (Google Maps). Where you’ll also pay the $5 vehicle entrance fee at the ranger station.
📌 TIP: You can also rent fat bikes at Idaho Mountain Trading to take for a spin in Harriman State Park. But for this, you also need a suitable vehicle to transport them. There are several Mountain Biking Trails to choose from which you'll find here.
3. Relax in the Outdoor Hot Spring at Heise Hot Springs
It’s not every day you get to jump in an outdoor pool during the winter.
But the natural mineral hot spring you’ll find here is a bit different. With a temperature of about 104°F (40°C), you can easily relax and recover your body for a bit.
While you might didn’t think of packing your swimming clothes during winter, they also offer swimming suits and towels for rent.
The all-day admission prices are $10 for adults (+12 years) and $8 for children. And if you want to rent some swimming equipment it’s $1 for a suit and $0.5 for a towel.
4. Ride a Snowmobile Through Yellowstone National Park
This is one of the most fun ways to cover considerable distances of wild snowy terrain.
And in terms of distance, we’re talking a full-day trip of 60-80 miles of wilderness. Along with your experienced and licensed guides to ensure a top-notch experience.
All while getting the chance to encounter wildlife and geological wonders in their natural habitat. Including the chance of seeing an explosion of steam from one of the park’s many geysers among other things.
Teton Valley Adventures Tours offers two different tours in Yellowstone National Park. The Old Faithful tour (60 miles) and the Grand Canyon tour (80 miles).
The price per person/driver ranges from $350-400 depending on which one you choose (min 16 years). And $150 for passengers (min 5 years).
🚗🇺🇸 How to Rent the Best Car for the Lowest Price in Idaho Falls
If you’re looking into renting a car, I have something to share with you.
I’ve been in some pretty sweaty situations over the years when renting cars.
One time I received a serious demand letter from a rental company years after I returned the car. Even if I had already paid for it in full (they apologized in the end).
And another time someone made a huge dent in the rear of a new Audi I rented. Making me doubt whether I’d ever see my deposit again.
Through these experiences, I came to realize the importance of choosing a car rental company you can trust. Along with having access to 24/7 support providing peace of mind while ensuring any issues are quickly addressed if they arise.
Plus knowing that you get the car you paid for, there are no hidden fees when picking it up, or any other frustrating surprises written in small.
And that’s why I want to introduce you to the award-winning Discover Cars (4.5 of 5 on Trustpilot) 🤩
This platform has grown into one of the biggest car rental websites in the world. And have an abundance of positive reviews on trusted review platforms such as Trustpilot and Google.
Why I love Discover Cars:
- You compare the best prices from 500 car companies at once
- They negotiate prices directly with the car rental companies to give you the best price
- There are no hidden fees
- Free cancellation on all bookings
- 24/7 customer support
5. Snow Tubing at Kelly Canyon Resort
If you find skiing and snowboarding too predictable, then let’s appreciate the invention of tubes for a second.
This is one of the most fun ways to enjoy a slope where everyone can attend. Even your best four-legged friend(s).
So if skiing or snowboarding isn’t your cup of hot chocolate, this is a great alternative.
Besides riding solo, you can also make it into a group activity by holding onto each other’s tube.
You’ll find the popular Kelly Canyon Resort at 5488 Kelly Canyon Rd (Google Maps). Which is also the closest skiing resort to Idaho Falls.
6. Stay In One of the Cozy Backcountry Yurts
Staying in of these popular yurts will help you maintain the feeling of being close to nature, but without compromising on comfort.
Though they’re technically categorized as a tent they have all the safety features you’d expect from a house. Such as lockable doors and windows.
They’re also built to withstand high winds, snow loads, and summer heat which makes them suitable for all seasons. Though they’re most popular during the winter
If want to have a tour of one of them, the video below gives a guided tour of the Skyline Yurt (starting at 7:45 min into the video).
The yurts are very similar in terms of attributes and amenities. And the price is $115/night and rooms for up to 5-6 people.
They can be accessed by vehicle or by foot. Though a $7.5 Park N’ Ski Pass is required if you intend to drive there, which can be registered and purchased here.
7. Go on an Ice Fishing tour with Southern Idaho Fishing Excursions
If you’re not sure what you’re having for dinner yet, why not try a self-caught perch from the Cascade River?
With Southern Idaho Fishing Excursions you can go on a full-day trip with local experts and try ice fishing to its fullest.
You’ll be instructed on the necessary fishing techniques and how to use the special equipment used for ice fishing.
The price is $275 per person (max. 4 people). It covers transportation on snowmobiles and all necessary equipment including shelters/heaters to help you stay warm. Though a good set of winter clothes is still required.
Your guide and fishing expert will be with you throughout the day to ensure you have a good experience.
8. Join the Ice Skating at Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto Ice Arena
Though this arena is a popular and busy place, they open up to the public almost daily.
The ice of the rink is 85 x 190 ft large. And outside the rink, you’ll find a snack bar and locker rooms to store your items safely.
One of The Recreation Department’s priorities is to keep costs down for both members and guests. This reflects in the low prices despite the high-quality facilities.
The admission price is $6.25 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. And skate rentals are $3.76.
You’ll find the arena at 390 Rogers St (Google Maps).
🛌🇺🇸 How to Secure the Best Accommodation in Idaho Falls
When it comes to travel, finding the perfect accommodation is a big part of it.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time adventurer, you know that more than a third of your time on the road is spent in your accommodation.
And besides securing a good night’s rest, I also like to make my accommodation an experience of itself.
Whether it’s staying in a local vacation rental and blending in with locals. Spoiling myself with a good hotel deal. Or stay in a social hostel and meet new people.
And with hundreds of bookings under my belt, I’ve tried the majority of the biggest websites there are. But in reality, you only need a few, no matter what you’re in the mood for:
- 🏡 At VRBO, you’ll find an incredible selection of vacation rentals, from cozy cabins to luxurious villas, all with the amenities and comforts of home.
- 🏨 With Booking, you can choose from over 28 million listings worldwide, including hotels, apartments, and more
- 🛌 And Hostelworld is the home of hostels and budget accommodations, providing the best places to meet other travelers while stretching your travel budget further.
No matter where you’re going or what your budget is, I can vouch that these trusted platforms have got you covered.
9. Visit the Majestic Idaho Falls Temple
You don’t necessarily have to be religious to enjoy the beauty of this temple. Which is a familiar sight throughout the city with its golden statue of the angel Morino on the top.
While it can easily be worth your while to experience from the outside alone. They also offer guided tours run by volunteers. I suggest visiting their website to check their current options.
But whether you explore the insides of the temple or not, the outdoor areas have a colorful garden with fountains and waterfalls accompanied by a view of the Snake River.
And something else worth mentioning is that admission is free.
Before visiting to enter, I suggest contacting their visitors center to make sure it’s open to the public at a specific time.
The Best Indoor Winter Activities in Idaho Falls
If you ever need a break from the outdoors, or the weather simply calls for it, luckily the city also has several things to do and experience indoors.
10. Try Beer Straight From the Source at Idaho Brewing Company
This place started from a passion for beer and a shared dream. And since 2009 till this day it’s still run by the founders and owners Robin and Wolf.
Here you can taste 17 different styles of freshly brewed ales and lagers. And with 12 taps in their tasting rooms, chances are you’ll find a favorite.
One thing that’s particularly adding to a wholesome winter experience is their seasoned beers which I suggest giving a try.
Though their beers have won several different bronze, silver, and gold medals in different award events, they also offer a wide selection of wine if that’s more your thing.
11. Witness the Engaging Exhibits at the Museum of Idaho
This history and science museum is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Here you can take a deep dive into the past of Idaho among other places.
And with world-class exhibits, collections, and events they compete well with larger museums normally found in bigger cities.
With their interactive rooms, games, and puzzles they also provide a fun way to engage and learn. To make sure that people of all ages are entertained.
They’re non-profit and largely driven by donations. This also reflects in the relatively low prices compared to other museums.
📌 TIP: If you're a big fan of museums there are also two other places in the city worth mentioning. The first one is the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho (Google Maps + Opening Hours) located in the very city center, you can experience contemporary art from local artists among others. The other one is the Collectors Corner Museum (Google Maps + Opening Hours) located close to the city center. Here you'll find 115 unique memory-evoking collections of toys and memorabilia.
12. Beat the Escape Rooms Records at Gnarley Escapes
If you have yet to try an Escape Room I highly suggest you do so. If you like a challenge and fun sprinkled with a little bit of panic, you won’t be disappointed.
Their two games offer different stories and challenges which you get 1 hour to complete. All ages are welcome, but it’s recommended for 10 years and up.
In the Green Belt Bank Heist game, you’re part of a criminal group in the early 80s. Your goal is to break the bank and collect the largest score possible (for 4-12 players).
The other game is called Buried Alive. As the name suggests this is a bit scarier. Here the story is that you’ve all been kidnapped and placed in separate boxes in the same room. And your goal is the same – to get out as soon as possible (4-9 players).
You can check their opening hours, and prices and book a room directly on their website (at least 1 hour in advance).
13. Practice Your Shooting at the Guns N Gear Range
This indoor shooting range is something different. And their customer satisfaction rate is unmatched.
They also have the largest selection of guns and ammo in the whole state. Which are even being replaced by the newest models constantly.
If you’re a beginner they also provide private lessons of 15, 30, or 60 minutes ranging between $25-75. So whether you’re a beginner or experienced, they have something for you.
Their rental offers are also quite generous. For only $20/per person, you have unlimited access to their collection of firearm rentals. While full-automatics is $30/per gun.