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55 Fun Facts About Idaho 

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From being the home to the biggest potato chip to boasting the deepest river gorge in North America, Idaho is a state filled with unique and fascinating fun facts. So, let’s delve into them.

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Fun Facts About Idaho

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Idaho has always intrigued me. The state is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, mining history, and for being the largest producer of potatoes in the US.

I knew I had to know more fun facts about Idaho when I read that it has a potato museum and a huge beagle-shaped bed and breakfast. If you’re also feeling curious now, read to learn some truly fun facts about Idaho.

1. Boise Is the Capital of Idaho

Let’s start with one of the well-known fun facts about Idaho!

Boise, located in Ada County, is the largest and the capital city of Idaho. It covers an area of 220 square kilometres and has a population of 240,713.

The city is a combination of natural and manmade beauty. Some of the tourist attractions include the Boise River Greenbelt, the Idaho Botanical Garden, and the Basque Museum & Cultural Center. 

You can also check out Boise downtown to explore the city’s social and cultural scenes!

Fun Facts About Idaho

2. Idaho Has Two Time Zones

Idaho follows two time zones – Pacific Time and Mountain Time

The counties located in the east of Washington follow Pacific Time, whereas counties east of Oregon follow Mountain Time.

3. Idaho Has Its Own Loch Ness Monster

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster originated from Scotland. However, let’s dig into some similar fun facts about Idaho. 

Many people believe that there are Bear Lake Monsters in Bear Lake, located near the Utah-Idaho border. It is believed that the monster’s myth originated in the 19th century.

Idaho also has other versions of the Loch Ness Monster, like Sharlie, who was sighted in Payette Lake of McCall. 

4. The Highest Navigable River in the World Flows Through Idaho

This is one of the most unique fun facts about Idaho!

You’ll find the highest navigable river, the St. Joe River, in Idaho. It is a tributary of Lake Michigan and is located at a mouth elevation of 2,129 feet. You can even take the St. Joe River Cruise here to learn more about the lands surrounding it.

5. Idaho’s Tallest Building is Zions Bank Building 

Here is one of the architectural fun facts about Idaho.

There are many tall structures in Idaho. Yet, the Zions Bank Building in Boise takes the cake for being the tallest building with a height of 323 feet and 18 floors.

6. Idaho Is a Landlocked State

Idaho is not in contact with any major sea or ocean. Hence, it is a landlocked state in the northwestern US.

Idaho is bordered by Washington and Oregon (west), Nevada and Utah (south), Montana (east), and Wyoming (northeast).

7. Potato Is the State Food of Idaho

If you read fun facts about Idaho, you’ll come across the word “potato” many times! It is because potato is the official state food of Idaho. 

Idaho is the leading producer of potatoes in the US. In 2022, the state produced 12 billion pounds of potatoes! It also supplied one-third of the total potatoes in the United States.

Fun Facts About Idaho

8. Idaho Has a Rich Mining History

I cannot not discuss mining when it comes to fun facts about Idaho.

In the 1860s, Idaho experienced a “gold rush” after several gold deposits were found. Due to this golden opportunity (literally), many people moved to Idaho. Later on, other mineral deposits of silver, lead, and zinc were also discovered. 

Many cities like Silver City, Wallace, and Coeur d’Alene became important centres of mining during this time.

9. Borah Peak Is the Highest Point in Idaho

Do you want to know some geography-related fun facts about Idaho? 

Since Idaho has mountainous terrain, there are several high peaks here. The largest peak is the Borah Peak with a height of 12,662 feet. It is situated in Cluster County in Idaho.

10. Idaho Alone Is Bigger Than New England

Here is one of the astonishing fun facts about Idaho and its area size.

New England consists of six states in the Northeastern United States – Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Yet, just the single state of Idaho is bigger than all of them!

New England has an area of 186,447 square kilometres, whereas Idaho’s total area is 216,400 square kilometres.

11. Idaho Has the Deepest River Gorge in North America

You may have heard about the Grand Canyon in Nevada. But, have you heard about Hell’s Canyon? 

Hell’s Canyon is the deepest river gorge in the entire North America. It is carved by the Snake River and has a depth of 7,993 feet

Hell’s Canyon forms one of the boundaries between Idaho and Oregon.

12. Idaho Is Home to the Tallest Single Sand Dune in North America

You can find all types of terrain in Idaho, including deserts

In fact, the Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho also has the tallest freestanding sand dunes. The highest single sand dune in the whole of North America is also found here. It has a height of 470 feet!

There are many activities available at the park, like camping, star-gazing, and even fishing (yes, there are two lakes in the desert).

13. There Is a River of No Return Idaho 

Do you want to hear some scary fun facts about Idaho?

The Salmon River that passes through Central and Eastern Idaho was known as the “River of No Return”. 

It was because the traditional boats were only able to navigate down the river. They weren’t able to navigate upstream due to the presence of rapids and a fast river flow. However, today, advanced boats, like jet boats, can navigate upstream too. 

14. Idaho Has the World’s Largest Beagle

These fun facts about Idaho are for dog lovers, specifically beagle lovers.

Idaho has the world’s largest beagle named Sweet Willy. The plot twist is that it’s not an actual beagle. Instead, it is a bed and breakfast, shaped in the form of a beagle. 

Sweet Willy is 30 feet tall and is located in Cottonwood, Idaho. It consists of a single room, bathroom, and loft. If you want to stay here, you’ll have to pay around $88 per night.

15. Idaho Had the World’s Largest Straw Bale Maze

This is one of the weirdest fun facts about Idaho. 

You’ll find the largest maze made out of straws in Rupert, Idaho. The maze was spread across 1.6 miles and was made out of 3,202 bales of straw. It was built at Garden Cents, a shop for planting and nursery purposes. 

16. Idaho Is Nicknamed the Gem State

Idaho is a gem of a state, quite literally!

There are many rare minerals that you can find in Idaho because of its mountainous terrain. Some of these minerals include topaz, jade, opal, garnet, and tourmaline.

Certain areas where you can find these minerals in abundance are the Alder Creek Garnet Area, Spencer Opal Mines, Burnt Creek and Rock Creek areas, and Emerald Creek Garnet Area.

17. You Can Spot Four States From Heaven’s Gate Lookout in Idaho

You need to know these fun facts about Idaho if you are planning to visit the state soon. 

The Heaven’s Gate Lookout is a part of the Seven Devils Mountains and is situated at a height of 8,429 feet. From this point, you can see four states – Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana!

18. The Idaho State University has the Museum of Clean.

Cleanliness has become an important part of our lives and countries. Owing to this reason, the Idaho State University has dedicated a whole museum to cleanliness. 

The Museum of Clean opened in November 2011 in Pocatello, Idaho. It features over 6,000 artefacts of historical cleaning tools and practices. Hence, you can find antique vacuum cleaners, brooms, laundry machines, and many more. 

19. The Name “Idaho” Might Be Made Up

Let’s get into some naming-related fun facts about Idaho. 

There are many controversies over the origin of the name “Idaho”. In 1860, a mining lobbyist George M. Willing suggested the name “Idaho” stating that it’s a Native American (Shoshone) word for “Gem of the Mountains”. However, later, it was found that it wasn’t true.

The name “Idaho” doesn’t have Native American origins as per The Idaho Historical Society. The word probably didn’t even exist before!

20. Idaho Has a Shakespeare Festival

If you are a fan of William Shakespeare and his works like Romeo and Juliet and Othello, these fun facts about Idaho are for you. 

Boise, the capital of Idaho, organises an annual Shakespeare Festival between the months of June and July. During these months, you can catch five plays. Some of these plays are by William Shakespeare, whereas some are by other writers.

21. Huckleberry Is Idaho’s State Fruit

Here’s one of the fruit-related fun facts about Idaho. 

Huckleberry is a popular ingredient in many food items in Idaho, including the iconic huckleberry jam and huckleberry pie. Hence, the fruit was titled as Idaho’s state fruit in 2000.

The funny thing is that a group of fourth graders from North Idaho are the reason behind declaring huckleberry as Idaho’s state fruit. 

Fun Facts About Idaho

22. Idaho Has Many Rivers

Idaho has many scenic locations due to the various mountains and rivers present in its vicinity. 

One of the most famous rivers in Idaho is the Snake River as it covers more than 1,000 miles or 1,735 kilometres. It is also the largest river of the Columbia River, which is the largest river in the entire North America. 

Some of the major rivers of Idaho include Salmon River (684 kilometres), Clearwater River (120 kilometres), Boise River (164 kilometres), St. Joe River (225 kilometres), and many more.

You’ll also find other rivers on Idaho’s map such as Bear River, Bruneau River, Owyhee River, and Weiser River.

23. Idaho Grows a Lot of Lentil

Along with potatoes, Idaho is also known for its lentil production. In fact, the Northern part of Idaho is one of the main regions for dry pea and lentil production. It is also the 4th largest producer of dry peas and lentils.

Fun Facts About Idaho

24. Idaho Has a Population of 1.9 Million

Here are some quick population-related facts about Idaho. 

As of 2022, the population of Idaho is around 1.9 million. In fact, the state saw an influx of 51,000 residents in the year 2021.

More than 81% of Idaho’s residents are White, whereas 1% of its residents are African Americans. You’ll find Asians (1.7%) and Hispanics (13.3%) in Idaho too.

25. Idaho State Steal Is The Only One To Be Designed by a Woman

These fun facts about Idaho are truly inspiring!

Each US state has its own unique seal used for documents and many more. Now, most state seals are designed by men. The only state seal designed by a woman is that of Idaho.

In 1890, Emma Edwards Green, a resident of California, visited Boise (Idaho) to meet her friends. She was a student at the Arts Students League of New York. However, she decided to stay in Boise and started taking art classes. 

Later, in 1891, Edwards took part in the State Seal competition sponsored by the First Legislature for the State of Idaho. She submitted a design for the State Seal and won the competition! The seal depicts a miner, a woman, and many natural resources of Idaho

26. There Is a Potato Museum in Idaho

As mentioned earlier, Idaho is famous for its potato production. Due to this reason, you’ll also find a potato museum in Idaho! 

The Idaho Potato Museum is situated in Blackfoot, Idaho. The museum has a huge entryboard shaped like a potato! It’s also an amazing place to visit if you want to know more about the history of potato farming in Idaho. 

You can also get to know about the different potato varieties and the machines used in potato farming. There’s a “Potato Hall of Fame” in the museum which lists the people who have made significant contributions to the potato industry.

27. Idahoans Have a Very Neutral Accent

People from different states of the US have different accents. For instance, you may have heard of the famous Southern accent!

Yet, Idaho is one of the states with no specific accent. You won’t find Idahoans having an accent, which is difficult to understand. 

Still, they do have slightly different pronunciations for some words. For example, they pronounce “creek” as “crick” and don’t pronounce the “e” in “coyote”. They also use the word “pop” for “soda”

28. Western White Pine Is Idaho’s State Tree

Just the way potato is the state food of Idaho, it also has its own state tree. 

You can find over 20 tree species in Idaho, including both hardwoods and softwoods. Out of these, the Western White Pine was given the title of the state’s official tree in 1935. 

The Western White Pine can grow up to 50 metres or 164 feet! It is mainly used for construction and furniture-related purposes.

Sadly, the total number of Western White Pine trees in Idaho is 93% less than what it was 40 years ago.

29. 63% of Idaho’s Land Is Public

Here is another one of my favourite facts about Idaho. A major portion of the state (around 63%) is owned by public organisations, including the federal and state governments.

These lands include various national parks, national forests, grasslands, deserts, canyons, and many more.

30. Idaho Unveiled the World’s First Chairlift in Sun Valley

Skiing is one of the most fun recreational activities! However, today, chairlifts are important for any skiing destination. 

Did you know the world’s first chairlift was also introduced in Idaho? In 1936, the Sun Valley Resort, located in Ketchum, Idaho, introduced the world’s first chairlift! James Curran, an engineer, was responsible for designing it!

31. Idaho Has the “Niagara of the West”

If you love Niagara, you should read these fun facts about Idaho. 

Idaho is home to Shoshone Falls, which is also titled as the “Niagara of the West”. It is situated in Twin Falls City and is 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide! Hence, it is even taller than Niagara Falls (170 feet tall).

32. Idaho Owns Parts of the Rocky Mountains

Idaho has many mountainous regions. In fact, two-thirds of Northern Idaho is mostly mountains!

The Rocky Mountain range, which stretches from Canada to the US, also has some parts of it in Idaho. 

For instance, the Sawtooth Range (Central Idaho), Bitterroot Range (Montana and Idaho), Clearwater Mountains (north-central Idaho), and Lost River Range (Central Idaho) are all a part of the Rocky Mountain Range. 

These mountain ranges are well known for their picturesque views and many adventurous activities. Hence, Idaho is a paradise for mountain enthusiasts!

33. Idaho Has Ice Cream Potato!

Let’s talk about some of the weirdest fun facts about Idaho. 

Since Idaho is popular for its potato production, you’ll find many things related to potatoes here. For instance, the state has an ice cream potato. Now, don’t be surprised! The dessert actually doesn’t contain even a bit of potato. Instead, it is an ice cream shaped like a potato. 

Lou Aaron, a chef from Boise, Idaho, came up with this idea! If you want to check it out, it’s available at Boise’s Westside Drive and certain outdoor events too, taking place in Idaho.

34. Syringa Is Idaho’s State Flower

Do you love discovering the flowers of various places? Here are some fun facts about Idaho and its flora.

You’ll find more than 800 species of flowers in Idaho. Some of the native ones include Bartonberry, Pygmy Rabbit, Blue Camas, and Bitterbrush. 

Idaho also has a state flower, known as Syringa, which is native to the region. It is a lovely white-coloured wildflower that covers the magnificent hillsides. The flower was declared the state’s national flower in 1931.

35. The Smurf Turf Was Introduced in Idaho

The Smurf Turf is a unique sports-related concept that was introduced in Idaho in 1986. As the name suggests, artificial turf is popular for its blue colour. 

Today, you can find the Smurf Turf at Albertsons Stadium and Boise State University. It has also become a symbol of the Boise State University. Therefore, if you want to know more about its history, check out its official website!

36. Idaho Has the Perfect Men to Women Ratio

Do you want to know some impressive fun facts about Idaho? Well, the state has a near-perfect men-to-women ratio of 99.58! 

Hence, there are 100 men for almost 100 women. This ratio is higher than the average ratio of 97 women per 100 men in the US. As of 2023, Idaho’s population comprises 954,263 males and 946,660 females.

37. You Can Find Star Garnets in Idaho

Garnets are a type of silicate mineral, found in many colours and shapes. One such garnet is the star garnet. 

Star garnets are extremely unique, and are found only in two places, India and Idaho. These garnets are known for their star-like optical phenomenon, called asterism. Hence, the light reflected from these garnets looks like a four or six-pointed star.

In Idaho, star garnets are found in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests and the Emerald Creek Garnet Area.  

38. Idaho Has the Longest Gondola Ride in North America

I have loved Gondola rides! Hence, these fun facts about Idaho made me want to book a ticket for the state.

Today, you can find the longest gondola ride in North America at the Silver Mountain Resort. The resort is situated in Kellogg, which is a part of Shoshone County in Idaho. 

The gondola ride is at least 3.1 miles long, equivalent to almost 5 kilometres! It can take you from Kellogg’s downtown to Silver Mountain itself where you can enjoy various activities, including skiing and snowboarding.

39. “Esto Perpetua” Is the Motto of Idaho

If you check Idaho’s motto, you’ll come across the phrase “Esto Perpetua”. Here is one of the fun facts about Idaho’s motto. 

This Latin phrase translates to “Let it be perpetual” or “May it endure forever”. Idaho adopted this as its motto in 1890. You can also see the motto on the official Idaho state seal. 

40. Mountain Bluebird Is Idaho’s State Bird

If you love birds, let’s talk about some bird-related fun facts about Idaho.

The state is home to over 434 bird species as 40% of the state is covered in forests. In 1931, the Mountain Bluebird was named as Idaho’s state bird. 

This bird is famous for its fascinating sky-blue body and was once known as the Arctic or Ultramarine blue bird. Along with Idaho, Mountain Bluebird is also Nevada’s state bird.

Fun Facts About Idaho

41. Appaloosa Is Idaho’s State Horse

This is one of the cutest facts about Idaho for me!

Appaloosa is an American horse breed, which is considered Idaho’s state horse. The reason behind it is its significant role in the state’s history.

During the 1700s, the Native American tribe, the Nez Perce tribe, started domesticating and breeding Appaloosa. It served the tribes with various purposes, like transportation, hunting, and fishing during the Nez Perce War of 1877. 

In 1975, Appaloosa was revered with the title of Idaho’s state horse.  

42. Idaho Has a Population of Native American Tribes

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the native American tribes make up about just 2.09% of the country’s population. 

You will also get to see five recognised Native American tribes in Idaho. These include the Shoshone-Bannock, the Coeur d’Alene, the Shoshone-Paiute, the Kootenai, and the Nez Perce. They make up about 1.1% of the state’s population with 23,029 Native Americans (2020). 

43. Idaho Has the Largest Hops Farms in the World

Here is one of the fun facts about Idaho if you love beer!

Hops are a type of flower that is extensively used in beer-making. They are extensively used for adding bitterness and unique aroma to most beers. 

Idaho has the largest hops farms in the world, known as the Anheuser-Busch’s Elk Mountain Farms! It is situated near the Bonners Ferry city in Idaho. 

The farm is spread across 1,700 acres and has more than 30 to 40 varieties of hops.

44. Idaho Has the World’s Largest Potato Chip

As you may already know by now, Idaho is famous for its potato produce. Hence, you can also find the biggest potato chip here!

The Idaho Potato Museum features a potato chip measuring around 25 inches by 14 inches with a weight of 5 oz. The Pringle’s Company manufactured this chip in Jackson, Tennessee. 

This single chip contains 920 calories, equivalent to 80 Pringle chips!

45. Craters of the Moon Is Dried Lava

Let’s talk about some geography-related fun facts about Idaho. 

You’ll find the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in the Snake River Plain of Idaho. 

Contrary to what the name suggests, the preserve consists of lava fields, cinder cones, and sagebrush. It gets its unique name because the landscape resembles the surface of the moon.

You can also visit the place for hiking as it has some spectacular sights to offer. The best trail is the North Crater Trail

46. Idaho Has a Lot of Ghost Towns

Idaho has more than a hundred ghost towns! These towns aren’t inhabited by “ghosts” as the name suggests. Instead, it is a deserted town which has very few or no residents at all. 

Some of the most famous ghost towns include Silver City, Idaho City, Custer, Burke, and Bayhorse. 

During the 1800s, Silver City was a popular mining town and had a population of more than 2,500 residents. Custer was also a famous mining town due to the presence of gold. However, once the gold deposits dried up, it became deserted too!

Hence, many ghost towns were former mining towns which were soon abandoned by the residents. 

47. The World’s Largest Floating Boardwalk Is Located in Idaho

A boardwalk is a type of wooden walkway built on top of a marshy land. If you want to see the largest floating boardwalk, you can check it out in Idaho!

There is a 3,300-foot long and 12-foot wide floating boardwalk located in the Coeur d’Alene city in Kootenai County. It is a part of a luxury resort, the Coeur d’Alene Resort. But don’t worry, it’s still open to all and not just the hotel guests!

The boardwalk was constructed on top of Lake Coeur d’Alene in 1985. There’s also a bar and floating restaurant near the boardwalk.

48. Aaron Paul Was Born in Idaho!

Let’s talk about some celebrity-related fun facts about Idaho. 

Aaron Paul, the American actor, famous for playing the iconic role of Jesse Pinkman in the TV series “Breaking Bad,” was born in Emmett, Idaho. During his time in Idaho, he attended Centennial High School in Boise. 

Other celebrities like Lillian Disney, Sarah Palin, Lana Turner, Torrie Wilson, and Jeremy Shada also hail from Idaho. 

49. Idaho Owns Some of Yellowstone National Park

I used to think that Yellowstone National Park was only located in one state of the US! However, its stunning landscape is spread across three states. 

About 96% of the park is situated in Wyoming whereas 3% is in Montana. Idaho owns about 1% of the west part of Yellowstone National Park.

Hence, if you are in Idaho, you can access the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. 

50. Idaho Is Home to Atomic City

There is a nuclear ghost town located in Bingham County Idaho. You’ll find it at the edge of the 890-square-mile Idaho National Laboratory complex. 

There are a lot of unfortunate incidents that led to the citizens leaving the town. In 1961, the first nuclear explosion took place here, which took the lives of three engineering technicians! 

Today, you can visit many places in this vicinity like the Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) Atomic Museum. 

51. Idaho Has the “Center of the Universe”

Do you want to know some truly interesting facts about Idaho? Well, here’s one. 

The National Register of Historic Places considers the town of Wallace in Idaho as the centre of the universe! Now, it’s literally not the centre. 

There’s a manhole cover located in Wallace, with the title “The Centre of the Universe Idaho Wallace”. 

In 2004, the mayor proclaimed the city to be the centre of the universe. He mentioned that if you cannot prove it otherwise, then his claims are true as per the theory of probabilism.

52. Idaho Has the Longest Main Street in the US

Here is one of the unique fun facts about Idaho. 

The state is home to the longest Main Street in the entire US. US Route 20 is 53 kilometres long and is located in Island Park, Idaho. 

Despite the popularity of the street, Island Park is a pretty small city with a population of just 193 people (as of 2021). 

53. Wildlife in Idaho Is Magnificent

Idaho has everything, including beautiful wildlife. So, let’s see some wildlife-related fun facts about Idaho. 

The northern part of the state is known for its massive population of large elk (around 120,000) and moose (around 12,000).

Idaho also has seven national forests, including the Lolo National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and Sawtooth National Forest. You can find many animals here like coyotes, bighorn sheep, wildcats, wolverines, grizzly bears, and many more.

54. Idaho Has a Very Business-Friendly Environment

Do you love reading about business? If so, here are some interesting fun facts about Idaho.

According to a CNBC list (2018), Idaho is one of the best states for business. The list is based on 10 main categories like infrastructure, cost of doing business, quality of life, and many more. 

In 2017, Idaho ranked 20 on the list. However, just in one year, the state went up by nine positions and became the 11th-best state for business.

55. Ernest Hemingway Had a Home in Idaho 

I’ve been reading Hemingway since I was a kid! Hence, these are some of my favourite fun facts about Idaho. 

Ernest Hemingway has written and published over 88 poems. The first time he visited Idaho was in 1939. Later, he spent many autumns in the state fishing and hunting. During the latter years of his life, Hemingway also purchased a house in Ketchum, Idaho. 

The house is known as “The Ernest and Mary Hemingway House”, and is also listed on the “National Register of Historic Places”. However, you can only take a virtual tour of the house as entry isn’t allowed.

Further Reading – Facts About Idaho

The fun facts about Idaho are practically endless, as it has a lot to discover. Yet, I hope you got to learn something more about the 43rd state of the United States!

You can also get to know more such facts on my website: 

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