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10 Amazing Lakes to Visit in Idaho

Idaho is a tucked away world of scenic landscapes that include majestic mountains, sparkling clear rivers and lakes. Whether staying in the urban paradise that is Boise, full of restaurants and modern hotels or venturing far north to a cozy lodge, there is likely going to be a lake in reach. From swimming, fishing, to boating, there’s a variation of water fun offered year-round for individuals and families. Out of all of the ones in the state, these are the most amazing lakes to visit.

Redfish Lake - Near Stanley Redfish Lake, Idaho
Credit: Redfish Lake, Idaho by © Michael Tillotson | Dreamstime.com

Redfish Lake - Near Stanley

Redfish Lake is about 11 miles from the town of Stanley. Located in the dramatic Sawtooth Mountains, the lake consists of immaculate alpine waters. In the summer, some people dive in, but keep in mind it’s still pretty cold! Parts of the lake are extremely deep so keep that in mind. Otherwise, fishing is considered to be incredible here. A couple of types of trout and salmon inhabit the water.

Priest Lake - Nordman Priest Lake, Idaho
Credit: Priest Lake, Idaho by © Colton Nie | Dreamstime.com

Priest Lake - Nordman

Priest Lake is in the northern panhandle of the state. White sandy beaches iconically surround the blue water and make for the perfect summertime escape. Huckleberries are ripe for picking in the surrounding area, but summertime isn’t the only season that draws guests. During the winter, an abundance of cross country skiing with the backdrop of that beautiful body of water await.

Stanley Lake - Near Stanley Stanley Lake, Idaho
Credit: Stanley Lake, Idaho by © Charles Knowles | Dreamstime.com

Stanley Lake - Near Stanley

Stanley Lake is only 30 minutes away from the much larger Redfish Lake. At only 7 miles wide, it still deserves its own attention. Also located within the Sawtooth Mountains, it’s a pristine natural haven. While small, guests still come to recreate, whether it be fishing or paddling a small boat around.

Lake Coeur d’Alene - Coeur d’Alene Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Credit: Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho by © William Perry | Dreamstime.com

Lake Coeur d’Alene - Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene has been a little bit more commercialized than some of the more natural surrounded lakes of the state. But that doesn’t make it any less awesome! Resort property hugs the water, and boats scoot around all day long. During the holidays, a one of a kind light show takes visitors onto the water to see floating displays. The boat ride ends with a visit to Santa’s island!

Bear Lake - Idaho & Utah, Near Fish Haven Bear Lake, Utah
Credit: Bear Lake, Utah by © Gunold | Dreamstime.com

Bear Lake - Idaho & Utah, Near Fish Haven

Bear Lake is thought to be the Caribbean of the Rockies due to its striking blue hue. Half of this little paradise is located in Utah as well. Activities range from hiking, horseback riding, biking and so on, and a fish found nowhere else on earth, the Bonneville Cisco, is sought out by avid fishermen who visit the lake.

Alice Lake - Near Ketchum Alice Lake, Idaho
Credit: Alice Lake, Idaho by © Charles Knowles | Dreamstime.com

Alice Lake - Near Ketchum

Alice Lake is yet another that is relatively close to Redfish. However, even the hosts at Redfish Lodge urge guests to take a hike up to this little beauty. If staying in Ketchum, a popular option is to take a couple of days to backpack up there. Be prepared to cross over streams and traverse rocky terrain. But oh is it worth it!

Lake Pend Oreille - Sandpoint Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille - Sandpoint

Pend Oreille is not pronounced the way that it looks. The usually named lake is Idaho’s largest, and staring down toward it is both awe-inspiring and bewildering. On top of that, it’s over 1,000 feet deep which makes it one of the deepest in the United States. A handful of parks reside around Pend Oreille, so it’s perfect for long picnics with the family. Boating and swimming are also popular here. And the lake is also famous for a massive species of rainbow trout.

Lake Cascade - Cascade Lake Cascade
Credit: Lake Cascade by © William Bode | Dreamstime.com

Lake Cascade - Cascade

Lake Cascade is frequently enjoyed by campers. A selection of spots is available to enjoy days by this wonderful lake. Only 75 miles north of Boise, it can be a great day trip or a mini weekend getaway. Visitors can cast a line for some salmon, or set out on a sailboat because these are two things Cascade is famous for!

Payette Lake - McCall Payette
Credit: Payette by Ken Lund via Flickr

Payette Lake - McCall

Payette Lake sits on the edge of McCall, an adorable town famed for a winter carnival with ice sculpture competition, and an evasive Lake monster who’s been around for decades. Despite the legends, the lake still brings flocks of visitors every year, and some may actually even want to see the monster! The waters are perfectly clean, fed by glacial runoff and it’s just another incomparable natural site in Idaho.

Henry's Lake - Near Rexburg Henrys

Henry's Lake - Near Rexburg

Henry’s Lake is another Alpine gem a little outside of Rexburg or Idaho Falls. While people don’t come here to swim, they come here to fish all day long! An impressive variety of fish can be reeled by anglers. And you might just spot a moose taking a little bath! Be sure to keep your distance, as moose can be a little aggressive. Overall, Henry’s is a beautiful place to take in mountain serenity.

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