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Discover Historic Destinations in Idaho

From the boom to bust mining towns to Native American commemorative sites, Idaho offers visitors intriguing glimpses into its past. You can take a guided tour through historic Downtown Idaho Falls and hear its famous tales of the past 100 years, while also getting a look at some impressively preserved architecture. You can also sample the boutiques, wineries, and restaurants, as well as the downtown function art display when you visit. From there, travel out the Silver Valley to investigate the tales of Wyatt Earp and his brothers, who supposedly ran a tent saloon near the mining boom town that is now known as the Burke Ghost Town and Historical Mine Site in Kellogg.

If the history of the Oregon Trail fascinates you, you won’t want to miss stopping at Milner Historic Recreation Area outside of Burley. An interpretive shelter and trail lead you along the Snake River and reportedly reveal the grooves that mark the passage of these emigrants. Nez Perce Native American sites are preserved in the Nez Perce National Historical Park. There are 38 of them in all, including some battle sites. From there, travel to the moving Minidoka National Historic Site in Jerome. This site features the remains of a World War II relocation center for Japanese-Americans.

If a bit of modern history is in order, the Evel Knievel Jump Site in Filer could be just the place for you. Located just west of Twin Falls, you can still visit the dirt ramp on the rim of Snake River Canyon that saw the launch of Knievel’s stunt to jump across the Canyon on his motorcycle. Although a mechanical failure negatively impacted the success of the jump, it’s still a fascinating story supported by exhibits in the Buzz Langdon Visitor Center.

Historic Downtown Idaho Falls

A popular year-round draw, the Historic Downtown neighborhood of Idaho Falls, Idaho is situated just east of the Snake River, which flows through the center of the city. Between Memorial Drive and Yellowstone avenue, visitors find an abundance of eateries, wineries, shops, and art centers.

Visitors peruse specialty shops such as Park Avenue Antiques and Idaho Mountain Trading before resting their feet at restaurants like Snake Bite Restaurant or Grandpa's Southern BarBQ. In addition to the area's numerous galleries, the "Art You Can Sit On" installment features 18 "sculptural seats" placed throughout downtown.

Milner Historic Recreation Area

Check out some historical insights on your next visit to Idaho. The Milner Historic Recreation Area is located west of Burley in southern Idaho along the Snake River. The area's history ties back to more than 100 years ago when emigrants walking along the Oregon Trail traveled through the land.

Visitors today can see the deep ruts in the ground from the travelers, along the hiking trail. Visitors to the recreation area will find a wonderful variety of waterfowl and songbirds living in the basalt cliffs, in addition to the channel catfish, trout, yellow perch and bass in the river.

Minidoka National Historic Site

Set in the Snake River Plain, the Minidoka National Historic Site is located in southern Idaho near Twin Falls in Jerome.

Found on the banks of the Snake River, the site commemorates the Japanese-Americans forced to reside there during World War II.

Managed by the National Park Service and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 200-acre site features self-guided tours of the Minidoka War Relocation Center remains. Exhibits are located at the nearby Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument Visitor Center.

Nez Perce National Historical Park

Spread across four different states, the Nez Perce National Historical Park preserves 38 sites commemorating the Nez Perce Native Americans whom inhabited the regions. The park’s headquarters is located in Spalding, Idaho near the town of Orofino.

Specific Nez Perce sites include Battle of Bear Paw, Battle of Clearwater, Camp Chopunnish, and many more. Each site features its own story and historical significance ­– as well as outdoor recreation and exhibits. Those looking for an all-en compassing visit can stop by the Nez Perce Visitor Center in Spalding.

Historic Silver Valley

Historic Silver Valley is home to the intriguing Burke Ghost Town and Historical Mine Site in Kellogg. Propelled by silver and lead deposits in the 1880s and a new railway, the area became a “Boom Town” filled with miners and speculators.