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Idaho is a state that prides itself on potatoes - there's even a potato Airbnb that travelers can stay at while exploring the state. But the state is much more. It is full of breathtaking mountain ranges and lush forests dominating the central and northern parts of the state, while high deserts dominate the south. One of the many stunning places to explore is the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.

The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is arguably one of the most stunning drives to enjoy in this part of the country, and it runs past some of the country's most spectacular waterfalls. There are plenty of excellent waterfalls to discover in the United States. Folks visiting the Grand Canyon should plan ahead and hike to Havasu Falls on Havasupai Tribal Lands.


Mesa Falls Scenic Byway - Idaho At Its Best

The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is a thirty-odd-mile loop through some of Idaho's most picturesque scenery.

The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway begins at the intersection of Idaho 47 and U.S. 20. The roadway is made up of Idaho 47 and Forest Service Route 294. While they are both paved two-lane roads, Forest Service Route 294 closes in the winter and becomes a snowmobile route.

Attractions in the Targhee National Forest include the Warm River campground and the lower and upper Mesa Falls. The two waterfalls are some of the most impressive out West.

  • Attractions: Upper Mesa Falls, Lower Mesa Falls, Harriman State Park

One will need around an hour to drive the scenic byway, but the whole experience of seeing the falls is likely to take around half a day.

Related: 20 Of The Most Unique Waterfalls That Guarantee Spectacular Sights

Upper And Lower Mesa Falls - The Best Of The Region

The two main attractions on the route are the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. Upper Mesa Falls is one of the most stunning natural attractions in the region. It is a thunderous curtain of water cascading 10 stories down. The waterfall pours over an ancient volcanic super-eruption.

Lower Mesa Falls is around a mile downstream. The Lower Falls can be viewed at a distance of about a quarter mile. The Upper Falls has plenty of pathways, stairs, and viewing platforms to discover. Visitors can get close enough to feel the power of the falling sheets of water.

  • Upper Mesa Falls Height: 114 Feet
  • Lower Mesa Falls Height: 65 Feet

Both of the falls are worth seeing, and both are very powerful and scenic. They really are musts for anyone visiting this part of Idaho.

Mesa Falls Visitor Center And Trail

The interpretive center is located in the restored historic Big Falls Inn. It is open seasonally from around May 15th to October 1st.

Take the time to see the historic Big Falls interpretive center by the upper falls and learn about the geology and history of the area. The historic Big Falls Inn was built over a hundred years ago in 1915 and once served as a hotel, café, and dance hall.

From the visitor center, an accessible trail leads to Mesa Falls, where there is often a stunning rainbow decorating the canyon on summer mornings.

  • Fee: $5.00 Per Vehicle Per Day

Hike along the Mesa Falls Nature Trail and wander through quiet forests before finally having a view of Lower Mesa Falls.

  • Length: One Mile (Mesa Falls Nature Trail

Related: How To Visit Angel Falls, The Tallest Waterfall In The World

Add In The Lewis And Clark Backcountry Byway

If time allows, extend one's Idaho road trips and take a leisurely drive through Idaho's backcountry on the Lewis and Clark Backcountry Byway.

  • Length: 39 Miles or 62.8 kilometers

As the name suggests, the famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through this region as they made their pioneering way through to the Pacific Northwest, opening up the western half of the continent to American settlement.

Here visitors are mesmerized by the many lush forests and meadows. Much of the lands haven't changed much over the years and still look similar to how Lewis and Clark saw them 200 years ago.

The Lewis and Clark Backcountry Byway is a 39-mile-long route and takes around 3 hours to enjoy. The best times to visit are during the spring, summer, and fall. It heads northeast into the lush forested landscapes.

These are just two of the many dazzling road trips Idaho has to offer.