By Trent Jonas
The rugged mountains of northern and eastern Idaho give way to the sweeping, fertile high plains of the Great Basin in the south—giving Idahoans much to celebrate. And there are few better ways to rejoice over the state’s natural wonders than an outdoor festival. There are our favorite outdoor festivals in Idaho.
An August tradition in the town of Stanley, the Sawtooth Salmon Festival is a great opportunity to get out and learn about Idaho’s wild salmon. In addition to live entertainment and food, festival goers will be treated to tours of the local wild rivers, where salmon will be spawning in the streams in which they were born.
In July, mountain bikers converge on the Grand Targhee Resort for the Wydaho Rendezvous Teton Bike Festival. The festival is a full weekend of gorgeous trails, entertainment, and singletrack camaraderie. Show up ready for camping, as well as equipment and skills demos. The fine folks at Teton Valley Hospital, Pivot Cycles and Yeti Cycles help to make the festival more festive.
In August, fly anglers from across the globe descend on Boise for the International Fly Fishing Fair. In addition to seminars and exhibitors, you can also take part in fly tying and casting demonstrations, workshops and fishing on the Owyhee River, as well as other local streams. If you plan on staying overnight, enjoy a special rate through the Grove Hotel in downtown Boise!
Every year for more than two decades the Ketchum/Sun Valley/Hailey region has hosted the Trailing of the Ship Festival. Where else will you find a wool and cooking demonstrations and classes, sheepdog trials, a parade of sheep through downtown Ketchum and a sheepherders’ hike? Your guess is as good as ours, so Trailing of the Sheep it is!
If you like your single track served up with a side of competitive spirit, head to the Brundage Mountain Resort in July for the Knobby Tire Series Brundage Marathon and XC MTB. Several racing categories and classes combine with camping, food and beer will make sure that everyone who shows up will have an awesome time—regardless of how they finish. Sponsors that make this event possible include Meridian Cycles, Reed Cycles , Dirt Dart, A & B Critter Care, and 10 Barrel Brewing Company!
Every September, ultra trail runners and their fans look forward to the Idaho Mountain Trail Ultra Festival—the IMTUF 100—a grueling a 102.9-mile, 36-hour (cutoff) loop through the Salmon River Mountains. Runners start and finish at Burgdorf Hotsprings while fans enjoy amenities like the hot springs themselves, the Burgdorf Café or a beer at the nearby Secesh Stagestop. VFuel, McCall Brewing Company, the Pulse Running & Fitness Shop, and many more, have partnered up to make this event possible.
For more than half a century, Orofino has hosted Lumberjack Days. The festival is dedicating to promoting the forest industry and does so with parades, a carnival and events like horse pull competitions, a skidding and truck driving competition and a log show and contest. Other contests include sawing, a tug of war, an obstacle pole, axe throwing, power sawing and speed climbing. This event is hosted by Orofino Celebrations Inc., and sponsored by the Orofino Chamber of Commerce .
Climbers can celebrate the Rockies and the Bitterroots every year at Idaho Mountain Festival at Castle Rock State Park. The festival is an all-inclusive retreat for the climbing community that includes camping and food. During the festival you can boulder, check out the latest gear, hit the trail for a 10k fun run and even enjoy some yoga. Asana Climbing is a major sponsor of the festival as well as Edelweiss, La Sportiva, and Kailas.
Buhl is the self-proclaimed “Trout Capital of the World,” and for years, it has celebrated the title with its annual Trout Festival. Now part of Buhl Sagebrush Days, the combined event includes an all-you-can-eat trout feed, a golf tournament, a rodeo, a fun run and even free swimming at the municipal pool. Southern Idaho’s longest parade and fireworks are highlights of the festival. At the Trout Festival, enjoy live music and a beer and wine garden presented to you by Magic Valley Brewing and Holesinky Winery.
Every year, whitewater junkies stream into Crouch for the North Fork Championship Whitewater Festival. After the elite division competition, paddlers—and anybody who wants to join the party—will continue down the river for the Stoke Float and get ready for the party part of the weekend. Major sponsors of the NFC include Red Bull, Yeti, NRS, Visit Idaho and Idaho River Sports.