Southwest Idaho: Fall Flights, Fishing & Hot Springs

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Fall Flights at the World Center for Birds of Prey

Fall Flights, a series of performances that showcase the flying abilities of some of the many raptors living at the World Center for Birds of Prey. The annual performances attract visitors from around the state, the nation and even the world, promoting public awareness and engagement around endangered raptors.The Fall Flights isn’t about getting visitors to just learn about the raptors — it’s about getting people to care about them. Catch the Fall Flights at 3 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from late September to early November.

Learn more: https://www.visitsouthwestidaho.org/birds-of-prey-boise/

Fall Fishing in Southwest Idaho

All you can hear is the sound of the river, the wind and the birds as you cast a line into the clear water. You watch the steelheads glimmer under the surface, breathe in the mountain air…and wait. It’s peaceful and quiet, the kind of place that anglers dream of and locals keep a secret.

These are the fishing holes that bring fishermen from all over the US to Southwest Idaho. The region is home to thousands of miles of reservoirs, rivers and lakes — and it’s one of the only places this far inland where you can catch steelhead trout and salmon. Ready to kick off the fishing season here? We’ve got 10 fishing holes no one should pass up.

Learn more: https://www.visitsouthwestidaho.org/10-fishing-holes-in-southwest-idaho/

Soak in Ancient Mineral Water

Picture this: You’re soaking in a warm pool of ancient mineral water, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the rugged wilderness. As you sink deeper into the water, you close your eyes. The only thing you hear is the wind whistling through the trees. Places like these really exist in Southwest Idaho. Idaho has the largest number of soakable hot springs in the nation. Out of the 130 soakable hot springs in the state, we’ve narrowed the list down to six of our favorites. Can’t decide between the luxury of poolside service and the scenery of rugged wilderness?  

Nestled in the alpine forests surrounding Idaho City, The Springs is a natural hot springs retreat less than an hours’ drive from Boise. Relax in the sauna, dive into the main pool, soak in spacious hot tubs or treat yourself to a massage.

Worried about hot springs being too hot or too cold? At Gold Fork Hot Springs, you don’t have to. Less than an hours’ drive south of McCall, this natural hot spring flows into a series of six tiered pools with different temperatures, so you can find the perfect temp to soak in.

Learn more: https://www.visitsouthwestidaho.org/the-best-hot-springs-in-southwest-idaho/

Photo credit and to learn more visit: VisitSouthwestIdaho.org

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, United Tribes International Powwow & Oktoberfest

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The grasses may be a little browner and the trees a little more colorful, but that only adds to the allure of fall in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Subtle differences make all three units worth visiting. The common bonds between them are spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and the quietest sounds you’ll ever (not) hear.

Upcoming Events 

North Dakota is a state made up of many cultures, each having lived and grown together in understanding, acceptance and harmony. While each culture’s traditions vary – sometimes greatly – all are accepted and welcomed into the fabric that make North Dakota special. Be sure your visits include fairs, festivals, powwows and other events in which various nationalities share traditions with others. Two major events in the fall are the 50th annual United Tribes International Powwow (see more below) in Bismarck and Norsk Hostfest in Minot. Here are a few other fall events:

Harvestfest in Hazen, September 4-8
Harvest Festival in Dickinson, September 14
Central North Dakota Steam Threshers’ Reunion in New Rockford, September 20-22
Applefest in Bismarck, September 21-22
Oktoberfest in Mandan, September 28
Oktoberfest in Ashley, October 5
Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes, Throughout September

Don’t let fall get away without enjoying traditional food, entertainment and fellowship at these events and more. Click here for more events in North Dakota this fall.

United Tribes International Powwow

United Tribes International Powwow is one of the largest and most prestigious celebrations of Native American culture in the nation. Thousands of drummers and dancers from around the world are drawn to Bismarck for the three-day event. This year’s event takes on extra significance as it marks its 50th year September 6-8 at United Tribes Technical College.

Powwow Events
Friday, September 6

8 a.m.: Flag raising
10-11:30 a.m.: Youth Activities
6:45 p.m.:  Drum Roll Call
7 p.m.: First Grand Entry, intertribals, tiny tots, dance contests begin

Saturday, September 7

8 a.m.: Flag raising
12:45 p.m.: Drum Roll Call
1: Second Grand Entry, intertribals, tiny tots, dance contests continue
4:30: Free feed
6:45: Drum Roll Call
7: Third Grand Entry, intertribals, tiny tots, dance contests continue

Sunday, September 8

8 a.m.: Flag raising
10: Worship service
12:30 p.m.: Drum Roll Call
1: Fourth Grand Entry, tiny tots, dance contests continue
4: Free buffalo and beef feed, awards presentation

Fall Accommodations

Looking for the perfect place to hang your hat? Dust off your boots and stay at the ranch, enjoy a restful night at a unique boutique hotel or camp out under the stars.

  • Black Leg Ranch is the best, high end, full service.  Honey moon suites, cabins, etc.  No glam-ping yet.
  • Yurting in North Dakota State Parks.  Must bring own bedding and food though… three state parks feature yurts as part of their lodging packages.
  • Hotel Donaldson is located downtown Fargo.  Boutique style property where all 17 suites are designed around the work of a different regional artist. Sculptors, painters, photographers, modern artists…
  • Woodland Resort on Devils Lake is a full service resort with a restaurant, cabins, motel, campground, bait shop, and boat rental.
  • Eastbay Campground on Devils Lake offers camping, full-service marina, and cabin rentals, unsurpassed fishing opportunities, a full-service c-store, and bait shop, as well as fuel, fire wood and kayak, waterbike, and boat rental.
  • Coteau des Prairie – full service lodge in SE North Dakota – Perched on the northernmost ridge of the Coteau des Prairies, where the breathtaking view is second to none, prairie farms and fields unfold from below like a patchwork quilt.
  • Lady on the Lake B&B – Located on the North Shore of Lake Elsie. A truly romantic respite steeped in history and comfort has 5 acres and 463 feet of private shoreline.
  • Lund’s Landing Resort – Features cabins, restaurant, marina and tipi camping located on Lake Sakakawea near Ray, ND – Best Juneberry Pie around!!
  • Enchanted Castle – on the Enchanted Highway – 19 room hotel in the old Regent school lounge, restaurant & steak house.
  • Riverdale High Lodge. Full hotel and restaurant in the old school in Riverdale, near Lake Sakakawea!

Find more accommodations at “Places to Stay”.

Photos: North Dakota Tourism

For more information, visit: ndtourism.com.

Autumn in Wyoming: Aspen Alley, Bugling Elk in Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, & Fly Fishing

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Take a Fall Colors Road Trip on Aspen Alley

The western slopes of the Sierra Madre range offers an explosion of color each fall. Pack a lunch and spend your day listening to the rustle of leaves and smelling the promise of snow on Aspen Alley. Located on the Deep Creek Road off Wyoming Highway 70 (the Battle Highway), west of the Continental Divide between Baggs and Encampment, this stand of quakers is unusual. Often aspen trees are short, with twisted trunks and branches, but here they are tall, stately, and upward of 50 feet tall. Their branches bush at the top of the trees interlocking over the narrow dirt road to form a canopy. In early summer sunlight glints through the green leaves, but in September it shimmers with a golden-red glow as it filters through a sunshade formed by the quaker leaves. To view the aspens at their peak each fall, time your trip for the last two weeks in September. Bear in mind this turning of the leaves happens at the hand of Mother Nature so there is no precise way to predict the best time to see the fall colors.

Listen to the Elk bugle during the fall rutting season in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park

The sound of a bull elk bugling at dawn or dusk is a memorable experience in either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks.  As early as the middle of August the elk begin their rut, or breading season, which will last through September. Their bugle is a loud pitched noise unlike anything you have heard, that quickly breaks the stillness of the crisp autumn air. The bull elk bugle for two reasons; to gather their harem of cow elk letting them know how fit and available they are and to make their presence known to other bulls as a warning or a challenge. Often the bulls will crash their antlers together and push each other in a sparring match to establish dominance to win the ladies. The best places to hear the elk bugle in Grand Teton National Park are the Bradley-Taggart trailhead, White Grass Meadow and Granite Canyon. In Yellowstone National Park you can hear them around Mammoth Hot Springs and the Madison River.

Fall Fishing

Fishing in Wyoming is like finding paradise on earth, and one of the best times to fish Wyoming is in the fall. With cooling water temperatures the fish are more active and increase their feeding activity, the cooler air temperature decreases the number of fisherman out on the water, which combine for on epic fishing experience. With some of the best blue-ribbon fishing waters, along with many lakes and reservoirs, a Fall Fishing trip to Wyoming is sure to be one for the records. Just a reminder when fishing the waters of Wyoming, you much purchase the appropriate fishing license through the Wyoming Game & Fish.

Photos: Wyoming Tourism

For more information, visit TravelWyoming.com.

South Dakota: Fall in the Black Hills, Annual Buffalo Roundup Event, & Outdoor Activities

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As the home of iconic destinations and a variety of must-see landscapes, South Dakota ends up on plenty of bucket lists. But with summer’s end comes a unique time to experience the state’s most beautiful locations. Here are three distinctly SoDak fall pleasures that belong on your bucket list.

Find the perfect spot to take in the colors of fall

Being home to six National Park Service sites and 56 state parks & recreation areas means there are plenty of peaceful outdoor spaces to take in the changing seasons. Sica Hollow State Park is home to both mysterious legends and some of the most beautiful foliage in the state. Palisades State Park combines changing leaves with quartzite cliffs. Why do visitors from around the world come to Spearfish Canyon every September and early October? It’s because the 20-mile Black Hills drive features more than 1,260 colorful plants that explode with color every autumn, producing sights so moving that one man provides annual color updates to anyone that asks. Check the latest report by clicking here.

Feel the thundering of hooves at the annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

The normally serene Custer State Park erupts in cheers when cowboys and cowgirls conduct their annual roundup of the world’s largest publicly owned bison herd. One weekend every September, 1,300 bison are gathered in front of an audience of more than 20,000 excited onlookers. The roundup began as a way to monitor population and conduct medical checks, but it’s transformed into a celebration of the country’s national mammal. There’s nothing quite like feeling the ground shake as the entire herd charges down the beautiful hills of western South Dakota. Admission to the event is free, and attendees can also enjoy the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival held over the entire weekend. For more info, click here.

Enjoy some of the world’s best hunting and fishing in South Dakota

When the cornstalks turn brown, South Dakota turns “hunter orange,” welcoming hunters from across the world every autumn. Some come for their first hunt. Others enjoy a much-anticipated reunion with friends and family. In addition to pheasants, hunters can also pursue big game, waterfowl, turkey, and more. Whatever your game, lodge options and nearly five million acres of public land make it easy for residents and non-residents alike to make some memories.

There’s also the fishing! Nearly 98% of the state’s waters are publicly accessible and open for fishing, meaning you can fly-fish for trout in a flowing Black Hills stream, reel in trophy walleye from the Missouri River, or land bass and crappie at a northeastern glacial lake. Plenty of fishermen will tell you that there’s something special about casting your line in the fall in South Dakota.

Gorgeous leaves, galloping bison, the thrill of hunting and fishing — fall is the time to check off at least one box on your bucket list. Make sure to make the most of the changing seasons by experiencing autumn in South Dakota.

Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism

For more information, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

Montana’s Flathead Lake, Going-to-the-Sun Road, & Bitterroot Valley

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Western Montana is a nature lover’s paradise and has many must-see attractions. Not only is the Fall scenery breathtaking, but the Fall season offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure along with relaxing hospitality. The Rocky Mountains run through this area, and the color changes contrast with the towering peaks and is reflected in the alpine lakes and rivers throughout this area.

Flathead Lake, Indian Reservation, & more

Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the western United States and offers lots of recreation from its shores. It sits on the edge of the Flathead Indian Reservation, home to three Indian tribes. On a drive through this reservation from Missoula to Kalispell, visitors can explore The People’s Center in Pablo where they can learn about the culture of these tribes through educational programs and a museum gallery. Or explore a mission church built by Native Americans in St Ignatius, or drive through the National Bison Range in Moiese and see bison against a backdrop of fall colors in the distant mountains.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun-Road is a must-do attraction especially when fall colors are so striking. This 50-mile long two-lane road brings travelers up and over its highest point at Logan Pass, where spectacular views of the glacier carved valleys and nearby mountain peaks will take your breath away. Drive yourself or sit back and enjoy the scenery on a red bus tour. Or tour with a Blackfeet tribal member and learn about the cultural significance of their original ancestral territory that has become today’s Glacier National Park.

Bitterroot Valley

The Bitterroot Mountain Range separates Montana from Idaho and creates the scenic Bitterroot Valley in the southwestern corner of Montana. In this valley are small townswith unique histories, such as Stevensville, the first permanent settlement in the state. Near Darby is Triple Creek Ranch, one of Montana’s luxury guest ranches where guests ride horseback, practice archery, tennis or fly fishing, and later relax with a massage then dinner prepared by a renowned chef. After exploring a Farmers Market in Florence or Hamilton, take a hike in these spectacular mountains or through the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, then enjoy an afternoon beer with a local at one of many local breweries in the valley that are known for their friendly atmosphere. Sip a Huckleberry Honey Wheat Ale at Bitter Root Brewery in Hamilton while enjoying views of the nearby towering Bitterroot Mountain range. This valley offers lots of horseback riding, hiking, biking and river rafting. The pace is relaxed and crowds are few – except for wildlife which can be spotted anywhere in this part of the state. The Ravalli County Fair in early September is known for its family atmosphere and historical ties to rural Montana life and is just one of the events held in this area. Western Montana is a must-see place to explore in Fall!

Cover Photo: Glacier NPS
Photos: Visit Montana

For more information, visit VisitMT.com.

Idaho: Basque Culture, Dark Skies, Nez Perce National Historic Park & More

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Basque Culture and Dark Skies in Central Idaho

Trailing of the Sheep Festival, the annual event held October 9-13, 2019, honors and preserves the sheepherding and ranching traditions that welcomed and sustained Basque, Peruvian and other cultures in Central Idaho. The festival blends the peaceful countryside with the resort-fueled energy of the Sun Valley and Ketchum area. Festivities include culture, cuisine, art and the traditional parade of sheep on their migration to winter pastures.

While you’re in town, revel in the skyward views of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the first designated International Dark Sky Reserve in the U.S. Continue your night-sky views with a drive to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho’s International Dark Sky Park. Extend your journey along the Sawtooth and Peaks to Craters Scenic Byways to catch the bright warmth of golden aspens settling in for the season.

South Fork of the Snake River near Swan Valley Idaho.

Waterfalls and Fly Fishing Along the Snake River in Eastern Idaho

With more navigable river miles than any other state in the lower 48, Idaho is an ideal spot to cast a line come fall. First-class trout streams can be found near Swan Valley and Idaho Falls. Wade into Henry’s Fork of the Snake River for rainbow trout or visit the South Fork of the Snake for cutthroat and blue-ribbon trout. Bordering both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, this region is one of the most diverse ecosystems in Idaho, with over 100 bird species, including raptors, and an array of wildlife from moose and deer to bobcats and black bears.

While Shoshone Falls is Idaho’s most famous waterfall, it’s not the only plunging beauty along the Snake River. Upper and Lower Mesa Falls in Eastern Idaho, near Yellowstone, are sister falls that shine in a landscape free of man-made influence. The duo, stretched one mile apart, pours water down a 10-story-high ridge that is the result of an ancient volcanic super-eruption.

Native Culture and Storied Trails in Northern Idaho

Weave through the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a 72-mile (116-kilometer), paved trail in the Idaho panhandle, to spot brilliant fall foliage and lakeside views along a former Union Pacific Railroad track. The trail starts in the Silver Valley near Wallace and can be accessed through numerous trailheads, allowing riders to pick a length to fit their needs. Consider starting or stopping your ride at the Coeur d’Alene Old Mission State Park to tour the oldest building in Idaho. Learn about the creation of the mission and the history between Sacred Heart missionaries and the Coeur d’ Alene and Salish Tribes.

As you continue southwest, immerse yourself in the customs and history of the Nimiipuu people of the Nez Perce Tribe in Lewiston. Take a tour with Nez Perce Tourism to witness a true glimpse into the original roots of the Great American West. Tours are interactive with storytelling, excursions, food, song and dance. Stop by the Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor Center near Lewiston to see historic sites and cultural exhibits.

Photos: Visit Idaho

For more information, visit VisitIdaho.org.

Denver Beer Week, Professional Sports & Monet Art Exhibit

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Denver Beer Week – Sept 27-Oct 5, 2019

Leading up to the Great American Beer Festival® every year, Denver Beer Week is a celebration of all things beer, includes beer tastings at local Denver restaurants, beer-paired dinners, “meet the brewer” nights, beer tappings, Denver brewery tours and a variety of entertaining beer events throughout the city.

To experience more of the craft beer scene, take a self-guided tour along the Denver Beer Trail and sample the craft beer paradise in The Mile High City. Explore the featured breweries, most of which are in the walkable downtown area, and you will find everything from Stouts to Lagers and all the flavors in between. Denver’s craft beer culture is thriving and creative.

Photo: Denver Beer Co

Be a professional sports fan!

Denver is home to seven professional sports teams that offer behind-the-scenes tours of their venues. During the winter months, cheer on the the Colorado Avalanche (hockey) or the Denver Nuggets (basketball) at Pepsi Center or Denver Broncos (football) at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, both in the walkable downtown area.

Photo: Colorado Avalanche Fan

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature exhibit at Denver Art Museum

Oct 21-Feb 2, 2020. The exhibition will feature more than 120 paintings spanning Monet’s entire career and will focus on the celebrated French impressionist artist’s enduring relationship with nature and his response to the varied and distinct places in which he worked. Only at Denver Art Museum this winter and the Barberini in Potsdam, Germany in 2020.

Photo: Denver Art Museum
Cover Photo: Denver Broncos football

For more information, visit VISITDENVER.com.

Cheyenne’s Renovated Capitol, Colorful Curt Gowdy State Park, & New Cold War Attraction

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Wyoming State Capitol Building

In December 2015, the State of Wyoming began a massive three-year renovation of the Wyoming State Capitol. Workers endeavored to restore the Capitol’s historic character and unearthed hand-painted embellishments and ornate glasswork in addition to architectural features like brass panels and arches. A beautiful example of Renaissance Revival architecture, the Wyoming Capitol was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.  This is a must-see on your trip! Tour the Capitol on your own, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, at 200 West 24th Street.

New Cold War Attraction

The Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility is now open as a State Historic Site. It is the only accessible Peacekeeper Missile Alert Facility left in the world and strives to preserve and interpret the Cold War history of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and foster an understanding of the mission and duties of the personnel assigned to work there.  Approximately 30 miles north of Cheyenne, take Exit 39 off I-25. Turn left and go approximately 1/4 mile. The site is on your left. $6 adults, $5 military, and $2 for children 12 to 18. Ages 11 and under are free. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

Photo Credit: Quebec 01 State Historic Site

Fall Colors at Curt Gowdy State Park

When the days turn cooler and leaves begin to offer up new colors, find yourself on a fulfilling jaunt to Curt Gowdy State Park. The Park boasts over 35 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and is open all year long. Well-designed trails, suitable for any skill level, revel hidden and colorful respites to connect you back to nature. There are ten easy trails totaling 11.4 miles. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. A daily use fee of $4 for Wyoming residents and $6 for non-residents. From Cheyenne, head west on WY 210 (or Happy Jack, as the locals call it), for 25 miles.

Photos: Visit Cheyenne

For more information, visit Cheyenne.org

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Our favorite “spooky” towns in The Great American West

From mining towns that boomed then busted, to legendary military posts, and wild stories of the past, these are our favorite spooky must-see towns in The Great American West!

 

Jeffrey City. Photo credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Jeffrey City – Wyoming, USA

Formerly known as ‘Home on the Range,’ Jeffrey City was abandoned in the 1980’s after a mining boom and bust and now sits desolate just off of the historic Oregon Trail.

 

Historic Deadwood. Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism

Historic Deadwood – South Dakota, USA

Western outlaws like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane made this town legendary. Today you can watch shootouts on Deadwood’s Main Street, re-enactments of the slaying of Wild Bill Hickok, and the trial of his murderer.

 

Custer House in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Photo credit: North Dakota Tourism

Custer House in Fort Lincoln – North Dakota, USA

Leading up to the historic Battle of the Little Bighorn, General Custer was stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln before the battle took place. It was from here that the 7th Cavalry rode off into the history books and Lakota Leader, Sitting Bull, became a name forever linked to Custer.

 

Nevada City. Photo credit: Montana Office of Tourism

Nevada City – Montana, USA

A mining town in the early 1900’s, the cabins, storefronts, and streets of Nevada City were abandoned after the bust.

 

Bayhorse Ghost Town Near Challis. Photo credit: Idaho Tourism

Bayhorse near Challis – Idaho, USA

Silver and gold were among the discovered in this historic mining town. Today, its vacant city limits can be toured.

Select your region to learn more about The Great American West.

Featured Image: Bannack State Park in Montana. Photo credit: Montana Office of Tourism