Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho

Top 14 Places To Snowmobile In Idaho 2024

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Snowmobiling is a fun and thrilling winter sport that allows individuals of all ages to enjoy the outdoors. Each year, the sport expands throughout Idaho, a beautiful state in the Northwest region of the Western United States. While snowmobiling is a great way to explore Idaho’s backcountry, it may be dangerous if you aren’t prepared.

Here we have a list of the top 14 places to snowmobile in Idaho.

14 Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho

Island Park

Island Park-min
Credit: Visit Island Park Idaho

Island Park snowmobiling provides you with the thrills you seek, with hundreds of groomed paths to explore. As a result, Island Park, Idaho has become the preferred snowmobiling vacation location. It is one of the best places to snowmobile in Idaho.

The thick powder encourages you to be a part of the winter scenery, with approximately 220 inches of snow falling each year. The trail system in Island Park is highly maintained because it is surrounded by Targhee National Forest.

There are almost 600 miles of groomed snowmobile routes as well as numerous off-trail options. Sawtell Trail, Stamp Meadows Trail, and Red Rock Pass Trail are some of the best places to snowmobile in Island Park, Idaho.

The iconic Two-Top Mountain offers a spectacular perspective of Henry’s Lake.

Of course, the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, as well as Harriman State Park, are all nearby and have snowmobile paths. More routes and adventures await you if you visit Yellowstone National Park.

  • Best Time To Visit: November to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Mount Jefferson, Willow Creek, the Keg, Lions Head, and many other trails await the more skilled rider.

Bear Lake Valley

Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho Bear Lake Valley
Credit: Bear Lake Premier Cabins

There are approximately 350 miles of groomed snowmobile tracks and large open play areas in the Bear Lake valley and adjacent mountain ranges, with no crowds and no fences! There are numerous linked groomed trails that lead you past stunning natural beauty.

You can come across a gushing winter waterfall or an almost-frozen brook. You might even see an elk or moose in the winter! Off the groomed trails, you may drive in seemingly endless open spaces or climb the slopes for a breathtaking view of turquoise Bear Lake and the surrounding hillsides.

The snowmobile season begins in late November and lasts until April. Snowmobilers of all skill levels can find challenges and excitement owing to the variety of terrain and stunning views!

The Bear Lake Valley is a popular winter snowmobiling destination in northern Utah, with top-rated courses that are routinely included among the greatest snowmobiling trails in the West! Backcountry snowmobile terrain, snowmobile complexes, and interconnecting routes take you to some of Utah’s most beautiful locations.

Weave your way through forested valleys, play in powder meadows, capture the perfect Instagram image at a winter waterfall, and switchback up to snowy peaks 9,000 feet above sea level for spectacular vistas of turquoise Bear Lake situated between the Tetons and the Uinta Mountains.

A winter powder wonderland for adventure and adrenaline-pumping winter thrills.

  • Best Time To Visit: November to April
  • Trails Around The Area: Beaver Creek Trail, Garden City, Peter Sinks, and Sinks Road Trail, Fish Haven/St Charles Trail are some of the best trails in this area.

Smiley Creek

Smiley Creek
Credit: Smiley Creek Lodge

Smiley Creek Lodge serves as the Sawtooth Valley’s snowmobiling headquarters. This mountain resort provides nice and comfortable rooms as well as wonderful food and is positioned at the beginning of 170 kilometers of groomed paths. It is listed as one of the best place to snowmobile in Idaho.

Snowmobile rentals are available for full or half-day excursions, and professional guides are happy to show guests the powder-filled meadows and tranquil vistas. It is one of the best scenic snowmobiling destinations in Idaho.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Valley Road, Sawtooth Basin, Horton Peak, Thompson Peak, and The River of No Return are some of the best trails in this area.

Lolo Pass

Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho Lolo Pass
Credit: Visit North Central Idaho

Visitors to Lolo Hot Springs can relax in the same waters that soothed the tired men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition nearly 200 years ago. Snowmobilers can perform their own modern-day excursions using 250 miles of groomed, linking tracks in the Lolo and Clearwater National Forests, beginning at Lolo Hot Springs or 7 miles west at Lolo Pass.

On the Montana-Idaho border, a network of interconnected loop paths spans two national forests. East Fork, Lost Park System, Elk Meadows, and Moose Ridge are just a few of the paths that take you deep into the Bitterroot Range, complete with meadows and play spaces.

Lolo Hot Springs offers food, hotel, swimming, camping, and snowmobile rentals. Missoula offers a comprehensive range of visitor services, including snowmobile rentals, sales, and service. The Lolo Pass Visitor’s Center has a gift shop, maps, and a public restroom.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: East Fork, Lost Park System, Elk Meadows, and Moose Ridge are some most popular places to snowmobile in Idaho.

Silver Valley

Silver Valley
Credit: Silver Valley Chamber

Silver Valley, located in the Bitterroot Mountains, has some of the best snowmobile routes in Northern Idaho. While cycling alongside rivers and streams, you can enjoy spectacular mountain vistas and a plethora of animals.

Silver Valley has nearly 1,000 miles of groomed trails, so the choices are unlimited! There is also lots of housing if you want to remain in the area and shred the terrain on your snowmobile!

Silver Mountain Resort is one of the best in the Northwest, with access to two mountains, 73 routes, 1,600 acres of terrain, 2,200 vertical, and 340+ inches of annual snowfall. The terrain is divided into the following categories: 20% beginning, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced, and 10% expert.

There are almost infinite glades here, as well as a terrain park, a tubing hill, 5 chair lifts, and North America’s longest single-stage gondola. This family-friendly resort is also a wonderful choice for people looking for off-hill activities.

Silver’s Gondola Village in Kellogg is just off I-90 and features a few stores, a few coffee shops, a restaurant, an ice cream parlor, an art gallery, a spa, and Idaho’s largest indoor waterpark.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Silver Mountain Resort, Lookout Pass, and Wallace are some most popular places to snowmobile in Idaho.

Priest River Valley

Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho Priest River Valley
Credit: Selkirk Powder

It’s a utopia for snowmobilers. Priest Lake has one of the best snowmobiling areas in the state, with plenty of snow and riding on an extensive groomed trail system that takes snowmobilers around Priest and Upper Priest lakes as well as into the high Selkirk Mountains for beautiful alpine views.

The terrain ranges from thick woodland to wide snowy bowls in the high Alps, with heights ranging from 2,500 to more than 7,000 feet. After a long day in the snowy terrain, sledders may unwind in warmth and luxury at one of the several year-round resorts that offer first-rate housing, eating, and nightlife just a short distance from the trailhead.

There are a number of firms that provide snowmobile rentals and coaching for people without sleds; you may arrange to have your rental sled delivered to your resort without trailering.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area:

Sun Valley

Sun Valley
Credit: Sun Valley Idaho Vacation Planner

Snowmobilers can find plenty of opportunities to get out and play in the snow in the Sun Valley area. Blaine County and the Wood River Valley have approximately 120 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, making it an ideal area to spend the winter on a snowmobile. These groomed trails are located just north of Ketchum and are easily located and accessed.

Those looking for a bit more excitement can head north to the Sawtooth Valley, which has an additional 185 miles of groomed routes, some rocky and difficult side trails, and large open meadows.

Local guides, outfitters, and some guest ranches provide sled and equipment rentals, guided excursions, and/or trail maps. Throughout the region, there are several miles of groomed snowmobile trails and off-trail riding.

In authorized locations, the Wood River Recreation Area, three miles west of Hailey, and the Baker Creek area, ten miles north of Ketchum, both offer groomed trails and off-trail riding. This page contains information on these topics.

There are 170 miles of groomed trails as well as fantastic off-trail riding in the Smiley Creek and Stanley areas north of Sun Valley. Smiley Creek Lodge offers guided outings as well as snowmobile rentals. The Fairfield area southwest of Hailey includes 200 miles of trails as well as additional off-trail riding opportunities.

Galena Pass, Smiley Creek Lodge, Wood River Recreation, and Stanley are some most popular places to snowmobile in Idaho.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to February
  • Trails Around The Area: Baker Creek, Nordic Trails, and Ketchum offer some of the best trails in this area.

Around McCall

Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho Around McCall
Credit: Brundage Mountain

Few places can compete with the snowmobile adventure from McCall to Cascade! Snowmobilers can explore hundreds of miles of groomed tracks between McCall, Donnelly, Cascade, Smith’s Ferry, and New Meadows, as well as a vast backcountry.

The backcountry landscape in the area ranges from meadows and ice lakes to large bowls and mountains and everything in between. Our location is frequently ranked as one of the top 10 snowmobile destinations in the country by the media.

McCall is an excellent family vacation destination, with two neighboring ski/snowboard slopes, indoor ice skating, tubing hill, cross-country skiing, hot springs, shopping, restaurants, and more. And there are numerous lodgings to select from, including a vast rental pool of residences and numerous hotels.

Countless granite peaks loom over the valley plain. Standing atop these summits is humbling, in part because getting there can be challenging. In the winter, backcountry skiers and snowboarders use high-tech equipment to climb these mountains, exerting a lot of energy in the process. Snowmobilers, on the other hand, can reach these same elevations with greater ease.

SnoWest Magazine has named the McCall area some of the best snowmobile countries in the West. According to the magazine, “there is endless riding potential with more than 500 miles of groomed trails and the ability to leap off the path anywhere along the way.”

Perhaps this is why McCall has become a popular snowmobiling destination. The region’s wide and diverse riding prospects have drawn world-class athletes and riders to experience some of the best winter terrain accessible.

Make no mistake, whether you’re a world-class athlete or not, snowmobiling is a sport that virtually anyone can master. The McCall area can now accommodate both options, whether you wish to rent and ride your own motorbike or hire a seasoned guide to show you the ropes.

McCall, Donnelly, Cascade, Smith’s Ferry and New Meadows, Brundage Mountain Resort, Burgdorf Hot Springs, and Granite Lake are some most popular places to snowmobile in Idaho.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Brush Creek Lot, Payette River, Brundage Mountain Road, and Hartley Meadows are some of the best trails in the region.

Sawtooth Valley

Sawtooth Valley
Credit: Stanley, Idaho

The Sawtooth Valley of central Idaho, which receives more than 220 inches of snow on average each year, is a winter wonderland that should be at the top of your adventure bucket list.

Over 185 miles of groomed snowmobile trails spread out in every direction, making Stanley a mecca for sledders. You’ll see snowmobiles all around town, but with a full-time population of fewer than 100 people and miles of national forest surrounding Stanley, you’ll have plenty of room to roam.

You don’t have to venture far to see highpoints topping out at over 10,000 feet, pristine alpine meadows, and towering vistas for Instagrammable sunrises and sunsets, as the Salmon River mountain range to the north, White Clouds to the east, and Sawtooths to the south and west. Hushed glades rise above treeline to reveal huge bowls where your tracks through fresh pow are the only indication of humanity.

While most snowmobile tracks from Stanley are a half-day to full-day ride, you can simply connect portions and create loops to cover more land and maximize the adrenaline thrill.

Refuel your gas tank and your stomach at Stanley, Smiley Creek, and Deadwood Lodge, and if you don’t have your own sled and gear, Sawtooth Traxx in Stanley and Smiley Creek Lodge provides all you need. If it’s your first time out, Smiley Creek’s expert guides will lead you through the powder and teach you the ropes.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Pristine Alpine Meadows and Sawtooth Traxx are some of the best trails in this region.

Cascade & Boise National Forest

Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho Cascade & Boise National Forest
Credit: Boise National Forest

Boise National Forest, the seventh biggest National Forest in the United States, with 2.6 million acres and offers a variety of recreational possibilities throughout the year. In the winter, the Boise National Forest provides excellent opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.

Many of the snow trails are maintained on a regular basis. The Boise National Forest offers a variety of sites for non-motorized leisure as well as motorized winter travel. There are certain restrictions, so please prepare ahead and be familiar with the area before you go.

Groomed Snowmobile Trails – Groomed snowmobile routes are controlled through cost-sharing agreements between the Boise National Forest, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, and the municipal governments of Valley County, Boise County, Elmore County, and Stanley.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Valley County, Boise County, Elmore County, Stanley, Garden Valley, Smith’s Ferry, and Anderson Ranch are some wonderful trails in this area.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

Schweitzer Mountain Resort
Credit: Selkirk Powder

With 2900 acres of spectacular terrain and famous tree skiing, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is swiftly climbing in the ranks of the nation’s best tourist destinations. Schweitzer is located in the rocky Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho’s panhandle and the northwest Rocky Mountains, overlooking Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille.

Schweitzer is famous for its two large bowls, uncrowded slopes, stunning views, and fantastic terrain. Cat skiing, heli-skiing, snowmobiling trips (short and long), snowcat sightseeing tours, backcountry ski tours, and a variety of other classes, tours, housing, and food options are available. This location has everything that a winter holiday spot should have.

There are over 100,000 miles of a snowmobiler’s fantasy powder for you to ride through! Talk about a family vacation spot. This site has something for everyone, regardless of age, skill level, or activity preference.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Schweitzer Bowl and Outback Bowl are some good snowmobiling skiing trails in this resort region.

Burgdorf Hot Springs

Burgdorf Hot Springs
Credit: Visit Idaho

There is no better site in Idaho to experience the thrill of snowmobiling than Burgdorf Hot Springs. The cool thing about this area is that you can only get there by snowmobile. This means that you can join the activity from the start of your journey.

This rural resort is near McCall, where you may rent a snowmobile if you don’t already have one. Burgdorf Hot Springs is not a lavish facility; it consists primarily of a stove, some firewood, a mattress, and mattress cover, and it is up to you to bring additional materials such as bedding, a lantern, towels, and, of course, whatever you want to eat.

Despite the cabins’ humility, the stunning views of the mountains and mineral hot springs are open to all guests, even if they do not stay the night. If you’re seeking the ultimate camping experience, this is the place for you.

Burgdorf Hot Springs is the place to go if you want to be so high up that the air is especially clean. It is the best place to snowmobile to hot springs in Idaho. Snowmobile to the mountain’s peak and then ski down; it’ll be a fantastic experience!

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Several trails are included in Burgdorf Hot Springs only.

Selkirk Powder

Selkirk Powder
Credit: Only In Your State

Selkirk Powder runs across the backside of Schweitzer Mountain, traversing some of the 188,000 acres of Priest Lake State Forest. There are three snowmobile experiences available: Priest River Valley, Sandpoint Ridge Runner, and Moose Knuckle Rendezvous.

Each of these experiences is unique in its own way, but you can expect to see beautiful scenery, lively wildlife, and plenty of elevation changes along the way! A must-try for those wishing to enjoy the beauty of North Idaho.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Sandpoint Ridge Runner and Moose Knuckle Rendezvous are some of the best trails in the region.

Coeur D’Alene Snowmobile Trails

Coeur D’Alene Snowmobile Trails
Credit: Coeur D’Alene Snowmobile Club

Because of its history in wood and mining, the Coeur d’Alene area has some fantastic snowmobiling paths in Northern Idaho. Snowmobiling is ideal on the ancient forest and mine routes.

With over 1,000 miles of trails spanning from the Panhandle National Forests to the Montana border, you’re sure to discover something new on every ride here. Many of the more popular trails have trail guides and maps that are quite accurate.

With numerous hotel, food, and fuel options nearby, this is an excellent site for a trip to Northern Idaho.

  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Trails Around The Area: Panhandle National Forests are many others

Idaho Snowmobile Registration

Each snowmobile owner must file an application for a number with the department on forms approved by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation on or before November 1 of each year (department). The owner will receive a certificate of number from the government or its authorized vendor(s). The certificate of number fee is $32.50 for residents and non-residents ($62.50 for rental machines) and is divided as follows:

  • A handling fee of $1.50 is charged to vendors.
  • $1 is donated to the statewide snowmobile search and rescue account.
  • The department uses 15% of the funds for administration and the creation of a certificate of number stickers.
  • 85% goes to the owner’s specified county.
  • Every certificate of number is valid from November 1 to October 31 of the following year.

Non-Resident Snowmobile Fees

All out-of-state snowmobilers in Idaho must get a nonresident snowmobile user certificate. The certificate costs $32.50 and can be purchased from any authorized snowmobile seller. Nonresidents may direct their certificates to the county snowmobile program where they live.

Where Can I Get My Certificate Number?

This concludes our article on Best Places To Snowmobile In Idaho 2022. We hope you found this article helpful. Make sure to like and share this article and don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section down below. 

You may also like Survive An Avalanche On A Snowmobile.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are some good places to snowmobile in Idaho?

Following are some of the best places to snowmobile in Idaho:
1. Bear Lake Valley.
2. Island Park.
3. Priest River Valley.
4. Silver Valley.
5. Around McCall.
6. Sawtooth Valley.
7. Around Moscow.
8. Cascade & Boise National Forest.

Do I need to register a snowmobile in Idaho?

Each Idaho snowmobile owner must register their snowmobile with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation on January 1 of each year. The department or one of its approved vendors will provide the owner with a set of validation stickers as well as a registration. Registration costs $32.50.

Can you ride a snowmobile on the road in Idaho?

Snowmobilers are not permitted on all roads. Snowmobilers are not permitted to ride on the road shoulders or ditches unless authorized by the county or city.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a snowmobile in Idaho?

An authorized helmet is the most crucial item of protective equipment you can wear. Check to see if the helmet has been Snell or DOT-approved. Anyone under the age of 18 who operates or rides in/on an OHRV or snowmobile is required by state law to wear a helmet that fulfills Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Where can I buy a non-resident snowmobile permit in Idaho?

Snowmobile registration vendors in Idaho are organized by county. Snowmobile registration stickers and permits can be renewed and bought annually at any of the locations, by mail, online, or at the nearest county assessor’s office.

What do I need to snowmobile in Idaho?

You will require to rent out a snowmobile from an authorized vendor along with all the required certificates. All out-of-state snowmobilers in Idaho must get a nonresident snowmobile user certificate. The certificate is $59.50 and can be purchased from authorized snowmobile registration suppliers. It is valid for one year only. There are no short-term certificates available.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a snowmobile?

Yes, even in the winter. Wearing a DOT-approved helmet will assure your safety and will help you avoid any injuries that may occur during a crash. Helmets should be worn snugly on your face, with the strap firm behind your chin, to provide maximum protection.

Can you ride a snowmobile without snow?

You certainly can. While snowmobiles are meant to operate on snow, these motor sleds are also commonly ridden on trails or open ground. Snowmobilers now compete in drag races on grass and other non-snowy surfaces.

About the author
Rahul Gupta


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