What should we see and where should we stay between Salmon, ID and Salt Lake City for a few days this fall?
May 14, 2012 6:30 PM   Subscribe

What should we see and where should we stay between Salmon, ID and Salt Lake City for a few days this fall?

Looking for some vacation planning help -- we're taking a rafting trip that ends in Salmon, ID (~160 miles NE of Boise, near the Montana border). We'll leave there Sunday morning, and fly out of Salt Lake City Tuesday morning. What should we see and where should we stay in between?

What's Sun Valley / Ketchum like? Is Craters of the Moon a must-see? Are there nice places north of SLC in Utah?

We'll be driving a rental car, and looking for relatively low-intensity activity after the preceding 6 days of rafting/camping. Thanks for any tips!
posted by Perplexity to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Craters of the Moon is fun, but it's not a lengthy escape. I'd recommend heading west out of Challis and driving through the Sawtooths. There's some hot springs, some really pretty ranch valleys, and if you head south, it dumps you out of the mountains in good position for CotM.

Personally, from CotM, I'd head south post-haste, drink a bunch of beer in SLC, and, if it's really *fall* - i.e. late Sept, early Oct, head up through the pass near Timpanogos Cave. Maybe drive up the spur in the TC National Park and hike up to the alpine lakes. All of the passes from the western side of the Wasatch Front to the east side (park city, etc) are fuckin' gorgeous. You can do a drive, spend some time on the back side drinking beer, and head back to SLC and stay in town.
posted by notsnot at 7:14 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You have got to see my town! Ogden is the greatest town you've never heard of! We've got it all!

Seriously, Ogden is really great. Downtown has good food and light shopping to do or galleries to look at. We've got nice people and beautiful surroundings. You can stay in a nice hotel and relax after your trip but still be close to the mountains and surrounded by fresh air.

I recommend the Hotel Ben Lomond because it's old, cool, and it's right downtown. There are a couple of other chain hotels in the area too, but they aren't haunted. Which makes them less worthy in my opinion.

Check out the local blog IndieOgden to get a feel for what goes on and what you can do. If you give me a specific date to work with I can give you some more ideas of what's going on.

Also, Ogden doesn't completely close down on Sundays like some other small towns in the area you're describing.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:24 PM on May 14, 2012

Seconding the Sawtooths. For my money, it's far prettier than the Tetons (which get all the press) and far quieter too. Stanley is the small town at the center of it, there's a motel and general store that makes up the bulk of the town. Lots of hiking, and you'll be there at an astonishingly lovely time of year. The aspens should be golden then, if I recall.

Sun Valley and Ketchum are nice in a rich-peoples-playground sort of way. Good restaurants, nice hotels, groceries, etc.

Craters of the Moon is a nice half-day trip. I didn't think much of Twin Falls, but maybe things have changed in the ten years since I was there.

Lots to do in SLC, of course. The comment about the east side of the Wasatch is spot-on. It's been six or eight years since I was there, but I didn't find it necessarily easy to drink in SLC back then. Some arcane liquor laws. Perhaps that has changed.
posted by OHSnap at 10:56 PM on May 14, 2012

Craters of the Moon was cool - remember that there is caving involved so bring a flashlight and wear appropriate shoes.

I quite liked Twin Falls - there is this spectacular waterfall in the middle of a cute little suburban-style park, it's a bit surreal. Worth looking at if you go that way.

But otherwise the stretch of 84 between 86 and 15 was one of the most boring bits I've ever driven, so I would consider heading over to 15 from CotM. This would take you by the Idaho National Laboratory, not that that gets you much since I don't think you can visit or anything.

I enjoyed Antelope Island just north of Salt Lake City - pronghorn, bison.

That area near Salmon played a role in the Lewis & Clark expedition - it's where Sacajawea was from, and there is a Sacajawea Center in Salmon that's kind of interesting. I think the Ken Burns Lewis & Clark documentary is streaming on Netflix if you want to study up before hand.
posted by yarrow at 9:22 AM on May 15, 2012

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