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Nordic Adventures

Idaho Winter Recreation Destinations

By Chelsea Chambers

Winter is well on its way, which means for many of us, it’s time to cuddle up indoors with a good book and a nice crockpot meal. But it’s important to maintain our sense of adventure and stay active, even when the weather is cooling down.

Fortunately for us Idahoans, recreation doesn’t stop in the summertime! There are hundreds of winter destinations with year-round cabins and plowed snowshoe and cross country (Nordic) ski trails! Grab the family, your cold-weather gear, and check out these great winter spots!

Ponderosa State Park – McCall, Idaho

Located just a couple of hours outside of Eagle and nestled around the shores of Payette Lake, Ponderosa State Park has year-round deluxe cabins that are perfect for a cool-weather retreat! These cabins come with a full-size refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, and dishwasher. The kitchens also include cookware, bakeware, dinnerware, utensils, cups, coffee maker, toaster, and so much more. The bedrooms and bathrooms come stocked with blankets, sheets, and towels.

While the cabins are a great way to relax and recharge in a beautiful mountain setting, Ponderosa State Park also offers several trails of varying levels of difficulty that are groomed in the winter for snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. Grooming will begin once the snow begins to fly! Winter trail maps are available online as well.

For more information, visit their website parksandrecreation.idaho.gov or call the park directly at 208-634-2164.

Lake Cascade State Park – Cascade, Idaho

The yurts at Lake Cascade State Park make for great winter lodging options! Each yurt has a cooking table, a dining table, and folding chairs, a two-burner Coleman cookstove, and two Coleman lanterns.  Renters need to supply their own propane canisters. It is recommended that guests bring one canister for each appliance per day. The lanterns must have short canisters, not the tall ones.  (A stove with both burners on will burn for 1 to 4.5 hours on one canister; a lantern on full will burn 7 hours.) Plastic mattress covers are available upon request.

Similar to Ponderosa, there are groomed snowshoe and Nordic ski trails around the park for those looking to stretch their legs. Winter trail maps are available on their website.

For more information, visit their website parksandrecreation.idaho.gov or call the park directly at 208-382-6544.

If you are looking to drive a little further outside the Treasure Valley, Castle Rocks State Park in Almo, Idaho is another great winter recreation destination and their Glamping Yurt, complete with a king-sized bed, microwave, dining table, refrigerator, and outdoor grill is a fantastic way to warm up your toes after a day exploring the many trails and beautiful rock-faces at this huge park!

Please note, updates are being made to reservation system; reservations will be accepted starting December 1, 2020.

Always be prepared when planning outdoor, winter adventures! Bring plenty of warm clothes, layer appropriately, and of course, bring water and snacks!

See you on the trails!