Amazing Things To See and Do While Visiting Grangeville Idaho
Originally home to the indigenous Nez Perce Indians, modern day Grangeville Idaho is now the gateway to more than 5 million protected acres of spectacular wilderness areas teaming with wildlife and beckoning all to adventure. The wilderness areas include the Nez Perce National Forest
, the Clearwater National Forest, and Wallowa National Forest. It also includes three federally designated wild and scenic rivers: the Snake River, the Salmon River, and the Clearwater River. The South Fork Clearwater River and the Selway River are also nearby. Idaho, in fact, is second only to Alaska when it comes to wilderness areas and Grangeville is right in the heart of it all!
Grangeville is a quaint little town with a farmer's market, cute shops, nice restaurants, a history museum, and one of the best north Idaho RV parks
: Bear Den RV Resort. This luxurious yet affordable RV park has all the modern ammenities including high speed WIFI, laundry facilities, and private hot showers. Besides the RV sites
, the Bear Den RV park also has charming cabins
you can rent and tent camping
available. If you are an adventure seeker, you will find many thrilling outdoor adventures you can embark on using Grangeville as your home base and anchor to civilization. These include backpacking, day hikes, white water rafting, mountain biking, jet boating, salmon fishing, bird watching, cross-country skiing, down hill skiing, snowmobiling, and during warmer summer months some people enjoy swimming in the rivers. Hunting for deer, elk, and turkeys in the surrounding forestlands is another popular pastime for both residents and visitors alike. The area also has a rich history abounding with colorful stories of the Old West. The sunsets in this area can be absolutely stunning so be sure to bring along your camera!
With all there is to do and see in areas in Grangeville and in the surrounding wildness areas, it can be difficult to pick out just a few to highlight. However, below you will find a list of three of the most popular must see things in the Grangeville area.
Wild and ruggedly beautiful, Hells Canyon was slowly carved out by the Snake River starting more than six million years ago. Over the eons, it has grown to be the deepest river gorge in the entire United States. The sheer enormity of Hells Canyon and the surrounding mountains will surely captivate your imagination and the wildlife and old growth forest will leave a indelible mark on your soul. In the late spring and summer, the alpine meadows are bursting with color as you look out on a sea of beautiful wildflowers. This spectacular scene is less than half a day from Grangeville, making it an easy day trip, especially on the longer days of the late spring and summer. Around Hells Canyon, there are many hiking trails, white sandy beaches, horse back riding, guided tours, jet boat rides, kayaking in the quieter side streams, white-water rafting, inflatable rafting, and many fishing opportunities.
Hands down the best view of Hells Canyon from the Idaho side is the Heaven's Gates Overlook. The incredible panoramic view from this lookout is an experience you'll remember for the rest of your life. At an elevation of 8,249 feet, you can see four states: Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana. Additionally, you can view virtually the entire Snake River Valley. To get to the Heaven's Gate Overlook from Grangeville, travel south on US-95 for approximately 45 miles. About one mile south of Riggins, take National Forest Road 517, also called Seven Devils Road, for 17 miles to the parking area where you can hike 1/3 mile to the overlook. Please be aware that the Seven Devils Road is unpaved and gravel. It is also so steep that you gain 6000 feet going up this 17 mile road but of course that's all part of the fun and thrilling experience!
Grangeville Border Days
If you plan a trip to Grangeville on the Fourth of July weekend, you'll be able to attend Grangeville Border Days which is a real hoot. The Grangeville Border Days is an annual three day festival where the whole town lets loose with cowboy fun. It features the oldest rodeo in Idaho, several live music bands, parades, a vintage car show, a fireworks display, and art displays. You definitely won't go hungry at this festival with the cowboy food breakfast, an outdoor pig roast, plenty of barbeque, and old-fashioned strawberry shortcake.
Besides the rodeo, the highlight of Grangeville Border Days has to be the world famous egg toss that has been going on for seventy years! Contestants form teams of two, each standing opposite one another in a long line of contestants. The announcer then begins instructing them on how to toss the egg to their partner for each round. If a contestant misses the egg during any round and it splats open on the concrete, both that contestant and their partner are eliminated. It keeps going this way until there's just one team left who get the golden egg trophy and a cash award. The egg tossing rounds start off with a simple forward throw from just six feet way but then they quickly get more difficult with throws further away, behind the back throws, football passes, and tossing the eggs over the electrical lines. Judging from the shrieks and screams, everyone has a blast at the egg toss -- both participants and observers!
Northwest Passage Scenic Byway
Not everyone has the physical ability for white water rafting or long distance backpacking. However, almost everyone can enjoy the beautiful scenic areas near Grangeville by traveling part of the 202 mile long Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, part of which runs by Grangeville and accessed by Highway 13.
President Jefferson, in 1803, commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to find a connection through the Rocky Mountains between Missouri and the Columbia River. The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway traces the historic route they took through the ancestral Nez Perce Indian territory. As you travel the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, you'll enjoy vistas that seem to go forever, farmland, prairieland, mountains, and forests. The scenery along the byway are absolutely extraordinary with many pull-outs, side trips, interpretive signs, historical markers, and fragrances you'll never smell in the city! There are also many beautiful viewpoints where you can stop, rest, breathe deep, and just soak in the view. These make the perfect place to steal a kiss and/or enjoy a nice picnic.
If you are planning a trip to the Grangeville area, be sure to check out one of the best north Idaho RV parks
, the Bear Den RV Resort. It makes for a nice home base to the vast scenic outdoor playground surrounding Grangeville.