Hiking among sage, grasses and junipers toward snow-covered peaks
Verdant vistas along the City Creek Trail in the Portneuf Valley
Fertile farmland west of the city
Stopping atop a mountain for an afternoon tea break
Looking over the valley in the evening light
Idaho mule deer roaming among juniper trees in winter
Clear skies on a tranquil day in the mountain landscape
Cozy log cabin on a cold winter day
- Major Airports:
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
Offbeat museums and Western charm in a one-of-a-kind place
Yes, the Museum of Clean is about cleanliness, but it’s surprisingly entertaining. See exhibits featuring vacuums, washers, brooms and cluttered garages, all presided over by one of only 200 Muffler Man statues left in the world. Equally neat is a guided walking tour of Old Town Pocatello to visit buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find antique shops, art galleries and restaurants. While there, stop by little tucked-away parks and attend special events, including concerts, art walks and haunted history tours. Also worth a tour is the Idaho Museum of Natural History at the Idaho State University campus, where you can explore anthropology and earth sciences exhibits until you’re an expert on Idaho.
One Stop for History, Animals and Water Fun
Pocatello’s bustling Ross Park is an entertainment hub. The area features an Aquatic Complex with an enormous pool, lazy river and playground; Zoo Idaho, which hosts animals native to the West like grizzly bears and mule deer; Fort Hall Replica, where visitors learn about 19th-century explorers, trappers, fur traders, Native Americans, pioneers and gold seekers; and Pocatello Junction Town Site, which contains several replica buildings, including a saloon, bank and schoolhouse. Nearby, visit the Bannock County Historical Museum for exhibits on everything from archaeological specimens to the railroad and Prohibition.
Pocatello is an outdoor oasis. Mountains – most notably the peaks of the Bannock Range – surround the city. The Portneuf River – one of few rivers to flow northward – runs through Pocatello and joins the Snake River at the American Falls reservoir north of the city. Pull on hiking shoes and catch up to the City Creek Trail System to explore a series of trails; some of them even have map systems to use with your smartphone. Find Cherry Springs Nature Area within Caribou-Targhee National Forest, a hotspot for birding – over 100 species have been documented here – and wildlife viewing. Yet another way to experience Pocatello’s great outdoors is at the Portneuf Wellness Complex. With sports fields, basketball courts, sand volleyball and a nearly three-hectare lake for swimming and fishing, you’ll have some serious fun in the fresh air.
After an especially severe winter in 1948, Pocatello’s mayor passed an ordinance making it illegal to not smile in the city. For a while, the city held an annual Smile Festival.