Best & Worst Time to Visit Idaho: Seasonal Guide for Your Gem State Adventure

When Is the Best Time to Visit

If you’re thinking about visiting Idaho, you probably want to get the most out of your trip. The best time to visit really depends on what you’re looking for. Idaho has distinct seasons, each offering its own unique activities and scenery.

Spring (March to May)

  • Weather: Variable; can be chilly and wet, improving in May.
  • Activities: Late spring is great for hiking and seeing wildflowers.

Summer (June to August)

  • Weather: Warm and sunny; perfect for outdoor adventures.
  • Activities: Ideal for water sports, camping, and attending festivals.
JuneCooler temperatures; less crowdedSnow at higher elevations
JulyPeak season for weather and activitiesMore tourists
AugustWarm lakes and rivers for swimmingWildfire smoke is possible

Fall (September to November)

  • Weather: Crisp and cool; foliage change is stunning.
  • Activities: Hiking without the heat, fewer crowds, hunting and fishing seasons.

Winter (December to February)

  • Weather: Cold, with lots of snow in mountain areas.
  • Activities: Ideal for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Your best bet for good weather and a full range of activities is late spring through early fall. Summer is the warmest and busiest season. For winter sports, December to February is your window.

Remember to check local events for something special happening during your visit!

When Is the Worst Time to Visit Idaho

If you’re not a fan of cold weather, you should steer clear of Idaho during the winter months, especially from December to February. Temperatures can plummet below freezing, and snowfall is common, which can disrupt travel plans.

  • Low temperatures: Regularly drops below 0°F.
  • Snow and ice: Roads and trails can be treacherous.

Spring in Idaho, particularly from March to May, can be unpredictable. It’s often a time of transition where you could experience a mix of rain, lingering snow, or even sudden warm spells.

  • Muddy Conditions: Melting snow causes muddy, slippery trails.
  • Inconsistent Weather: It can be hard to plan outdoor activities.

During the fire season in late summer, usually from July to September, smoke from wildfires can affect air quality and visibility. This isn’t ideal if you’re looking to enjoy Idaho’s beautiful landscapes or if you have respiratory issues.

  • Wildfire Smoke: May lead to health concerns.
  • Limited Visibility: Could reduce your enjoyment of scenic views.

Lastly, if big crowds are not your thing, avoid popular tourist times like major holidays and the busy summer months when kids are out of school.

  • Busy Tourist Peaks: Crowds can lessen your experience.
  • Higher Prices: Accommodation and activity costs often increase.

Remember, your comfort and safety should always come first when planning a trip.

The Cheapest Time to Visit

A serene landscape of rolling hills and clear blue skies, with a calendar showing the best and worst times to visit Idaho

When you’re eyeing Idaho for your vacation, your wallet will thank you if you strategically pick when to go. The cheapest times to visit are typically late fall and early spring. During these seasons, you’ll find lower prices on accommodations and flights.

In late October to early November, the summer crowds have left and the winter sports enthusiasts haven’t arrived yet. You can snag some deals on hotels and enjoy the tail-end of the fall foliage.

Come April, the ski season winds down. Resorts tend to lower their rates and you can still catch some late-season skiing or snowboarding with fewer people around. Plus, the blooming wildflowers in lower elevations are a bonus.

Midweek travel is also a price saver. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Hotels: Cheaper from Sunday to Thursday.
  • Flights: Tuesdays and Wednesdays often have the best rates.
MonthHotel SavingsFlight DealsNotes
October-NovHighGoodPost-summer, pre-winter sports season
AprilModerateModerateEnd of the ski season

Remember, avoid holiday weekends and local events, as prices spike during those times. And if you’re driving, gas tends to be less expensive early in the week. So plan your road trip accordingly.

Off-Season: Least Busy Time to Visit

Idaho landscape in off-season: snow-capped mountains, calm lakes, empty hiking trails. Ideal for solitude and natural beauty

If you’re looking to visit Idaho when it’s not swarming with tourists, the off-season might be your best bet. This is generally in the late fall, winter (excluding holidays), and early spring.

Late Fall (November): The summer crowds have left, and ski season hasn’t kicked off yet. The weather is crisp, and you might get to enjoy the tail end of the fall colors without much company.

  • Weather: Expect cooler temperatures; a good time for hiking without the heat.
  • Events: Fewer local events and festivities to attend.

Winter (January – Early February):
This window after the holidays and before the Presidents’ Day weekend is quieter. Ski resorts are open, but lines are shorter.

  • Skiing: Good conditions but without the long waits.
  • Scenic Drives: Roads are less busy, making for peaceful drives, though be ready for possible snow.

Early Spring (March – April): Before the summer rush and after ski season winds down, there’s a lull in tourist activity.

  • Outdoor Activities: It’s a bit muddy for hiking, and some areas might still be snowed in, but you’ll have the trails mostly to yourself.
  • Lodging: Easier to find and often cheaper during these months.

Keep in mind that some attractions may have reduced hours or be closed during these times, so do a quick check before you plan your trip. But if you’re all about quiet times and open spaces, these could be the golden months for your Idaho adventure.

The Most Expensive Time to Visit

When you’re eyeing Idaho for your next trip, you might notice that prices tend to go up during the peak travel seasons. The most expensive time to visit is usually in the heart of summer, from late June to August. It’s prime time for tourists, thanks to the warm weather and the appeal of outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and camping.

Summer Pricing Highlights:

  • Accommodation: Hotels and vacation rentals see a spike in rates.
  • Activities: Reservation fees for activities may be higher due to demand.

Winter also sees a surge in prices, especially in ski resort areas like Sun Valley. December to February is peak ski season, and this is when resorts charge top dollar for lodging, lift passes, and equipment rentals.

Winter Cost Breakdown:

  • Ski Resorts: Expect higher rates for lodging and ski-related activities.
  • Holiday Premiums: Around the holidays, prices often jump up further.

If you’re looking to save, these periods are when you’ll want to avoid booking. Prices for flights and car rentals usually follow this trend, with costs climbing as demand increases. So if you’re planning to visit during these peak times, make sure to book things early, as it can help lock in slightly better rates before they continue to rise.

Hottest Months

Idaho's hottest months: July and August. Best time to visit: late spring and early fall. Worst time: winter. Illustrate a serene landscape with blooming flowers and colorful foliage

If you’re wondering when Idaho really heats up, look at the summer months, specifically July and August. Temperatures can soar into the high 80s to 90s Fahrenheit (around 31-37 degrees Celsius). Sometimes, it feels even hotter, depending on where you are in the state.


  • Average High: 89°F (31.7°C)
  • Average Low: 55°F (12.8°C)


  • Average High: 87°F (30.6°C)
  • Average Low: 54°F (12.2°C)

In regions like Boise, Lewiston, and the lower Snake River Plain, it’s common to see temperatures exceeding 100°F (37.8°C). If you prefer cooler weather, these might not be the best months for your visit. However, if you love the sun and don’t mind the heat, you’ll get plenty of it.

Remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen—sunshine is abundant, and the UV index can be high. Also, the evenings can cool down a bit, so it’s wise to pack a light jacket just in case.

Outdoor activities are in full swing during these months, from hiking to river rafting. Just plan for the heat and start your outdoor adventures early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Coldest Months

In Idaho, the coldest months are typically December, January, and February. During this time, temperatures can drop significantly, often reaching lows that make outdoor activities challenging without proper gear.

Average Temperature Ranges:

  • December: 21°F to 37°F
  • January: 16°F to 36°F
  • February: 19°F to 40°F

Layers are your best friend if you plan a visit during these months. You’ll want to pack a heavy coat, thermal wear, and all the warm accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves.


If you love snow, you’re in luck. These months bring the most snowfall, which varies by region:

  • Northern Idaho: Expect around 59 inches of snow.
  • Southern Idaho: Look for about 17 inches.

Skiing and snowboarding conditions are prime, but be mindful of shorter days and potentially hazardous road conditions due to ice and snow build-up. Always check the weather before venturing out.

Remember, although it’s cold, the sights are often breathtaking with snow-capped mountains and frosty landscapes. Just stay layered and prepared for Idaho’s winter chill!

Month-By-Month Weather

Sunny skies and blooming wildflowers in June, perfect for hiking. Snow-covered mountains and skiing in January, ideal for winter sports

January: You’ll experience cold and snowy conditions, especially if you’re in the mountain regions. Ski enthusiasts, this is your time!

February: Similar to January, though slightly warmer. Still, pack your heavy coat and enjoy the winter sports.

March: It’s a bit of a mix—snow in the mountains with occasional warmer days. Spring is knocking, so layers are your friend.

April: Things are thawing out now. It ranges from cool to mild, with a mix of rain and sun.

May: You get more flowers than showers this month. You’ll find it’s comfortably warm, perfect for outdoor activities.

June: Hello, summer! Longer, sunnier days are here. But remember, it can get quite hot, especially towards the end of the month.

July: Peak summer heat means dry and very warm weather. Ideal for all your summer adventures.

August: Still hot, but with a chance of thunderstorms. It’s great for enjoying Idaho’s lakes and rivers.

September: The heat begins to fade, and the nights get cooler. Enjoy the start of the fall with its beautiful colors.

October: It’s cooler now, with more chances of rain. The autumn leaves are in full display.

November: You’ll feel the chill setting in. It’s the quiet before the winter season starts again.

December: It’s cold, and yes, it’s snowy again, just in time for a white Christmas. If you love winter wonderlands, it’s perfect.

If you’re looking for comfortable weather without the extremes, May through September is your sweet spot. For skiing or enjoying snow, target December through February.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the peak tourist seasons in Idaho?

You’ll find the most visitors during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and suitable for outdoor adventures.

When is the off-season for visiting Idaho if I want to avoid crowds?

Visiting from late autumn to early spring, typically November through April, will mean fewer people and a more quiet experience.

Which months offer the best weather for outdoor activities in Idaho?

Late spring to early fall, specifically May through September, provides ideal weather for hiking, camping, and enjoying Idaho’s natural beauty.

Are there any times of year to avoid due to extreme weather in Idaho?

January and February can be especially harsh with deep snow and cold temperatures, making travel difficult.

What is the ideal time to visit Idaho for winter sports?

For winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, aim for mid-December through late March when snow conditions are generally best.

During which part of the year does Boise typically have the nicest weather?

Boise experiences the most pleasant weather in late spring and early fall, roughly from May to June and September to October.