Top 5 Off-Road 4×4 Trails & Areas To Explore In Idaho: User-Sourced Reference

Overland Builds Camping Near Scenic Creek On Off-Road Trail In Idaho

Explore Idaho Through These 4×4 Trails Rated for All Skill Levels – A User Sourced & Submitted Off-Road & Overland Resource

Welcome back to an all-new post featuring the top trails and OHV parks across America! Last time, we covered trails in Hawaii. Today, we’re covering the fan-favorite trails located in Idaho.

Idaho isn’t just about potatoes—it’s got a lot more! With its stretches of the Rocky Mountains and tons of forest land, it’s the perfect place for a trail adventure, whether just for a day or a longer stay. Here are five awesome spots you don’t want to miss on your next trip to Idaho!

Let’s dive into this week’s top trails!

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Each week, we cover new areas across the country to highlight the top off-road & overland trails.

Note: The trails listed below are in no particular order.

1. Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route

5th Gen 4Runner on the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route

Submission By: Chris (@lunarrocktrdpro_idaho)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

We are spoiled here in the Gem State. The backcountry is our backyard, and it ranges from stretches of dusty two-track across Akali deserts so straight and flat you could watch your dog run away for three days to switch-backing, off-camber primitive ruts across 8,000-foot mountain passes that have not been maintained since they were carved by westward-migrating wagon trains or were bladed-in by a D8 Cat for logging and mining access.

There are nearly 16,000 miles of unpaved roads in Idaho, and we natives would like those all to ourselves if you please. But, if you’re going to come here (and promise not to stay long) and you want a taste of our world-renowned Famous Idaho Potholes, I suggest you feed your 4-Runner a bountiful buffet of our bounciest boulevards via the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route.

The Idaho “BDR” is a 1,250-mile (mostly) unpaved north-south transect of the entire state. It starts at Idaho’s southern desert border in the sagebrush rebel capital of Jarbidge, Nevada, then winds its way up, over and around the deeper-than-the-Grand Canyon Marilyn Monroe River of No Return Wilderness, part of a mountainous spine across the middle of the state.

The BDR then funnels through the famed Magruder Corridor before ridge-running the Lolo Motorway, a rock-strewn route Idaho Shoshone-Lemhi tribal interpreter Sacagawea guided the Lewis & Clark Discovery Corps expedition across.

Finally, the Idaho BDR snakes up into the mined mountains of the Silver Valley amid thick forests and hidden lakes before reaching the top of the Idaho Panhandle, the state’s northern border with Canada in the small community of Porthill.

While some Idaho overlanders like to run the entire BDR in about a week, my current BDR 4X4 backcountry brotherhood prefers to segment it out and take our time, exploring the countless side roads, abandoned Forest Service lookouts, pioneer cemeteries, ghost towns, hot springs, and fishing streams.

You can download the Idaho BDR GPS route codes from the website, but I highly recommend you also carry a paper copy of the most recent Butler Idaho BDR map. Take extra water and gas, be prepared for dispersed camping conditions, travel with another vehicle, and always use radios to warn of oncoming head-on hazards since it’s a one-lane road.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

Because the BDR is such a long and diverse trail, I can’t give it just one rating. Some sections are more technical than others, and the promoted BDR route prioritizes rugged byways over better-quality roads, which you can plot as alternatives if the designated route is too rough. Just be prepared to cross water, straddle ruts, chainsaw occasional deadfall blocking the road, punch through snowdrifts in July, and endure some twisting, sphincter-tightening narrow dugways that cling to the side of gaping canyons.

2. Horsehaven Air Strip – Coeur d’Alene

3rd Gen Tacoma in Horsehaven Air Strip located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Submission By: Hunter (@another_pnwtaco)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Horsehaven Air Strip is a retired World War II training airstrip in the mountains outside Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The trails getting there are easy, and once you’re there, you can run your rig like you’re racing in Baja! Camping spots nearby let you spend the day having a blast and enjoy a quiet evening in the woods.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

I would rate the trail to get there a 2/10, then the airstrip; you could bump it up to a 4-5/10 only because you need to be flying (no pun intended) to glide over the huge potholes on the airstrip.

3. The Lost Trail – Boise

3rd Gen Tacoma Off-Roading on Lost Trail Near Boise

Submission By: Oakley (@idahoffroad)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

Lost Trail holds a solid reputation among the locals—it’s one of those trails that’s fairly well-known in the community. Its diverse terrain, combined with an assortment of rocks that cater to all skill levels, sets it apart from the easy routes that practically glide you to the challenging buggy lines that demand more experience and a built rig. There’s something special about taking on these trails with your crew, tackling challenges together, and creating lasting memories as you navigate the rough terrain.

After all, Lost Trail remains a go-to spot, perfect for spending quality time in nature with the boys.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

This trail varies from a 2/10 to a 10/10. I highly suggest getting sliders and skid plates for any of the lines you take, but there are also many bypasses, making it an option for anyone.

4. Murphy to Silver City – Silver City

Lexus GX460 on the Murphy to Silver City, ID Trail in Silver City, Idaho

Submission By: Jacob (@mic4runner)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

There are many ways up to Silver City, but going up through Murphy is my favorite! You’ll get plenty of views along the way, with mountain ranges and valleys. It’s also a unique trip that isn’t much like anywhere else.

If you have the time and are looking for an adventure, I highly suggest this route; you won’t regret it.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

It’s a mild off-road trail that anyone can make up in the proper weather conditions. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this trail a 2.5/10 on difficulty. There are not many obstacles, but the trail immediately becomes an 8/10 if there is snow.

5. The Lost Trail – Melba

3rd Gen Tacoma with Broncos at The Lost Trail in Melba, Idaho

Submission By: Benjamin (@brf_taco)

Tell Us About Your Favorite Spot

This is a great trail for experienced off-roaders and beginners getting into the offroad scene. It was one of the first trails I went on with my Tacoma, and I loved it. There are amazing views and many opportunities to see how your truck can perform off-road.

What Would You Rate This Spot?

I would rate this a 4/10 of difficulty because there are bypasses for many obstacles, but the obstacles can be technical and fun to pick new lines for. Depending on what you feel comfortable with, you can easily find something to test out your truck’s capabilities.

Final Thoughts

Tacoma Overlanding In Idaho - Pine Forest Wooded Dispersed Camping

And that wraps up this week’s fan-favorite trails!

Idaho is truly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore Idaho’s trails – the experience is worth it, promising a journey filled with breathtaking scenery and memorable moments. And don’t forget to share your favorites below!

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