44 Interesting Facts About Idaho

Last updated on April 19th, 2020

Idaho is the 39th most populous and the 14th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the northwestern region of the United States. The state attained statehood on July 3, 1890, becoming the 43rd state to join the union. Its six bordering states are Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. See the complete list of the 50 states and their borders here. Idaho (nicknamed: the Gem State) has 44 counties. The state‚Äôs capital is Boise. With these facts about Idaho, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

Facts about Idaho

1. The state’s name derived from a Native American word that means “the land of many waters.” The pronunciation is similar to the state’s name.

2. Idaho is sometimes referred to as the Gem State. One can find nearly 72 types of precious stones in the state.

3. The state grows nearly one/third of America’s potatoes. It is likely that the people living outside the state eat more of these starchy vegetables than the people in Idaho.

4. A mayor seemed to have a strange adoration for his small town in Idaho. He declared that Wallace, with a population of 800 people, was the Center of the Universe. A manhole cover was made to mark this declaration and the place he said was the center.

A long russet potato.
A long russet potato.

5. Idaho produces other crops besides potatoes. The state is actually known as the Lentil Capital of the World. It is also known for having one of the largest hops farms in the United States.

Idaho on map

6. This state is known for having a canyon with an interesting name. The canyon is called Hells Canyon, and it’s 7,900 feet deep. Keep in mind that this is deeper than the Grand Canyon.

7. There are only a few places in the world where a bounty of star garnets can be found. One is in India and the other happens to be in Idaho.

8. Many states are working toward being more eco-friendly, but it seems that Idaho is moving quickly. The state’s Capital Building is the only state capital that is kept warm using a renewable source of energy. It is called geothermal water, which means the hot water that sits 3,000 feet underground is used to produce heat.

Boise capitol building.
Boise capitol building.

9. Women should be pretty proud of Idaho as it is the only state seal in the United States that was designed by a woman. The woman was Emma Edwards Green, and her design was chosen in 1891.

10. Idaho may be known for its crops or gems, but one thing that horror lovers like about the state are the ghost towns. Silver City and the Burke are some of the most known ghost towns, but there are many others.

Flag of Idaho

flag of Idaho

11. It might sound a little strange, but it is against the law for a man to give his beloved a box of sweets that weighs more than 50 pounds.

12. People really love to smile in Pocatello, Idaho. This obsession with smiles went so far that it became a law. Yes, it is illegal not to smile in public in this little region of the state.

13. It is illegal for a person to fish while they are riding the back of a camel. Take that camel-riding fisherman.

14. A person cannot sweep dirt from his or her house into the street. This is a law in Eagle, Idaho where cleanliness is definitely valued by the people in the city.

15. Idaho’s State Penitentiary is known as a haunted location. Talk about a double-whammy for those who might commit a crime.

16. Heaven’s Gate Lookout, in Idaho, is a location where you can see Washington, Montana, and even Oregon.

17. This state is home to Atomic City, which was booming when the National Reactor Testing Station was active in the 70s. It is a desolate area with around 29 people now.

18. There is a ski resort in McCall, Idaho that is home to the Brundage Bra Tree. The name is known throughout Idaho because it is where many women throw their bras as they ride a chairlift.

19. One 1800’s tale says there is a strange creature in Bear Lake, Idaho. It is known as the Bear Lake Monster, and this story has scared some kids in the state.

20. This region is home to the highest navigable river in the world. The river is called St. Joe River, and it flows from an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet.

The State Quarter

Idaho State Quarter

21. This state offers the longest gondola ride in the world, so strap in and enjoy nature from above. The gondolais in the Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg.

Ski Mountain Winter Gondola Ride.
Ski Mountain Winter Gondola Ride.

22. Idaho actually holds a strange little Guinness World Record for a maze. Yes, the state is known for the longest straw bale maze, which is in Rupert.

23. Someone paid $600,000 for a bull from Idaho. This was the most expensive bull ever sold. The cost was high because the Hereford bull weighed 1,410, and its lineage was impeccable.

24. The Lake Coeur d’Alene boardwalk is 3,300 feet long and is known as the longest boardwalk in the world. This is definitely for all those who love to walk by the beach.

25. Dog lovers should be interested in Idaho because it is home to the only dog-shaped B&B in the world. For those who want to visit the dog lover’s paradise, it is in Cottonwood, ID.

26. There is a small town in Idaho that has the longest main street in the United States. It is located in the City of Island Park.

27. The Coeur d’Alene Resort is home to the only man-made 14th hole island. It definitely gives golfers a new experience.

28. A gargantuan tree can be found at The Elk River. It is called the Idaho Champion Western Red Cedar Tree. It has an 18-feet diameter and it’s over 170 feet tall.

29. Idaho City can thank gold for its success. Yes, the city’s economy boomed because of gold mining back in the 1860s.

30. Idaho definitely stepped up to the plate when it came to structured sand dunes. Bruneau Dunes State Park is home to the country’s tallest structure that stands 470 feet high.

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