Fall in love with The Great American West this autumn ·

Fall in love with The Great American West this autumn

The Great American West is an awe-inspiring region of the USA in any season. As fall (autumn) changes to winter, there are especially good reasons for Australians and Kiwis to visit Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. You can avoid the crowds, with less traffic and visitation to national parks and key tourist attractions, as well as cheaper airfares and more accommodation available. There is a whole range of activities and experiences that are available in these seasons including hiking, fishing, or wildlife watching in magnificent fall scenery, and of course many uniquely winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Check out our Australian & New Zealand websites and our Facebook page for more great photos and information about the Great American West in fall and winter.


Nez Perce Tourism has recently been launched and offers authentic tours that allow you to connect with native culture through interactive storytelling, land and water excursions, food, song, drum, and dance.

Bittercreek Alehouse, Boise was named North America’s ‘Beer Bar of the Year’ by Nightclub & Bar Awards 2019.

Fall experiences in Idaho: Dark skies and Basque culture

If you’re someone who loves stargazing, then Idaho is the ideal destination for you. Revel in the skyward views of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, America’s first gold-tier international Dark Sky Reserve. Alternatively, go camping at Idaho’s International Dark Sky Park, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, to view the incredible night sky from the comfort of your tent.

While in Central Idaho, attend the Trailing of the Sheep Festival on October 9-13 that preserves the sheepherding and ranching traditions that welcomed and sustained Basque and Peruvian cultures in this state. The festival includes art, cooking classes, and the parade of sheep on their migration to winter pastures.

Fall activity: Fly fishing

Fall is one of the best times to go fly fishing on the Snake River, where the surrounding trees and shrubs glimmer in yellow and orange hues. Wade into Henry’s Fork of the Snake River for rainbow trout or head to the South Fork of the Snake River for cutthroat and blue-ribbon trout. This region offers spectacular scenic views as it is bordered by both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It is also a top spot for wildlife watching with moose, deer, bobcats, black bears, and over 100 bird species.

Winter is coming to Idaho: Sun Valley

Sun Valley is recognised as a top US ski destination with more than 3,400 vertical feet, 2,000 acres of terrain, and two mountains that are highly valued for their lack of lift lines and variety of terrain. Bald Mountain has 65 ski runs of varied difficulty and themed adventure trails for kids, while Dollar Mountain features two new high-speed quads, and a huge terrain park with 76 rails. Other top winter activities at Sun Valley include sleigh rides, ice skating, snowshoeing, and fat biking making it ideal for families.

Featured accommodation: Limelight Hotel Ketchum

Limelight Hotel Ketchum is an ideal winter accommodation choice which opened in 2017 with luxurious guest rooms featuring king beds, granite and marble finishes, comfortable bedding, and huge windows providing unparalleled views of the nearby snow-capped mountains. Conveniently located in downtown Ketchum close to Sun Valley’s Bald and Dollar Mountains, you can go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice-skating, or snowmobiling, before easily returning to your hotel room for the night. Head to Limelight Hotel’s ‘The Lounge’ each morning for a tasty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, pastries, and yoghurt or for Happy Hour each night from 3-6pm après ski. This is also a top dinner spot with gourmet comfort food including pizzas and salads, and live music on Thursdays-Mondays from 6-9pm.


September 20-November 3 at 3-4pm: Fall Flights at World Center for Birds of Prey, Boise
November 22: 12th Annual Winter Wonderland Festival, Caldwell
July 28-August 2, 2020: Jaialdi , Boise – this Basque festival only happens once every five years so don’t miss it!

North Dakota

A Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Interpretive Center is opening in New Town in September 2020 and will include museum displays, a 250-seat event room and a classroom for traditional food and beading lessons.

Medora’s Point to Point Park is set to open in USA’s 2020 Summer. This will be an ideal family destination with a huge zipline, mini golf course, zero entry pool, and scenic picnic areas. Medora is the gateway town for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Fall experiences: United Tribes International Powwow and Norsk Hostfest

North Dakota offers many exciting cultural and dining experiences in the fall including the United Tribes International Powwow in Bismarck and the Norsk Hostfest in Minot. Held in September, the United Tribes International Powwow is one of the largest celebrations of Native American culture. Over 1,500 dancers and drummers from 70 different tribes dressed in cultural regalia perform to more than 20,000 people. Also held in September, the Norsk Hostfest has grown to become North America’s largest Scandinavian festival and offers incredible entertainment, authentic Scandinavian cuisine and culture, and handcrafted Norsk goods.

Fall activity: Hiking at the International Peace Garden

Go hiking at the International Peace Garden in Dunseith to see glistening freshwater lakes, huge waterfalls, and spy various birds including the Downy Woodpecker and Horned Owl. With over 6000 cactus and succulents, as well as spectacularly changing leaves and wildflowers, fall is the ideal time to explore this magnificent garden. Visit the garden on October 26 for their Fall Festival where you can take part in hayrides, pumpkin craving, and games while viewing the incredible fall colours.

Winter is coming to North Dakota: Ice fishing

Devils Lake is a top spot for ice fishing as it is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota and has plenty of walleye, large perch, northern pike and white bass. Local accommodation like Woodland Resort offers fish house packages which includes accommodation, transportation to fish houses, two fish houses, bait, and ice fishing guidance from their experienced crew. Lakeview Lodge also offers an ice fishing package including accommodation, heated portable fish houses, bait, holes drilled for you, rods, and a guide who will scout for active schools of fish for you.

Featured accommodation: Coteau des Prairies Lodge

Coteau des Prairies Lodge offers a one-of-a-kind getaway where you can go hiking, try quilting and crafting, or take an exclusive farm tour in the day, before relaxing in comfortable accommodation at night. The rustic rooms are constructed with North Dakota pine and have magnificent views of prairie farms and fields. With the Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge next door, this is an ideal place to go bird watching or fishing. Coteau des Prairies Lodge also hosts exciting dining events throughout the year including Prime Rib, Seafood Boil, Neapolitan Pizza, and Wine Dinner.


Dickens Village Festival
Oct 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, 31, Nov 1: Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park Haunted Fort, Mandan
October 25-26: 31st Annual Fargo Big One Art & Craft Fair, Fargo
November 29-December 1, 6, 7: Dickens Village Festival, Garrison

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