We have done three border to border road trips on US Route 89 which means we have passed through Idaho five times (our first trip was one-way beginning at the Canadian border). US 89 cuts across the southeastern corner of the state for about 40 miles. I think of it as a transition from the entrance to the Rocky Mountains north of Salt Lake City to the heart of the mountains in Wyoming.

The first view of Idaho when driving from the south comes when you reach the top of Logan Canyon and the turquoise-blue waters of Bear Lake come into view.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake from the overlook at the head of Logan Canyon

Morman Tabernacle-Paris, Idaho

The Morman Tabernacle in Paris, Idaho

Over 100 square miles in size, Bear Lake straddles the Utah-Idaho border is a a popular summer tourist destination especially during Raspberry Days the first weekend of August. Highway 89 follows the western shore of the lake through the small towns of Fish Haven, St. Charles and Ovid and is designated as the Oregon Trail Bear Lake Scenic Byway

On our first time through Idaho we stopped in Paris which is famous for its historic Mormon Tabernacle. We wondered up and done the main street and stopped into a very eccentric antique shop and had an interesting conversation with the owner. On our last trip in 2010 we hoped to meet her again, but alas, the shop was deserted. I’m afraid it is another example of small businesses that depend on tourists and have been hit hard by the recession.

The largest town in the Bear Lake Valley along US 89 is Montpelier. Founded in 1863 by Mormon pioneers, it became a resupply stop for travelers on the Oregon Trail which is commemorated at the National Oregon California Trail Center.

Highway 89 exits from Idaho through the scenic Montpelier Canyon over the Salt River Pass into Wyoming.

Salt River Pass, Wyoming

US Route 89 ascends Montpelier Canyon to the Salt River Pass