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GEOGRAPHY

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idaho landforms

Literally covered from north to south by the Rocky Mountains, Idaho contains dozens and dozens of individual mountain ranges. The most significant include the Bitterroots which stretch along much of its border with Montana, and the Caribou, Clearwater, Owyhee, Salmon River, Sawtooths and Seven Devils ranges.

The Continental Divide (an imaginary line) indicates the absolute highest points of land, where on either side of same rivers will flow downhill, east or west. That divide runs from northwestern Canada, south along the crests of the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains in Idaho, then south all the way into Mexico, where it follows the peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

The Snake River Plain is a wide and flat lava-based, bow-shaped depression that runs through south-central Idaho. This fertile plain is home to the state's agricultural industries.

Hell's Canyon, dissected by the Snake River on Idaho's border with Oregon, is the deepest gorge in America, with a maximum depth of 7,900 ft. Shoshone Falls located along the Snake River near Twin Falls stands 212 ft. high, which is higher than Niagara Falls.

The moon-like, almost weird-looking Craters of the Moon National Monument, is in essence, a sea of young lava flows, complete with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush.

Idaho's most significant river is the Snake; it rises in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming and flows all the way to the Columbia River in Washington State.

Other rivers of note include the Bear, Bruneau, Kootenai and Salmon. An estimated 16,000 miles of smaller rivers and streams drain the land. Major lakes include the Coeur d'Alene and Pend Oreille.

A closer look at the topography of Idaho on the topographical map.


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