Pocatello Idaho is a vibrant town in southeastern Idaho, which has become known as a great place for small businesses and anyone who loves to spend time outdoors, thanks to its proximity to beautiful hiking areas and to both Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in northwestern Wyoming. In addition to being a commercial center, it has a lively collegiate life as the home of Idaho State University. But many travelers who visit are impressed more by the beautiful wilderness and history that surrounds this former outpost on the Oregon Trail than by its commercial underpinnings.
Pocatello is one of the friendliest towns in the country, and there was actually a law, which has since been revoked, that made it illegal not to smile at others in town. Today the locals are still as gregarious and friendly as they’ve always been, whether you're shopping in the historic downtown area, staying at one of the Pocatello ID hotels, or exploring the mountains and rivers around the city.
As a major outpost on the trading route of the Oregon Trail, Pocatello Idaho retains much of its heritage. The Old Town still has many historic buildings and storefronts that feel like they come straight out of a vintage store, with Gothic, Romanesque and Art Deco architecture dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can spend an hour or two cruising the main street and the specialty shops here, picking up a couple souvenirs or searching for that perfect antique something, before grabbing a bite at one of the diverse Old Town restaurants. You can even take in a live show at the Old Town Actors' Studio.
Travelers interested in Pocatello Idaho's history should head north to Fort Hall Replica, one of the most interesting historical attractions in Pocatello. It is a restored trading post and fort that used to belong to the Hudson's Bay Company, and has been rebuilt and decorated according to period style. Artifacts from its history are displayed, and a visit to the fort is a great way to glimpse what life was like in pioneer days. Pocatello's heritage is also closely bound up with that of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, and indeed the town is named after a Shoshone chief who allowed the railroad, a major factor in the town's founding, to cross his territory. Today members of his tribe live on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, which incidentally has the only legal casino in southern Idaho, the Fort Hall Casino.
Pocatello has many activities available if you love the outdoors. Miles of hiking and cycling trails crisscross the mountains and territory surrounding the town, and you can rent a kayak or canoe if you want to explore the Portneuf River and other surrounding rivers. White water rafting is a common sport, as are fishing and angling.
There are plenty of Pocatello ID hotels for the tired traveler. Although the accommodation is mostly in the budget to middle range, tourists will find ample comfortable options from chain hotels such as Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn. There are also several motels located off the highway for the more budget-minded, which are perfect if you're just passing through. An alternative to staying at one of the Pocatello ID hotels is spending the night at the KOA campground, which has full hook-ups as well as an excellent cooked-to-order breakfast for purchase, a great way to start an activity-packed day in Pocatello.
Image: Matthew Trump, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (wikipedia)