Explore the history and sights of Pocatello, Idaho
Pocatello was originally nicknamed the “Gateway to the Northwest.” As pioneers, gold miners and settlers traveled the Oregon Trail, they passed through the Portneuf Gap south of town. Pocatello became a booming trade center and transportation junction in 1889. Today, Pocatello is popular for its easy access to outdoor recreation, says Birgitta Bright, tourism administrator at Visit Pocatello.
“Pocatello is situated where it’s got mountains on three sides so it is easy access to trails and spectacular views,” she says.
Visit the City Creek trail system for 52-miles of mountain biking trails and hiking. If you are looking for something easier, Pocatello’s Greenway trail system offers 15 miles of 10-foot-wide paved trails in the greater Pocatello area.
Pocatello’s One-of-a-Kind Museum of Clean
Don’t miss out on Pocatello’s biggest attraction the Museum of Clean, a 75,000 square foot complex that houses an intriguing collection of items related to all things clean. Exhibits and displays range from almost 1,000 vacuums and toilet models varying from Queen Elizabeth of Austria’s toilet to Don’s toilet travel suitcase, which is museum founder Don Aslett’s own toilet invention. The museum also offers interactive displays and playgrounds for kids. (museumofclean.com)
Idaho Museum of Natural History
For history buffs, there is the Idaho Museum of Natural History located on the Idaho State University campus, which has exhibits on biology, paleontology and the skeletal remains of animals native to Idaho. Visit the Bannock County Historical Museum with complete displays on Idaho life in the 1800s. Neighboring the Bannock County museum is the Fort Hall Replica, a full size replica of the fur-trading fort with displays and artifacts throughout detailing the life of a fur-trader back in the 1800s. (imnh.isu.edu)
Pocatello’s Zoo Idaho
Visitors passing through Pocatello to Yellowstone National Park should consider stopping at Zoo Idaho. The zoo originally opened in 1932 at a local trailer park with two animals: a monkey named Josephine and a raccoon named Pete. Today, it’s known for its exhibits featuring animals native to the Intermountain West.
“Say you’re going to Yellowstone, and you don’t get to see a grizzly bear or mountain lion,” says Bright. “Then you can come to Zoo Idaho to experience all the animals indigenous to Idaho.”
In addition to those animals, check out Canadian lynxes, red foxes, black bears and many more at Zoo Idaho. (zooidaho.org)
Explore Old Town Pocatello
Experience historical Old Town Pocatello and discover the diverse and friendly community with fine dining and specialty shops.
Every first Friday of the month is an Art Walk event, the Pocatello art community comes to Old Town. People visit all the different shops and art galleries accompanied by musicians and artist on display. In the summer is the Revive at Five series, a free weekly concert Wednesdays at 5pm during the Portneuf Valley farmers market every Wednesday and Saturday.
Pocatello’s rich diversity is evident in its ethnic restaurants. Choose from Thai, Nepalese, Greek, Chinese and Mexican cuisine. Locals recommend A Taste of Nepal/India, with excellent curry and a great buffet, and Nosh Mahal, a Pakistani restaurant, with delicious Tandoori chicken. Lastly, try Cafe Tuscano’s hidden next to a convenience store and gas station. Despite the lackluster location, you’ll find incredibly delicious Italian food, with a great gorgonzola salad and French dip.
Locals say Pocatello is a colorful town with wonderful people that’s a good place to stop, take a break or stay the night and plan your trip up to Yellowstone.
“Pocatello is pretty friendly,” says Bright. “It’s a pretty laid-back pace I hear all the time from people who come to visit that they aren’t used to people saying hello to them on the street.”
For More Information:
Pocatello Visitors Center
2695 S. 5TH Ave., Pocatello, ID