Located at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, Lewiston, Idaho is the gateway to Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America, as well as other renowned Idaho waterways like the Lower Salmon River. Though formally established in 1862 in response to a nearby gold rush, Lewiston and the surrounding region has a long and fascinating history that dates back more than 12,000 years to the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) people who first called the area home and still play a prominent role in the community. Later, in the early 1800s, fur traders found their way here, followed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which is said to have camped nearby on their historic expedition to find a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean.
Today, Lewiston attracts outdoor adventurers from all over the world who come to the area for its incredible rafting and recreational opportunities. If you’re planning a trip to Lewiston, here are a few more activities and hot spots to add to your list…
A River Guide Shares Her Picks for What to Do in Lewiston
1) Bike the Lewiston Levee Parkway
If you want to see everything Lewiston has to offer, the best way to do it is by heading out on the Lewiston Levee Parkway. This extensive trail system links up with the Clearwater and Snake River Recreation Trail to offer 25 miles of paved riverside access for walking, jogging and biking. Your guide recommends: Rent bikes from Follett’s Mountain Sports and spend the day leisurely exploring Lewiston’s extensive river front and historic downtown district.
2) Rent a kayak in Hells Gate State Park
Located just five minutes from downtown Lewiston, Hells Gate State Park has activities for everyone in the family. Spread out a picnic blanket in the shade, enjoy the beach, monkey around on the playground, or learn something new at the Lewis & Clark Discovery Center. Your guide recommends: Rent a kayak from Hells Gate Marina in the park and spend a morning fine-tuning your paddling skills on the Snake River.
3) Soar above Hells Canyon on a helicopter tour
Take in breathtaking aerial sights of nearby Hells Canyon on a helicopter tour. If you’re in the area for a Snake River rafting trip, this gives you the chance to get a sneak peek of your upcoming adventure (or retrace the trip afterward) and experience the geography and wildlife of the river canyon from the top and bottom. Your guide recommends: The 2-hour Hells Canyon Spectacular with with KiwiAir.
4) Grab a cup of the best coffee in town at Blue Lantern Coffee House
Located in an old bank on Lewiston’s historic Main Street, the Blue Lantern’s vintage decor, large curved windows and homemade local and organic treats make the perfect office away from home. Already in vacation mode? A carefully selected menu of locally-crafted microbrews and wines make the Blue Lantern a perfect café for spending a few hours with your traveling companions. Not to mention, their coffee is hands down the best in the Lewis Clark Valley. Your guide recommends: An iced latte and the quiche of the day.
5) Discover Downtown
Downtown Lewiston has undergone a major revitalization in recent years. Dubbed Lewiston’s “cultural corridor,” it’s where you’ll find local shops, restaurants, art galleries, regular events, and more. Your guide recommends: The weekly summer concert series at the Lewiston Farmers Market in Brackenbury Square (July – September).
6) Eat with the locals at Tacos Cecy
Walk in the door of Tacos Cecy and you’ll feel like you have a) transported yourself from Idaho to Mexico and b) joined the Lewiston family. With a dedicated local following, fresh ingredients and family-friendly prices, this taco truck turned small restaurant is Lewiston cuisine at its best. Your guide recommends: Two Walla Walla tacos (onion, avocado and your choice of meat), two tamales and a Negra Modelo (or two).