Here’s our comprehensive list of can’t-miss things to do while stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, the home of the 366th Fighter Wing, starting with the immediate area and including our favorite long weekend trips to surrounding states.
While you might be able to say Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho is in the middle of nowhere, you can’t say there’s nothing to do! Being stationed at MHAFB is an outdoors lover’s dream + an hour away from the Boise metro area.
In addition, Mountain Home is within a few hours drive within some of the best attractions out west.
Mountain Home Area
Mountain Home may be a small town, but it’s charming and it’s a great place for an assignment. I’ll break down my favorite things to do in the immediate Mountain Home area.
Climb the dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park
First on the list is my favorite thing to do in Mountain Home- hike at Bruneau Dunes. Bruneau Dunes State Park features a handful of natural sand dunes, perfect for climbing and sandboarding.
As two adults, we usually hike through the trees and up the biggest dune. It’s quite the workout but worth the view. Take it slow, bring water, and enjoy the view from the top! if you conquer it, you can say you’ve climbed the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America.
For children, there are several smaller dunes that are a short climb and perfect to “sled” down again and again.
Bring all of the family members to the dunes and camp at the campgrounds to unplug for the weekend. Though I’ve never caught anything, there is also a large pond at the base of the dunes where you can try your luck at fishing.
Entry to the park is $7 per vehicle for both residents and non residents.
Visit the Bruneau Dunes State Park website for more information on campsites and hours.
Anderson Ranch Dam
Anderson Ranch Dam and Reservoir is a short drive from town and worth the trip.
While the drive down might be a little stomach-churning for those afraid of heights, just take it slow and have someone responsible drive!
Hiking, camping, and fishing are all options at Anderson Ranch Dam and the surrounding recreation area.
On one side of the dam is the reservoir, and on the other the South Fork Boise River.
Explore trails on the AllTrails app, or here online.
CJ Strike Reservoir
C.J. Strike Reservoir is yet another great outdoor recreation spot close to the military base. Plentiful fishing, lots of campsites, picnic areas and views that will take your breath away. You can also get some good views of F-15E Strike Eagle Aircraft flying training missions at CJ Strike. Visit the website here
Golf is a popular sport on Mountain Home A F B. Due to the high desert climate in southern Idaho, the weather is usually fair, but it is challenging due to the high winds.
You can get a round of golf on base at the Silver Sage Golf Course. They have a cheap rate to play for active-duty service members.
There’s also a golf course in the city of Mountain Home called Desert Canyon Golf Course. This is actually new since I’ve been stationed there, but from the reviews I’ve read, the back 9 holes are unique and challenging because they intertwine with the desert canyon.
Mountain Home AFB has one of the nicest on base bowling alleys that I’ve seen during my years on active duty. Freedom Lanes is a great place to bring the whole family, have a few beers, and knock down some pins.
Blue Pit Brewing
This one is new since I’ve been stationed at Mountain Home. It’s a new brewery that opened in 2020. From the research I’ve done, they host live music, encourage people to try new beers and drink local to support their small business. I’ll definitely be stopping in the next time I am in the area.
Follow them on Facebook to keep up with their events.
Boise is a fun, charming city with a multitude of things to do, and it is only a 50 minute drive from the base.
Go to a Boise State game at Albertsons Stadium
You can’t leave Idaho without a visit to the famous blue turf at Albertson’s Stadium.
Watch the Boise State Broncos play in the fall or attend the occasional stadium concert for some live music. Either way, it’s a Boise staple!
Lucky Peak Dam
You might have seen this Dam and Reservoir on a flight into Boise Airport and wondered what it was.
Lucky Peak State Park is just outside of Boise and has top rated trails and outdoor activities. The famous dam is a must grab photo op.
While the swimming offered under the dam is too cold for us even on the hottest summer day, you can brave it!
If hiking is more your speed, visit the top trails at lucky peak here.
Old Idaho State Penitentiary
This spooky prison is a great tour in the Boise area. Wander around the sprawling grounds for a peek into Idaho history.
Pre-game by watching the Ghost Adventures episode filmed there and enjoy your guided tour!
The city of Boise has a little bit of everything. Movie theaters, bars, malls, and more. There’s a multitude of fun things to do in the city. Pay attention to local radio, news, and facebook pages to stay on top of the latest community events going on.
If winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and tubing interest you, Bogus Basin is a great cold weather activity for all ages during the winter months. Just a short drive from Boise, you can get season passes or one day admission to the mountain.
While I was stationed there, the squadron often had morale days with free skiing and snowboarding at Bogus Basin, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Bogus Basin has even more seasonal activities for year round fun- check out their website here.
The state of Idaho is beautiful, and it is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. These were our favorite places to go to enjoy a beautiful day in Idaho.
Box Canyon State Park
Featuring the 11th largest spring in North America, Box Canyon is a must add to your Mountain Home Air Force Base Bucket List.
Box Canyon is just under an hour and a half from base and the perfect spot to hike on a sunny day.
The turquoise waters are a sight to behold in contrast to the barren grass fields surrounding the area. The view from the top of the canyon is snap worthy for sure.
Bring water and watch for rattlesnakes and you’re sure to have a good time.
Three Island Crossing State Park
This is about 45 minutes away from Mountain Home AFB right off of the Glenns Ferry exit of I-84. It’s cool because it’s where the pioneers who took the Oregon Trail crossed the Snake River.
Take a self-guided tour and get your Oregon Trail history buff on. It is a historic landmark that allowed early settlers to continue their fretful journey.
Maybe when you get home, you can play Oregon Trail the board game with the family.
Twin Falls + Shoshone Falls
A few hours down I-84 you’ll find the Twin Falls area.
Perrine bridge is a famous monument in the area, for good reason as you can see.
Shoshone Falls is a huge attraction in the area as well. Make sure it’s flowing well (it dries up considerably during some parts of the year) and add it to your Twin Falls area list!
The Sawtooth Mountains are a can’t miss adventure during your time at MHAFB.
Dozens of hiking trails, breathtaking views, lakes, hot springs, and more make for the perfect day trip or long weekend getaway.
While it might not sound pleasant, our jet boat tour of Hell’s Canyon was my favorite thing we did while stationed in Mountain Home.
We used Snake Dancer Excursions to take a 6 hour tour on the snake river from Clarkston, Washington (just over the state line) down towards the Hell’s Canyon recreation area.
While heading down the river Idaho is on the left and Washington, then later Oregon, is on your right. We saw bald eagles, deer, and several other types of wildlife.
While there’s plenty else to do in the Hell’s Canyon area, I highly recommend a boat tour if it’s in your budget. Just take note that this area is on Pacific time if I remember correctly.
McCall is an idyllic mountain town situated under Ponderosa State Park.
Grab lunch at My Father’s Place and a scoop of Huckleberry Ice Cream at Ice Cream Alley.
Keep in mind that most things in McCall are open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you go outside of those times expect some things to be closed!
Ponderosa State Park is named for its countless Ponderosa Pines. Its many hiking trails overlook the lake and are perfect for getting some fresh air.
There is a $7 fee for entry to the state park.
Find more information about camping, fishing, and hiking at their website here
Historic Highway 20 to Craters of The Moon
Highway 20 starts in Newport, Oregon and ends in Boston, Massachusetts. The portion from Mountain Home to Craters of the Moon is breathtaking! Our last trip through was at sunrise and we stopped at one of the scenic overlooks to snap a picture.
Craters of The Moon National Monument is a few hours from Mountain Home and must on your bucket list. The site offers camping and hiking, and views out of this world.
Out of state trips
If you’re anything like me, you’ve never been out this far west before. There are so many cool trips you can take on a long weekend to really get a feel for the beauty that the western United States encapsulates.
Jackson + Yellowstone
The town of Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National park are around 6 hours from Mountain Home Air Force Base, and Yellowstone’s southern entrance is a few hours past Jackson Hole. Both belong at the top of your bucket list!
I’m of the firm belief that everyone should visit Yellowstone once in their lifetime. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world and one of the reasons I’m thankful to have lived at MHAFB is how close we were to the park.
People travel from all over the world to see these parks, and at MHAFB, you’re within half a day’s drive!
We loved Mountain Home so much we recently came back for vacation from our overseas assignment. We found a cheap return flight from Bozeman and decided to fly back home from there instead of Boise since we’d never been.
Bozeman is a bit of a hipster, college town with tons to do. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
Hiking and outdoor activities are what we spent the most time doing, but the Museum of the Rockies, downtown Bozeman, and surrounding areas will leave your itinerary bursting at the seams!
Our favorite activities in Bozeman were the Drinking Horse Mountain trail and Madison Buffalo Jump.
Salt Lake City is just 5 hours away from base and packed with urban and outdoor experiences alike (and In-n-Out!).
Travel a few more hours to Moab and you’re in the red rocks of Utah with just half a day’s drive!
While many complain about Mountain Home being a small town, there is plenty of adventure if you’re willing to look for it. I hope you enjoy these things to do around Mountain Home Air Force Base, I know we did! Update your dream sheet if you’re interested in a unique assignment.
Let me know your favorites that aren’t on the list in the comments!