Learn About Pocatello
Where is Pocatello?
Pocatello, Idaho (population of 54,810) is located in southeastern Idaho. Pocatello is named for Chief Pocatello who lived from 1815 to 1884 and was a member of the Shoshoni Native American tribe. Historically, Pocatello was a railroad and transportation town. The city is located at the intersection of Interstate 15 and Interstate 86. Pocatello is 165 miles (2.5 hours by car) north of Salt Lake City, 158 miles (2.50 hours) south of West Yellowstone, Montana, and 240 miles (3.5 hours) southeast of Boise, Idaho. Pocatello, like many communities in the West, has undergone economic transformation and has been named in Forbes magazine as one of the best places to live because of its low cost of living and high quality of life.
What Do People in Pocatello Do for Fun?
Surrounded by public lands (BLM, Forest Service), Pocatello is home to a multitude of outdoor recreation activities including cross country ski races, marathons, triathlons, and fun runs, and bike races. With Idaho State University as an important part of the community's cultural life, cultural events include the Pocaroo music festival, a bluegrass festival, a music and wildflower festival, summer concerts, a symphony, a nationally recognized performing arts center, and art festivals.
Within a two and a half hour drive (less than 200 miles) of Pocatello are internationally famous national parks, ski resorts, rivers, and mountains. Heading north one can break off to the west and visit Craters of the Moon National Monument or turn to the east to visit Grand Targhee, a mountain resort just 136 miles away on the western edge of Grand Teton National Park. Along the way are two important sites for policy buffs. Idaho National Labs was home for the development of nuclear energy and in 1955 nearby Arco, Idaho had the distinct privilege of being the first atomic powered city in the world. On the way to Grand Targhee (the Ghee to locals) is the site of the historic 1976 Teton Dam failure. Heading a bit further north one can explore the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. Though Yellowstone National Park is probably the most recognizable and popular attraction in the region, the least accessed entrance to the Park is accessible from South East Idaho. Even closer to Pocatello, families from Pocatello like to visit Lava Hot Springs (30 miles from Pocatello) for swimming and year round hot pool soaking.
Skiers can not only visit Grand Targhee but in 20 minutes can be on the slopes at the Pebble Creek Ski area, families and beginners can try the gentle slopes and deep snow of Pomerelle 90 minutes away to the west or drive 2.5 hours northwest to the internationally famous Sun Valley. Cross country skiers have a multitude of trails to explore both within minutes of the ISU campus and regionally. Since Pocatello is surrounded by public lands, both road bikers and mountain bikers have almost unlimited opportunities for biking both in Pocatello and in the region. More gentle family bike riding is available on the Portneuf Greenway system throughout town. Hikers have hundreds of miles of trails (both Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands) within 10-15 minutes of ISU. River enthusiasts have the upper Portneuf River, Snake River, Henry's Fork, South Fork of the Snake River, Snake River, Big Lost River, Silver Creek, Salmon River and many other rivers and creeks to enjoy for fly-fishing, rafting, kayaking, photography, and bird watching.