Most vacations to Montana don’t start in Virginia, but this one does. I took some time to explore the serene farmland in the rolling hills of Virginia, Idaho while driving north towards Glacier National Park. This small town is pretty typical of what you’ll find throughout Idaho, but it’s still a nice place to explore for a few minutes.
Virginia, Idaho is located along Interstate 15, at exit 36. If you’ve taken the scenic route on US 89-91 from Salt Lake City, this is where you will rejoin the interstate — or you can follow portions of Old 91 further north, mostly as a frontage road along the highway.
If you’d like to explore Virginia’s farmland, you can choose any of the dirt roads that head east from town, towards the mountains.
Due to a delayed flight the previous night, I had a late start out of Salt Lake City on the official Day One of this vacation. My destination for the evening was Butte, Montana, and that meant I had about 400 miles of driving ahead of me. Once I had covered about a third of that distance, I was ready for a break, and itching to start taking pictures of something, somewhere. So, I exited at Virginia.
Virginia is a single-exit town that doesn’t offer a lot for the casual traveler. I don’t even think it has a gas station…
…but it does have a noticeable set of silos that define its horizon. I thought the silos might make for a good picture, but once there, I realized that the hills behind the town were even more photogenic. So I headed towards them, taking one random dirt road after another.
Close to town, there’s some irrigated farmland, with sprinklers turning everything green.
Further up the hillside, you might catch some interesting patterns cut into the rolling fields.
That little shack looked like it would be good to photograph until I realized there are also dozens of beehives underneath that tree.
Most of those roads come to an end, but Smith Canyon Road continues on towards the north, slipping through the canyon you see up ahead, then into the hills, eventually emerging at US 30 in Lava Hot Springs. I drove a short distance into the canyon, then turned around. I needed to stop wasting time and finish that other two-thirds of the drive to Butte.
Here’s a look at the drive around Virginia, Idaho…
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… and the drive up I-15 through Idaho:
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The Bottom Line
If you enjoy roaming around pastoral farmland, you’ll discover that Virginia, Idaho provides a nice break from the interstate.