The Hottest Temperature Ever Recorded in Idaho Will Melt Your Face Off

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: August 15, 2023
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Idaho has a wide assortment of landscapes along with a rather diverse climate. Although some places in the state are temperate and green, other places are very hot and dry. Although it is not often considered one of the hottest places in the country, Idaho has recorded some rather hot temperatures. Discover the hottest temperature ever recorded in Idaho. Find out where the temperature was recorded, when it happened, and how it compares to the national record.

The Climate in Idaho

Two base jumpers off Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls Idaho

Parts of Idaho are very warm and dry, and others are temperate.

©Huntstyle/Shutterstock.com

Idaho has a very diverse climate, but it is among the coldest U.S. states on average.  Generally, a warm-summer Mediterranean Köppen-Geiger climate type plunges from the north to the central parts of the state.

The southern part of the state is largely a cold semi-arid climate, and much of the east is warm-summer, humid continental. Thus, it is hard to provide an accurate overview of temperatures and precipitation throughout the land.

The average high temperatures in Boise for the summer are summarized in the following chart.

MonthAverage High Temperature
June81 °F
July91 °F
August90°F
September79 °F

Although this part of Idaho is warm during the summer, it quickly cools off during the winter. The coldest place in winter is the town of Obsidian, and it has an average annual low temperature of just 35 °F. Among all these varying places in the state, one place has reached a higher temperature than any other.  

The Hottest Temperature Ever Recorded in Idaho

Orofino. Idaho. USA

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Idaho was recorded in Orofino.

©SevenMaps/Shutterstock.com

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Idaho is 118 °F, and it was recorded on July 18, 1934, in Orofino. The town of Orofino is a city in northwestern Idaho, just south of the state’s panhandle region. The city is located along the Clearwater River, a few miles south of Idaho’s largest dam.

Orofino is a city within the Nez Perce Reservation. The climate in the region is considered dry-summer continental, meaning it gets very warm summers and cold winters. Also, the winters are wetter than the summer months.

The hottest temperature in the state was recorded during a year when extremely hot weather and very little precipitation occurred in the region. Summer 1934 is still one of the hottest on record in the United States. Other parts of the country were still grappling with the hardships stemming from the Dust Bowl.

All in all, the entire region was very hot and dry, and those factors are crucial in setting record temperatures. A lack of moisture in a region allows the air temperature to get quite hot, and low elevation can help. In this case, the elevation was above 1,000 feet, an interesting factor in the state’s record.

Orofino has experienced temperatures close to the highest ever, but no days have since tied the record. The city had temperatures of 115 °F and 116 °F, and it hit 112 °F on June 29, 2021. Although the all-time high temperature has yet to be matched this century, some of the recent high temperatures are close.

Where Is Orofino on a Map?

Orofino is not located in some desolate desert like the other areas that have the highest temperatures in their respective states. Instead, Orofino is found along the Clearwater River in northwestern Idaho. The area is just south of the place considered Idaho’s panhandle. The city is located on the Nez Perce Reservation in Clearwater County.

While it is considered a city, Orofino does not have a large population. A little over 3,000 people live in the 2.6 square mile area. Still, the area has recorded many of the highest temperatures that have ever occurred in the state.

Was Idaho’s Hottest Temperature the Nation’s Highest Temperature?

Heat, thermometer shows the temperature is hot in the sky, Summer

The 118 °F record was set at Orofino, but the temperature has not been matched.

©VladisChern/Shutterstock.com

No, the hottest temperature in Idaho is not the highest temperature in the United States. The highest temperature in the U.S. was recorded in California. Specifically, the temperature reached 134 °F at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. Not only was this the hottest temperature in the state and country, but it is also considered one of the hottest temperatures recorded on the planet.

Although some scientists do not believe the area actually reached 134 °F, that measure is currently accepted by climatologists as the highest air temperature ever recorded. Modern records of 130 °F have been recorded in Death Valley in recent years.

Could Idaho’s Hottest Temperature Happen Again?

View of Mountains and Pine Trees from Lake Cascade in Donnelly, Idaho

Idaho’s record temperature could be broken.

©NicoleeeeeKM/Shutterstock.com

Orofino has recorded several temperatures near the hottest temperature ever recorded in Idaho. Back in August 1961, the temperature reached 116 °F. Meanwhile, June 2021 featured a temperature of 114 °F. All in all, the area has gotten close to the record temperature somewhat recently.

An excessively warm, dry summer could easily allow the area to break the record. While a few hot summers have taken place in the last decade, none of them managed to combine the heat and dryness required to make the mercury spike over 118 °F.  

Animals That Live Near Orofino

Moose hiding among the tress

Moose live in many places throughout Idaho.

©ArtBBNV/Shutterstock.com

Orofino is a somewhat remote city in the state. Many animals live throughout Clearwater County, both on land and in the nearby Clearwater River. Some of the animals that live on the land nearby are:

  • Moose
  • Wild turkeys
  • American bullfrogs
  • Mule deer
  • American black bears
  • Gopher snakes
  • Western skinks
  • American robins

These are just a handful of animals that live in the region. During the hottest day recorded in Idaho, they would have reduced their activity and waited out the heat of the day. However, the summer of 1934 was unrelenting in its heat, and a great number of animals probably suffered or even died as a result.

Meanwhile, many fish and other creatures live in and around the Clearwater River. Some of them are:

The fish would have had to stay deeper in the water to remain cool on that record-setting day. Some of them may have experienced limited food supplies in the area as a result of the sweltering temperatures.  

Overall, the hottest temperature ever recorded in Idaho was rather high, but it was not the country’s record. Although a few temperatures have come close in recent years, an especially hot, dry summer is needed to break the record. For now, though, the 118 °F record stands.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ed Connor/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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