Where Is Idaho? See Its Map Location and Surrounding States

A group of kayakers enjoy a beautiful summer day on Sand Creek River and Lake Pend Oreille in the downtown area of Sandpoint, Idaho, USA
© Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock.com

Written by Micky Moran

Published: January 31, 2024

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Idaho is one of the most recent additions to the United States, but do you know where it is? This Midwest state was originally part of Oregon County. Initially, Europeans didn’t pursue it because it was such a remote location. Despite many paths crossing over Idaho during the California Gold Rush and the expedition of Lewis and Clark, it took until the middle of the 19th century to add it to the rest of the United States.

How do you get there? What’s nearby? Let’s take a look below to learn more about the location of Idaho and the states nearby.

Where Is Idaho Located on the Map?

Idaho is located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Rather than sitting along the coast, Idaho is completely landlocked by mountains and nearby states. Six states surround it, including Montana and Washington. Towards the north, British Columbia sits at its border. The state covers 83,570 square miles, which is half the size of Iraq. The nearest size to Idaho is in Utah, but it is only a third of the size of Texas.

When Did Idaho Officially Join the United States?

With its Midwest location and no obvious opportunities to harvest gold, Idaho was one of the last states to join the United States. The purchase sourced land from multiple territories at the time, including the territories of Washington, Nebraska, and Dakota. The official treaty to purchase the land happened in 1846, but this space was reduced twice within the next few decades.

By July 3, 1890, Idaho joined the United States as its 43rd addition, leaving them unable to be counted until the 1900 census. At the time, the population included 163,000 residents, but the last 100 years increased it by more than tenfold. As of the last census, the total population was over 1.85 million residents.

Which States Border Idaho?


Beautiful Panoramic View of a Glacier Lake with American Rocky Mountain Landscape in the background. Dramatic Colorful Sunrise Sky. Taken in Glacier National Park, Montana, United States.

If you look to the east, Montana is just over the horizon.

©EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock.com

While Idaho has a much greater population, Montana offers more space to settle. They both feature mountain ranges, but much of the land in Montana is relatively flat. Montana is one of the top states for new job opportunities and well-priced homes.

While myths circulate about where the border was supposed to be, much of the blame falls on the surveying team who initially plotted the state’s borders. The 38th Congress had to step in and determine that Montana’s official border included a conjunction of the Bitter Root Mountains and the Rocky Mountains.


Trees and bushs in Willow Flats area with background of Grand Teton and Mount Moran mountain on sunny day.

Like Montana, Wyoming is east of Idaho.


Situated to the east of the Rocky Mountains, Wyoming is famous for its howling winds. Its winters are quite cold because of its exposure to the Canadian border. Since Idaho is west of the Rocky Mountains, it doesn’t have the same severe weather. However, Montana’s lower cost of living makes it one of the most affordable places for families to visit and move.


Sunrise at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Nevada is south of Idaho.

©William Ducklow/Shutterstock.com

One of the biggest advantages of going south is that you get to visit Nevada. While Idaho’s cost of living is less expensive, Nevada makes up for these costs with 10% higher pay. Unlike Idaho, Nevada has no income tax, but it also has harsher summers. Nevada was added to the United States more than 2 decades before Idaho joined.


Zion National park,Utah,usa. 05132023 : zion narrow in Zion National park,Utah,usa.

Like Nevada, Utah is south of Idaho’s borders.


Utah and Idaho are strikingly different. While Utah is covered in dunes and deserts, Idaho’s landscape offers a comfortable ruggedness. Idaho has many lakes, leaving Utah noticeably dryer despite its proximity. Still, Utah’s diverse economy ranks it much higher. Utah consistently has a humid subtropical climate, rather than a variety of climate zones.


Views at Lake 22 in Washington State. Pacific Northwest dreams.

Washington is west of Idaho.

©Natasha Blake PNW/Shutterstock.com

Washington’s population is much higher than Idaho’s, with 7.6 million residents in the former. In Idaho, the population is drastically smaller with 1.7 million residents. Washington isn’t quite as affordable as Idaho, but their economy and access to healthcare services range them higher.


A bright blue river flowing through an Oregon forest as the sun begins to set in a hidden park along the scenic drive in southern Oregon, northern California border.

In the west, you can also see Oregon from the state.

©Sarah Quintans/Shutterstock.com

The biggest difference between Idaho and Oregon is the political stance. While the former is rather conservative, the opposite is true of Oregon. This difference leads many conservative Oregon residents to make the move to Idaho instead. In fact, the governor of Oregon recently made note that this move could be the result of residents not feeling “heard” in their political stance and values.

Is Idaho A Good Place to Live?

If you are trying to decide what state to move to, Idaho comes with many advantages. It is a wonderful place for families and senior citizen to call home. The low cost of living is one of its most appealing qualities, coming in at 6% lower than the average cost of living for the entire country. Locals also benefit from the lower cost of housing (12% lower than the national average). Crime is lower in this statethan other states with the odds of being in a violent crime being 1 in 401. Plus, the unemployment rate is 3.3%.

Along with the many financial benefits, people generally move to Idaho for the chance to comfortably spend time outdoors. The weather is welcoming, and every direction seems to go for miles with beautiful scenery.

What Is the Climate In Idaho?

Thunderstorms passing in star Idaho.

While some cities record highs of 118 degrees Fahrenheit or more, it only reaches this level of heat in the summertime.

©Zack Disraeli/Shutterstock.com

The weather varies considerably in Idaho. The winters are briskly cold, while summers are comfortably warm. Since there are so many mountainous areas in the state, the varied elevation also plays a role in the different forecasts amongst natives. In some regions, temperatures reach lows of -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

With two main climate types, expect to bundle up in the winter. However, throughout the state, the climate ranges from subarctic to humid subtropical and everything in between. Cities to the north and east tend to get the most precipitation, while southern cities have the most heat.

What Is Idaho Most Known For?

An early morning view of the rows in a field of potatoes in the rolling fertile farm fields of Idaho.

Despite not having any gold during the California Gold Rush, Idaho is abundant in potatoes.

©B Brown/Shutterstock.com

Many important goods come out of Idaho, producing some of the most famous potatoes in the world. With rugged landscapes throughout the state, consumers can harvest their own precious stones in a raw and natural state. Most people enjoy the state for its beautiful environment, offering the ideal place to go fishing, camping, and live a little off-grid during your next camping trip.

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About the Author

Micky Moran is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering mammals, travel, marine life, and geography. He has been writing and researching animals and nature for over 5 years. A resident of Arizona, he enjoys spending time with family, going on adventures across the United States with his wife and kids by his side.

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