A map of IdahoIdaho, located in the northwestern region of the United States, is a Rocky Mountain state. Its mostly rugged landscape features snow-capped peaks, river rapids, lakes, steep canyons and spectacular gorges. Hells Canyon, which at one point plunges 2408 metres (7900 feet) below the mountaintops, is the deepest gorge in North America. The Snake River flows in a great arc across the south of the state. Rising to the north of the Snake River valley are the towering Sawtooth and Salmon River Mountains. Within these ranges are found vast wilderness areas, such as the Frank Church–River of No Return and the Selway Bitterroot.
When the US Congress was planning to create a new territory in the Rocky Mountains in the early 1860s, a man named Willing suggested it be called "Idaho”. He claimed the word came from the Shoshone language and meant "the sun comes down from the mountains”—but he later confessed to having invented the name. In the event, Congress chose to call the area Colorado Territory. However, a steamship took the name Idaho instead, and when a county was created in eastern Washington Territory, it borrowed the ship's name. The eastern portion of Washington Territory, which included Idaho County, was separated off in 1863 and named Idaho Territory.
Hells Canyon, which at one point plunges 2408 m (7900 ft) below the mountaintops, is North America's deepest gorge. The waters of the Snake River flow through it.
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