“Summer in El-Wyhee”

A Visitors Guide to Summer Recreation in Central and Southwestern Idaho



Elmore County


  Elmore County is located in Southwestern Idaho. It is bounded on the north by Boise County, on the east by Blaine, Camas, Gooding, and Twin Falls counties, on the south by Owyhee County, and on the west by Ada County.

  Elmore is a large county covering more than 3,000 square miles. Approximately 60% of the county is mountainous. The remaining 40% slopes gently down into the Snake River plain. Elmore County has altitudes ranging from 2500 feet to over 9700 feet. Seventy percent of the county is owned by varying departments of the federal government including the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Land Management. Approximately 22% of Elmore County’s lands are designated farm lands.

  The topography of Elmore County is extremely varied, from low elevation plains to high, steep mountainous terrain. The county is divided into two district provinces, the Northern rocky Mountain Province-Idaho Batholith, and the Columbia Plateau Province-Snake River Plain in the southern 1/3 of the county.

   High glaciated mountains in the northern province, especially the area north of Atlanta, are dotted with several hundred glacial lakes. The terrain is very steep, rocky, and rugged, and much is granite rock covered with alpine vegetation.

  The Snake River Plain supports both irrigated agriculture and spring-fall grazing for cattle and sheep. The major limitation to further expansion of agriculture in this area is water. Soils also are a limited factor in a few sections of the Snake River Plain.




  Elmore County has many outstanding tourism and recreational facilities. The county offers a full panorama of recreational opportunities ranging from the sand dunes in Bruneau to skiing on Soldier Mountain.

  Boating is a very popular activity in Elmore County. During warm, still, summer days, speed boats and water skiers can be seen gliding across the two large reservoirs. But, let a breeze begin to blow and a bevy of bright colored sail boats and wind surfers join in the fun. The Southern Idaho Sailing Association holds several regattas during the summer racing season at C.J. Strike Reservoir. The two major boating facilities in the county are Anderson Ranch reservoir and C.J. Strike Reservoir. Both reservoirs have docking facilities.

  There are two U.S. National Forest systems in the county, the Boise National Forest and the Sawtooth National Forest. Campsites are maintained by the forest services. Both forest services offer visitors a variety of activities ranging from beginning hiking trails, to wilderness camping to backpacking.

  Camping is another popular activity enjoyed by the residents of Elmore County. There are more than 250 maintained campsites in the county. The amenities vary from full RV hookup to only a cleared tent site.

  Fishing and hunting are another popular past time. A wide variety of fish can be caught in Elmore County including: trout, sturgeon, bass, catfish, whitefish, perch, kokanee. The variety of catch is only surpassed by the variety of old fishing tales. The Snake River and the South Fork of the Boise River provide excellent fishing. But many local fishermen claim the best fishing “hole” is in one of the numerous little mountain lakes and streams that dot the country.

  For those people who prefer a gun or bow to a fly rod, Elmore County offers a bounty of hunting experiences. Wild birds and game, like deer, elk, bear, mountain goat, pheasant, quail, partridge, chukar, sage, grouse, wild duck, geese, and doves are found in abundance in Elmore County.

  The main highways weaving through the county are U.S. 30 and Interstate 84. Interstate 84 transverses the southern part of the county from northwest to southeast, by passing the two incorporated towns of Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry. I-84 provides adequate on-off ramps for easy access to both cities. I-84 provides the main transportation route for the trucking industry in the northwestern section of the United States.

  State highways 51, 67 and 20 converge in Mountain Home, providing a direct link to all of southwestern Idaho. Highway 67 is a four-lane, ten mile road that provides access to Mountain Home Air Force Base.

  The highest temperature on record in Atlanta was 101 degrees (F). The lowest temperature was minus 19 degrees (F). Typically Atlanta has only 6 days a year with temperatures above 90 degrees (F) and 232 days a year with temperatures below 32 degrees (F).

  Mountain Home temperature extremes have varied between 110 degrees (F) to minus 36 degrees (F). The town has temperatures above 90 degrees (F) on the average 55 days annually. 146 days a year the temperature falls to 32 degrees (F) or below.

  Glenns Ferry on average has 62 days annually with temperatures above 90 degrees (F) and 146 days when temperatures fall below 32 degrees (F).

  Atlanta has the shortest growing season in the county with only 21 days. Mountain Home enjoys 136 days when temperatures are above 32 degrees (F), May 16 to September 29. The Glenns Ferry area averages 143 days of temperatures above freezing, May 5 to September 26.


History of Elmore County


  For thousands of years before the appearance of the first white explorers this majestic land belonged to the American Indians. The Shoshoni and Bannock Indians traveled the ancient Indian road across Elmore County that was one of the main routes in the west, connecting the Salmon Culture of the Columbia with the Buffalo hunting grounds of the plains. Many families lived year-round on the banks of the Snake River, fishing there for huge Chinook salmon. The abundant camas bulbs of Little Camas Prairie was and is a favorite Native American food; the blue flower dietary staple was even the cause of an Indian War when pioneers turned their hogs into the camas fields and destroyed the harvest. The Boise River tributaries were a favorite secret summer hide-away for tribal groups. They stayed in these mountains valleys, avoiding the heat of the Snake River plains, teaching their children to hunt, gathering roots and berries and soaking in the hot springs along the riverbanks. Indian culture was based upon the procurement of food and changed little from generation to generation as they followed their food supply in Elmore County. In several places are hunting blinds and jumps where hunters drove animals over rim rocks to procure many animals at one time. The arrival of the first explorers did not lead to confrontation at first, indeed the peoples were very tolerant of each other, but as with most things greed and gold became a means for bitter disputes.

  In 1803 United States President Thomas Jefferson, with his genius vision for America, negotiated with the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte to buy Louisiana Territory, paying about three-fifths cents an acre for the vast expanse of land. In 1804 President Jefferson dispatched the Corps of Discovery up the Missouri to investigate the Louisiana lands and peoples. This expedition under Captain’s Meriwether Lewis and William Clark ‘proceeded on’ to bring the government of the United States to the new territory. At the same time the President gave Captain Lewis, who had been his aide, secret orders to find a route to the Pacific Ocean, crossing the Oregon Country that was nominally a territory of and generally governed by Great Britain. 

  The Oregon Country consisted of the present states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The President understood the sweep of history and how important it would be for the new little country of just thirteen colonies along the Atlantic to have an outlet on the Pacific. The Shoshoni tribe, the same natives that used the trail across Elmore County and spent their summers along the Boise Rivers provided the horses that made the continuation of the expedition possible. The famous Indian girl Sacagawea who traveled with the Corps of Discovery was born in Idaho and possibly as a young girl had traveled the Indian Road and summered with her family here.

  The first explorers to reach Southern Idaho were the Wilson Price Hunt party who came overland from St. Louis, arriving in Southern Idaho in the fall of 1811. They tried to navigate the treacherous Snake River, (then known as Lewis’s Fork of the Columbia) in canoes. Disaster happened to them at Caldron Linn where a canoe and the expert Canadian steersman, Antoine Clappine was drown when his canoe was wrecked in the “Devils Scuttle Hole.” Hunt proceeded on foot toward the Columbia crossing Elmore County on what later was the general route of the Oregon Trail in mid-November. Another part of the expedition under Donald, ‘Perpetual Motion’ McKenzie who became a famous trapper, (This man was a giant of over 300 pound a crack shot with a rifle, respected and admired by both Indians and other trappers.) In 1818 to 1821, leading his own expedition, he made the first contact with the tribes in the Boise Valley and named many rivers including the Boise and Malade, both of which headwater in Elmore County. Although he was known as a ‘North Wester’ because of his association with the North West Fur Company during his famous expedition into the ‘Snake Country’ as Southern Idaho was then called.  Soon, other trappers in search of beaver followed and by the late 1840’s the beaver population was almost trapped out.

  The relationship between the Indians and the white men during the fur-trapping era was generally peaceful. The trappers lived in a lifestyle similar to that of the Indian, and white exploration and trade did not seriously disrupt Indian social or cultural institutions. The conflict between cultures arose during the next era, when wave after wave of emigrants arrived and settled the west.

  Between 1840 and 1862, more than 250,000 emigrants traveled through Elmore County on their way “west”. They traveled the historic Oregon Trail, a grueling 2000-mile trail that was referred to as the “longest cemetery in the nation”. One of the more hazardous parts of the journey involved crossing the Snake River at Three Island Crossing near Glenns Ferry. The crossing was often risky and many animals, supplies, and wagons were lost. Three Island Crossing is now Three Island State Park with its Oregon Trail Interpretative and Education Center that exhibits many parts of the pioneers life and travels; it has become one of the most popular camping destinations in Idaho.

  During this early westward period the majority of emigrants passed through Idaho on their way to California or Oregon. Only a handful of pioneers settled in Idaho and they mostly were merchants who supplied the needs of the wagon trains. But in the early 1860’s the discovery of gold in Idaho resulted in a population boom. For the first time in our nation’s history a reverse migration eastward occurred. The California miners returned to Idaho and Alturas County, later to become Elmore County. Alturas is a Spanish name that means “mountain summit or heavens” and was one of the original counties in Idaho. Established on February 4, 1864, Alturas encompassed a huge area in southern Idaho, extending from the north fork of the Boise River, south to the Snake River, and from American Falls west to Indian Creek.

  In the beginning years, the county’s population was concentrated in what was known as the South Boise Mines, including Rocky Bar, Atlanta Esmerelda and Junction Bar. These early mining communities reflected the disruption of the Civil War then raging in the East, making a mixture of people from all walks of life. Some were petty thieves, shysters, and restless unfortunates who rushed from strike to strike with visions of wealth bright in their eyes. Some were miners from the earlier gold rush to Elmore Mining District in Alabama who went to California as ‘49ers and then came to Idaho Territory, bringing their southern names with them.  Their influence is evident in the names of a town, Atlanta and gold mines the Jeff Davis, and   Southern Confederacy. Also participating in the early mining camps were the Chinese. A census in 1870 showed that a large portion of miners were Oriental. The Chinese miners were often willing to work for less, almost slave wages, and had the reputation for being very industrious and clannish miners keeping to themselves and living a frugal and healthy lifestyle.

  When mining activities in the camps began to show results the character of the mining camps changed. On the heels of the prospectors came permanent settlers. The camps had attracted not only faro dealers, bawdy houses, and dance hall girls but also merchants, lawyers, and editors, men and women who were willing to endure the rugged life for the high prices that their services could demand. The largest camps are now only ghost towns, with only memories remaining.

  By 1896 the district had produced 100,000 ounces of gold. But gold, silver, and other precious metal were not the only things to come out of the Alturas mining camps. A wealth of western stories involving shootings, hangings, and other assorted skullduggery were produced during the heyday of the camps. The stories and characters were always full of grit, courage, warmth, and perseverance.

  Early farmers and ranchers arrived upon the heels of the miners. Small ranches and farms began to spring up around the way stations. The families settled on land near transportation routes and water. Settlement was encouraged by the offer of up to 320 acres to each individual who could make the required land improvements and locate water. This process was called “proving up the land”. The ranchers and farmers continually expanded operations to supply agricultural products to the booming mining communities.

  Many farm and ranch families came to Elmore County because of land schemes promoted by the railroad and land developers. Promotional campaigns referred to Idaho as the “Switzerland of the west”, and Mountain Home as the garden spot of southern Idaho. Settlers were promised successful crops, plentiful water, and a healthful climate. The claims, although exaggerated, contained some truth. The land was rich, producing 3 to 5 times as many bushels per acre as land in Illinois, Virginia, or Tennessee. The land was also capable of producing a variety of crops, and prosperous farmers invested in cherries, plums, apples, grain, cattle, horses, and sheep.

  Cattle, horse, and sheep raising became important industries in Elmore County. By 1888 the county had 35,000 cows, 60,000 sheep, and 8,000 horses. Wool and mutton production rivaled the cattle and horse industry. Sheep adapted well to the desert and high mountain ranges, although according to cattlemen they ruined the ranges for grazing cattle. Conflict resulted between the Glenns Ferry cattlemen and the Mountain Home sheepherders. The disagreements persisted until sheep production became more profitable than cattle. From the 1890’s until after 1918 Mountain Home was one of the Horse Capitals of the world and Kitty Wilkins was known everywhere as the “Horse Queen of Idaho.”

  Young Basque men from the Pyrenees Mountains, between France and Spain, provided the labor for the sheep industry. In their native land they had been fishermen, craftsmen, and farmers, but in America, they turned their hands to sheep herding and shearing. These Basque emigrants had a significant cultural impact on Elmore County.

  As the communities of Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry grew, Rocky Bar and Atlanta declined the Alturas County seat was changed to Hailey as it was reached by the railroad in 1882. Almost immediately residents began to push for a new county and the creation of Elmore County was hotly debated. Finally, as its last act, the last Territorial Legislature created Elmore County on February 7, 1889. The county seat was first returned to Rocky Bar but soon changed to Mountain Home.

  The period from 1890 to 1913 was known as the growth years for the county. The completion of the Oregon Short Line (OSL) railroad in 1883 allowed for the shipment of mining and agricultural products to world markets. The outbreak of WWI intensified demand for these products; especially wool that was used to manufacture military uniforms. The end of the war also was the end of the agricultural boom. The slump that began in the 20’s intensified during the Great Depression. Many small farmers and ranchers lost their land. Economic conditions did not improve significantly in the county until 1941 when construction was begun on Anderson Ranch Dam, then the highest earth-filled dam in the world and then with the outbreak of WWII crop prices improved and construction of Mountain Home Air Force Base began.

  The post-war era heralded permanent changes in the character of the county. The mining industry had collapsed, cattle replaced sheep, and farming exploded with the introduction of high lift pumping and new technologies. The Air Base remained after the war, although it de-activated for brief periods between 1945 and 1964. The base had a tremendous impact on the community. First, it became the largest employer in the county. Second, the influx of military personnel and their families resulted in a rapid growth of population. Thirdly, business sectors grew to meet the needs of the air base and its military family. And, finally a diverse military population provided the community with a wealth of cultural diversities unique in the state of Idaho.

  Early settlers were attracted to Elmore County because of the promise of unlimited opportunities. These opportunities still exist today. And the future promises to be as exciting, turbulent, and unpredictable as the past.


Elmore County Historical Museum



   The Elmore County Historical Museum is located at 180 South Third East Street in Mountain Home, next to the City Hall. It is open from 10 to 4 each day except Sundays. Admission is free.

   The museum is housed in the city’s original Carnegie Library Building, built in 1906 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are many interesting historic artifacts in the museum, including documents related to the origins of the county, relics from the county’s Native American period, the mining and logging era, and the sheep, cattle and agricultural industry. The museum is a repository for valuable historic research tools, including transcribed narratives, journals and biographies of early county pioneers; school annuals; county records of births, marriages, court proceedings, etc.; and books written about the history of the county.

   Next to the building, there is an open area displaying historic agricultural and household equipment and other old implements and artifacts. These are numbered and identified so that they can be viewed at any time by a self-guided tour.

   Support for the museum, as well as for historic sites throughout the County, is provided by the Elmore County Historical Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501 © corporation which receives funding from Elmore County as well as from private contributions. The Foundation also raises funds by the creation, publication and sale of historical calendars, brochures, and booklets. Membership in the Foundation is open to anyone interested in promoting the history of the county. It meets on the third Tuesday of each month in the museum basement. The meetings are entirely educational, featuring a program of historical significance. The Foundation’s business is handled by its Board of Directors, which holds a noon meeting in the museum basement on the last Tuesday of each month.

   The museum is also supported by the City of Mountain Home, which provides and maintains the building and grounds, and contributes funds for its operation and maintenance.

   A very active auxiliary organization, called “The Friends of the Museum” also provides substantial financial support for the museum. It holds weekly meetings in the museum basement on Monday mornings, and hosts many on-going fundraising and education events. Among these are a monthly “First Thursday” luncheon in the museum basement featuring an historic presentation by a long-time county resident; an annual high tea during the holiday season; an annual youth history camp; and a Women’s History Banquet during the month of March in each year. The group also periodically conducts free educational tours of the city’s historic district and cemetery.



City of Glenns Ferry


   The patriarch John Glenn, being a seventh son, emigrated from Northern Ireland to the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the American Revolution. While the myth’s origin remains unclear, it is believed that throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, and parts of the United States, that the seventh son possessed exceptional healing powers. Upon his arrival in the colonies, John Glenn joined George Washington’s army and became a sergeant in command of the General’s bodyguard.

  After the Revolutionary War, John Glenn migrated westward to Kentucky where his seventh son, Harvey Glenn was born in approximately 1808.

  In 1828, at the age of 20, Harvey Glenn married Nancy Pruett, who was born in Virginia. Harvey and his wife then settled in Ohio. Harvey and Nancy raised seven children whose names are June, Gustavus Pinkham, O.S., Lavenie, Charles Constantine, Lockhart Trimble, and Annie.

   Three of Harvey’s sons, Gus, O.S., and Charles enlisted in the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

  Not taking a liking to the Army way of life, Gus left the service in 1862 and ventured westward to the fertile Snake River Valley in Idaho.



  Although it was as late as 1834 when the first trail was blazed through the Snake River Valley, early explorers had already paved the way with the likes of Wilson Price Hunt and his expedition in 1811-12, and Donald McKensie in 1818. Like wise, the trappers Kit Carson, William Sublette, and Jedediah Smith, had meandered through the great broad valley. It was in 1834 that Fort Hall and Fort Boise were established and became stations along the new Oregon Trail. In the segment between these stopping points was located the historic Three Island Ford. It was above the Three Island Ford, where Gus built his ferry in 1863 for his freighters to cross the Snake River.

   Gus’ huge freighters pulled in long trains from Kelton, Utah, to the ferry with as many as 20 yoke of oxen per wagon which traveled the dusty desert and lush Snake River Valley. These freighters, along with covered wagons, horseback riders, stagecoaches, and non-descript travelers, formed an almost continuous procession past the doors of trailside settlers at the ferry, Montgomery’s ranch, Rye Grass or Bennett’s Creek, Rattlesnake Station and on into Boise. This trail was known as the “Kelton to Boise” section of the Oregon Trail.

  The arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad replaced the need for the ferry. Although Glenn’s Ferry was abandoned, the name was not. The name was given instead to the city, which was incorporated in October of 1909.


  The Glenns Ferry Historical Museum, located in the old schoolhouse, was built of native stone in 1909. Since 1986, five rooms and a large entrance hall have been restored and have many interesting artifacts pertaining to the area. One room contains the history of Glenns Ferry, King Hill and Hammett schools. Another room contains interesting railroad memorabilia and many military articles and souvenirs. Across the hall is a room filled with nostalgia of the past including kitchen area, clothing, toys, tools, etc.



  The Historic Opera Theatre, Gorby Opera House, was built in 1914, originally for Vaudeville Stage Acts, and served the community of Glenns Ferry for many years. Fireman’s dances, railroad events, and bazaars all took place in the building. Because a mortuary was next door, the main hall was used for funerals. In later years, silent movies with organ and piano accompaniment were popular. Through the effort of community volunteers, the Historic Opera Theatre has brought back feelings of opportunity, unity, community, and plain good ol’ fashioned fun to Glenns Ferry and surrounding areas. Showings are Friday and Saturday nights, and residents are encouraged to participate. The theatre is one of Glenns Ferry’s summer highlights.



  Glenns Ferry Public Library serves an area of approximately 1,600 residents and has a collection of 10,000 books and periodicals; in addition, there are 100 CDs, records, cassettes and other audio materials. There are internet terminals available for use by the general public.

  Glenns Ferry Municipal Airport serves Glenns Ferry and Elmore County and is owned by the City of Glenns Ferry. The airport is in the county, but lies adjacent to the city boundaries. The paved runway extends for 3050 feet. The facility is at an elevation of 2,536 feet at a distance of about one mile from Glenns Ferry.



  The Glenns Ferry Chamber office, located at 7 East 1st Avenue, promotes industrial, commercial and recreational development throughout the Glenns Ferry community. The office also houses the Visitor’s Center which is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can contact the Chamber at 366-7345 or visit their web site: http://glennsferryidaho.org/.


City of Mountain Home


   Mountain Home originated as a stage stop (Rattlesnake Station, founded in 1864) for the famous Overland Stages eight miles from its present location. When the railroad (Oregon Short Line) came through in 1883 it brought with it a new mail delivery service. The postmaster and stage agent, Jule Hage, packed up the post office and moved it down the hill to the railroad. Along with him came the name and settlement of Mountain Home.

  Mountain Home was incorporated as a village in 1896. The initial village board consisted of A.B. Clark, R.F. Whitney, W.J. Turner and G.F. Mahoney.

  Mountain Home became a shipping and distribution center for the livestock, mining and logging business.

  Mountain Home Air Force Base, located 10 miles from Mountain Home, was established during the early stages of World War II. The Air Base would become one of the major life lines for Mountain Home.

  When irrigation systems were built, with the help of high-lift pumping and the construction of irrigation dams, the agricultural industry became stronger and much of the desert land was opened to farming. Thousands of acres of land could now produce grain, hay, sugar beets, potatoes, and beans.

  Livestock production and, more recently, the dairy industry have also made a considerable contribution to the local economy.

  Mountain Home has a current population of approximately 14,600 and is a community of diverse cultures. It sets at an elevation of 3,143 feet. The hottest month is July and the coldest is January. Average annual precipitation is 10.7 inches.

  Mountain Home is especially proud of its parks, visitor’s center, golf course, and museum.

   Being centrally located in Elmore County, Mountain Home is referred to as “The Hub of Elmore County”.

   Events and activities held throughout the year are listed in the El-Wyhee Hi-Lites, a monthly newspaper covering southwest Idaho.




Mountain Home Public Library



   In 1903, Village Trustees of Mountain Home appointed the first Board of Directors and a library, then commonly called a public reading room, was created.  By 1906 the Entre Nous Club, a woman’s group, operated the first circulating collection from a small room donated by a local business.  A year later, the ladies felt it was time to move toward a permanent establishment and approached city fathers to obtain a commitment to ongoing levy funds.  Following approval, the club petitioned the Andrew Carnegie Foundation and the Mountain Home Carnegie Library, equipped with only a furnace and a few books, was dedicated on November 19, 1908.  By 1915, the Library’s collection had grown to 1,511 volumes which were being enthusiastically read by approximately 400 card carrying patrons and the City Council vowed continued support of the institution by increasing the book budget to $900 per year.

   In 1973, the community passed a bond to construct a new library which included ample wings for books, study space, and a public use meeting room. Again, because of outstanding Council and community support over the next thirty year period, space became a premium under that roof and voters went to the polls for yet another time.  With 75% approval, Mountain Home passed a second initiative which doubled the size of the building.  Following an eight month construction project doors were opened on March 17, 2006. 

   Presently, the Library is open six days a week and is continually expanding its collection of general interest items and electronic resources.  The Library provides public use computers and WiFi access, offers bilingual assistance, has a public use conference room, a commons area with concession, outdoor patio seating, and is host to a variety of adult and children’s events throughout the year.  In addition, Library borrowers enjoy access to the LYNX! Consortium, southwest Idaho’s largest wide-area network.  A recently formed Friend’s of the Library group, as well as ongoing library staff, collaborate with many local and state organizations, rounding out the base for additional support, programming, and services.

Mountain Home Public Library: www.mhlibrary.org.



City Parks


   The city of Mountain Home takes great pride in their local parks. A community that has accessibility to parks will be a stronger and healthier environment for all. Plus, having parks nearby offers people an opportunity to relax their minds and bodies through play.

  Mountain Home offers a variety of parks facilities, each offering various amenities to accommodate the community’s needs. The city also allows the opportunity for individuals to reserve a park for special events, family gatherings, weddings, and all other occasion. Groups with reservations have priority over park facilities, park reservations must be made in person at Parks & Recreation office located at 795 South 5th West open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. closed on all government holidays. For more information please call 587-2112


Basque Park, 3rd West & Second North – This is one of Mountain Home’s historical sites. This small park has a historic handball court that was once used to play the traditional Basque sport of Palota, one of the finest in Idaho. The first Saturday in August the park hosts the annual Basque Picnic, offering people the opportunity to experience the Basque Culture and view the Basque Murals.



Carl Miller Park, 10th East & American Lgn. Blvd. - Located in the heart of Mountain Home, Carl Miller Park is the prime location to hold a community event or events of any large amount. This 4.8-acre park is filled with large trees and plenty of shade! An F-11 aircraft is on display showing our towns pride in our United States Air Force. Every September Carl Miller Park hosts Air Force Appreciation Day, a day full of activities, including a parade and a free community BBQ. Other events are held at Carl Miller Park through the year, this park has many amenities, a large playground, swings, and large gazebo perfect for any family BBQ.



Desert Mountain Visitors Center, American Legion Blvd. - Desert Mountain Visitors Center offers a 1 acre park, which features a large gazebo area. This park offers the best view in the town for the annual 4th of July Fireworks display. Call Parks & Recreation at 587-2112 for park reservations.



Don Etter Park, NW Wood Duck Place – This park was dedicated on September 18, 2006 to a long time Mayor Don Etter (1984 to 1999). This park has a rock wall play set, tube slide and a 6 seat swing set.



Legacy Park, 3rd East & McMurtrey Rd. & McMurtrey Rd. & North Hasket - Legacy Park is one of Mountain Home’s finest features! What was once an old gravel pit has been transformed and reconstructed into an exquisite 40 acre park to be enjoyed by all. One thing that makes this Park so special is the fact that it has partly been created through the use of donation money. If you would like to donate time or funds for the continuous development of the parks please call Parks & Recreation at 587-2112. Legacy Park is a great location to hold weddings, and any other ceremonies, or just the traditional family reunions. The scenery is magnificent for any family photo. Legacy Park is also home to all Parks & Recreation youth sports, fall and spring soccer leagues, the Hispanic soccer league. The months of May through June are busy time with T-ball and Girls softball games.


Optimist Park, Marathon Way - This 40 acre complex offers a wide spectrum of events. Optimist has one of the best motocross & BMX (Rocky Top BMX) tracks in the state. There is a rodeo arena with shoots which makes a great practice site for 4-H or any other rodeo event. There are also a couple of ball fields at the far end of the park.


Railroad Park, North Main Street – This 2.5 acre park is right next to the railroad tracks so it makes a great site for the train caboose which is on display throughout the year. Fresh produce and other local products can be purchased here from May through October sponsored by the Mountain Home Farmers Market.


Richard Aguirre Park, 10th North & McKenna Drive - This 8.3-acre facility offers many opportunities for fun and recreation. The park features 2 gazebos, which are a great place to hold picnics and other large events. Richard Aguirre Park is also the home to the city swimming pool, which is open June through August. The Park also has a nice large equipped playground; several horseshoe pits and the local skate park.


Ridgecrest Park, South 5th West – This park lies nestled in the Ridgecrest subdivision. It is a great place to take the kids or have an afternoon picnic. Currently, the Park is underdeveloped and the parks department has much more they would like to add to Ridgecrest.


Rolling Hills Park, Julia & Kyle Street – A 1 acre park that recently acquired a sprinkler system and grass as well as a large gazebo. There are also plans for playground equipment. This is a great quiet place for any function, come out with your grills for an enjoyable summer barbecue.


Rosewood Park, 12th North & Hwy 30 – This park is nestled into a one acre pit. It features playground equipment for small children and a large grass area perfect for flying a kite or even playing a game of catch.


Stonetree Park, 3rd East & Stonetree Drive – A great park to take your small children to play. There is a small plastic playground slide along with a merry-go-round, and monkey bars. One nice feature of this park is it’s large covered picnic area and the sand volleyball court.


Walking Path, 3rd East & McMurtry Road - Recently the first phase of the walking path was completed. Phase one is 1.29 miles of asphalt path for walking, running, or bicyclists. Since established, the walking path has become a popular spot for many people to get their exercise in for the day, along with their dogs; we just ask that you clean up after your pets. Antique farm equipment was placed along the path. Plaques with information will be placed near each of these antiques.


Bicycle Motocross – Rocky Top BMX


  The sport of bicycle motocross began in the early 1970’s in Southern California. A handful of riders started riding their Stingray type bikes off road in vacant lots and fields. Not much competition but a lot of fun. Today the sport of bicycle motocross is sweeping the country and the world.

  There are over 150,000 riders of all ages racing in organized races at permanent tracks across America. BMX racing is clean, exciting fun that whole families can get involved in whether as a racer, spectator, pit crew or track volunteer. BMX has something to offer everyone.

  Races are organized according to age group and skill levels, so everyone gets the opportunity to compete on a fair and competitive basis. Even beginning riders have the chance to race safely with other new riders.

  All riders compete for awards and ABA points. The ABA Point System determines a riders annual ranking within that riders district. Points are published in the BMXer Magazine which each rider receives monthly. There a rider can check and compare his or her point standings with other riders in their own district and across the country.

  Riders are organized into separate girls and boys classes then subdivided into age groups and skill levels. The age groups range from 5 and under to 51 and over classes. Within these age groups are three skill levels; Novice, Intermediate and Expert. All riders start as Novices and work up to the more advanced levels by winning races.

  BMX racing does not require a lot of expensive equipment. Most racers start with their 20” street bike by removing the chain guard and kickstand and putting some inexpensive padding on the frame, handle bar and stem.

  Other equipment needed is a helmet, and the ABA recommends one with face protection. You will also need to wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and enclosed shoes.

  ABA has over 200 tracks nationwide! Mountain Home has one of the finest BMX tracks in the state of Idaho. The Rocky Top BMX Track is located just off Elmcrest and West 5th North at Optimist Centennial Park. For more information contact Tony Haberland at 587-5500.



Mountain Biking Idaho Trails


   Idaho is blessed with over 14,000 miles of single track trails available to mountain bikers and at least twice that in 4-wheel dirt roads. Idaho is a jewel waiting to be discovered by mountain bikers. Many of the trails have not been ridden yet, partly due to their remote locations and difficult terrain. The primary providers of mountain bike trails in Idaho are the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The Sun Valley area has an extensive hard path system.


Trail Etiquette


• Ride on Open Trails Only - Respect trail and road closures (ask if not sure), avoid possible trespass on private land, and obtain permits and authorization as may be required. All wilderness areas are closed to cycling.

• Leave No Trace - Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Even on open trails, you should not ride under conditions where you leave evidence of your passing, such as on certain soils shortly after a rain. Observe the different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. This also means staying on the trail and not creating any new ones. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

• Control Your Bicycle - Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all speed laws.

• Always Yield The Trail - Make known your approach well in advance. A friendly greeting (or bell) is considerate and works well; don’t startle others. Show your respect when passing others by slowing to a walk or even stopping. Anticipate that other trail users may be around corners or in blind spots.

• Never Spook Animals - All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, for others, and for the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. In passing, use special care and follow the directions of horseback riders (as if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wild animals is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them or as marked.

• Plan Ahead - Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding an prepare according. Be self-sufficient at all times. Wear a helmet, keep your machine in good condition, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden or offense to others.



Ada County

Table Rock



There are trails around and below Table Rock, there are so very many if you decide to hike them. Take lots of water with you, you’ll need it.



You can see for miles and miles atop Table Rock. Many folks find themselves sitting on the concrete benches for hours just admiring the breath taking views.


   Table Rock is a flat topped outcropping of sandstone with the white “B”, for Boise, the Table Rock Cross, and dozens of communication antennae overlooking the city and the entire valley. From Table Rock you can easily see in excess of 100 miles into Oregon and Owyhee County.

   The sunsets are spectacular, and the forested mountains at Bogus Basin seem close enough to touch. You can look down on airplanes landing at Gowen Field and the Boise airport. It is a great map lesson for young and old alike to identify streets, the Depot, Capitol Building, and other landmarks.  Right below is the Old Idaho Penitentiary and the Botanical Gardens.

   To get a taste of the spectacular view and solitude, drive up Reserve Street behind St. Luke’s Hospital. Go past the fire station and just follow the winding road up the hill. Make a right turn on Table  Rock Road. Driving up the road you will pass some very beautiful homes and I’m certain the views from these homes out across the valley are quite spectacular too.  The road eventually turns to gravel, but careful driving will get you safely to the top where you can enjoy the spectacular view!!


Way off in the distance you can see the US Bank and just under the overlook you may even see some wildlife, look… the Easter Bunny!!!


Table Rock Cross


   The Table Rock Cross – visible for miles at night – has graced the Boise Foothills for half a century. It was built by the Jaycees in 1956 on Idaho Department of Corrections land. In the early ‘70s, the Jaycees purchased the small parcel of land on which the cross stands. In 1999, an atheist from Chicago had the audacity to launch a campaign to have the cross torn down, but succeeded only in rallying public support for the cross. The governor declared November 17, 1999 “Table Rock Cross Day”. Ten years later, the cross is still there.

  The cross is beautiful from a distance, but the face of it looks a little beat-up on closer inspection. It is made of steel painted white, and stands about 60 feet high.

  Table Rock itself is a place rich in history, tradition and natural resources. Red sandstone quarried from Table Rock was used to build the Statehouse, St. John’s Cathedral, and the old Penitentiary. Since it commands wide views for many miles around – the place served the Indians as a natural lookout. When you go up to Table Rock and listen to the silence, it’s not hard to understand why the Indians would consider it sacred and use it as a burial ground. There could be no more appropriate setting for a cross.

   For 53 years, the Table Rock Cross has withstood storms. It is a beacon of hope to believers, and a rebuke to the unbelievers who have tried to destroy it, unsuccessfully. Let’s hope it continues for at least another 53 years.



The hike back down to the car by the gate was much easier than the one up. We headed back down Table Rock Road then lo and behold I saw another road with a name that just sounded like one we should take.


Rock Canyon Road



 Rock Canyon Road, just off Table Rock Road, has some very neat rock scenery shortly after taking it. Then the road started to climb and it wasn’t too long before we started to see a little snow, then we saw more snow and by golly we saw more snow. I wanted to keep going, but Gwen said I had be some kind-a-clown to think of going any further.




Owyhee County


  The first white men in the Owyhee country were fur trappers. They were part of the Donald McKenzie expedition of 1818. In fact, it is this expedition that gave the area its name. Three Hawaiian Islanders accompanying the party disappeared while exploring the Owyhee River. Afterwards both the river and the entire region became known as “Owyhee”, a variation of the word Hawaii. Early fur traders also named another river in this high desert. The name Bruneau River comes from the French trappers phrase “le brun eau” or the brown water.

  The trappers were few in number and they didn’t stay long. It was the discovery of gold that brought many more people to the Owyhees. Idaho was already a mecca for gold seekers by the early 1860s. As prospectors fanned out throughout the state they eventually found their way into the Owyhee Mountains. It was a worthwhile trip for the group that discovered gold there in 1883. The small stream that yielded the treasure was named Jordan Creek after the leader of the party. Other miners quickly poured in to seek their fortune and towns like Booneville, Ruby City and Silver City were born.

  The strikes were rich and Silver City and other mining towns thrived. Before long entrepreneurial ranchers saw an opportunity in feeding the throngs of miners. Eventually ranchers established large herds of cattle on the sage covered plateaus and along the canyons carved by the Owyhee and Bruneau rivers. But life in the harsh desert terrain wasn’t easy for those early pioneers. Rough-hewn log cabins miles from nowhere stand as a testament to their challenge of the desert.

  The Owyhee Canyonlands are a vestige of the great American west. The sparsely populated high desert located in southwestern Idaho, northern Nevada, and eastern Oregon may be the most remote area in the lower forty-eight. It is a vast and rugged landscape of about six million acres. The topography of the region includes rolling sagebrush steppe, plateaus of volcanic rock, juniper covered mountains and sheer walled canyons. Most of the area is public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.



   Inscription. More than a century ago, miners faced a hopeless problem of hauling copper ore to this canyon for shipment to smelters.

   They started with Albert Kleinschmidt's road grade down from their mine, more than a vertical mile above Snake River, and more than 30 miles downstream from here. After a steamboat failed in 1891, a railroad (now under water) was built past here to their river landing. That did not work either. Large ore trucks finally solved their problem in 1968.

                                                     Erected by Idaho Historical Society. (Marker Number 378.)




  Pierre Bruneau discovered the Bruneau River and Canyon in 1815, while employed by the Hudson Bay Company, as a chartographer.

  Pierre Bruneau was born in 1796 at Maskinouge, Quebec and served as a Captain in the War of 1812. He was on an assignment in Oregon, shortly after the Lewis and Clark exploration and decided to travel on, into Idaho. He was honored by the Hudson Bay Company, when they named his new chartered area, in his name.

  In the early 1870s approximately forty ranchers lived in the Bruneau valley. The area was used to grow grain, corn, lettuce, and Chinese sugar cane. The first store opened in Bruneau in 1881.

  The area was used for sheep range land, but water was a scarcity and had to be hauled to the sheep camps. In the fall the sheep were driven to railheads in Mountain Home and Murphy.


Bruneau River Canyon



  The Bruneau River is a tributary of the Snake River, in the states of Idaho and Nevada. It runs through a narrow canyon cut into ancient lava flows in southwestern Idaho. This spectacular desert gorge on the Bruneau River is 1300 feet wide, 800 feet deep and 60 miles long with one accessible overlook from which to view the canyon. Bighorn sheep and antelope can be seen in the area. Float trips on the Bruneau River can be enjoyed for a short period in early spring.

  The Bruneau River's drainage basin is bounded by the Jarbidge Mountains to the south, the Owyhee Mountains and Chalk Hills to the west, and the Bruneau Plateau to the east.

  The Bruneau River system originates in the Jarbidge Mountains with three main streams, the East Fork Bruneau River, the West Fork Bruneau River, and the Jarbidge River, all flowing generally north. The Jarbidge River joins the West Fork, then the East and West Forks join to form the mainstem Bruneau River. Sheep Creek and Little Jacks Creek join from the west, and Clover Creek joins from the east. Most of the watershed is characterized by high plateaus through which the Bruneau and its tributaries cut deep, sheer canyons, especially along the middle Bruneau River and the lower reaches of the Jarbidge River, Sheep Creek, and the East Fork Bruneau.

  The Bruneau River emerges from the plateau and canyon region 16 miles (26 km) upstream from its mouth at the Snake River's C. J. Strike Reservoir. At this point the river enters the broad and fertile Snake River Plain. This lower section of the watershed is occupied by farms and ranches, and the town of Bruneau.

  The Bruneau River region was historically occupied by the Northern Shoshone, Northern Paiute, and Bannock tribes

  The Bruneau River was given its name sometime before 1821 by French Canadian voyageurs working for the Montreal-based fur trading North West Company.

  Much of the mainstem Bruneau River above Hot Spring is designated as a Wild and Scenic River, as are parts of the West Fork and East Fork, and some of Sheep Creek. The Jarbidge Wilderness covers a portion of the southern end of the Bruneau watershed.[2] The Bruneau River is protected in the new Bruneau - Jarbidge Rivers Wilderness, which was created by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 and signed into law on March 30, 2009. The new wilderness area includes the Bruneau from about five miles upstream of the Jarbidge River confluence down nearly to the confluence with Hot Creek, as well as portions of Sheep Creek and Clover Creek.

  Whitewater rafting and kayaking opportunities exist on the Bruneau and Jarbidge Rivers. The canyons contain stretches of whitewater with class 5 and class 6 rapids.


Grand View


  The first recorded history of Grand View began in the early 1880’s when people in search of new homesteads began settling in the Grand View valley area. This valley was lush with tall grass for cattle and sheep grazing. The small streams and the Snake River brought hopeful promise of productive agriculture. Hence, it gained the name of Grand View. To this day, agriculture - farming and ranching - is the basic economic strength in the area. There are many family farms still in operation. Several cattle companies run livestock on the BLM rangelands during the summer and in their family pasture lands during the winter. There are still a few sheep companies in the area, though those are diminishing.

  The town of Grand View was established in 1888. Since that time the town and businesses have grown and decreased! Until the bridges were built, to access Grand View from the north, people had to take one of the ferries that operated along the Snake River. At one time there were entertainment halls and bars, a movie theater, a hotel and lobby with a restaurant, three stores, a post office, a cheese factory, a slaughter house, auto repair shops, irrigation supply center, parts stores, a diatomaceous (silica) plant, a bank, a barber shop, and several other small businesses. Today many of these businesses are closed and the locations of some are no longer evident in the community. For more information: http://www.grandviewidaho.us/business/.





  Homedale is the largest of the many towns that dot the landscape of Owyhee County. Jacob Mussell was the first known permanent settler in the area when, in 1898, he built a ferry boat to help people cross the Snake River.

  It was just 11 years later when the official townsite was platted, a mayor and council were put into place, and a town name was selected by drawing names from a hat.

  The region is significant in Idaho History for many reasons. Not only is Owyhee County the second largest in the state, it was also the first county formed by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in 1863.

  One branch of the Oregon Trail crossed through Owyhee County. And rich mineral deposits brought miners high into the Owyhee Mountains to places like Silver City. Much of Silver City is still standing and is a popular recreational destination.

  With a new town established, a two-story brick school house soon followed in 1913. That same year the Union Pacific Railroad built a line connecting Homedale to Nyssa, Oregon. The railroad, coupled with irrigation, helped turn Homedale and Owyhee County into a productive farming region. 

  The ground surrounding Homedale produces alfalfa seed, sugar beets, potatoes, corn and grain. The area on the other side of the Snake River also produces hops and a bounty of wine grapes.

  Two cultures play a major part in the community of Homedale: Basque and Austrian. A large number of people with Austrian heritage live in an area south of the city called Austrian Town. They were lured to Homedale in 1914 by unscrupulous land speculators who “sold” them the ground. After making the trek to Idaho, the settlers found that not only was the ground undeveloped, but they still had to purchase the land from the government.

  Homedale continued to grow over the years with the first bridge spanning the Snake River in 1921. At one time there were 15 churches serving Homedale. And even though many people over the years have migrated to larger cities, Homedale has continued to prosper.  

  The town now attracts people looking for the quiet, comfortable and close-knit life that can be had here in rural Idaho.

  Homedale is more than a small rural Idaho town; it's a place of quality country living. Homedale is located along the great Snake River in Southwest Idaho. Its rolling hills are tailored and groomed with alfalfa, corn, wheat crops and Idaho's treasured vineyards. Matching the rolling hills are the majestic Owyhee Mountains to the south. The sunsets will captivate your desire for the serenity of country living and family values. Community is the essence of Homedale which offers more than a place to live, work and do business; it offers a way of life - like it used to be. For more information on the City of Homedale: http://cityofhomedale.com/.





  Marsing, known as the Gateway to Owyhee County, is a land of diverse opportunity and activity. Marsing is the home of one of the few Jet Sprint Boat race tracks in the United States. Small boats race against time on a narrow, twisting water track. The sport provides chills, thrill and lots of spills.

 Your unique personality dictates the special recreational activities you choose: fishing, jet skiing on the Snake River, hunting, rock hounding, camping in the high desert, or floating the river. For more information on Marsing: http://www.idahogateway.com/.





  With a population of about 50, the town of Murphy is perhaps the nation’s smallest county seats. It is located approximately 30 miles west of Grand View on Highway 78.

  Murphy is the county seat of Owyhee County, the second largest county in Idaho with 7,639 square miles.

    Murphy was named after Cornelius Murphy, the crew boss on the private railroad which was being constructed by wealthy mine owner Colonel William H. Dewey. The railroad was supposed to have extended on to Dewey’s Owyhee mines. Because of the drop in ore prices, construction was halted.

  Murphy became the county’s only railroad terminal and became very busy with passengers, freight and mail. The railroad operated from 1899 until 1947 and led the Pacific Northwest in the number of livestock shipped by rail.

  In its heyday, Murphy had a lumber company, a harness shop, restaurant, two livery barns, three saloons, two hotels, two grocery stores and a railroad warehouse. Today, very little remains of these buildings.

  The Historical Museum in Murphy can provide you with a very good detailed history of the area.


Silver City


  Silver City, the queen of Idaho ghost towns, was once the center of a thriving mining district that produced large quantities of gold and silver. (Note: you can read more about the gold and silver mining further along on this web site; “The Gold Rush Days”)

  Five miles south of Murphy or about 27 miles north of Grand View on Highway 78 you will come to the turn-off to Silver City. The drive in is long (about 23 miles) and the road is dusty.

  Silver City is located between War Eagle Mountain (8,051 feet) on the east and Florida Mountain (7,784 feet) on the west.

  Take a picnic lunch and make a day of it. There’s a lot to see there.



Gooding County


  Gooding County was created by the Idaho Legislature on January 28, 1913 by a partition of Lincoln County. In the 1880's it was part of Alturas County.

 History note: Alturas County was a county in Idaho Territory and later the state of Idaho from 1864 to 1895. It covered an area larger than the states of Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware combined. Most present-day southern Idaho counties were created at least in part from the original Alturas County area. The name Alturas comes from a Spanish word for "mountain summits" or "mountainous heights."

  Alturas County was created by the Idaho Territorial Legislature in February 1864. Later that year the mining camp of Rocky Bar was designated the county seat. The county seat was moved to Hailey in 1882.

  In 1889, the Idaho Territorial Legislature created Elmore County and Logan County from parts of Alturas County. On March 5, 1895, to circumvent a recent state Supreme Court decision striking down an earlier county reorganization, the Idaho Legislature combined Alturas and Logan Counties into a new county called Blaine. Two weeks later on March 18, the southern portion of the newly-created Blaine County was split off to form Lincoln County with its county seat at Shoshone. Hailey remained the county seat of what was now Blaine County and Alturas County disappeared from the Idaho map.

  Mountain men and fur traders trapped the Malad River extensively in the early 1800s. Settlers came to the rich agricultural lands of the Hagerman Valley in the 1860s. The county seat is located in the City of Gooding. The county contains the cities of Bliss, Gooding, Hagerman and Wendell. The county has a population of over 14,461. Gooding County has been one of the fastest growing and prosperous counties in South Central Idaho. The economy is increasingly influenced by the dairy industry, and growth has been strong in the last decade. Gooding County also is one of the largest trout producing areas in the United States. The scenic Thousand Springs and the temperate weather of the City of Hagerman make tourism a significant industry with boat trips, fishing, and other water sports. In the north the Gooding City of Rocks, carved from Miocene rhyolite ignimbrites of the Twin Falls Volcanic Field, forms the south flank of the Mount Bennett Hills.



Bliss - Gateway to Thousand Springs

The Story of Bliss


  Discovery of the Hagerman Horse, the official Fossil of Idaho, led to the establishment of the nearby, internationally famous Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Scientists say that four million years ago, the terrain included expansive Lake Idaho, grass-woodlands, volcanic buttes and lava flows. The now extinct horses shared the landscape with camels, llamas, sabre-toothed cats, and elephant-like mastadonts. Some of these may have still been here when the unique Snake River canyon was carved by the Bonneville Flood about 15,000 years ago. Many of the ancient creatures are still found here today, like herons, pelicans, mice, muskrats, beaver, snakes and frogs.

  People were here starting at least 12,000 years ago. The first identifiable cultures were the Clovis and Folsom. They fished the Snake River, relied on the Thousand Springs, hunted game and gathered traditional foods. The more recent Shoshone-Bannock-Paiute tribes lived like their predecessors until some bands acquired horses, re-introduced in the late 1600’s during exploration by Spain.

  Wilson Price Hunt of the Pacific Fur Company was the first in 1811 to lead a trapper expedition through this area. In 1824 the brigade led by Alexander Ross of the Hudson Bay Company named the nearby Malad (“sick” in French) River and Gorge when several of his group became ill from eating beaver meat.

  By 1841, emigrants followed the Oregon Trail on the south side of the Snake River. In 1852, an upstream ferry made it possible for wagons to take the North Alternate route through what is now Bliss on their journey westward.

  By 1864 part of that route joined with the Kelton/Salt Lake Road where freight wagons and the Overland Stage traveled. A store/saloon near here served travelers, miners and cowboys around 1870. Growth was curtailed in 1878 when the Bannock Indian War broke out over the encroachment of settlers into tribal lands. The David Bliss family arrived in 1879. Their private cemetery rests near the bottom of the Bliss Grade in the scenic Snake River canyon.

  At the town’s site in 1880, a livery barn was built (still used for storage by the local Highway District). By 1882 the Oregon Short Line Railroad water tower was constructed for steam locomotives. In 1883 a red boxcar became the telegraph office. The town grew to include a passenger and freight depot, Chinese cafe, drugstore, bank, mercantile, opera house, blacksmith shops, saloons, rooming houses, lumber yards and two stock yards for cattle, sheep and wild horses. The 1910 Bliss Church and Fletcher Mercantile buildings are still in use.

  The use of railroads declined, but Bliss continued to thrive from traffic along U.S. Hwy 30. The construction of I-84 in 1969 bypassed Bliss, but tourism recently revived with the Fossil Beds and Thousand Springs Scenic Byway.

  Ranching and farming have remained a significant part of the modern culture. Others have settled here to enjoy the country lifestyle and scenery. Artist Archie Teater had architect Frank Lloyd Wright design a private art studio overlooking the Snake River. Artisans hand-make pottery nearby. Fishing, hunting, and trails for horseback riding, hiking and cycling abound. The wide open spaces and rugged high desert are exhilarating. This is indeed, Bliss.






   The town of Gooding, located in south central Idaho just a few minutes from Interstate 84, was established in 1907 on 160 acres owned by Frank R. Gooding, a former sheep rancher, Governor and Senator in Idaho. In 1908, the town was incorporated. Gooding combines all the conveniences of a larger city with the friendly atmosphere of a small western town.

  Gooding’s mild climate compares favorably with the rest of the state with an average high temperature of 76 degrees, average low temperature of 28 degrees and average precipitation of 10.10 inches annually.

  Cattle and sheep ranching, along with irrigated and dry farming contribute much to the economy of Gooding, the trade center of one of the richest irrigated agricultural districts in the United States.

   Unique attractions in the area include Little City of Rocks, four state parks, and the Great Rift with the accompanying geologic phenomena.

  The surrounding area boosts a wide variety of year-round recreational opportunities such as camping, hiking, horseback riding, boating and numerous opportunities for viewing wildlife in their natural habitat.

   Gooding has an industrial park of approximately 80 acres located next to the Union Pacific railroad mainline.

   Gooding boasts a great quality of life exemplified by safe streets, low crime, high education standards, friendly people and several community events. For more information on Gooding: http://www.goodingchamber.org/.



Town of Hagerman



  The town of Hagerman is in Gooding County and has a population of about 770. Hagerman is the home of the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument of the U. S. National Park Service. No other fossil beds preserve such varied land and aquatic species from the time period called the Pliocene Epoch. More than 180 animal species of both vertebrates and invertebrates and 35 plant species have been found in hundreds of individual fossil sites. Eight species are found nowhere else, and 43 were found here first. The Hagerman Horse, Equus simplicidens, exemplifies the quality of the fossils. The Hagerman Horse Quarry fossil beds have produced 20 complete skeletons and a number of partial skeletons of this zebra-like ancestor of today’s horse.

  Click on this link below and it will take you directly to the Hagerman Chamber Events




Hagerman Valley - Hagerman


  Hagerman Valley was formed 15,000 years ago by the Bonneville flood which gouged out canyons, moved house-size boulders and left enormous sand bars. The Valley’s landscape is dotted with uncounted numbers of “rock melons” giving silent testimony to the colossal flood. The Valley is a land of water, with hot and cold springs, volcanic lava flows, deep box canyons, fossil beds, mine diggings and vast rock formations. It is the canyon of the mighty Pohogawa, River of the Sage Plain, as the Indians called the Snake River, with its rapids, whirlpools, waterfalls and associated wildlife. It is the land of melon farming, waterfowl, deer and trout. It is a land of hot summers and mild winters; a land that has served the Indian, the emigrant, the settler, and the farmer and rancher for hundreds of years.


The Mighty Snake River


  Snake River was named for the people who once lived in the high desert surrounding it. The story is that they marked sticks with the image of a snake and posted them to mark their territory. When they greeted people, they made a motion with their hand imitating the gliding motion of a snake. Today, an affectionate name for the Snake River, the longest river in Idaho at 1,056 miles, is the “Mighty Snake.” The river gives life to a remarkable string of cities and towns that hang on the river like beads on a string. Because of this, Snake River has yet another name, one invoked often by politicians.

  When politicians talk about Snake River, they use its political name, “The lifeblood of southern Idaho.” No political cliché could be more apt or more accurate. The river is everything in the life of southern Idaho.

  The river rises in the Grand Tetons and flows from the snowmelt on the western side of the Continental Divide. Over the centuries it cut a channel through the basalts of the Snake River Plain.

  Snake River falls from an elevation 9,840 feet above sea level to 340 feet where it meets the Columbia River in Washington. It does not fall gently, as the place names along the river suggest: Idaho Falls, Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Swan Falls. After all that, the river still has to pass through Hells Canyon, another apt name. No wonder the early French trappers called the Snake a “mad” river.

  The river is the “lifeblood” of southern Idaho because of the complicated work it does. Its water is diverted and sent to irrigate tracts of fertile desert land in highly organized systems of storage reservoirs, distribution canals, and pumping stations. Idaho laws regarding water use and water rights are elaborate and refined. The basic principle is “first in time, first in right.” Settlers who had to share a ditch learned that cooperation was the way to mutual prosperity--and also how to resolve disputes in reasonable ways.

  As soon as the feasibility of hydroelectric power plants had been demonstrated at Niagara Falls, eastern investors sent agents into Idaho to appraise the Snake’s potential dam sites. There were many. In 1900 the Trade Dollar Consolidated mining and Milling Company built the first hydroelectric dam and power plant on the Snake at Swan Falls. The plant sent power 28 miles to the trade Dollar Mine at Silver City, Idaho.

  By the time the Silver City mines played out a few years later, a new demand for the electricity had arisen. Farmers needed electricity to power irrigation and drainage pumps. By 1913 pumps in southwestern Idaho were lifting water 170 feet directly from the river onto the land. After that, the progress of irrigated agriculture and power production went hand in hand all across southern Idaho. Hydroelectric plants appeared in rapid succession. The last on the river were built by Idaho Power Company in the 1960s. Including diversion and power dams, the flow of the main stem of Snake River today is blocked by 25 dams.

(Source: Outdoor Idaho/IdahoPTV, El-Wyhee Hi-Lites/October 2004)



  The heart of the Valley is the Snake River Canyon. For fisherman, water skiers, boaters, bird watchers, and white water enthusiasts, the Snake is one of the premier rivers of the West. Its high, palisade walls are a majestic sight for rafters and kayakers as they tumble over boiling rapids or lazily drift through the quiet stretches.

  Unique to the Valley are the Natural Springs that gush from the lava canyon walls and percolate up from underground sources from the great Snake River Aquifer. They provide not only spectacular scenic beauty, but also pure, clear, oxygenated water at a constant temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal temperature for raising trout. Located here are Federal and Idaho State fish hatcheries as well as Clear Springs Foods, the largest producer of trout in the world. Approximately 70% of all the trout produced in the U.S. comes from hatcheries in a 30-mile stretch along the Snake River in the Valley. Individuals are welcome to visit these hatcheries. The Clear Springs Food Visitor Center offers an underground viewing area of trout and sturgeon in a natural setting.


  Visit the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, a 4-million year old, 4,300 acre experience. Ancient bluffs dramatically rise 600 feet above the Snake River on the west side of Hagerman Valley. These old lake and river beds preserve the richest fossil and sediment deposits in the world from the Pliocene Epoch. An entire prehistoric ecosystem is captured in these old sediments. These layers were deposited when rivers flowing into ancient Lake Idaho flooded the countryside. In 1929, paleontologists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., conducted the first scientific excavation at the Hagerman Fossil Beds. From these beds have come the world famous Hagerman Horse. With over 220 individual skeletons discovered, this zebra-like ancestor of today’s modern horse is now the official Idaho state fossil. Hike, mountain bike or ride your horse on 10 miles of trails that offer spectacular views of Hagerman Valley and the mighty Snake River. The Visitor Center, located in Hagerman City, provides information, fossil exhibits, educational films, access to hiking, and tours to fit the level of your interest.


  The Nature Conservancy’s Thousand Springs Preserve, located a few miles south of Hagerman City, borders the Snake River for about 2.5 miles. Its 400 acres form a meandering ribbon of quiet bottom lands and spring fed creeks edged by magnificent bassalt cliffs and sparkling cascades of crystal clear water. Bird watch and enjoy the unique plant life while you hike the nature trails. Put your canoe in at the Idaho Power plant park adjacent to the preserve and explore miles of river.



  Malad Gorge State Park - The Malad River Canyon is 250 feet deep and 2.5 miles long. At Malad Gorge state Park, located right off Interstate 84, you can view the canyon and walk along the rim. The highway crosses over Malad Gorge, but the angle of view hides the deep gorge where the Malad River cascades 60 feet into the Devil’s Washbowl and flows to the Snake River. Views of the gorge are best from the slender-but sturdy-bridge that arcs across the canyon. The park is comprised of 625 acres providing a 3.5 mile scenic loop, modern restrooms, picnic shelters, hiking trails, interpretive viewpoints and the magnificent Malad Gorge itself.


Niagara Springs



Tumbling down the canyon side at 250 cubic feet per second, Niagara Springs is a sight you won't soon forget. The churning, icy blue glacial water is a National Natural Landmark and part of the world-famous Thousand Springs complex along the Snake River. The park provides a great opportunity to drive into the 350-foot-deep Snake River Canyon, but be cautious. The road is narrow and steep and not recommended for either motorhomes or large trailers. Once inside the canyon, you'll find year-round fishing in Crystal Springs Lake, including a handicap accessible site. Waterfowl and other wildlife are abundant.



Twin Falls County


  Twin Falls County was established February 21, 1907 with its county seat at Twin Falls. Named for the nearby waterfalls on the Snake River. A station line was established at Rock Creek in 1864 for the Ben Holladay Stage Line.

    Shoshonian people settled in the region thousands of years ago, and during the mid-19th century, the area was heavily traveled by pioneers moving west on the Oregon Trail. Twin Falls itself was founded in 1904 to serve settlers arriving to take part in the Twin Falls South Side project, a new irrigation project spurred by the Carey Act. This project encouraged pioneers to stake claims on 160-acre tracts for twenty-five dollars an acre. The money was used to build canals to carry water.

   The one-barren land was turned into one of the nation’s most productive farming regions. Crops began springing up where once only sagebrush grew and the area became known as the “Magic Valley.”

  Twin Falls is a town of about 37,863 people. The city sits at a high-desert elevation of 3,745 feet above sea level. Distant mountains span the horizons in almost every direction and the Snake River Canyon is just to the north.



The Perrine Bridge

  The Perrine Bridge, completed in 1927, crosses the Snake River Canyon north of Twin Falls. At the time of its construction it was the highest cantilever bridge in the world. It was replaced in 1976 with the current span, which is 1,500 foot long and 486 feet above the Snake River. It is still the highest bridge in Idaho.

   The I. B. Perrine Bridge at Twin Falls is a truss arch four-lane bridge carrying U.S. Highway 93 over the Snake River Canyon. Originally named the Twin Falls-Jerome Intercounty Bridge, a steel cantilever bridge was opened to traffic in September 1927, and at the time, was the highest bridge in the world. The privately financed $650,000 structure was originally a toll bridge, but the tolls were eliminated in 1940 after the bridge was purchased by the state of Idaho.

   By the early 1970s, the original bridge was outdated and unable to handle heavy loads and required replacement. Construction on the current bridge was completed in July, 1976 at a cost of $9,700,000. The original bridge was demolished.

   The bridge is named for I. B. Perrine, who spearheaded the early 20th Century irrigation projects in Idaho's Magic Valley region and is largely credited as the main founder of Twin Falls.





  The Buzz Langdon Visitor Information Center, located just off the southwest corner of the Perrine Bridge, offers information, brochures, souveniers and a breath-taking view of the Snake River Canyon.


Hansen Bridge


The original Hansen Bridge, built in 1919 as a Suspension Bridge.

Located on State Highway 50, 345 Ft. High, 688 Ft. Long


  Until 1919, when a high suspension bridge was completed here, this 16-mile long Snake River gorge could be crossed only in a rowboat.

  With 14 cables, each more than 900 feet long, a $100,000 suspension bridge was wide enough to accommodate two lanes of farm wagons or early cars that had begun to gain popularity then. From its deck nearly 400 feet above the Snake River, travelers had a spectacular view that still can be seen from the replacement, built in 1966.


Current Hansen Bridge, built in 1966, spanning the

 Snake River east of Twin Falls, Idaho.


Shoshone Falls



   Shoshone Falls and the fantastically eroded basalt cliffs surrounding it are relics of the Bonneville flood, a catastrophic torrent that ripped through the canyon about 15,000 years ago.

   Attracted by the roar, mid-19th century pioneers on the Oregon Trail would sometimes hike several miles out of their way to see the falls, which were named after Indians who lived in the region.

   Thousands of people travel to Shoshone Falls each year to marvel at a sight many call “the Niagara of the West”. In fact, Shoshone Falls tumble 212 feet to the canyon floor—more than 50 feet farther that the famous falls on the New York-Ontario border. The waterfall’s terraced, thousand-foot span is truly one of Idaho’s most magnificent sights.



   Shoshone Falls is best viewed in the spring as diversion of the Snake River for irrigation often significantly diminishes water levels in the summer and fall. In years of heavy precipitation, the Snake River swells with snowmelt, creating an awesome display at the waterfall. Swirling mist, swooping birds, and rainbows rise from the sheets of water. Overlooks give visitors great vantage points for sightseeing and photography.

   A park overlooking the waterfall is owned and operated by the City of Twin Falls. The park is open all year from 7:00am to 9:00pm. Entrance fee $3.00 per car.




   Shoshone Falls has existed for 2,000 to 4,000 years. It is a total barrier to the upstream movement of fish. The falls were the upper limit of sturgeon, and spawning runs of salmon and steelhead could not pass the falls. Yellowstone cutthroat trout lived above the falls in the same ecological niche as Rainbow Trout below it. Due to this marked difference, the World Wide Fund for Nature used Shoshone Falls as the boundary between the Upper Snake and the Columbia Unglaciated freshwater ecoregions.



Buhl – Trout Capital of the World


  The history of Buhl began with the vision of men who could see the potential hidden beneath the sagebrush-covered area. The U.S. government was interested in developing the west for settlement and provided financial assistance for early settlers under the Carey act and the Bureau of Reclamation Act in the early 1900’s. Eager financiers from the east arrived in the area in the early 1900’s to look at the possibilities. These men had been interested in a proposed irrigation project for the land in Southern Idaho called the Twin Falls South Side project.

  Frank Buhl came west from Sharon, Pennsylvania, to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1901 to examine a mining property that interested him. Discovering that it had already been sold, he decided to investigate a proposed irrigation development in southern Idaho (Twin Falls South side project). Mr. I.B. Perrine met Bulh at the train depot in Shoshone and introduced him to Peter Kimberly. Buhl and Kimberly formed the corporation that accomplished the project.

  The townsite of Buhl was platted in 1905, and the Twin Falls Investment Company sold lots at Broadway and Main Street for $1,750 each, in April, 1906. Much to the dismay of some early residents, the town was laid out in the same diagonal design as the city of Twin Falls. Normally a town is laid out in a north-south, east-west direction for ease of finding places, but the Buhl town site was arranged to get the most benefit from the sun.

  It was decided by members of the Twin Falls Land and Water Company that the town should be named after Frank H. Buhl because of his decision to donate land for the initial town site. Mr. Buhl continued to be a major support for the fledgling town throughout his life. He contributed $25,000 towards the building of the F.H. Buhl High School (now the middle school building) and the land for Faris Field (a game field used for baseball and soccer).

  The Buhl Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (pictured below), located at the east end of Buhl on Highway 30 is open year around and was organized to promote the social and business opportunities to the citizens living in the West End of Twin Falls County.

  The Buhl Chamber of Commerce is organized to enhance job creation, support existing businesses, promote community cultural growth, and develop comprehensive infrastructure plans that encourage economic expansion in Buhl, Castleford, and the west end of Twin Falls County.

  Over 40 historical buildings encompass the downtown section of Buhl. The tree-lined streets are in the process of being upgraded with new sewer and electrical lines, new sidewalks and new urban furniture (street lamps, trash receptacles and benches).

  Lush grasses and fertile ground encompass the land around the rural town of Buhl. Along with a moderate climate, this land is ideal for raising animals and crops. Annual rainfall is about 10 inches. At an elevation of 3,660 feet, there are over 300 days of sunny skies

  Because of the constant temperature of the local springs, Buhl has become the largest producer of commercial trout in the USA. The industry has now expanded to include additional fish for the restaurant market. Seventy percent of U.S. restaurants carry Buhl trout on their menus. Buhl processors are the major supplier of commercial trout worldwide. For more information on Buhl: http://www.buhlchamber.org/.



  Balanced Rock - South of Buhl, 16 miles off Highway 30 in the Salmon Falls Creek Canyon, is the world-famous Balanced Rock. Over 48 feet tall, the rock balances on a pedestal 3 feet by 17 inches and weighs 40 tons.

Balanced Rock Park, a great area for camping, picnicking, canoeing, fishing and hiking, is located in the canyon alongside Salmon Falls Creek.


  Sinking Canyon - Located six miles up the course of Salmon Falls Creek, is an interesting natural phenomenon called Sinking Canyon. The creation of the “canyon” created quite a stir in August of 1937. An article in the August 12, 1937 issue of the Buhl Herald read, “West End people have been witnessing an unusual geological phenomenon this week as a large area of farmland has dropped on an average of 150 feet to form a new canyon joining Salmon Canyon about five miles west of Buhl.”   The 12 acre block of land slid over a three week period.


Snake River Canyon - The Snake River Canyon, located north of the City of Buhl, is one of the most spectacular canyons on the Snake River.

  Another geological feature is the hot water in the area. The water is used for swimming pools, heating, and to raise tropical fish, catfish and alligators.

  Tumbling down the canyon side at 250 cubic feet per second, Niagara Springs is a sight you won’t soon forget. The churning water is the icy blue of glaciers. The springs are a National Natural Landmark and part of the world-famous Thousand Springs Complex along the Snake River.

  The park provides your best opportunity to drive into the 350-foot-deep canyon, but be cautious: The road is narrow and steep. It is not advised to risk it in a motorhome or while pulling a large trailer.

  Once inside the canyon, you’ll find year-round fishing in Crystal Springs Lake, including a handicap-accessible site. The park also features modern restrooms, picnic tables and a group picnic shelter.


 Clear Springs Visitor Center, accessed from the old Clear Lake Grade Road, includes a picnic area in lovely landscaped surroundings, walkways and a sturgeon pond with an underground viewing window. The late Jack Tingey and his wife, Selma, came north from Utah in 1926 and started the area’s first commercial trout farm in this area.



Camas County


  Camas County, a rural county in south-central Idaho, was established in February of 1917 and named for the camas lily found in the area. Camas County is approximately 100 miles east of Boise, 40 miles southwest of the resort communities of Sun Valley, and 70 miles from Twin Falls. It covers 1,075 square miles or 688,000 acres.

  Camas County is bordered by Blaine County on the north and east, Lincoln and Gooding Counties on the south, and Elmore County on the west. Most of the population lives in the Camas Prairie, a high plain at an elevation of 5,100 feet situated between the Soldier Mountains, at the southern end of the Sawtooth Range, and the Bennett hills which separate the Camas Prairie from the Snake River Plain to the south.

  The prairie is 28 miles long and 3 to 11 miles wide and slopes from west to east and from north to south. Land ownership in the county is: 65% Federal Lands managed by The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service, 30% privately owned, and 5% State lands.

  Camas County is the least populated county in the state of Idaho. The county seat is the city of Fairfield, at an elevation of 5,065 feet and with a population of approximately 395 residents; other unincorporated communities are Hill City, Corral and Soldier. The total population for Camas County is about 1,095 residents.

  Indians were the first human beings on the Camas Prairie. However, American explorers and trappers were in the area as early as 1811 when the Wilson Price Hunt Party sent members of their party through southern Idaho to the Oregon coast.

  The French trappers, under the leadership of Donald McKenzie discovered Camas Prairie on his way from Little Lost River in 1820.

  In 1824 Alexander Ross Party, in the employment of the Hudson’s Bay Company, came in by way of the Salmon River, thence over the divide to Big Lost River and from Lost River they came by Trail Creek to where Ketchum is now located. The party of John Work, also employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, covered some of the same territory as the Ross Party, in the year 1832. Work came through the Smoky area but made no mention of Camas Prairie.

  Camp Wallace, located on Soldier’s Creek, was established June 8, 1865 and abandoned September 20, 1865.

  There is some evidence that the spot where the encampment was located was named Soldier before the Army established quarters there.

  In 1854 after the Ward Massacre in Boise Valley, some other emigrants were killed on Camas Prairie, and the next summer, Nathan Olney camped on Camas Prairie with some soldiers on his way to Fort Hall.

  Mr. Frank Croner procured an affidavit from someone who claimed to have gone through Camas Prairie, coming from Oregon with a contingent of soldiers on the way east to some other encampment. He said they called it Soldier Creek and Soldier Mountain before 1865 and prior to the establishment of Camp Wallace. Apparently, “Soldier” was the name chosen when application was made for a post office there and it must have been the choice of the citizens who applied for the establishment of the post office.

  There is a probability that settlers who came there in the year 1880 and following were unaware that the military encampment was known as Camp Wallace. Why Captain Ephriam Palmer choose that name is unknown, perhaps it was to honor the first governor of Idaho territory, Mr. William Wallace.

  Nathanial Wyeth, J.K. Townsend and others finished building a trading post at Fort Hall in the summer of 1834. After its completion they left the Malade River Valley and went up on “Kamas Prairie” and camped on a branch of the Malade. They passed through Camas Prairie on their way west on August 17, 1834. In 1852 to 1855 this route was used by emigrant wagons headed for western Oregon, and in 1862, Timothy Goodale led a large emigrant party that way.

 September 1, 1864 military expedition of about 30 cavalry men and about 30 infantrymen were sent out from Fort Boise through Camas Prairie to Fort Hall to clear the area in all directions of hostile Indians.

  1880’s were documented as large cattle and horse drives going through Camas Prairie from Oregon to Omaha, Nebraska.

  Hill City at one time was the largest sheep-shipping center in the world.

  Between 1880 and 1885 mining had reached its apex and other means of making a living were being sought.

  A partnership or association of Rice & Foster recruited people from all parts of the nation to come to Camas Prairie.

  There were two distinct waves of immigration. The first one began about 1880 and continued on into the nineties, slowing down as it advanced. Most of the settlers who came during this period had no way of knowing what kind of crops would grow in the short growing season or the other problems they would encounter such as frost (because of the high altitude of the area), the uncertainty of rain, and the invasion of grasshoppers and crickets.

    As to determine who was the first to settle on Camas Prairie, is difficult. There are stories of a mysterious settlement on Chimney Creek, from which the creek derives its name. A group of people attempted to settle there many years ago, even before 1860. The meager evidence gathered after five years of research gives an indication that it was one of the early Mormon settlements.

  If it was a Mormon settlement, the head office has no record of such a settlement, it lost contact with the Church in Salt Lake. It had all the earmarks of being a Mormon settlement. It was built in a string like fashion and there were outdoor chimneys built along the creek from its source to almost down to where it empties into the river.



Fairfield, located an hour from Sun Valley, Idaho...is emerging as Idaho's best "undiscovered" small ski town with its friendly, casual atmosphere and year-round recreation: 

  Winter sun and fun includes excellent powder runs, snowboarding, groomed skiing and cat skiing at Soldier Mountain Ski Resort and adjacent unlimited back-country ski areas on National Forest Lands; hundreds of miles of beginner to expert snowmobiling trails, Nordic-skate and cross-country skiing.  Area lodging is limited, so make reservations early!

  Spring and Summer: With a wide-open prairie and adjacent Forest Service access, the high mountain desert dry air with long, sunny days and bright clear night skies provide outdoor enthusiasts optimum recreational opportunities. Excellent mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, bird and wildlife watching, golf and photography. It's an undiscovered paradise for recreation and RV travelers. Check out the Events Calendar for special attractions and events!

  Please visit the City of Fairfield web site: http://www.fairfieldidaho.us/chamber.htm.


Lincoln County


  Lincoln County was created by the Idaho Legislature on March 18, 1895, by a partitioning of Blaine County, which was created earlier that month by a merger of Alturas and Logan Counties. Lincoln County itself was partitioned on January 28, 1913, with a western portion becoming Gooding County and an eastern portion becoming Minidoka County. The county assumed its present borders on February 8, 1919 when a southern portion became Jerome County.

  Lincoln County is named after President Abraham Lincoln. The Idaho Territory was created in 1863, during the Lincoln Administration of 1861-65.

  The county seat and largest city is Shoshone.


City of Shoshone



  Shoshone is the county seat and largest city of Lincoln County, Idaho. The population of the area is approximately 3,000. In contrast to the Shoshone Native American tribe for which it is named, the city's name is correctly pronounced "Show-shown," with a silent 'e'.

  Shoshone is the ‘Gateway to Idaho's High Desert’ and the Sawtooth Mountains wilderness and famed Sun Valley Resort.

  Shoshone is located in Central Idaho at the junction of U.S. Highway 93, 26 and scenic State Highway 75.

  Shoshone is a small friendly town, where agriculture is the main economical base and a gateway leading to many natural wonders such as: Shoshone Ice Caves, Mammoth Caves, Craters of the Moon National Park, Malad Gorge, 1000 Springs Scenic Route, Natural Hot Springs, Fossil Beds, City of Rocks, Balanced Rock, Oregon Trail, Shoshone Falls, Snake River Canyon and many State Parks, Museums, Ski Resorts, Lakes, Rivers and Dams.

  The town provides Summer Events throughout the summer. The City Park is located on the banks of the Little Wood River. Lodging, R.V. Parks, Restaurants, Service Stations, Stores and other businesses to accommodate your needs.

  Shoshone has long been considered the main railroad station in Idaho's Magic Valley region. The much larger community of Twin Falls 23 miles to the south never developed a strong railroad presence due to the logistical issues presented by its location south of the Snake River Canyon. For many years Shoshone was the only Amtrak stop in southern Idaho.

Find out more abot Shoshone at: http://www.shoshonecity.com/


Shoshone Ice Caves



  Shoshone Ice Caves is located 16 miles north of Shoshone on Highway 93. This natural wonder is actually a subterranean lava tube that is 1,000 ft. long and varies between 8 and 30 ft. in height. It remains cool enough for the ice inside to remain frozen throughout the summer.

  In the days before refrigeration, this feature, coupled with the railroad, made Shoshone popular with travelers as "the only place for hundreds of miles where one could get a cold beer."

  These caves are one of the natural wonders of the world. Trained guides explain the geologic, volcanic, and historical background in these large lava ice caves. A museum contains Indian artifacts, gems, and minerals of local and world interest.

  Take a tour and explore the trails, but be sure to dress warmly, even during the summer months.


Anderson Ranch Reservoir


  Anderson Ranch Reservoir is located on the South Fork Boise River approximately 26 miles northwest of Mountain Home, Idaho. The dam is the uppermost of three dams built on the Boise River and was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigation, power generation and flood control. It was completed in 1945. When full, it has an area of 4,000 acres, is 14 miles long and a mile wide with a depth of 315 feet. Due to irrigation demands significant drawdown in late summer may affect ramp access. Curlew ramp on the upper end of the reservoir, and Elk Creek ramps are nearly always available.

  The shoreline is accessible to anglers along the northwest side from the dam to Fall Creek where streams enter the reservoir. Bank anglers also have good access at the upper end of the reservoir from Lime Creek to the Pine boat ramp. Undeveloped camp sites are available along the shoreline near the road and several sites are accessible only by boat. Developed camp sites are available in resort areas of Pine, Deer Creek and Fall Creek.

  A variety of game fish can be found in Anderson Ranch, including rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and the most popular kokanee. Bull trout can also be found, but anglers should be aware there is no harvest of bull trout and they must be released immediately.


Kokanee – Fishing for kokanee is best in the summer months and fall throughout the reservoir. Generally, kokanee are 10 to 12 inches long, with the occasional 20 incher. As open-water fish, anglers have best success from a boat, trolling slowly with pop gear, rigged with red or shiny lures. In the spring and late fall, kokanee can be found near the surface. During the warmer summer months, water temperatures force kokanee to drop to deeper depths of 50 feet or more. Kokanee have very tender mouths; the use of the rubber shock absorber in the pop gear will help prevent the hook from tearing loose.

  Starting in August, kokanee migrate up the South Fork Boise River and other smaller tributaries to spawn. At this time the South Fork Boise River is closed to fishing between the slack water of the reservoir and the Pine Bridge to protect these spawning fish when they are concentrated. Six kokanee can be harvested above the Pine Bridge from the river using standard fishing methods. Snagging is not allowed.


Trout – Anderson Ranch Reservoir contains both wild and hatchery rainbow trout. Hatchery trout are stocked into the reservoir as both fingerling and catchable size fish, primarily in the spring. Wild rainbow trout move down into the reservoir from the river during early spring and late fall at about 6 to 8 inches long. Growth rates for both wild and hatchery trout in the reservoir are good and fish can grow to 5 pounds or larger.

  Trout fishing is best during spring and fall months for shoreline anglers when surface water temperatures are cool. During the summer when surface temperatures warm, trout go deeper in the reservoir and are more difficult to locate. At this time, look for areas around springs and cool water streams.

  Shore anglers have good success fishing with medium-weight gear (4-6 lb. line, and No. 8-10 hooks baited with nightcrawlers or eggs. Adding a marshmallow will float the bait off the bottom and into the fishes view. A small bobber to hold your bait at the right depth may be usefull. Boat anglers troll for trout with rapalas, rooster tails, and mepps spinners. Fly and spin fishing from float tubes in the inlet areas during spring and fall months can also be good. During cold winters, ice fishing can be good near the dam. Access to the rest of the reservoir is generally limited to snowmobiles at this time. Be sure you check the ice carefully and are dressed for the harsh weather before venturing out.


Smallmouth Bass – Smallmouth bass can be found in rocky areas throughout the reservoir, with the best fishing in the area from the Narrows to the dam. Easiest fishing is from boats, casting crank baits, jigs or rubber worms. Allow your lure to settle near the bottom but it is best to keep it moving.


Perch – although occasionally numerous, yellow perch in Anderson Ranch Reservoir generally do not get very big. However, if you like to fish for perch use a common set-up baited with worms or eggs. Once you find these schooling fish, action can be fast. They can provide a good ice fishing opportunity.



Arrowrock Reservoir



  Arrowrock Reservoir is formed by Arrowrock Dam which is part of the Boise Project. The Reservoir is managed by the Boise National Forest. This 18 mile narrow canyon reservoir of 3,150-acres has limited access to 60 miles of shoreline. Boating, canoeing, windsurfing, and fishing are the major recreation activities at Arrowrock, located east of Boise. The reservoir is only 30 minutes from Boise and provides access to the city's nearest national forest. Fish species include rainbow trout, kokanee, yellow perch, whitefish, and the protected bull trout. Season open year-round. Reservoir acre feet and total reservoir capacity and cubic feet/second release rates for rivers below Boise & Payette River Basins reservoirs and select river locations are updated daily and graphically provided. Site offers: vault toilets, boat ramps and dock, parking, and dispersed camping. Directions: Follow Idaho 21 to Mores Creek Bridge, about 18 miles, then take the road to the right to Arrowrock Dam.

Arrowrock Dam


  Arrowrock Dam is a concrete arch type dam on the Boise River. It is located on the border between Boise County and Elmore County. Its primary purpose is to provide irrigation water for agriculture.



Arrowrock Dam Ensign Valves


  Ensign valves were in use at Arrowrock Dam from 1915 until 2003. The function of the valves was to control the flow of water passing through the dam. Arrowrock Dam has and continues to play a major role in flood control, recreation and irrigation in the Boise Valley.

  The Ensign valve was designed in the earl 1900’s by Orville Hiram Ensign, Reclamation’s chief mechanical and electrical engineer. Unlike earlier valves, the Ensign valve was activated by reservoir water pressure, thereby eliminating the need for motors and electricity at remote dam locations.

  The valves were installed at the upstream side of the dam in two horizontal rows of 10 valves each. The lower row of valves was removed in 2003 and replaced with Clamshell gates on the downstream side of the dam. The upper row of valves is still in place, but rarely used. Each valve is connected to a conduit or tube, by which water passed through the dam.

  The Ensign valve is a cylindrical shell fitted with a cone-headed piston. The inner end of the piston formed a needle, which regulated the amount of water discharged by closing against a seal. By applying water pressure to the control pipe at the rear of the shell, it was possible to regulate the movement of the piston, opening and closing the valve.




  In 1910 the Reclamation Service began to consider another storage facility further east on the Boise River. After several surveys, engineers decided upon the Arrowrock site at the confluence of the main channel and the south fork. This was to be the most ambitious project to date for Reclamation. At 348 feet, Arrowrock would be the largest concrete arch dam in the world. Prior to construction considerable preparatory work would need to be completed. As the structure was some twenty miles up the Boise River from the Boise River Diversion Dam, routing supplies to the worksite would be a massive undertaking unto itself. The Reclamation Service elected to construct a new rail line on the old wagon road leading north to Idaho City. The railroad would begin at the Barberton mill near the Diversion Dam and extend to through a winding canyon up to Arrowrock. Even before the dam had been approved, Reclamation began work on the rail line.

  Some significant problems existed with construction of the railroad. The Barberton Lumber Company owned the roads right-of-way. This meant the Reclamation Service needed to come to an agreement over ownership of the rail line. In an unprecedented move, the government agreed to lease the track from Barberton but run the actual locomotive. Part of this agreement stipulated that the line would remain a common carrier. This made the Arrowrock & Boise Railroad the first publicly owned line in the nation. The Service hid this fact from President Howard Taft when they applied for the Arrowrock dam’s approval. Fortunately for Reclamation, Taft failed to recognize the loophole and in June 1910, entire project went forward. Yet when the Oregon Shortline refused to honor the pact between Barberton and Reclamation, the Arrowrock & Boise terminal was reduced to a field just outside of the Barber lumberyard. On August 22, 1910 the entire deal was finalized and work began on the line to the Arrowrock site.

  Salt Lake City’s Manly Brothers won the contract for grading the Arrowrock & Boise road in May, 1911. The government called for force account to lay the track from Barber to the work site. Although the construction was delayed several times by the shortage of railroad ties, workers finished the track in early November. By most accounts, the trip through the canyon was a very long and harrowing event. For the first several months, riders were asked to disembark at the unfinished Gooseneck bridge while the cars were winched across one at a time. Yet once they arrived, most passengers were surprised by what they found. Not only was the view breathtaking but the “work” camp offered amenities that were unavailable to some residents of the Treasure Valley. Not only was the site fully powered, but it also provided a central heating plant, running water and an efficient sewage system. Along with the Reclamation offices, the Arrowrock camp carried a hospital, mess hall, post office, and hotel. Workers and visitors were offered lodging in the site’s hotel, bunkhouses or cottages. In addition to the outdoor recreational activities, the camp also operated a Y.M.C.A., school, and dancehall. At the peak of construction, some 1,400 people had called Arrowrock home, including some 200 families.

  To provide power for the site, Reclamation retrofitted The Boise River Diversion Dam with a small powerhouse. Finished in 1912, the plant’s three generators produced 1,500 kilowatts of electricity for Arrowrock’s camp, sawmills, and giant cement mixers. The German made Allis-Chalmers 725 horsepower turbines were the first in the world to be built with a vertical shaft design. Along with the power lines, government forces hung a two way phone cable to connect Arrowrock with the outside world. In 1976, the power plant was added to the National Register of Historic Places. After being refurbished by the Bonneville Power Administration in 2002, it is now on ready reserve status and occasionally provides surplus power during times of peak demand. Special care was made to maintain the historic qualities of the powerhouse. The original governors, slate control panels, transformers, overhead crane, and generator housings, although no longer functional, were retained for historic purposes.

  Work began on the Arrowrock Dam in early 1912 and moved along at a record-setting pace. As labor was becoming more plentiful with the completion of Deer Flat and the Diversion Dam, wage rates began to decrease. Common laborers were now offered $2.40 and day while skilled workers pulled in anywhere from $3.00 to $4.00. In addition, several deductions were made for room and board. Workers could choose between the dormitory style bunkhouses at $1.25 a month or a private room at $4.00. Seventy-five cents was deducted each day for meals and $1.00 a month went towards hospital’s costs. The work proved moderately dangerous and accounted for numerous injuries and twelve deaths. Yet despite the hazards and reduction in pay, it appears there was a unique level of camaraderie at the Arrowrock site. As stated above, the workers set several construction records, not the least of which included the 527,300 cubic yards of concrete laid on the dam.

  The Reclamation Service spared no expense regarding the equipment at Arrowrock Dam. Along with the refurbished 70-ton Atlantic steam shovel from Deer Flat were two versatile 18-ton “dinkey” excavators and several brand new dump cars. The cement mixers produced over 2,000 barrels per day and ran uninterrupted for almost 30 months. Two 12-ton Lidgerwood cableways hovered over the site and moved material and concrete from their loading grounds to the dam site. Scores of horse teams helped carry equipment and gravel from the camp to the various work areas. Additionally, one Buick and seven Ford trucks serviced both crews and visitors and provided an unexpected level of mobility throughout the campsite. In an effort to alleviate some of the discomfort along the Boise & Arrowrock, Reclamation purchased a 60-ton locomotive and several new passenger cars. For almost five years the train ran faithfully through the canyon, delivering over 89,500 visitors and crewmen. And during its commission, the Boise & Arrowrock travelled more than 110,000 miles and carried 14,000,000 tons of freight.

  On October 4, 1915 the Arrowrock Dam was finally dedicated. As stated above, it was the tallest dam in the world, a claim it would hold until completion of the Owyhee Dam some twenty-five years later. In addition, engineers pioneered the use of dam instrumentation with the placement of ten thermometers imbedded deep within the structures concrete. Along with innovative contraction joints, the Reclamation Service was able to control the temperature of the drying concrete, ensuring the dams strength. It is 225 feet thick at the base and fifteen feet thick at the crest. It is serviced by twenty-five outlets some of which are designed to regulate themselves, another first in engineering. Ten outlets were built for an eventual power plant although they have yet to uses as such.

  In total, the dam contains 585,160 cubic yards of concrete and the reservoir holds over 286,000 acre-feet of irrigation water. Within the first week of operation, an estimated 12,000 visitors braved the canyon ride to see the dam. Yet as interest waned, the Arrowrock & Boise Railroad schedule dropped significantly. The campsite, once a bustling hive of activity, was quickly becoming a ghost town. And on August 11, 1916, the government decommissioned its very first public carrier.



C.J. Strike Reservoir


  C.J. Strike Dam was built by Idaho Power Company in the early 1950’s to provide power for southwestern Idaho communities. It was named for past Idaho Power President C.J. Strike (1938 -1948). The dam is a clay core earthen-fill structure which houses three generators capable of producing 89,000 kilowatts of power. The steep, lava bluffs made this an ideal site for construction without complications of river diversion.

  Land surrounding C.J. Strike is managed by Idaho Power Company and Idaho Fish and Game to maximize habitat for geese, ducks, pheasants, quail, deer, and other wild animals. The stable reservoir pool results in a fertile and productive environment for both fish and aquatic insects making this a very popular fishery.

  Each of three reservoir sections provides a unique fishing experience.

  The main reservoir, near the dam, provides easy access for both bank and boat angling. Trout, yellow perch, and bullheads can be taken from the bank using bait such as worms, eggs, and marshmallows. The marshmallow will float the bait off the bottom into the fishes view. You may wish to try both with and without a bobber until you find where the fish are located.

  Boaters trolling with rapalas, rooster tail, or flies along the face of the dam, the south shore or in the narrows, can be rewarded with excellent trout fishing.

  Anglers will also find great success in spring and early summer fishing for smallmouth bass along the dam, and in shallow coves, using jigs, plastic grubs, and lures which imitate smaller fish. For best success, fish the shallow areas and rocky banks, cast toward the cover areas, and keep your lure moving.

  Best fishing on the Snake River Arm is by boat, though some bank fishing can be found at the Cove Arm site. Refer to the map for the best launch site. Trolling for trout with a rooster tail or spinning lure is the primary activity; however, smallmouth bass and channel catfish can be found in the coves and sheltered area during the spring months. The smallmouth bass will strike at fish imitating lures or plugs, while the channel catfish are bottom feeders and can be caught with nightcrawlers.

  For the hardy, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing can be very good during the fall and spring from the bank or boat. Equip yourself with a hefty rod and reel, at least a 30 lb. test line, 6-9 ounce weights, and some large barbless hooks (no. 4 or better). Look for areas 20’ or deeper to catch these 6 to 8 foot fish.

  The most diverse fishing can be found in the Bruneau Arm. The Cottonwood Campground and Jack’s Creek access site provides both boat and bank angling for bluegill, perch, crappie, trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and channel catfish. From the shore, try worms, on or near, the bottom. In the early spring, the narrows is a good area to troll for trout and to flip grubs for smallmouth bass in May and June.

  Fish for the largemouth the same as described for the smallmouth but look for heavy vegetation and perhaps use a weedless lure. Bluegill like the vegetation as well and the rocky shoreline. They prefer a very small hook with bait or a fly. Using a small bobber will keep the bait off the bottom and at the level where the fish are located.

  For success on crappie, try jigs retrieved in a slight jerking motion. In May and June, the crappie can be found in the shallows, usually less than 6 feet of water. Again, using a small bobber will help to keep your jig at the right depth.

  Perch, bullheads and channel catfish are bottom feeders and like cut bait or worms.

  Float tubers do well in the Bruneau Arm, especially in the vicinity of Cottonwood Campground. Try casting back toward over-hanging brushy areas or rocky shores with flies or bait.

  The Bruneau Arm also provides an early and productive ice fishery for perch, bluegill, and trout.


Three Island Crossing State Park



   Oregon Trail emigrants knew this spot well. It was one of the most dangerous river crossings on the historic trail.

  The trail played a significant role in the exploration and settlement of western America. The original course of the Oregon Trail was from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Oregon Trail emigrants traveled the trail from the late 1830s throughout the 1860s. From the early 1800s, explorers and fur trappers had traveled this Native American hunting and trading corridor.

  The Oregon Trail entered Idaho in the southeast corner of the state. At Fort Hall, it joined the Snake River. Many followed the south bank until this crossing was reached near Glenns Ferry. The route left Idaho near the site of old Fort Boise, near Parma, after winding through 500 miles of the state.


A Risky River Crossing



  Upon reaching the Three Island ford, the emigrants had a difficult decision to make. Should they risk the dangerous crossing of the Snake, or endure the dry, rocky route along the south bank of the river? About half of the emigrants chose to attempt the crossing by using the gravel bars that extended across the river. Not all were successful; many casualties are recounted in emigrant’s diaries. The rewards of a successful crossing were more potable water and better feed for their stock.

  Ferry sites were used as early as 1852, as a safer alternative to fording the treacherous Snake River if the emigrants could afford the ferry fees. John J. McConnell established a ferry near the head of the Three Islands in 1866. In 1869, Gustavus P. Glenn built a ferry crossing a few miles upstream of the Three Island crossing to speed up his Utah to Boise freight operations and by 1890 Glenns Ferry was a thriving community. A ferry was used to cross the Snake until a bridge was built in 1908.


Crossing Reenactments




The Park Today


  Modern travelers will find a stay at Three Island Crossing much more hospitable than did the pioneers. Located just off interstate 84 at the Glenns Ferry exit, the park offers a full-service campground, cabins, picnic areas, historical interpretive programs and a fascinating admission-free interpretive center. You can take the self-guided tour, see the replica wagons see the Snake River where emigrants made their historic crossings.

  There is an Oregon Trail History & Education Center located at the park.


Acerage: 613 acres – Elevation: 2,484 feet

Camping: Developed – Water – Electricity

Cabins, Trails, Hiking, Guided Walks, Fishing, Swimming, Showers, Flush Toilets, Group Shelter, Dump Station




  You can RV, tent, book a cabin, or reserve a conference room at Three Island Crossing. For reservations call  888-922-6743 (888-9CampID), Friday from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. MDT Saturday and Sunday or book online: Idaho State Park Reservations or visit http://www.reserveamerica.com.



Gift Shop


  The gift shop offers a variety of Idaho keepsakes, Oregon Trail, Native American and Lewis and Clark publications as well as gifts and souvenirs.


Location: 1083 South Three Island Park Drive, Glenns Ferry, ID

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 609, Glenns Ferry, Idaho 83623


Bruneau Dunes State Park


    The Bruneau Dunes are unique in their formation, and are in vivid contrast to the surrounding plateaus. Most dunes form at the edge of a natural basin; these dunes form near the center. They include the largest single structured sand dune in North America, with a peak 470 feet above the surrounding desert land.

  The combination of a fairly constant wind activity, a source of sand, and a natural trap have caused sand to collect in this semicircular basin, (aka Eagle Cove) for about 15,000 years. Unlike most dunes, these do not drift far. The prevailing winds blow from the southeast 28 percent of the time and from the northwest 32 percent of the time, keeping the dunes fairly stable. The two prominent dunes cover about 600 acres. So if or when you visit please feel free to kick off your shoes while you stand atop one of these amazing dunes, every step will be incredible!


Desert Habitat


  The park contains lake, marsh, desert, prairie and dune habitats. Since most desert wildlife is nocturnal, early morning and late evening are the best times for spotting the park’s inhabitants. However, a sharp eye often is rewarded with a daytime glimpse of lizards and rabbits, or raptors such as owls, hawks and eagles. Look for tracks in the sand, night creatures leave endless imprints creating small shadows along these breath taking dunes. There is no hunting in the park—except with cameras and binoculars. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the dunes.


The Lakes


  Since the 1950’s, small lakes have appeared adjacent to the sand dunes.  These small lakes have brought additional plant life and animal life to the park area. They are known to provide an excellent bass and bluegill fishery. The locals say it’s one of the better fishing spots for bass. But locals warn, “Take plenty of bug spray, for those hungry horse flies!” Sport fishing from the shore, non motorized boats, canoes, rubber rafts and float tubes are welcomed.


The Observatory


  The Bruneau Dunes Observatory invites you to reach for the stars. This public observatory is one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest and is perfectly positioned away from city lights and smog. Treat yourself and don’t go another summer without setting aside one evening to take advantage of a unique opportunity to see the night sky like you never have before. View deep space wonders from the Obsession telescope, it opens a door into the heavens above, leaving many who have looked through it speechless. This amazing  custom made 25 inch reflector is the main event of the evening and is housed in a rotating observatory building. Discover those mysterious space wonders like the rings of Saturn or man’s first steps on the moon! You will first watch a short orientation program inside the auditorium and then just a few short steps away survey the heavens through the observatory’s collection of telescopes. The Natural Science Center is open to the public at dusk each Friday and Saturday night from March thru November. You’ll spend very little and you’ll walk away with memories to carry for a lifetime. The observatory is adjacent to the largest sand dune. Group programs and private showings are available; please call the park for program details. The observatory is brought to you by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Boise Astronomical Society, corporate sponsors and private donors.




Bruneau Dunes has one of the longest camping seasons in Idaho’s system. The park offers several tent and trailer camping options. The main camp area features lush grassy lawns, shady trees, electric and water hookups, hot showers, private covered shelters, and fire pits! In addition, there is a new group camp site which is surrounded by the wild beauty of the desert. It provides the same amenities as the main camp site, but is designed for RV camping. There are large covered gathering areas with picnic tables and grills for group cookouts and events. Campers often start coming in March and continue to enjoy the park’s warm weather late into the fall. Please call 888-922-6743 (888-9CampID), for overnight reservations and information about camping fees.



Two cabins rent for $47.70 per night each. The one-room cabins sleep up to five on bunk beds and futons. Cook outside on the grill-covered fire pit. The cabins are powered and heated. Please call 888-922-6743 (888-9CampID),  for reservations.




The perfect place to bring your hoofed friend would be the equestrian site of course which overlooks the dunes and Eagle Cove. It features an open space that has a fenced horse pen and covered stable. It is a recent addition to the park, and though it is more rugged than the other camp sites, (meaning no hookups, fire pits, or flush toilets) it’s a comfortable distance from the other sites guaranteeing a peaceful nights rest for you and your friend.


Nature Store


Off the beaten path, the Nature Store features a variety of unique items. The souvenirs and educational materials range from kites to huckleberry jam! You’ll find area geology books, made in Idaho silver jewelry, scorpion paperweights, stargazing astronomical paraphernalia and much much, more!


Park Art


Would you like to own artwork inspired by the beauty of Idaho’s state parks? Idaho artists Will Nelson, John Griffith and Gene Sherman have produced a series of prints, posters and note cards celebrating the parks. They are available through the park nature store.

  With cabins, camping areas, fire pits, hiking trails, guided walks, fishing, swimming, sun shelters, picnic areas, a volleyball area, the Education Center, an equestrian with facilities and sky watching you can’t go wrong or run out of things to do at the Bruneau Dunes! So pack up the family or invite some friends and come visit the Bruneau Dunes State Park!


Gold Rush Days


  Idaho has many different types of minerals, and it was gold that brought the first permanent white settlers to the state.

  The discovery of gold caused the Idaho territory to be established in 1863. As the gold deposits began to disappear, the search for other minerals began. By the late 1800s silver, lead and zinc deposits were uncovered in the Coeur d’Alene area. This area has become known as one of the world’s richest mineral areas. Idaho today produces the most newly mined silver in the nation. Almost 45 per cent of all silver mined in the United States comes from Idaho. Silver and phosphate are the two major minerals produced in Idaho. We are the nation’s second largest producer of phosphate with 15 per cent of the United States yearly production.

  Although Idaho produces little gold, the United States Bureau of Mines says that we have more mineable gold than any other state. As the price of gold has risen, many old mines have been reopened and the value of gold produced in Idaho has grown steadily.



Boise Basin Mining District


  In August of 1862, a party of prospectors from Florence discovered gold in what is known as the Boise Basin, an area roughly twenty miles square, located some thirty miles north of the current city of Boise.

  The gold was rich enough — $200 per day per man — that news started the Northwest’s largest gold rush!

  They came by the thousands, to Pioneer City and Idaho City (then known as Bannock City), to Placerville and Centerville and granite Creek.

  When President Abraham Lincoln established Idaho Territory in 1863, the Boise Basin was the center of the population, more than 15,000 strong. And Idaho City was the center of the Boise Basin. In fact, Idaho City was the largest town in the Pacific Northwest, larger even than Portland, Oregon.

  Gold was the basis of everything in the Basin. Miners worked round the clock in three shifts, trying to beat the day when the water would run out.

  In Idaho City, thirty-three whiskey shops lined the town’s 1 1/4 mile principal street. In fact, whiskey was sometimes cheaper than water, since water was essential for placer mining. but the town also had a veneer of culture that gave it a fun loving atmosphere, with opera and theatre houses, bowling alleys, music stores, tailor shops, and twenty three law officers.

  The avenging angel visted Idaho City not once, but twice. In May of 1865, most of the town and almost all of the three hundred business establishments burned. Two years and one day later, the town was once again left a smoking ruin.

  But, unlike many Idaho ghost towns, Idaho City refused to die. Merchants built brick buildings, with clay from nearby Elk Creek. They filled the attics with dirt and fastened metal shutters to the doors and windows, all attempts at permanence in a boom town setting.

  today, Idaho City’s residents work and play in the shadow of nationally historic landmarks, like the current museum, built in 1867 as a post office; the former Miners Exchange Saloon, which now houses county offices; and the Boise County Court House, one of the state’s most important historic buildings.


Owyhee Mining District


  The famous Owyhee silver mining district actually began with the discovery of gold. In 1863 Michael Jordan and a group of 29 prospectors headed out from the Boise Basin to explore the little known Owyhee County. Traveling over many miles of desert the party finally reached higher elevations in the Owyhee Mountains. On May 18th on Jordan Creek they found what they were looking for...gold!

  The placer gold of Jordan Creek started the rush to the Owyhees, but it was later discoveries of veins of silver that propelled the area into the national spotlight. In 1864 rich lodes were found at what would become the Orofinio, Morning Star and War Eagle mines. Then in 1865 the Poorman was discovered. Far from being poor some historians say it may have been the richest single vein ever found. The Owyhee was fast becoming both a busy and prosperous mining district.

  Boonville and Ruby City were two of the first early towns in the area. In fact in 1864 Ruby City was named the Owyhee County seat. But before long another community built at what was perceived to be a better location a couple miles up Jordan Creek supplanted it. By 1866 when Silver City was named the new county seat it was well on it’s way to becoming the “queen city of the “Owyhees”.

  In 1867 two more major mines were discovered... the Ida Elmore and the Golden Chariot. There was a major disagreement about whether the mines were on separate veins or one single vein of ore. In 1868 the dispute came to a head when miners at the Golden Chariot broke through to the Ida Elmore tunnels.

  Before long a war erupted between the two sides with gunfights breaking out both underground and on the surface. Only through intervention of Idaho Governor D. W. Ballard was the fighting quelled. But the supposed cease-fire wasn’t enough to save the life of famous mine owner J. Marion Rore. A few days later during a shoot out on the streets of Silver City More became the final casualty of the war.

  For Silver City the boom years lasted all the way through the 1860s and into the early 1870s. Then the failure of the Bank of California in 1875 crippled the mines on War Eagle Mountain. In the late 1880s and early 90s new discoveries on Florida Mountain led to a revival of mining in the area.

  Those discoveries also helped bring an old town back to life. around 1890 Colonel William Henry Dewey bought most of Boonville. He built a twenty-stamp mill at the old town site and constructed a new town complete with an elegant hotel. The hotel had both electric power and steam heat. He then renamed the community...and of course the name he chose was Dewey.

  Another well known mine developer was the namesake for yet another Owyhee County mining town...DeLamar. It’s location nine miles west of Silver City had only witnessed limited activity until Joseph Raphael DeLamar, a native of Holland bought the property in 1866. DeLamar poured money into both additional mining infrastructure and his newly constructed town. deLamar owned mining interests in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada but later sold his Idaho property for around 2 million dollars in 1891.

  After the turn of the century most of the mines in the Owyhees slowly began playing out. By 1920 both DeLamar and Silver City were in steep decline. In 1934, the county seat was moved from Silver City to Murphy dealing the town yet another blow.

  While DeLamar made a comeback in the 1970s as an open pit mine operation, it wasn’t until more recently that Silver City began to recapture a bit of its former splendor.

  But that resurgence wasn’t the result of mining, rather it was a recognition of the rich heritage that could be found in Silver City. A historical district was formed, and many pioneer families began coming back, repairing weathered structures and breathing new life into the old mining town. To day it is a popular summer destination for tourists and is widely regarded to be Idaho’s queen of Idaho’s best-preserved “ghost town”.


Note: Gold Rush Days is an excerpt from one of Idaho Public Television’s Outdoor Idaho programs. The video, which is 75 minutes, can be purchased from Idaho Public Television. Log onto their web site at: www.idahoptv.org.


Idaho’s Scenic Byways


Southwest Idaho:


Hells Canyon Scenic Byway – The road on the east side of the massive canyon that divides Idaho and Oregon provides a breathtaking view of the Snake River and Hells Canyon. If you plan this drive, consider adding a float or jet boat trip offered by one of Idaho’s many licensed guides – the best way to experience the towering cliffs of black and green basalt that form the walls of this famous canyon.


“Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway”



   The Oregon Trail was one of the main overland migration routes on the North American continent, leading from locations on the Missouri River to the Oregon Country.

   Between 1841 and 1869 the Oregon Trail was used by settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners, and business men migrating to the Pacific Northwest. The eastern half of the trail was also used by travelers on the California Trail, Bozeman Trail, and Mormon Trail which used much of the same trail before turning off to their separate destinations. Once the first transcontinental railroad by the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific was completed in 1869, the use of this trail by long distance travelers rapidly diminished as the railroad traffic replaced most need for it. By 1883 the Northern Pacific Railroad had reached Portland, Oregon, and most of the reason for the trail disappeared. Roads were built over or near most of the trail as local travelers traveled to cities originally established along the Oregon Trail.

   The Idaho Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association (IOCTA) has submitted an application for designation of an Idaho State Back country Byway called the “Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway’. This Back Country Byway will follow the main Oregon Trail from three Island Crossing of the Snake River near Glenns Ferry to Bonneville Point southeast of Boise. The route provides access to the ruts and swales of the Oregon Trail as it stretches northwest across the desert and farmland of Elmore and Ada Counties.

   The proposed backcountry byway will have a variety of educational and interpretive signage to identify historical sites and public access points to the Oregon trail.

   The start of the Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway takes you over the Snake River, named for the people who once lived in the high desert surrounding it. The story is that they marked sticks with the image of a snake and posted them to mark their territory. When they greeted people, they made a motion with their hand imitating the gliding motion of a snake.

   Today, an affectionate name for the Snake River, the longest river in Idaho at 1,056 miles, is the “Mighty Snake.”


  The byway route starts at Exit 121 of Interstate 84 and takes Frontage Road to the left and over the Snake River to Pasadena Valley Road. The trail then takes a right onto Rosevear Road and on up over the top of the hill onto Slick Ranch Road to the Three Island Crossing Overlook.



   "Roosevear Gulch—the wagon train came down through the gulch, then up toward a peak, and then drops toward the three islands. There were two trails: one crossed at the islands to the north side of the river and the other followed the river along the rim on the south side to a point and on around. If they crossed here, they went up a draw toward Teapot Dome. Some did try to float from Glenns Ferry to Boise! If you chose to cross, then you crossed the Snake River twice; if you crossed the landscape to bypass the water crossing risk, the route was dusty and long, and offered little grass." (These markers are located on the hill overlooking the crossing.)


   Approaching Three Island Crossing (of the Snake River) meant the emigrants had a difficult choice. Oregon Trail emigrants knew this spot well. It was one of the most dangerous river crossings on the historic trail.

  They could make a dangerous river crossing here for a direct route to Ft. Boise or stay on the south side of the Snake and follow the river around the bend. About half made the decision to cross using the three islands in the Snake as stepping stones. It would not be easy.

   The trail played a significant role in the exploration and settlement of western America. The original course of the Oregon Trail was from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Oregon Trail emigrants traveled the trail from the late 1830s throughout the 1860s. From the early 1800s, explorers and fur trappers had traveled this Native American hunting and trading corridor.

  The Oregon Trail entered Idaho in the southeast corner of the state. At Fort Hall, it joined the Snake River. Many followed the south bank until this crossing was reached near Glenns Ferry. The route left Idaho near the site of old Fort Boise, near Parma, after winding through 500 miles of the state.



   This photo was taken on the hillside off of Sailor Creek Road. Three Island State Park is located center-right in the photo. Modern travelers will find a stay at Three Island State Park much more hospitable than did the pioneers. The park offers a full-service campground, cabins, picnic areas, historical interpretive programs and a fascinating interpretive center.


   The Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway, continues on Slick Ranch Road above the Three Island Crossing and down to Slick Bridge and then onto Highway 30. From there you will head east to the City of Glenns Ferry.

   Glenns Ferry is truly a unique place, besides the step back into what feels like the old West with the architecture left from a time long ago, it’s one of the friendliest most welcoming places still around. Located halfway between Boise and Twin Falls just off I-84 you should stop into this little gem and experience some of the unique shops and places to visit, promising of a time well spent. There you can find the Three Island State Park which is one of the most serene and well-maintained parks in the state. The Oregon Trail History and Education Center is a special treat located inside the state park which both commemorate the history there. Construction of The Oregon Trail History & Education Center was completed in 2000. Both park and center have a gorgeous view of the Snake River which is also good for fishing. Also in town, a great old theatre, registered on the national historic register, hosts weekend melodramas and dinner barbecues all summer long. So if you are lucky enough to be in town to catch a show it will be an experience to remember. For kids there is an immaculate community swimming pool, which is located in the local city park. Also a very nice boat dock area invites fishermen, water-skiers, and jet skies to take advantage of the cool water in the summer heat. And, if you are so inclined, an interesting old museum is situated in the middle of town and provides interesting historical facts concerning the area.

See more on Glenns Ferry and their 100 years at:




   Long before there was anyone at a place called Glenns Ferry there were Native Americans using what was to become the Oregon Trail. The trail of Chief Buffalo Horn, the Shoshone Indians, the Bannocks and other Native American tribes was the link between the Indian cultures of the Plains and the Midwest who hunted buffalo, and the ways of the Northwest tribes whose dietary staple was salmon and other fish. At the Three Islands, these cultures met.

   The three island crossing of the Snake River by pioneers was more than just a test of will, stamina, and brute strength. The crossing was a transformation from one culture to another, from one country to another. The crossing was the place where you either committed to the new West or you went back. Those who crossed had clearly committed to their right of Manifest Destiny.

   In the spring of 1883, the locality was invaded by a force of tracklayers. It was at this time, when the construction crews laid the tracks of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, that the actual town of Glenns Ferry came into existence. The establishment of a post office, and O.S. Glenn having been appointed postmaster, the site required a formal name. And what more suitable a name than “Glenns Ferry” in recognition of the contributions made by the Glenn family. The railroad led to the eventual discontinuances of the ferry boat service around 1889.


   In 1886, W.M. Stockton platted the land that Glenns Ferry stands on. He owned the town site for several years and watched Glenns Ferry grow into a thriving and prosperous town.

   But the town was not without setbacks. Fire hit the town not only in 1893, but in 1897 and 1906.

   The devastating fire in 1893 destroyed the business portion of the town. The destruction included a drug store, post office, store and warehouse, saloon, meeting hall, lodging house, meat market and barber shop. Several residences were destroyed. But the buildings were soon replaced and Glenns Ferry continued to survive.

   But four years later (1987), another fire destroyed more businesses. Included in that fire was a hotel, restaurant, saloon, shoe shop and another restaurant that was vacant.

   By the time Glenns Ferry was incorporated in 1909, the latest fire had destroyed more buildings. But each time rebuilding was done. A year before it was incorporated, the town had the following businesses: a large general Merchandise store, Mercantile Co. that supplied staple goods to sheep camps every week, a bank, meat market, lumber company and hardware store, an economy store, drug store, two-chair barber shop, livery stable, lodging house, and a tailor shop. There was also a cigar store and a saloon.

   The proprietors of these businesses were the Commercial Club. They were responsible for many good things done in and for the community until the incorporation of Glenns Ferry in 1909.


      The Oregon Trail takes you on through Glenns Ferry to the Three Island State Park and back out to Bannock Avenue to the Old Oregon Trail Road near Exit 120 of Interstate 84. The Trail travels northwest as it follows the Oregon Trail via Old Oregon trail Road, Ryegrass Road, Ross Road, Wilson Road, and Teapot Road to Highway 20.

   Along the Trail you will see excellent undisturbed ruts of the main Oregon Trail.



   The opportunity to view and hike on the Oregon Trail in an environment very similar to that of the emigrants is an important benefit of this proposed byway. There are a number of access locations along the byway where the traveler may experience this opportunity. These photos above are perfect examples of the ruts of the main Oregon Trail; notice the marker in the above left picture, they are well displayed and easy to locate.



   Above right is one of the most famous of Oregon Trail sites in Idaho, the remains of the natural hot springs can be seen. This was the old bath house just off Teapot Road. To the right more of the well preserved ruts of the main Oregon Trail.



    Mountain Home originated as a stage stop (Rattlesnake Station, founded in 1864) for the famous Overland Stages eight miles from its present location. When the railroad (Oregon Short Line) came through in 1883 it brought with it a new mail delivery service. The postmaster and stage agent, Jule Hage, packed up the post office and moved it down the hill to the railroad. Along with him came the name and settlement of Mountain Home.

   Mountain Home was incorporated as a village in 1896. The initial village board consisted of A.B. Clark, R.F. Whitney, W.J. Turner and G.F. Mahoney.

   Mountain Home became a shipping and distribution center for the livestock, mining and logging business.

  Mountain Home Air Force Base, located 10 miles from Mountain Home, was established during the early stages of World War II. The Air Base would become one of the major life lines for Mountain Home.

  When irrigation systems were built, with the help of high-lift pumping and the construction of irrigation dams, the agricultural industry became stronger and much of the desert land was opened to farming. Thousands of acres of land could now produce grain, hay, sugar beets, potatoes, and beans.

  Livestock production and, more recently, the dairy industry have also made a considerable contribution to the local economy.

  Mountain Home has a current population of approximately 14,600 and is a community of diverse cultures. It sets at an elevation of 3,143 feet. The hottest month is July and the coldest is January. Average annual precipitation is 10.7 inches.

  Mountain Home is especially proud of its parks, visitor’s center, golf course, and museum.

   Being centrally located in Elmore County, Mountain Home is referred to as “The Hub of Elmore County”.


   From Rattlesnake Station the Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway will travel south on Highway 20 and then right on Reservoir Road, west on 27th N., north on 18th E., west on 39th N., and then north on Canyon Creek Road. Near the foothills you will come to an intersection of Canyon Creek Road, Syrup Creek Road, and Immigrant Road. If you travel up Immigrant Road a ways you will come upon the Kelton Road and Main Oregon Trail crossing. This portion of the trail was noted for its rockiness. The desert is littered with lava rocks over which the wagons bounced for many miles.

  If you take a left at the intersection, you will come upon the old Canyon Creek Stage Station. The remains of the stage station are still standing.


   Canyon Creek Station was a popular camping location and later became a stage station on the Overland Road. Canyon Creek Station was homesteaded in the 1860’s and a stage station was built. The remains of the stage station are still standing.

  The station consisted of two buildings, one was the cooking building, and the other was the sleeping building. The mortar used deer hair to hold the rocks together. The area is private property.


   The Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway continues on Mayfield Road to Ditto Creek overlook. An old Indian trail ran up Ditto Creek towards the Camas Prairie. Emigrant travelers found scarce grass along the creek.

  Next along the trail is Browns Creek. The remains of emigrant names written on the surrounding boulders with axle grease can still be seen in the area.

  On up the trail a ways you will come upon Mayfield Station, a rock stage station visible in the field to the north of the road. It was built in 1878.

  The Indians conducted horse races in the valley. The area was homesteaded and the small community of Mayfield developed. The old dance hall (community center), school house, and teacher’s house still remain.


   Mayfield Stage Station was built in 1878. This photo was taken on April 11, 2010. A cemetery sits on the ridge above the area.


     On down the trail you will come to Blacks Creek crossing. The Oregon Trail crosses the byway route and climbs the ridge to Bonneville Point. Excellent ruts remain in the area for hiking.

  Last place, but not the least point of interest, is Bonneville Point. Interpretive signs and monuments are located on the ridge overlooking the Boise valley. The trees along the Boise River in the valley below were the first trees the emigrants had seen in several weeks.


Bonneville Point

   Bonneville Point is one of the places closest to Boise where you can see the Oregon Trail ruts and view the entire Boise Valley area. This is the spot where Captain Benjamin Bonneville and his expedition party overlooked the valley he named Les Bois, site of the city that today bears the same name — Boise. This scenic vista sweeps the entire Treasure Valley. It features outstanding panoramic views of the Boise Valley and the Snake River Plain.  Bonneville Point is also an access point for the Oregon Trail and a place to hike, picnic, and view wildlife.

     Bonneville Point is ten miles east of Boise and 26 miles west of Mountain Home, Idaho.  Take the Blacks Creek exit (#64) off Interstate 84. Travel north on Blacks Creek Road four miles, then follow signs to Bonneville Point.



Les Bois Valley or as we now call it Boise.     Just over the rolling hills is the Boise River.



As you can see by the standing water, the snow in this area had melted not too long ago!





                                                Bonneville Point Interpretative Kiosk                    Oregon Trail (photo ISSH)

Photos (unless otherwise noted) are by Ed Walter. Information compiled from Wikipedia, Idaho State Historical Society and the Idaho Chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association.

   The proposed byway will be prominently displayed on the IOCTA website, www.Idaho OCTA.org. Information will be available about the byway and locations where to obtain the byway booklet. The byway booklet is available at BLM offices in Boise or on the BLM website.


Captain Benjamin Bonneville


   Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville (April 14, 1796 – June 12, 1878) was a French-born officer in the United States Army, fur trapper, and explorer in the American West. He is noted for his expeditions to the Oregon Country and the Great Basin, and in particular for blazing portions of the Oregon Trail.

   During his lifetime, Bonneville was made famous by an account of his explorations in the west written by Washington Irving.

   The expedition that would become the most famous accomplishment of his life began in May 1832, when he left Missouri with 110 men, including Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth. The voyage was financed by John Jacob Astor, a rival of the Hudson's Bay Company. The expedition proceeded up to the Platte River and across present-day Wyoming. They reached the Green River in August and built a winter fort, which they named Fort Bonneville.

   In the spring of 1833 he explored along the Snake River in present-day Idaho. He also sent a party of men under Joseph Walker to explore the Great Salt Lake and to find an overland route to California. Walker discovered a route along the Humboldt River across present-day Nevada, as well as Walker Pass across the Sierra Nevada, a path that later became known as the California Trail, the primary route for the immigrants to the gold fields during the California Gold Rush. Much speculation has surrounded Bonneville's motivations for sending Walker to California. In particular some historians have speculated that Bonneville was attempting to lay the groundwork for an eventual invasion of California, then part of Mexico, by the United States Army.

   John McLoughlin, the director of the Columbia operations of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, heard of Bonneville's mission and forbade his traders from doing business with Bonneville and his men. Bonneville reported that many of the Native Americans he encountered in the Snake River were also reluctant to displease the Hudson's Bay Company by trading with the Americans.

   In the summer of 1833 Bonneville ventured into the Wind River Range in present-day Wyoming to trade with the Shoshone. By this time he realized that he would not be able to fulfill his obligation to return east by October. He wrote a lengthy letter to Macomb summarizing some of his findings and requesting more time, specifically in order to survey the Columbia and parts of the Southwest before his return.

   After spending the early winter at Fort Bonneville, he set out westward in January 1834 with the goal of reaching the Willamette Valley. He and his men traveled up the Snake River, through Hells Canyon, and into the Wallowa Mountains, where they found a hospitable welcome by the Nez Perces along the Imnaha River.

   On March 4, 1834, they reached Fort Nez Perces, the outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company at the confluence of the Walla Walla River with the Columbia. Pierre C. Pambrun, the HBC commander of the fort welcomed him but refused to do business with him. Empty handed, Bonneville and men retraced their course back to southeast Idaho and made camp on the Portneuf River.

   In July he made a second trip west, determined to trade with the Hudson's Bay Company. He followed an easier route across the Blue Mountains, where he met Nathaniel Wyeth once again and camped along the Grande Ronde River. By this time he and his men had become desperate for food and supplies. At Fort Nez Perces, they found the same rejection from Pabrun. Instead of returning immediately east he and men journeyed down the Columbia towards Fort Vancouver. Along the river, he attempted to trade with Sahaptins but without success. He came to realize that he would probably receive the same rejection from McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver and decided to turn back east.

   He spent the winter of 1834-1835 with the Shoshone along the upper Bear River and in April 1835 began the voyage back to Missouri. He reached Independence by August and discovered that although his letter requesting an extension had arrived, it had not been delivered to Macomb. In the meantime, his commission had been revoked.

     After leaving Bonneville Point, we decided to head on into Boise and take another aerial view from a little higher up. Now if you have never been up on Table Rock, you have been missing out on one fantastic view of Boise.



Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway – This route takes you into the remote high desert of Owyhee country, past expanses of sagebrush, gnarled stands of junipers and the sheer red cliffs of river canyons. Highlights include the Owyhee River and an overlook at North Fork gorge.


Payette River Scenic Byway This riverside drive takes you along the wet and wild Payette River, passing through Smiths Ferry and Cascade before reaching the popular resort town of McCall and shimmering Payette Lake. Combine your drive with an exciting whitewater ride on the Payette River.


Western Heritage Historic Byway – Wagons loaded with gold mined in the Owyhee Mountains took this route to Fort Boise over desert trails and across the Snake River. Today it includes southern Idaho farmland, the rugged Snake River Canyon, Swan Falls Dam and the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.



Dedication Point



   This scenic point provides a spectacular overview of the Snake River Canyon with an excellent view of birds of prey in action. There is a quarter-mile trail with interpretive signs providing insightful information about birds, geology and wildlife. Located south of Kuna on Swan Falls Road


Swan Falls Dam




  Swan Falls Dam is on the Snake River about 40 miles south of Boise. Built in 1901 to provide electricity to nearby mines, it is a historical point of interest because it’s the oldest hydroelectric generating site on the Snake River.

  A new power plant was built in the mid-1990s. The old plant was decommissioned and converted into a historical display. Tours of the facilities may be available by appointment only by calling 208-736-3458.

  Swan Falls lies within the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation area and is home to falcons, eagles, owls, and hawks to name a few.

  No overnight camping facilities are available within the park but there are multiple free camping areas above and below the dam. No water is available at these sites and there are restrooms available only at the day-use park along with a picnic area and portage trail around the dam for boaters. Below the dam is a ramp for whitewater boater access to the river. Above the dam waterskiing, fishing and duck hunting are popular seasonal activities.



Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway – The turbulent South Fork of the Payette River Canyon is the attraction along this route. Rafting, fishing, watching for wildlife and soaking in hot springs are highlights of this drive between Banks and Lowman.


Whitewater Kayaking & Rafting

On The Popular Payette River



      Whitewater kayaking is the sport of paddling a kayak on a moving body of water, typically a whitewater river. Whitewater kayaking can range from simple, carefree gently moving water, to demanding, dangerous whitewater. River rapids are graded like ski runs according to the difficulty, danger or severity of the rapid. Whitewater grades (or classes) range from I or 1 (the easiest) to VI or 6 (the most difficult/dangerous). Grade/Class I can be described as slightly moving water with ripples but for that reason is not considered 'Whitewater.' Grade/Class II/2 can be described as moving water providing some small degree of challenge. Grade/Class VI can be described as extremely severe or almost unrunnable whitewater.



   The whitewater kayak is typically rotomoulded from a tough plastic that is slightly flexible and very durable, if easily scratched. Boats can range in size from barely long enough to hold the paddler (around 5 ft  long (or even smaller for children), up to 12 ft or longer.



   Rafting or white water rafting is a challenging recreational activity using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on white water or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers. The development of this activity as a leisure sport has become popular since the mid-1970s.





   The modern raft is an inflatable boat, consisting of very durable, multi-layered rubberized or vinyl fabrics with several independent air chambers. The length varies between 11 ft and 20 ft, the width between 6 ft and 8 ft. The exception to this size rule is usually the packraft, which is designed as a portable single-person raft and may be as small as 4.9 ft long and weigh as little as 4 pounds. Rafts are usually propelled with ordinary paddles and typically hold 4 to 12 persons.



   An all-around family favorite, the popular Payette River offers every kind of experience from placid Class I and II water to thundering Class V+.



   Some have compared the Payette and its tributaries to the public school system: the Main Payette provides a basic education in whitewater technique; the Cabarton stretch of the North Fork is high school material; sections of the South Fork will will earn you a college degree in whitewater; and if you can master the daunting Class V+ waters of the North Fork below Smith’s Ferry, you’ve got yourself a Ph.D. in whitewater rafting!

   On a hot summer day, the nine mile stretch of the Main Payette beginning at Banks will be filled with dozens of rafters and kayakers, eager to challenge the Class III rapids of Mike’s Hole, Mixmaster, and AMF.



   For intermediate boaters, the Payette’s best whitewater lies in the South Fork Canyon; there you will find several Class IV rapids, including a mandatory portage around the 40 foot Class VI Big Falls. You will also enjoy a wilderness experience (at least for a few miles) complete with hot springs!



   Further downstream, near the South Fork’s confluence with the main Payette, boaters can challenge themselves on Staircase Rapid, a long Class III – IV rapid, which has taught many boaters the value of staying in their rafts.

   On the North Fork of the Payette lies the popular Cabarton run which features a real sense of solitude, as well as several Class III – IV rapids near the end of the run.

   The North Fork below Smith’s Ferry provides 16 miles of non-stop, Class V rapids. This stretch was first kayaked in the 1970’s and first rafted in the late 1980’s. With a gradient of 105 feet per mile, it is certainly understandable.


Classifications of Rivers For White Water Rafting:

   Class I: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill Level: Very Basic)

   Class II: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering.(Skill Level: Basic Paddling Skill)

   Class III: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering.(Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills)

   Class IV: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed. (Skill Level: Whitewater Experience)

   Class V: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering (Skill Level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)

   Class VI: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous as to be effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Class 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death compared to lesser classes. (Skill Level: Successful completion of a Class 6 rapid without serious injury or death is widely considered to be a matter of great luck or extreme skill)

   The North Fork of the Payette parralls Highway 55 (Payette River Scenic Byway) from Banks northward. This riverside drive takes you through Smiths Ferry, Cascade and to the popular resort town of McCall and shimmering Payette Lake.

 The South Fork parallels Highway 21 (Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway) from Banks through Garden Valley to Lowman. Rafting, fishing, watching for wildlife (like the fox pictured below) and soaking in hot springs are highlights of this scenic drive.



  The drive alongside the Main, North and South Fork  of the Payette River is quite beautiful, especially this time of year.


Payette River & Black Canyon Dam


   History: In the 19th century, white settlers began moving into western Idaho and established trading posts, towns and farms in the area. One of these early pioneers was Francois Payette, for whom the river is named. A French-Canadian fur trapper who worked for the North West Company, he was one of the first people of European descent to settle in the Payette River area. Payette ventured east from Fort Astoria in 1818. From 1835 to 1844, he headed the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Boise trading post near Parma, on the Snake River some distance south of the Payette River. In 1844, Payette retired to Montreal, still over twenty years before emigrants began to arrive in great numbers. One of the first settlements was on Clear Creek, a tributary of the South Fork Payette River. Many of the Native Americans were unhappy with the new settlers and the great numbers of pioneers traveling through the area bound for the West Coast for causing damage to their lands, leading to the Nez Perce War of 1877 and many small conflicts with miners, ranchers, farmers, homesteaders, and soldiers.

   Logging in the basin began soon after the arrival of settlers, but did not reach large scale until the early 20th century. Demand for wooden railroad ties for the Oregon Short Line (OSL) in the 1880s helped to kick off the logging industry in the area. From then on, heavy logging commenced along the North Fork Payette River in Long Valley, downriver of present-day Cascade Lake. A splash dam was built in 1902 by the Minnesota-based Payette Lumber and Manufacturing Company on the North Fork in order to better facilitate the transportation of logs downstream. Logging helped to spur even more people to move into the area, and in 1911, the Idaho Northern Railroad was constructed by the OSL, running from Emmett near the mouth of the Payette along the river, past present-day Black Canyon Reservoir, up into the North Fork watershed and ending in Long Valley at Smith's Ferry on the river, named for a settler who bought the operation in 1891. The ferry's primary purpose was to transport livestock and agricultural products between Long Valley and the Snake River.

   Agriculture, however, became the primary mainstay in the lower valley of the Payette River. Following from 1874, irrigated farmland surrounded much of the main stem of the Payette River. The Last Chance Canal and Nobel Canal were among the first irrigation ditches constructed, but did not provide a firm yield because of the lack of water regulation. Black Canyon Dam was constructed on the Payette in 1824 not as a storage facility, but to divert water into the Emmett and Black Canyon Canals, which vastly increased the irrigated acreage in the valley. Deadwood Dam on the Deadwood River, a tributary of the South Fork Payette River, was built in 1929 to provide some degree of flow regulation, though much more effective was the Cascade Dam, constructed on the North Fork in 1948 to form Cascade Lake.


Payette River





   The Payette River is a 62-mile river in southwestern Idaho, and is a major tributary of the Snake River.

   Its headwaters originate in the Sawtooth and Salmon River mountains at elevations over 10,000 feet. Including the North Fork Payette River, the drainage flows in a westerly direction for over 175 miles, while with the South Fork, the cumulative length exceeds 182 miles, through an agricultural valley then empties into the Snake River near the city of Payette at an elevation of 2,125 feet. The Payette River's drainage basin comprises about 3,240 square miles. It is a physiographic section of the Columbia Plateau province, which in turn is part of the larger Intermontane Plateaus physiographic division. The South Fork of the Payette has its headwaters in the Sawtooth Wilderness, which is part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.




   The river's watershed was originally settled by the Shoshone, Nez Perce, Paiute and Bannock Native American tribes. Before white contact, many of these indigenous peoples had no permanent villages or settlements. For hundreds of years, in the fall and winter, they would camp in the arid grasslands along the main stem of the Payette River, while in spring and summer, they temporarily moved to the lusher upper basin of the North Fork to hunt and fish in preparation for the coming winter. Camas bulbs, coming from a widespread flowering plant in the basin, was their primary staple throughout the year. In order to maintain the naturally occurring fields of camas, they would set controlled fires whenever they left their camps for the biyearly move through the river basin. The seasonal burning came with added benefits, including clearing unwanted vegetation and protecting their campsites from overgrowth.

   Due to the wide range in elevation, the Payette River has a variety of fish and fish habitats. Salmon and steelhead were eliminated in the drainage by Black Canyon Dam, which was first completed in 1924. From its mouth upstream to Black Canyon Dam, the river supports a mixed fishery for coldwater and warmwater species. Mountain whitefish make up the bulk of game fish in this section of river, with smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, rainbow trout, and brown trout making significant contributions. Upstream from Black Canyon Dam, the gradient of the river increases with coldwater species increasing in abundance. The South Fork of the Payette River supports excellent populations of wild rainbow trout. The North Fork of the Payette River has been severely altered by railroad and highway construction and provides only a marginal fishery for salmonids. However, in unaltered sections such as the Cabarton reach, the North Fork is very productive for salmonids.

   There are five major impoundments in the Payette basin: Black Canyon, Sage Hen, Paddock, Cascade, and Deadwood reservoirs. There are also several small impoundments and natural lakes with increased storage, such as the three Payette Lakes. Black Canyon, on the mainstem, provides only marginal fish habitat. Sand from upstream land disturbances has covered most of the habitat. Paddock Reservoir, on Big Willow Creek, has one of the better populations of black crappie in the state and a good fishery for largemouth bass. Cascade Reservoir on the North Fork is one of the most heavily fished waters in the state. Cascade has an abundance of yellow perch, coho salmon, and rainbow trout. Deadwood Reservoir, completed in 1931, contains kokanee and cutthroat trout.

   Alpine lakes within the Payette River drainage are stocked with rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, cutbow (rainbow-cutthroat hybrids), golden trout, and arctic grayling. Brook trout are also present in a number of lakes.


Black Canyon Reservoir




   Black Canyon Reservoir, near Emmett, is formed by Black Canyon Diversion Dam and managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. This 1,100-acre reservoir offers 12 miles of shoreline; boating and fishing are the major recreational activities. Anglers fish for largemouth bass, rainbow trout, crappie, white fish, bullhead and channel catfish. The canyon sits amid the gently rolling prairie between Emmett and Horseshoe Bend. The area is a know winter feeding ground for deer and elk. Its remote location provides ample animal and bird watching opportunities. Come and enjoy the quiet solitude this scenic location offers.



   Black Canyon Diversion Dam, on the Payette River near Emmett, Idaho, is a concrete gravity type dam with an ogee overflow spillway. The dam has a structural height of 183 feet and serves to divert water to the Payette Division through Black Canyon Canal. The original capacity was 44,700 acre-feet but heavy siltation has reduced the capacity. At full pool there is now a volume of 29,600 acre-feet. Water is diverted at Black Canyon Diversion Dam by gravity into the Black Canyon Main Canal on the south side of the Payette River and by two direct connected turbine-driven pumps, located in the powerhouse, to serve the Emmett Irrigation District Canal on the north side of the river. The two unit powerplant had an initial total capacity of 8,000 kilowatts. The unit’s electrical components were upgraded to 5,100 kilowatts each in 1995 to provide the capability of generating 10,200 kilowatts with further upgrade of the turbines. Present generating capacity however, is limited to about 10,000 kilowatts. The plant supplies power to the Southern Idaho Federal Power System for Bureau of Reclamation project uses and for non-project purposes.

   In 1988, a six-inch raise in Black Canyon Reservoir water surface was implemented by modifying the spillway drumgate and the radial gate at the Black Canyon Main Canal headworks. This was done to improve regulation of irrigation diversions from Black Canyon Reservoir to the Black Canyon Main Canal and to conserve the amount of stored water released from upstream reservoirs to meet fluctuating irrigation demands.


   There are three day-use parks located at or near Black Canyon Dam — Black Canyon Park, Wild Rose Park, and Cobblestone Park. Triangle Park offers both day-use and overnight camping.

   There is a $5 per car daily fee at Black Canyon Park. Newly issued season passes are available for $25. Previously issued season passes can be renewed for $20. You must swipe your electronic season pass at the card reader each time you enter or exit the park. If you do not swipe your card when you exit the park, you will need to contact Reclamation staff to have it reset.

   Triangle Park, located just upstream of Black Canyon Park, is available for group overnight camping for a fee of $125.00. Water and power are not available at this park.

   Gazebos at Black Canyon Park and Wild Rose Park can be rented for a daily non-refundable fee of $125.00. Only the gazebos can be rented, not the entire park. The shelter at Cobblestone Park can be rented for a daily non-refundable fee of $125.00.

   Montour Park, located in the Montour Wildlife Management Area, has overnight camping at $8.00 a day. There are 18 spaces which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Potable water and bathrooms are available.



South Central Idaho:


Thousand Springs Scenic Byway – Cascading from cliff walls above the Snake River near Hagerman are numerous springs believed to be the reappearance of the Lost River, which sinks into lava fields near Arco, 90 miles away. The area is best known for its fish hatcheries, fossil beds and these springs.


City of Rocks Backcountry Byway – An early pioneer wrote that this valley of rocks had the appearance of a silent city. Names can still be seen written in axel grease on some of the rocks at this California Trail landmark. Rock climbers from around the world come to experience the challenges offered by the Silent City of Rocks.


Central Idaho:


Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway – Journey through the heart of the Stanley Basin, winding down along the South Fork of the Payette River, through Lowman, past Idaho City, a mining town which was once Idaho’s largest city and on to Boise, Idaho’s capital city.


Sacajawea Historic Byway – This scenic drive offers a glimpse into the historical legacy of Sacajawea, the Lemhi-Shoshoni woman from the present day Salmon, Idaho area who was an interpreter for Lewis and Clark.


Salmon River Scenic Byway – Follow the course of the Salmon River between Lost Trail Pass and the town of Stanley where three scenic byways meet. On the route you can see the magnificent Sawtooth Mountains, the remains of the Sunbeam Dam, the Land of the Yankee Fork historical mining area near Challis and the town of Salmon.


Sawtooth Scenic Byway – Climb 115 miles up Highway 93 and 75 into the heart of central Idaho, from the high desert to the Sawtooth Mountains at Stanley. Highlights include Sun Valley Ski Resort (founded in 1936), Galena Summit, and Redfish Lake.


Sawtooth Mountains Near Stanley



    The Sawtooth Scenic Byway has the distinction of being the 100th National Forest Scenic Byway. Beginning in Shoshone, the southern leg of the byway features the new Black Magic Canyon geological attraction. The route then rolls north through fertile agricultural land to the resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley.

   From there, the road carves its way through the Boulder Mountains to Galena Pass, showcasing the ridge of the Sawtooth Mountains. Beyond, the rocks and woodlands of the rugged Sawtooth National Recreation Area are packed with rivers, streams, and 300 alpine lakes, providing top-notch venues for a variety of year-round activities. Wildlife watchers should stay alert; the 756,000-acre recreational area is home to many species of wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, deer, elk, bear and wolves.

   The northern tip of the byway terminates in Stanley, where the Sawtooth meets the Ponderosa Pine and Salmon River Scenic Byways. So no matter which way you drive in or out, you’re in for a treat.


Craters of the Moon National Monument

This scoria field shows typical conditions at Craters of the Moon.


   Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a national monument and national preserve located in the Snake River Plain in central Idaho. It is along US 20, between the small cities of Arco and Carey, at an average elevation of 5,900 feet above sea level. The protected area's features are volcanic and represent one of the best preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States.

   The Monument was established on May 2, 1924. In November 2000, a presidential proclamation by President Clinton greatly expanded the Monument area. The National Park Service portions of the expanded Monument were designated as Craters of the Moon National Preserve in August 2002. It lies in parts of Blaine, Butte, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Power counties. The area is managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

   The Monument and Preserve encompass three major lava fields and about 400 square miles of sagebrush steppe grasslands to cover a total area of 1,117 square miles. All three lava fields lie along the Great Rift of Idaho, with some of the best examples of open rift cracks in the world, including the deepest known on Earth at 800 feet. There are excellent examples of almost every variety of basaltic lava as well as tree molds (cavities left by lava-incinerated trees), lava tubes (a type of cave), and many other volcanic features.

   The Craters of the Moon Lava Field spreads across 618 square miles and is the largest mostly Holocene-aged basaltic lava field in the lower 48 U.S. states. The Monument and Preserve contain more than 25 volcanic cones including outstanding examples of spatter cones. The 60 distinct lava flows that form the Craters of the Moon Lava Field range in age from 15,000 to just 2,000 years. The Kings Bowl and Wapi lava fields, both about 2,200 years old, are part of the National Preserve.

   Craters of the Moon Lava Field reaches southeastward from the Pioneer Mountains. This lava field is the largest of several large beds of lava that erupted from the 53 miles south-east to north-west trending Great Rift volcanic zone - a line of weakness in the Earth's crust created by Basin and Range rifting. Together with fields from other fissures they make up the Lava Beds of Idaho, which in turn are located within the much larger Snake River Plain volcanic province. The Great Rift almost extends across the entire Snake River Plain.

   The rugged landscape remains remote and undeveloped with only one paved road across the northern end. Craters of the Moon is located in south-central Idaho midway between Boise and Yellowstone National Park, and its elevation at the visitor center is 5,900 feet above sea level. Combined U.S. Highway 20-26-93 cuts through the northwestern part of the monument and provides access to it.

   Total average precipitation in the Craters of the Moon area is between 15–20 inches per year. Most of this is lost in cracks in the basalt, only to emerge later in springs and seeps in the walls of the Snake River Canyon. Older lava fields on the plain have been invaded by drought-resistant plants such as sagebrush, while younger fields, such as Craters of the Moon, only have a seasonal and very sparse cover of vegetation. From a distance this cover disappears almost entirely, giving an impression of utter black desolation. Repeated lava flows over the last 15,000 years have raised the land surface enough to expose it to the prevailing southwesterly winds, which help to keep the area dry. Together these conditions make life on the lava field difficult.



Idaho Road Web Cameras




Campgrounds, Trails and Hot Springs


Sawtooth National Forest


  The Sawtooth National Forest has more than 2.1 million acres of public land, most of it in south-central Idaho, with one unit in northern Utah. Forest Headquarters is located in Twin Falls, Idaho. The Forest is made up of four administrative units: the Minidoka, Ketchum, and Fairfield Ranger Districts, and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.



Fairfield Ranger District

102 1st Street East, P.O. Box 189, Fairfield, Idaho 83327

Phone: 208-764-3202


Campground Sites


Chaparral Campground - 3 miles east of Featherville; 7 camping units; restroom; pets allowed on leash; fishing. Open 5/20 – 9/30. $6.00 per night.


Abbot Campground - 2 miles east of Featherville; 7 camping units; restroom; pets allowed on leash; fishing. Open 5/20 – 9/30. $6.00 per night.


Pioneer Campground -11 miles north of Fairfield next to the Soldier Mountain Ski Area; 5 camping or picnic units; group reservation area; amphitheater; 1 restroom; drinking water; pets allowed on leash. Open 5/20 – 9/30. No charge.


Five points Campground - 20 miles north of Fairfield over Couch Summit; 3 camping or picnic units; restroom; pets allowed on leash. Open 5/20 – 9/30. No charge.


Canyon Transfer Camp - 26 miles north of Fairfield past Big Smoky Creek; 6 camping or picnic units; barrier free rest room and stock loading ramps; managers; drinking water; pets allowed on leash; horse trail; motorcycle trail; fishing. Charge of $6.00 per night.


Bounds Campground - 25 miles east of Featherville; 12 camping or picnic units; rest room; drinking water; pets allowed on leash; fishing. Charge of $6.00 per night.


Baumgartner Campground - This campground, operated by concessionaires, is located 12 miles east of Featherville and has 30 camping units: 23 single family, 6 double family units and 1 multifamily group unit; 4 rest rooms; drinking water; pets allowed on a leash; interpretive trail; wading & fishing; hot pool fed by geothermal stream is open daily. A barrier-free access is provided to individuals in wheelchairs or those that require other walking aids. Normally the campground is open 5/20 – 9/30, dependant upon weather conditions. Charge is $10.00 for single, $20 for double and $40.00 for group units. There is an additional reservation fee of $10.00 for phone reservations and $9.00 for web reservations. The National Recreation Reservation Service phone number is 1-877-444-6777 / website: www.recreation.gov.


Hunter Creek Transfer Camp - 20 miles northwest of Fairfield through Cow Creek; 3 single camping units and 1 multi-family camping unit; corrals and managers; barrier free stock loading ramps and restrooms; no water; access to Lime Creek. Open 5/20 – 9/30. No charge.


Willow Creek Campground - 7 miles east of Featherville; 5 camping units; pets allowed on leash; fishing; restrooms. Open 5/20 – 9/30. $6.00 per night.


Willow Creek Transfer Camp - 7 miles east of Featherville past willow Creek Campground; corrals and managers; barrier-free stock loading ramps and rest room; 3 large camping units. Open 5/20 – 9/30. $2.00 per vehicle.


Bird Creek Campground - 5 miles east of Featherville; 5 camping or picnic units; restrooms; pets allowed on leash; fishing. Open 5/20 – 9/30.  $2.00 per vehicle.


Bear Creek Transfer Camp - 32 miles north of Fairfield over Fleck Summit, corrals and managers; barrier-free stock loading ramps and stock water; rest room. Open 5/20 – 9/30.  No charge.




Virginia Gulch Trail No. 037 – 3.0 miles, heavy use. - The trailhead is on the South Fork Boise River adjacent to Road No. 227. Cross the river on the brown metal bridge. The trail leaves the river and switchbacks up steep Virginia Gulch. A logging road intercepts the trail near the end at its junction with North Fork Lime Creek Trail No. 044.


Iron Mountain Trail No. 050 – 9.3 miles, heavy use. – The trailhead is one mile west of Baumgartner Campground. Originally, the trail was a road providing access to Iron Mountain Lookout. Motorized travel is heavy, but is restricted to vehicles with a 48” (or less) wheel base. The highlights of the trail is the scenic view from the Forest Service Lookout on Iron Mountain.


Blue Ridge Trail No. 048 – 5 miles, heavy use. – Access to this trail is from Middle Fork Lime Creek Trail No. 049 or North Fork Lime Creek Trail No. 044. The trail follows a vary scenic ridge between Lime Creek and South Fork Boise River watersheds.


Lime Creek Trails System - These trails are open to two-wheeled motorized travel. This area is very popular with big game hunters using pack and saddle stock. There are no mountain lakes in this area, although Heart Lake is on the border, north of Iron Mountain. Wildlife commonly observed include: bald and golden eagles, numerous hawks, grouse, coyote, deer, elk, and bear. Sightings of mountain lions have been reported. Expect domestic sheep and cattle use. Cattle are permitted in the Middle Fork and South Fork of Lime Creek and Bremner areas.


North Fork Lime Creek Trail No. 044 – 12 miles, heavy use. Road No. 055 provides access to the trail head near Hunter Creek Transfer Camp. Fisheries include South Fork Lime Creek, Middle Fork Lime Creek, and North Fork Lime Creek. The trail is located near and along side streams until it tops out near Grouse Butte. From there the trail meanders down the ridge to the junction with Virginia Gulch Trail No. 037 and trail’s end.


Middle Fork Lime Creek Trail No. 049 – 8 miles, medium use. The trail branches off North Fork Lime Creek Trail No. 044 in the Middle Fork Lime Creek. It is adjacent to the stream for approximately 7 miles and ends at the junction with iron Mountain Trail No. 050.


South Fork Ross Fork Trail No. 227 – 7.6 miles, medium use. The trail starts at the fork with North Fork Ross Trail No. 226 and meanders up a smooth glacial basin. The final 3 miles climb up to Willow Creek-Ross Fork Divide, passing by the Ross Lakes Trail junction.


Ross Fork Machine Trail No. 079 – 7.5 miles, heavy use. This is an old mining access road into Ross Fork basin. It is recommended for OHV use as the trail is rocky and rough with steep sections. The trail starts at the crossing of the South Boise River Bridge. Several trails branch off this route including: Emma Creek No. 063, Gold Run No. 060, Perkins Lake No. 193, Bass Creek No. 061, Ross Fork Horse No. 059, Johnson Creek No. 181, North Fork Ross Fork No. 226 and South Fork Ross Fork No. 227. The trail ends at the junction with Trails No. 226 & 227.


Perkins Lake Trail No. 193 – 3.0 miles, medium use.  This trail branches off Ross Machine Trail No. 079, crosses Ross Fork Creek and Ross Fork Horse Trail No. 059, and climbs up the steep slope to Perkons Lake; a nice, high mountain lake with prospects of fish in the skillet. This trail is closed to motorized travel.


Johnson Creek Trail No. 181 – 7.1 miles, medium use. The trail branches off the Ross Fork Machine Trail No. 079, 1/4 mile northwest of the Johnson Creek bridge. This trail follows the water grade up into a beautiful glacial basin then abruptly climbs the last mile to the Alturas Lake Trail junction with a view of the Alturas Creek Drainage, the south boundary of the Sawtooth Wilderness. The trail ends here at the junction of Alturas Lake and North Fork Ross Fork trails.


North Fork Ross Fork Trail No. 226 – 3.9 miles, medium use. This trail starts at the end of Ross Machine Trail No. 070 where it forks into trails No. 226 and 227. The trail climbs and follows the slopes of the narrow canyon. One will view waterfalls and sub-alpine grades. The last mile is steep and switch-backs several times prior to crossing the Alturas-Ross Fork Divide and ending within a 1/4 mile at the junction of Alturas-Johnson Creek trails.


Paradise Trail No. 070 – 11.5 miles, medium use. The trail head is located 1/4 mile north of Big Smoky Work Center in Paradise Creek drainage. The trail stays near the water grade and follows the meandering stream to the head of Paradise Creek, a high elevation, grassy alpine basin. The trail passes through high cirque basins in the Snow Slide Lake area, then winds its way through a high mountain pass on the final 2 miles down into the scenic West Fork Big Smoky Canyon and trail end.


Bremner Trail No. 055 – 7.4 miles, medium use. The trail head is on Bureau of Land Management administered lands, immediately adjacent to National Forest lands. This trail head is isolated and can be difficult to find. Traveling the Chimney Creek Road No. 484 to the Ear Creek sheep corral, stay on the main traveled road. Do not take any right hand roads that lead off for approximately 1/2 mile down to the Ear Creek crossing. The road, from this point, is not advised for vehicular travel. Continue following the road to the trail head sign in the South Fork Lime Creek drainage. The trail immediately crosses south fork of Lime Creek and meanders at a moderate grade paralleling the steep, smooth slopes of the Soldier Mountain range. The trail ends at junction of Iron Mountain Trail No. 050, from this junction it is only 2 miles to Iron Mountain Lookout, offering a splendid view of the district.


So. Fork Boise River Trails System - Access areas: Ketchum-Featherville Road #227. These trails are open to two-wheeled motorized travel, accessing popular big game hunting areas and scenic routes. There are no mountain lakes in this area.


Skeleton Creek Trail No. 024 – 14 miles, medium use. Access to this popular scenic trail route is at the trail head adjacent to Road No. 227. The trail leads up to open grassy basins.


Shake Creek Trail No. 028 – 8.5 miles, medium use. This trail is a very popular route for two-wheeled motorized travel. The trail head is at the end of Shake Creek Road, approximately 1/2 mile off Road No. 227. The trail stays near the canyon bottom for approximately 4 miles, then climbs up to near the top of South Boise Middle Fork Boise watershed divide where it joins the Yuba River Trail System.


Willow Creek Trail No. 019 – 10.6 miles, heavy use. A very popular trail for two-wheeled motorized travel. The trail head is approximately 3/4 mile north of Willow Creek Campground. It has many good hiking and horse travel side trails, which are not open to motorized travel. This trail accesses Ross Lakes.


Smoky Mountain Trail System - Travelers in this area should be very careful as many trails are restricted to motorized travel. This is a very popular area with high lakes and many large streams providing good recreation opportunities. This remote portion of the district provides habitat for mountain goats at higher elevations. Sightings of wolverines have been reported.


Big Smoky Trail No. 072 – 17.4 miles, heavy visitor use. One-half mile north of Big Smoky Guard Station the dirt road ends at Canyon Transfer Camp. Horse managers are available and the camp area has barrier-free facilities and drinking water. This is a fee area for those staying overnight. The trail follows close to Big Smoky Creek which meanders down the narrow canyon. Back-packers will have no problem finding overnight camp sites. Horsemen usually travel to the mouth of North Fork Big Smoky or the West Fork Meadows (West Fork Big Smoky Trail No. 22). Two wheeled motorized travel is permitted on this trail although use is light. Several large streams feed into Big Smoky and most are bordered by side trails with scenic views. Skillern Hot Springs, 2-1/2 miles from the trail head at Canyon Transfer Camp is a highlight for many people using this trail route. Big Smoky Divide is headwaters for Big Smoky Creek and Main Fork of Salmon River.


Big Peak Trail No. 076 – 9 miles, medium use. The trail head is located about 4 miles up Big Smoky Trail No. 072. Prepare to ford the stream within a few feet of the junction. The trail follows close to the meandering Big Peak Creek. Several side trails intersect the main trail. This trail is primarily used by horsemen hunting big game. It is closed to motorized travel. The trail ends on the Placer Creek Divide.


Soldier Mountain Trail System - Access areas: Soldier Mountain Road No. 094 Pioneer Campground.


North Fork Soldier Trail No. 005 – 5.5 miles, medium/low use. The trail head is located approximately .5 miles upstream from Pioneer Campground. This trail leads high into scenic alpine basins of the Soldier Mountain Range. This is a day use area for most visitors. The trail ends at the junction of the Soldier Creek - Miller Creek Trail No. 087. It is closed to motorized travel.


Soldier Creek-Miller Creek Trail No. 087 – 5.75 miles, medium use. From junction of Trail No. 005, travel southeastwards along grassy slopes, then down to South Fork Soldier Creek. The trail reverts to an old road, high in the Soldier Creek drainage. This trail route ends on the Pioneer Campground Road. Total distance is about 5-3/4 miles. The trail is closed to motorized travel.


Boardman Creek Trail No. 091 – 7.5 miles, low/medium use. This trail head is located on the South Fork of the Boise River adjacent to Forest Service Road 227. You cross the river on a foot bridge and proceed in a southward direction from there. The trail primarily follows the creek bottom and has a few steep climbs. It connects to other trails along the way. The trail is closed to all motorized travel.



Boise National Forest


  The Boise National Forest includes about 2,612,000 acres of National Forest System Lands located north and east of the city of Boise, Idaho. Intermingled with the Forest are 348,000 acres owned or administered by private citizens or corporations, the State of Idaho, and other Federal agencies.

  Most of the land supports an evergreen forest that includes pure or mixed stands of Ponderosa Pine, Douglas-Fir, Engelmann Spruce, Lodgepole Pine, and Sub-Alpine Fir. Brush-grass or grasses are found in the non-timbered areas. The Forest contains large areas of summer range for big game species, such as mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk. Trout are native to most streams and lakes, while ocean-going salmon and steelhead inhabit the many tributaries of the Salmon River.

  Most of the land lies within the Idaho Batholith - a large and erosive geologic formation. Through uplift, faulting, and subsequent dissection by stream cutting action, a mountainous landscape has developed. Elevations range from 2,600 to 9,800 feet. The major river systems represented are the Boise and Payette Rivers, and the South and Middle Fork drainages of the Salmon River. The average annual precipitation ranges from 15 inches at lower elevations to 70 inches at higher elevations.



Mountain Home Ranger District

2180 American Legion Blvd., Mountain Home, Idaho 83647

Phone: 208-587-7961



Along Rivers


Middle Fork Boise River:

  There are several small and scenic campgrounds along the Middle Fork Boise River. The Middle Fork Road is winding and narrow; RVs are not recommended.


Badger Creek: 5 sites with tables, fire rings with grills, restroom, no drinking water. No fee.


Troutdale: 4 sites with tables, fire rings with grills, restroom, no drinking water. No fee.


Willow Creek: 10 sites with tables, fire rings with grills, handicap accessible restroom, drinking water available. No fee. Season use, April - November.


South Fork Boise River:

Elks Flat: 4.5 miles north of Pine along the South Fork Boise River, Facilities: tables, fire grills, restrooms, trash service, tent pads, drinking water, and public telephone. Campground host on site. Fees: Single $10.00, Double $20.00. For group site reservations call 1-877-444-6777. For specific group site information contact the District Office at 208-587-7961.


Lower South Fork Boise River:

Trailwaters: 3 sites, restroom, fire grill, lantern support, information board and concrete boat ramp.


Next to Lakes


  Eighty miles northwest of Mountain Home are three lakeside campgrounds in the beautiful high mountain setting of the Trinities. There is non-motorized boat use on all lakes in the Trinity area. Season of use is approximately July 15th to October 1st. Access is weather dependent. All camp sites are non-reservable, have well shaded areas around the lakes edge and has a pack in-pack out trash system.


Big Trinity Lake:  17 sites, tables, tent pads, grills, restrooms, information board and drinking water. The trail head for hiking into Rainbow Basin is located on the east side of the campground. Fee $10.00 per night.


Big Roaring River Lake: 12 sites with tables, fire grills, restrooms, drinking water. Fee $10.00 per night.


Little Roaring River Lake: 4 sites with tables, grills, restroom, no water. No fee.


At Reservoirs


Arrowrock Reservoir Boat Ramp, a day use only area, lays in the heart of sagebrush country 25 miles northeast of Boise. Restroom available. Concrete high-water and low-water boat ramps. No drinking water. No fee. Season of use: Year round depending on water level.


Little Camas Reservoir is 26 miles east of Mountain Home on Highway 20. Camp in the large grassy parking area. It is unshaded but has room for up to 40 vehicles. Restroom and information board. Concrete boat ramp, no docks. No drinking water. No fee. Season of use: Approximately May 1 to October 30. (Depends on the snowfall).


Anderson Ranch Reservoir is a favorite among many locals for motorized boating, water skiing, fishing, and more. Basalt cliffs rim the reservoir and fingers of evergreen trees stretch to the water. These sites sit around the reservoir edge and have limited shade. Look for these first-come, first-serve campgrounds around the reservoir:


Spillway - 3 sites with tables and fire grills, restroom, pack in-pack out trash system, no drinking water. No fee.


Evans Creek - 8 sites with tables and fire grills, restroom, trash service, no drinking water. No fee.


Castle Creek - 2 sites with tables, fire grills, restroom, trash service, low water boat ramp, no drinking water. No fee.


Pine Airport - 7 sites, tables with shade covers, fire grills, restroom, trash service, concrete boat ramp, no drinking water. Fee: $10.00 per night, $5.00 per day use.


Deer Creek Boat Ramp: Camp in open parking area which supports approx. 15 vehicles, restroom, trash service, concrete boat ramp, no drinking water. No fee.


Curlew Creek: 10 overnight sites, 16 day use sites, tables, tent pads, fire grills, restroom, trash service, concrete boat ramp, boat docks, pay phone, drinking water available. Fee $5.00 per vehicle for day or night use. Season of use: Approx. May 1-Oct 30.


Other Great Places


Shafer Butte Recreation Area: is located 21 miles north of Boise past Bogus Basin Ski Resort. Each of the 5 reservable and 2 first-come, first-serve family camp sites has a table and fire ring with grill. Trash service, restrooms and drinking water provided. Fee: $10.00/night, $5.00/day use. Season of use: Approx: June 15-Oct. 15. For reservations call 1-877-444-6777.


Cottonwood Campground - sits along Cottonwood Creek, 1/2 miles north of Arrowrock Reservoir. Each of the 3  sites has a table and fire ring. Pack in-pack out trash service. Restroom available. RV’s not recommended. No drinking water. No fee. Season of use is approximately April - November.


Dog Creek Campground - located 3 miles north of Pine about 1/4 mile from the South Fork Boise River. Nestled among Ponderosa Pine trees, each of the 13 sites has a table, fire ring and tent pad. 2 sites are double site. Drinking water, toilets, trash service and information board are provided. Campground host on site located in unit 8. For reservations call 1-877-444-6777. Fees: $10.00 for single site, $20.00 for double site. Season of use is approximately May 15-October 1.


Ice Springs Campground - located 14 miles above Anderson Ranch Dam and 5 miles above Fall Creek resort. The surrounding area is lightly wooded with pine and fir trees. Each of the 3 first-come, first-serve sites has a table, fire ring and grill. Toilet provided. No water and no fee. Season of use is approximately May 1-October 30.


Rental Cabins


Big Trinity Cabin – rent the big Trinity Cabin for a cool getaway in the Trinity Mountains, 80 miles northwest of Mountain Home. The rustic cabin has a wood heat/cook stove, outdoor restroom, and hand pump for drinking water. Camp Host on site. Season of use: July 15-Oct. 1.

Fee: $30.00/night Reservations are required and may be made up to 180 days in advance by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777.


Dispersed Camping


  The Forest Service calls camping in areas where there is no campground “dispersed camping.” You may camp up to 14 days anywhere on National Forest Lands unless it is posted otherwise. If you disperse camp, please practice “low impact” camping. Examples of “low impact” camping include packing out all your trash, breaking down fire rings, and leaving the site clean for the next person to enjoy. We appreciate your help!

  If you like to backpack and disperse camp, check out the beautiful Rainbow Basin Recreation Area located in the Trinity Mountains. This area offers picturesque rugged peaks, crystal clear alpine lakes and spectacular views. Several developed trails allow the experienced backpacker as well as the novice hiker to enjoy the solitude and natural beauty of this area. Season of use: Approx. July 15-Oct 1.


Day Outings


Fall Creek Boat Ramp and Elk Creek Boat Ramp – located on Anderson Ranch Reservoir, are day use only areas. Concrete high and low water ramps with launch and recovery docks can be found here, along with restrooms, trash service and information boards.


Little Trinity Lake Day Use Area – located about ¼ mile north of Big Trinity Lake, is for non-motorized boats only. This small lake is well shaded for fishing and picnicking. Tables and fire grills are provided. Season of use: Approx July 15-Oct 1. No day use fee.




Shafer Butte Recreation Area – located 21 miles north of Boise past Bogus Basin Ski Area, has family and group picnic sites. Family Sites: Each of the 6 first-come, first-serve family picnic sites has a table and fire ring with grill. Day Use Fee: $5.00/day. Group Sites: The two group picnic sites accommodate up to 80 people and can be used separately or together. Both group sites have several tables, a large fire ring and grills. Season of use: Approx June 15-Oct 15. Reserve group sites through the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777. Fee: $50 for East Group; Fee: $75 for West Group.




Lava Mountain Trail #125 - from the eastern trail head, two lakes are within easy reach by day hikes. Smith Creek Lake has the potential for good fishing, whereas North Star Lake does not, due to a muddy bottom. There are campsites at both lakes.

  The trail offers views of the Prairie area and Trinity Mountain Lookout.

  Most of the trail is on open hillsides or ridge tops. There are a few sections of forest near the beginning and ending of the trail.

  The trail is suitable for all uses. There are a few short sections which may give motorcyclists a problem. There are no sources of water west of North Star Lake.

  Trail beginning, 8000 ft. elevation is approximately 1.7 miles south of Big Roaring River Lake and Campground in the trinity Lakes area. Trail ending, 5880 ft. elevation, is 9 miles from the prairie Store.


Crosscut Trail #172 - This trail (16.5 miles in length) crosses several streams, passes through deep valleys carpeted with wildflowers in the spring and offers views of Horse Ranch Mountain and Steel Mountain.

  The north trail head on Forest Service road 105 is recommended as the primary access since the trail gradually descends from the north trail head to the south trail head.

  The trail crosses or overlaps several Forest Service roads especially at its northern end, but for the most part they are well-blazed and signed.

  Trail bike riders and esquestrians should use caution through a series of switchbacks south of the Middle Parks Creek crossing. The trail is narrow and its east edge drops steeply to a deep canyon.

  From the trail head on FS road 105 to the trail’s intersection with FS road 172 is open only to non-motorized recreation from October 1 to June 15, and open to snowmobiles from December 1 to May 15.

  From the trail’s intersection with FS road 172 south to the trail head on FS road 151 is open yearlong to motorized recreation.

  Trail beginning, 6,200ft. Elevation, begins in a prominent saddle on Forest Service road 105. The signed trail head is on the west side of the road.

  Trail ending, 5800 ft. elevation, on FS road 151 is about 3 miles northeast of the intersection of FS roads 151 and 128.


Bear Hole Trail #176 - This trail (4.5 miles in length) passes through a long, narrow valley bordered by meadows, aspen groves and Douglas fir forests.

  Short sections of the trail are steep and rocky. The trail is open to motorized recreation yearlong.

  At its east trail head, the Bear Hole Trail intersects the Crosscut (#172) and the Camp Creek (#177) trails. The 17-mile Crosscut trail goes NW toward Horse Ranch Mountain and SW toward FS Road 151, and the 6-mile Camp Creek Trail travels south toward the Lester Creek Guard Station.

  The trail passes through areas grazed by sheep and cattle in the summer and fall.

  Trail beginning, 6760 ft. elevation, is on the east side of FS Road 129. Parking and a loading ramp is available.

  Trail end, 6320 ft. elevation, is a few feet east of FS Road 151E1 where the Bear Hole Trail intersects Crosscut (#172) and Camp Creek (#177) trails. The intersection is signed and blazed.


Cottonwood Creek Trail #189 - parallels Cottonwood Creek as it passes through a valley. A steeper section offers views of Mt. Heinen.

  Because there is such a great elevation difference between the south and the north trail heads, one can be accesses early in the spring for day hikes and later be used for backpacking trips.

  A meadow by Sawmill Gulch, a five mile day hike, can be reached from the south trail head. The meadow is the site of an old crumbling water powered sawmill.

  The trail crosses four streams and Cottonwood Creek at least seven times. Sections of the trail are steep and rocky. The trail passes through areas grazed by sheep in the summer and fall. Total trail length is 10 miles. No motor vehicles.


Green Creek Trail #270 - from Dog Creek Campground, travel 1 mile north. The first 0.1 mile from this trail head crosses “Private Property,” so be sure to stay within the trail corridor.

  From Elks Flat Campground, cross the highway onto a “private’ road, travel 0.3 miles to the trail head.

  This trail is suitable for all summer uses; however, some of the fords are 1-2 feet deep and motorbikes should use caution.

  Trail beginning, 6400 ft. elevation, is approximately 0.2 miles southeast along the Crosscut Trail from its intersection with FS Road 183.

  Trail end, 4360 ft. elevation, is located on “Private Property” 1 mile north of Dog Creek Campground, and 0.3 mile north of Forest Highway 61. Total trail length is 4.6 miles.


Camp Creek Trail #177 - This trail crosses Camp and Tally Creeks several times, and from a ridge offers views of Pine and Featherville.

  The area surrounding the trail is grazed by cattle in the summer and fall.

  At its north trail head, the Camp Creek trail is intersected by Crosscut (#172) and Bear Hole trails (#176 via) FS Road 151E1. The 17 mile Crosscut trail goes northeast towards Horse Ranch Mountain and southwest toward FS Road 151, and the 4.5 mile Bear Hole trail travels northwest toward FS Road 129.

  Trail beginning, 5250 ft. elevation, is located on the north side of FS Road 128.

  Trail end, 6760 ft. elevation, intersects the Crosscut (#172) and Bear Hole (#176) trails. Total length of the Camp Trail is 5.7 miles.


Minidoka Ranger District


Schipper: 18 miles south of Hansen. This campground has 5 individual units, double unit toilet. Suitable for tents. Limited space for motor homes. Fishing. Fee site $5.00 per night. No water available, elevation 4600 feet. Season of use is May through October.


Birch Glen: 18.5 miles south of Hansen. This picnic area has 2 individual units, double toilet, no water available, fishing, day use only (no overnight camping).


Harrington Fork: 20.5 miles from Hansen. This picnic area has 11 individual units, 1 group unit, double toilet, fishing, trail head, no water available. Elevation is 4750 feet, no overnight camping and season of use is May through October.


Steer Basin: 21.5 miles south of Hansen. This campground has 4 individual units, double unit toilet, suitable for tents, limited space for motor homes and trailers, fishing, no water available. Elevation is 5000 feet and the fee per site is $5.00 per night. Season of use is May through October.


Third Fork Trailhead: 23 miles south of Hansen. This picnic area has 5 individual units, single unit toilet, trailer parking, trailhead, accessible transfer station, and no fee. The elevation is 5200 feet. No water available and the season of use is May through October.


Rim View Trailhead: 23 miles south of Hansen. This picnic area has 2 individual units, no water, limited space, non-mechanized trail, no fee, and the season of use is May through October.


Lower Penstemon: 27 miles south of Hansen. This picnic area and campground has 7 individual units, 2 double unit toilets, drinking water, suited for motor-homes, trailers or tent camping, baseball diamond, and horseshoe pits. Fee per site is $8.00 a night and single sites can be reserved through ReserveUSA.com/Recreation.gov.


Upper Penstemon: 27.2 miles south of Hansen. This campground has 8 individual units, 1 group unit, 2 double unit toilets, suited for motor-homes, trailers or tent camping. Drinking water available and fee per site is $8.00 per night. Elevation 6600 and season of use is June through September.


Petit: 28 miles south of Hansen. This campground & picnic area has 8 individual units, 1 group unit, 1 double unit toilet, and drinking is water available. It is suited for motor-homes, trailers or tent camping and has an interpretive trail. Fee per site is $8.00 per night. Elevation is 6800 feet season of use is June through September.


Diamondfield Jack: 29 miles south of Hansen or 28 miles west of Oakley. Suited for motor-homes, trailers or tent camping. This campground & picnic area has 4 unit toilet, picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, interpretive trail, and snow shelter. This is a winter snow play area that is open year-round at an elevation of 7000 feet.


Porcupine Springs: 31 miles south of Hansen or 26 miles west of Oakley. This campground & picnic area has quite a bit to offer. Loop A has 4 single and 2 double sites and 2 unit toilets. Loop B has 3 single and 3 double sites and 2 unit toilets. Loop C is horse camping with 3 single and 3 double sites and 2 unit toilets. Loop D has 18 family units; sites #15 through 18 can be reserved as single family units. This loop has 2 double unit toilets. Drinking water, trailhead, accessible transfer station. Fee for double units are $14.00 a night, single units $10.00 a night and group reservation area $75.00 a night. Reserve through ReserveUSA.com/Recreation.gov. Elevation is 6900 feet and season of use is June through September.


Father and Sons: 21 miles west of Oakley. This campground and picnic area has 5 individual units, 2 group units, baseball diamond, fishing, and 3 double unit toilets. It is suitable for trailer and tent camping. There is no fee and has no drinking water available. The season of use is June through September and is at an elevation of 7200 feet.


Bostetter: 20 miles west of Oakley. This campground and picnic area has 10 individual units, 2 group units, and 3 double unit toilets. It is suitable for trailer & tent camping and fishing in the area. There is no drinking water available. At an elevation of 7100 feet, season of use is June through September.


Bear Gulch: 25 miles east of Rogerson. This campground has 8 individual units, 1 group units, 1 double unit toilet, and accessible transfer station. This area is suited for trailer and tent camping. No drinking water available and no fee. Season of use is May through October and is at an elevation of 6000 feet.


Lake Cleveland (West End): 25 miles southeast of Burley. This campground has 9 individual units, 1 group unit, and 3 double unit toilets. This area has fishing and an accessible trail to the lake. Fee per site is $8.00 per night at the West End. There is drinking water available.  No motorized boats on the lake and there is not trailer turn-around. Season of use is July through October and is at an elevation of 8200 feet.


Lake Cleveland (East End): 25 miles southeast of Burley. This campground has 20 individual units and toilets, with intermittent drinking water. Trails are available from the sites. There is one large fire circle. This area is Pack In/Pack Out. Fee per site is $10.00 per night. No motorized boats on the lake. Single Reserve Sites are #1-4 and reserveable through ReserveUSA.com/Recreation.gov. Season of use is July through October and is at an elevation of 8200 feet.


Twin Lakes: 25 miles southeast of Burley. This campground has 10 tables, 1 double toilet and a capacity of 100 people. This area is a Pack In/Pack Out. It has 3 horse corrals. There is a trailhead for Skyline and Pomerelle trails. Fee per site is $5.00 per night. Season of use if July through October and is at an elevation of 8400 feet.


Independence Lakes Trailhead: 12 miles east of Oakley. This is a picnic area with 9 tables and grills, and 1 single unit toilet. There is no water. There are 3 miles of non-motorized trails to the lakes. There is fishing, accessible facilities and livestock facilities. This area is a Pack In/Pack Out. Season of use if June through October and is at an elevation of 8200 feet.


Sublett: South Fork Sublett Creek-2 miles from Sublett Reservoir. This is a campground with 9 tables, and 1 double unit toilet. There is no water. This area has fishing and there are no fees.  Season of use is May through October and is at an elevation of 4800 feet.


Thompson Flat: 25 miles southeast of Burley. This is a campground with 20 individual units, 6 toilets, tables and grills, with intermittent drinking water. Group Site A is up to 6 vehicles, and Group Site B is up to 15 vehicles. Fee for the group reservation area is $50.00 per night and $8.00 a night per site. This area is Pack In/Pack Out. Season of use if July through October and is at an elevation of 8400 feet.


Bennett Springs: 22 miles southeast of Burley. This is a campground with 6 individual units and a single unit toilet. There is no water.  This area has fishing and there are no fees. Season of use if June through October and is at an elevation of 7800 feet. 


Clear Creek: Raft River Mountain in Utah. This is a campground with 14 individual units, toilets and no water. There are no fees and is a Pack In/Pack Out area.  There are accessible facilities and a trailhead to Bull Flat and Lake Fork trails. Season of use if June through October and is at an elevation of 4600 feet.


Mill Flat: North Heglar Canyon. This is a campground with 7 individual units and a single vault toilet. There is no water. There are no fees and is a Pack In/Pack Out area. Horses are allowed and there is stock water. Season of use is June through October and is at an elevation of 5200 feet.


OCCUPANCY – The following act is prohibited within the Minidoka Ranger District:


  Camping in any area including a developed recreation site or an undeveloped site for more than sixteen days in one location. A camper or group of persons camping or group of persons camping together may not relocate within a distance of ten miles of the location where he/she or they have just previously camped with a twenty-eight day period beginning with the first day of the camping period. Pursuant to 36 CFR 262.58(a)


Note: Potable water will be available at developed sites that meet water quality requirements and have sources that are producing water. During the 2009 camping season, a new well for Howell Canyon is planned to be installed by the end of July. Thompson flat and Lake Cleveland water systems will be closed due to unsanitary conditions. Call the Minidoka Ranger District Office for current conditions and drinking water availability.