“Summer in El-Wyhee”
A Visitors Guide to Summer Recreation in
Central and Southwestern Idaho
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
There are two
U.S. National Forest systems in the county, the Boise
National Forest and the Sawtooth
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
51, 67 and 20 converge in Mountain Home, providing a direct link to all of
Highway 67 is a four-lane, ten mile road that provides access to Mountain Home
Air Force Base.
temperature on record in Atlanta
was 101 degrees (F). The lowest temperature was minus 19 degrees (F). Typically
only 6 days a year with temperatures above 90 degrees (F) and 232 days a year
with temperatures below 32 degrees (F).
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
men from the Pyrenees Mountains, between France
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Elmore County
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
became a shipping and distribution center for the livestock, mining and logging
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.
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.
production and, more recently, the dairy industry have also made a considerable
contribution to the local economy.
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.
is especially proud of its parks, visitor’s center, golf course, and museum.
centrally located in Elmore
County, Mountain Home is
referred to as “The Hub of Elmore County”.
activities held throughout the year are listed in the El-Wyhee Hi-Lites,
a monthly newspaper covering southwest Idaho.
Mountain Home Public Library
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
There are over
150,000 riders of all ages racing in organized races at permanent tracks across
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.
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.
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
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.
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
For more information contact Tony Haberland at
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.
• 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
• 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.
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
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
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
Rock Canyon Road
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.
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.
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 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.
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
The Bruneau River
is a tributary of the Snake River, in the states of Idaho
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
the West Fork
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.
River region was
historically occupied by the Northern Shoshone, Northern Paiute, and Bannock
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. 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.
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
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/.
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
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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.
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/.
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
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.
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
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.
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”)
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.
is located between War Eagle Mountain
(8,051 feet) on the east and Florida
Mountain (7,784 feet) on
Take a picnic
lunch and make a day of it. There’s a lot to see there.
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,
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.
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
- Gateway to Thousand Springs
The Story of Bliss
the Hagerman Horse, the official Fossil of Idaho, led to the establishment of
the nearby, internationally famous Hagerman
Scientists say that four million years ago, the
terrain included expansive Lake
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
attractions in the area include Little City of Rocks, four state parks, and the
Great Rift with the accompanying geologic phenomena.
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
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
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 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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
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
most magnificent sights.
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
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.
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
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.
School (now the middle school building) and the
land for Faris Field (a game field used for baseball
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/.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
trappers, under the leadership of Donald McKenzie discovered Camas Prairie on
his way from Little Lost River in 1820.
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.
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.
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.
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.
documented as large cattle and horse drives going through Camas Prairie from Oregon to Omaha,
at one time was the largest sheep-shipping center in the world.
and 1885 mining had reached its apex and other means of making a living were
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.
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 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.
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'.
the ‘Gateway to Idaho's High
Desert’ and the Sawtooth Mountains wilderness and famed Sun
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.
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
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/
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.
a tour and explore the trails, but be sure to dress warmly, even during the
Anderson Ranch Reservoir
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
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.
– 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.
August, kokanee migrate up the South Fork Boise River
and other smaller tributaries to spawn. At this time the South
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Dam was built by Idaho Power Company in the early 1950’s to provide power for
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
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
Each of three
reservoir sections provides a unique fishing experience.
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.
with rapalas, rooster tail, or flies along the face
of the dam, the south shore or in the narrows, can be rewarded with excellent
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.
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.
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.
bullheads and channel catfish are bottom feeders and like cut bait or worms.
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
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,
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
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.
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 &
located at the park.
Acerage: 613 acres – Elevation: 2,484 feet
Camping: Developed – Water –
Cabins, Trails, Hiking,
Guided Walks, Fishing, Swimming, Showers, Flush Toilets, Group Shelter, Dump
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.
The gift shop offers a variety of Idaho keepsakes, Oregon Trail, Native American and Lewis
and Clark publications as well as gifts and
South Three Island Park Drive, Glenns Ferry, ID
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 609, Glenns Ferry, Idaho 83623
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.
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!
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.
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 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
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
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!
Would you like to own artwork inspired by the beauty
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.
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
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
They came by
the thousands, to Pioneer City and Idaho
City (then known as Bannock City),
to Placerville and Centerville and granite Creek.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Trail Back Country Byway”
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
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.)
(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
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.
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
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
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
But the town was
not without setbacks. Fire hit the town not only in 1893, but in 1897 and 1906.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
Valley or as we now call it Boise. Just over
the rolling hills is the Boise
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
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
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.
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
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.
lies within the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation area and is
home to falcons, eagles, owls, and hawks to name a few.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
all-around family favorite, the popular Payette River
offers every kind of experience from placid Class I and II water to thundering
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.
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!
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
of Rivers For White Water Rafting:
Class I: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill Level: Very
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.
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.
alongside the Main, North and South Fork of the Payette River
is quite beautiful, especially this time of year.
Payette River &
Black Canyon Dam
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
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.
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
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
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.
The Payette River
is a 62-mile river in southwestern Idaho, and
is a major tributary of the Snake River.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
headworks. This was done to improve regulation of
irrigation diversions from Black Canyon Reservoir to the Black Canyon
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Mountains Near Stanley
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
Chaparral Campground - 3 miles east of Featherville; 7 camping units; restroom;
pets allowed on leash; fishing. Open 5/20 – 9/30. $6.00 per
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
area, then winds its way through a high mountain pass on the final 2 miles down
into the scenic West
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
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
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.
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
2180 American Legion Blvd., Mountain Home,
several small and scenic campgrounds along the Middle Fork
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.
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
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.
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.
River Lake: 12 sites with tables, fire grills,
restrooms, drinking water. Fee $10.00 per night.
River Lake: 4 sites with tables, grills,
restroom, no water. No fee.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
and Steel Mountain.
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
crosses or overlaps several Forest Service roads especially at its northern
end, but for the most part they are well-blazed and signed.
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.
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.
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
of the trail are steep and rocky. The trail is open to motorized recreation
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
passes through areas grazed by sheep and cattle in the summer and fall.
beginning, 6760 ft. elevation, is on the east side of FS Road 129. Parking and
a loading ramp is available.
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.
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
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.
beginning, 6400 ft. elevation, is approximately 0.2 miles southeast along the
Crosscut Trail from its intersection with FS Road 183.
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
Camp Creek Trail #177 - This trail crosses Camp and Tally
Creeks several times, and from a ridge offers views of Pine and Featherville.
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.
beginning, 5250 ft. elevation, is located on the north side of FS Road 128.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
OCCUPANCY – The following act is prohibited within the
Minidoka Ranger District:
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.