City of Rocks National Reserve in Southern Idaho is a rock climbers dream come true. Named in 1849 by James F. Wilkins who was a westbound immigrant on the California Trail after he saw the rock formations that reminded him of a city.
City of Rocks has more than 700 rock climbing routes through out the park. Some of the granite spires and domes are more than 2.5 million years old. The park also offers hiking, biking, and horseback trails. The park also includes Idaho’s largest forest of pinon pines.
Top things to do at City of Rocks National Reserve
City of Rocks National Reserve Visitor Center
The visitor center is best place to start your visit. You can check in if you are camping, ask about rock climbing, watch a film on the area, and pick up a junior ranger program.
Watch birds and hummingbirds at the visitor center
While we were at the visitor center we saw a ton of Rufous Hummingbirds and Black Chinned Hummingbirds. There are two feeders right by the front door and they were everywhere. We went back after the visitor center was closed and were able to photograph them.
Check out the wipe board in the visitor center to see which birds have been seen at the feeder.
Replica California Trail Wagon
Check out the replica California Trail Wagon outside the visitor center.
Become a Junior Ranger
The Junior Ranger program takes you into the park and gives you the chance to learn more about the area.
Hike some of the 22 miles of trails within the park
Short, relatively easy hikes include
Window Arch Trail, 300 feet, one way
Bath Rock Trail, 1,800 feet loop
Creekside Towers Trail, 0.6 miles one way
Longer, more difficult trails include
Geological Interpretive Trail, 1.2-mile loop
Flaming Rock Trail, 0.76 miles, strenuous loop
North Fork Circle Creek, 6.3 miles between trailheads
California Trail Emigrant Signatures
One of the cool things you can see in City of Rocks is the signatures of emigrants traveling on the California Historic Trail. The signatures were left in axle-grease from 1843-1882.
Camp at the City of Rocks Campground
City of Rocks has 64 campgrounds within the park. One of the cool things about these campgrounds is some of them are pretty spread out from other campgrounds. You can feel like you have the entire park to yourself. All campsites have fire rings and picnic tables.
Clean vault toilets are located in central areas, and drinking water (April-October) is available at Bath Rock and Emery Pass Picnic Area. Campsite fee are $12.72 per night.
Enjoy the Auto Tour of the park
Explore the gravel roads of City of Rocks NR! Keep an eye out for wildlife and rock climbers. There are only a couple of main roads through the park so it is really easy to explore.
173 bird species have been documented in the checklist area have been documented! This is a great park to see Pinyon Jay, Virginia’s Warbler, Gray Flycatcher, Juniper Titmouse, Bushtit, Greater Sage-Grouse, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Plumbeous Vireo.
City of Rocks National Reserve Info and Things to Know
City of Rocks National Reserve
3035 S Highway 77 Spur
Almo, ID 83312
From Boise: take I-84 East to exit 216 (Declo); go south on Highway 77 to Conner Creek Junction; turn right (west) on Highway 77 Spur to Almo. The visitor center and the park entrance are south of the post office and businesses.
From Pocatello: take I-86 West to I-84 West to exit 216 and proceed as above. From Salt Lake City: take I-84 west to exit 245 (Sublette), turn left and go west to Malta.
Driving from Salt Lake City: take I-84 west to exit 245 (Sublette), turn left and go west to Malta. From Malta take Highway 77 to Conner Creek Junction, continuing straight west through the junction the Highway becomes 77 Spur. Take Highway 77 Spur to Almo. The visitor center and the park entrance are south of the post office and businesses.
Call the City of Rocks Visitor Center at 208-824-5901 for the latest road conditions.
There is no public transportation to the Reserve.
The park is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Some roads may be closed due to weather in the winter.
City of Rocks Visitor Center
The visitor center for City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed on Sunday, Monday and legal holidays).
The visitor center is open daily, 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including holidays
There is no cost to enter the City of Rocks National Reserve
National Parks near City of Rocks National Reserve
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Fossil Butte National Monument (Wyoming)