City of Rocks is surprisingly different from all the other places I’ve visited this year. It was one cold trip this weekend, much colder than I expected . The rock formations are unique to this area of Idaho, hard, tough and the sand that erodes off the rock is Course blowing in the wind. I can see the attraction to climbers.
I was off to visit my father in Utah and made a few stops along the way. I stopped at the Malad Gorge State Park for a quick look and then on to the City of Rocks National Reserve for a few days. Having such a place so close and not visiting had to stop. I traveled over 700 miles and spent four days completing my scheduled stops and a few un-scheduled stops as well.
Malad Gorge State Park Idaho
Malad Gorge State Park is located right off I-84 going south from Boise. Sure it was kind of Interesting, it just wasn’t as grand as the other sites I’ve seen this summer. I imagine when the Malad River is running higher with the spring run off it would have much more of an impressive appearance.
Some guy walked past me and asked “what’s down there” I replied “the gorge”. His reply “a hole in the ground uh!”. “Yep pretty much” I said. That’s about what it looks like with little water running through the Gorge (See photos below). Yet worth the stop for a moment at least.
City of Rocks National Reserve Idaho
I arrived at the City of Rocks about 2:00 PM on Saturday and drove through the Smoky Mountain State Park campground. It’s located before the City of Rocks. The sites are close together, yet they looked kept up and maintained. And there it was, that famous granite rock I’ve only seen on TV. Jutting out of the ground every where, creating different sculptures with every point of view.
The white grayish rock seems out-of-place with all the volcanic activity throughout Idaho’s history, but there it is. I found a nice place at bath tube rock, about midway through the reserve and set up camp for the night. At bath tube rock I watched as people scaled to the top about 200 feet high. This young couple threw off a large pumpkin, well you guessed it, Pumpkin puree. That was Halloween night, how fitting for a pumpkin to take the plunge on that special day.
One my second day I moved back down to another campground, closer to a popular climbing rock (Elephant Rock). I watched climbers throughout the day with my binoculars. One guy wasn’t using ropes, he was just free climbing and he made it look easy. I watched others spend hours preparing for their ascent, the free climber took about ten minutes to summit. Pretty amazing to watch.
That night it began to rain right after dinner and I settled in for the night and in the morning I woke up with snow. Definitely a couple of chilly days. The road was flooded and slick with mud on my way out so I took my time driving back to I-84, then south to visit with my Dad.