"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, July 22, 2019

The "Other" City of Rocks - Idaho

Castle Rocks State Park
Almo, Idaho

City of Rocks, Idaho
Our very last stay in Idaho brought us to another spot on the map we knew nothing about.  Castle Rocks State Park outside of Almo has loads of history.  We stayed at Smoky Mountain Campground in the park.  It's a very nice campground.  Very spaced out, private sites with long drives,  50amp and a dump station with fresh water fill.
#9, our site.
Nice paved sites with a large patio area with table and fire pit.  Lots of low shrubs and trees for privacy but not tall enough to provide much shade.  It was in the 90s again so having 50amp was perfect.  Idaho has some state parks where they charge more if you are Non-resident.  I don't really care for this practice as it seems rather non welcoming to me.  And why not round up the prices?  Kind of makes it difficult to pay in cash when the price is $33.62 per night.

Hurley loved the site and settled right in.
This picture is from up on our roof to get above the shrubs.
My brother's site next to ours.  I took this picture while I was up on the roof.
My brother and I took off on a ride to explore a nearby dirt road.  It was pretty rough but took us through some pretty area.  We're pretty sure no one has been on this road for some time as it was quite overgrown in areas.  We hoped it would take us on a shortcut to the valley where The Rocks are.
Nope.  It eventually fizzled out so we turned around and decided to take a drive south to the Utah border which was just a few miles away.  We hoped to find a geocache hidden on the border.  After a very long dusty drive we both got tired of the blah, hot, dusty trail and turned back.
In town we filled up with gas and read this sign of the area.  Good info here.
The all purpose, gas station, post office, grocery store in Almo, population 270.
On the way to the Valley, we came across some residents.  At least they oil the dirt here so it's not so bad driving on.
Commute traffic.
It was so cute to see this family working the herd.  The youngest son was about 8 or 10 years old.  He was a pro up on that horse, herding the cattle.
We drove a bit out in the valley but didn't want to see too much before Steve and Diane could join us the next day.  We were looking for some off-roading but couldn't find much.
We found a promising road but it ended behind the rocks.

It's really cool out here.  I wonder how many have visited this little known park.  It's definitely worth a stop if you come by this out of the way corner of Idaho.

We found one other spot that I wanted to hike out to.  Until I saw this sign:
Nope.  It's time to head back, cool off and start the BBQ.
After dinner we took the dogs for a walk in the nearby park/pond so they could swim and have a little fun.  Hurley and Ruger gave it Two Tails Up.
The next day was a bit cooler and clearer out.  The four of us took a drive back through the City of Rocks to investigate.  We stopped back in town to get some munchies at the gas station and saw this wagon behind it.
They call this area Circle Creek Basin.  It was an important stop along the 2000 mile trail for the emigrants as it had water, grass and fuel.  After weeks on the flat, dusty plains, they were fascinated by the rocks and enjoyed the break.
Here is Signature Rock where many of the old time passers by would carve their names or stories.

Even the swallows liked to stop here too.
Steve, Diane and Steve.
They call this Elephant Rock.  I didn't see it at first.  The head is on the top, right.
There it is!
The area is also very popular for climbers.  If you can get your small, high clearance vehicle up here there is some gorgeous back country camping.  Mainly tenters and campers although we did see some brave RVers with small rigs.

 The remnants of an old homestead.
A small trail leads up to Window Rock. (above)  View out the window, below.

The moon was rising over the jagged rocks.

 It's a loooong drive from Almo to Oakely, through the valley on the dirt road.

Steinfells Dome
Last of the Rocks before we cross into the other side of the valley.  Long and sometimes bumpy drive.
We eventually made it into the bigger town of Oakley, Idaho.  With a population under 1000, the town was founded by Mormon immigrants in 1878. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is known for its collection of old stone and brick buildings in the area, which date back to 1883.  Oakley stone, an Idaho quartzite, is quarried near here.
We had a great meal at Judy's Café, a nice place with great food run by a friendly family.
The downtown doesn't have much going on but there are some very cute homes in the historic area and some larger ranches on the outskirts.  I didn't get a picture but there is a very cute small campground (maybe run by the city/county?) here for free if you are in this area for some reason.  It was late and we didn't want to drive back on the bumpy road in the dark through the Rocks, so we took the hour plus drive up and around to get back to camp.

Thanks Idaho for some more fun!  Next we do a hit and run in Utah in an even smaller town before entering Nevada.


  1. We were pleasantly surprised with Idaho. Seems like you found some really unique and pretty places. Interesting landscape!

    1. We've been to Idaho a few times and there is so much to do and see. Very boondocking friendly too.

  2. Wonderful rocks!! We still haven't done justice to Idaho. I'm sure it will still be there when we can get back :-))

    1. We'll keep coming back. Lots to see and do.

  3. Another great spot for us to put on our list to go exploring on the 4 wheeler! Love all those rock formations.


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