Monday, November 23, 2015

City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho - Day Trip

Roger and I spent my birthday weekend in Idaho exploring City of Rocks National Reserve.  The Reserve is located northwest of the Great Salt Lake, near the town of Almo, in south central Idaho.  The drive is just under 3 hours from Salt Lake City.  City of Rocks is best known as a rock climbing destination with numerous granite formations throughout the Reserve, but it also has a rich history as being a landmark for emigrants headed to California along the California Trail in the 1800s.

Entering the Reserve

City of Rocks National Reserve

We spent the day driving a loop through the Reserve and along its western boundary, stopping for photos and short walks along the way.  The road followed the original California Trail after entering the park and passed several major landmarks including the famous Register Rock.  At the Twin Sisters rock formation, we stopped to enjoy the quiet solitude of a late autumn day at one of the many beautiful camp sites scattered throughout the Reserve.

Register Rock where emigrants left their names
The Twin Sisters - a prominent landmark for emigrants on the California Trail

After briefly leaving the park and reentering farther north, we passed through Emery Canyon and many of the famous rock climbing areas along the way.  The Bread Loaves and Bath Rock were interesting sites, and a fresh coat of snow near the pass made for some scenic views.  We stopped and explored the area around Window Arch, one of the most beautiful areas of the Reserve, before completing the loop back at Register Rock.

Roger at Window Arch

 Near Window Arch

Enjoying the scenery around Window Arch

We stopped again at Treasure Rock before leaving the park to enjoy one of the best views we had seen along the loop.  The sun was lower in the sky and the granite formations in the valley below looked even more stunning.  After exiting the park, we headed to Lava Hot Springs to spend Sunday relaxing in the thermal pools.

View from Treasure Rock