City of Rocks National Reserve

Our second destination in Idaho was the mountainous high desert reserve known as the “City of Rocks”. As the name implies, this landscape is filled with granite peaks and unique rock formations. Naturally, this park is a hot spot for world class rock climbing. We spent three nights parked on some BLM land just outside the park. Having already been in southern Idaho, we were aware of how surprisingly hot it was here so we did our best to stay in the shade (nothing two Texans couldn’t handle though).

Loop Trail Hike

Having researched AllTrails, we found a 7 mile loop comprised of multiple trails within the park. After eating breakfast, we headed for the trailhead stopping for a scenic overlook along the way. The trail started near a formation called “Parking Lot Rock” and there were already many climbers scaling its large walls. The loop led us through the unique rock formations then we climbed to a ridge that overlooked the bulk of the park. Along the way we mistook a cow laying down for a bear that gave a moment of fright then a good laugh.

Although the trail was relatively short, we took our time, stopping for overlooks and to catch our breath along the way. That evening we returned to our dispersed site, showered, ate dinner, then bedded down for the night.

Large Pockets Formed in Granite

Bouldering

Given this area is a “climbing mecca” and I was itching to break in our new crash pad, we spent our second day at the park hopping from boulder to boulder with the help of Mountain Project, an online climbing guide. We had a great time hanging out near to boulder attempting previously established “problems” (bouldering routes) and making up some of our own.

Takeaways

This was an awesome location we would like to return to with improved rock-climbing ability. We would also most likely plan our trip during a cooler season having now experienced the surprisingly warm southern Idaho summer. See you later!

-Alan

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