City Of Rocks National Reserve

Overview

This unique geologic area became a landmark in 1843 for California-bound emigrants. They left wagon ruts across the landscape and their signatures in axle grease on Register Rock, Camp Rock and many others.

A few granite pinnacles and monoliths are in excess of sixty stories tall and 2.5 billion years old. The smooth granite faces offer exceptional rock climbing. Today, over 500 climbing routes have been identified.

The Reserve is managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service.

"We encamped at the city of the rocks, a noted place from the granite rocks rising abruptly out of the ground," wrote James Wilkins in 1849. "They are in a romantic valley clustered together, which gives them the appearance of a city." Wilkins was among the first wagon travelers to fix the name City of Rocks to what looked like "a dismantled, rock-built city of the Stone Age." California Trail pioneers were leaving civilization as they knew it in the East for new lives in the West. Some wrote their names in axle grease on rock faces, and their signatures can be seen today. No doubt thirsty on this northern edge of the Great Basin Desert, one emigrant saw the distant rocks in August like "water thrown up into the air from numerous artificial hydrants." Beginning in 1843, City of Rocks was a landmark for emigrants on the California Trail and Salt Lake Alternate Trail and later on freight routes and the Kelton, Utah to Boise, Idaho stage route. The area's historical and geological values, scenery, and opportunities for recreation led to its designation as City of Rocks National Reserve in 1988. This unit of the National Park System is managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, who invite you to enjoy the wonders of the City of Rocks.

Map

Directions

Driving: 

From Boise, take I-84 East to exit 216 (Declo); go south on Idaho 77 to Conner Creek, then southwest on the Elba-Almo road to the visitor center in Almo and the park entrance. From Pocatello, take I-86 West to I-84 West to exit 216 and proceed as above. From Ogden and the Wasatch Front, take I-84 west to exit 245 (Sublette) and go west to Malta. From Malta take Idaho 77 to Conner Creek, then southwest on the Elba-Almo road to the visitor center in Almo and the park entrance. There is a seasonal summer route from Burley (Idaho 27) to Oakley, then south along the City of Rocks Back Country Byway.

Flying: 

The nearest air service is Burley (charter) 45 miles north, Twin Falls (85 miles NW), Salt Lake City (170 miles SE), Boise (215 miles NW), Pocatello (100 miles NE).

Public Transport: 

There is no public transportation to the reserve.