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Old 04-13-2014, 10:54 PM   #1
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City of Rocks

City of Rocks is a National Reserve in southeast Idaho near the Utah border. The California Trial, an off-shoot of the Oregon Trail, runs through the Reserve. City of Rocks became a temporary stopping spot along the trail because of the water and grasslands. Circle Creek and it's branches run through the Reserve.

Besides the history of the pioneers moving west, it's one of the best places for rock climbers. The literature I've read says some of the best granite formations in the U.S. are at City of Rocks. It's become a destination for climbers throughout the world. It has easy climbing routes and some of the most difficult. I know of at least one 5.13C route in the Reserve. I believe 5.13 is classified as the hardest routes. Not sure where the 'C' comes in. I'm assuming harder than an 'A' or 'B' route. I'm afraid of heights and falling so I keep my feet on the ground and leave the real climbing to others.

I headed down on Saturday after doing a few things around the house. In less than two hours I can be at the campground. There are 60+ campsites and it cost $12.72 per night to camp. I don't imagine most people hunt for the change so they probably do what I did and put $13 into the envelope. I'm sure the government is making an extra $.28 per night on most people. The weather on Saturday afternoon was actually warm. Shorts and shirtsleeve weather. Turned windy at night.

Be prepared for lots of pictures.

This is my camp site. Fairly secluded and right beneath a large rock formation.



Another shot of camp. You can see the location of the picnic table and fire pit.



Window Arch.



Some of the rock formations near camp.



Looking down on camp near the top of the rock formation. No, I didn't climb up the steep side. The back side has a nice, gentle slope.



Bath Rock is one of the larger rocks that sits opposite the main parking lot. There are a couple of bathrooms, park information and the fee box at the parking lot, including trailheads. The back side of Bath Rock is a popular climbing spot. You can walk the trail to the back side and watch the climbers up close.



I hiked up the road looking for a sunset picture. The rock formation on the left is Parking Lot Rock, in the middle is Morning Glory Spire and the large rock on the right is Anteater. The 5.13C route is on the Spire.



Last rays of light on the Parking Lot Rock formation. Not quite sunset.



The valley, looking east.



Bath Rock at sunset.



The wind blew all night. I took the top down just in case. I think it would have been ok, my camp was protected some from the wind, but better safe than sorry. Woke up the next morning to a dusting of snow.



Took a hike up the road to where I was the night before. This is nearly the same shot of Bath Rock that I took at sunset.



This one is called Window Rock. The window is near the top, center.



Twin Sisters is in the southern part of the Reserve. The weather started to clear up a bit over the southern sky. Didn't stay that way for long before more snow started to fall though.



Fat chipmunk near the Twin Sisters.



Twin Sisters range.



Treasure Rock. Really dwarfs the SMB.



Camp Rock has lots of signatures left by the pioneers who camped along the trail. They used axle grease to sign their names.



Looking west-northwest toward City of Rocks as I was leaving.



Circle Creek Overlook looking north toward Steinfells Dome and Granite Peak.




It was a short trip but well worth it. I hadn't been to City of Rocks for quite a few years. Now I want to go back.

Mike
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Old 04-13-2014, 11:16 PM   #2
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Re: City of Rocks

Looks like you had a great trip. Love the photos. One more place to add to my list.
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:10 AM   #3
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Re: City of Rocks

A favorite of mine too. I've been going there for 20 years.

One moonless night in 2003 one of those fat chipmunks moved into the engine compartment of my Westfalia. He/she made a huge ruckus--I swear it sounded like something scraping down the sides of the van. I thought it had to be a mountain lion, but it was so dark I couldn't see anything. At about four in the morning, I moved the van to another camping spot. Twenty minutes later there it was again--a huge ruckus. When it was finally light, I was able to look around and see what it was. He/She had moved in, brought bits of cactus and other things in there to eat. Ended up driving to the ranger station to hose my new friend out. No harm done though, he/she waddled off in a huff.

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Old 04-14-2014, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: City of Rocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta
A favorite of mine too. I've been going there for 20 years.

One moonless night in 2003 one of those fat chipmunks moved into the engine compartment of my Westfalia. He/she made a huge ruckus--I swear it sounded like something scraping down the sides of the van. I thought it had to be a mountain lion, but it was so dark I couldn't see anything. At about four in the morning, I moved the van to another camping spot. Twenty minutes later there it was again--a huge ruckus. When it was finally light, I was able to look around and see what it was. He/She had moved in, brought bits of cactus and other things in there to eat. Ended up driving to the ranger station to hose my new friend out. No harm done though, he/she waddled off in a huff.

Z
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Nice pics Mike!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:47 AM   #5
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Re: City of Rocks

nv
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: City of Rocks

Which do you consider the best approach for those of us with no 4x4,East or West?
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:02 AM   #7
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Re: City of Rocks

great pix as always! crazy it snowed on you, we didnt even get any rain where we were camped.

i have some rock climbing friends that spend most their weekends at this place, but i am not a climber. ive been trying to get people interested in going to check this place out (non rock climbing friends), but everyones scared for some reason. wife and i plan on going here soon so we can check it out before its a 100 degrees during the day. id imagine this place gets a little on the warm side in the summer months eh?

thanks for the info too. the website was not all that clear and made it sound like vehicles over certain length were not allowed. when i called and asked i got a lot of uhhhs, and ummmm's. lady couldnt tell me if that was truck and trailer combined or what. got put on hold and never called back.

id have been scared to park where you were in this pic...


that rock looks like its ready for relocation, lol.

next time any members plan on going here, post up (if you dont mind company). we would love to make a meet and greet out of it. especially if someone familiar with the area is available to show us around
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:11 PM   #8
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Re: City of Rocks

Vehicles with trailers can stay at Castle rock state park: http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/castle-rocks

There really isn't room in the main city of rocks area for trailers. The RV Campground has partial hook ups and a dump station, plus it's very pretty there too.

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Old 04-14-2014, 12:15 PM   #9
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Re: City of Rocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
Which do you consider the best approach for those of us with no 4x4,East or West?
Both roads would be good in dry weather, probably 7 or 8 months of the year. If you are there during the winter or extremely muddy times, then the east approach is probably best. It's paved road all the way to Almo. The road turns gravel/dirt just past the City of Rocks visitor's center which is south of town. The road looks to be good and solid coming from the east.

Quote:
Originally Posted by id have been scared to park where you were in this pic...
[img
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/gallery/image.php?image_id=27378[/img]

that rock looks like its ready for relocation, lol.

I checked that rock out too. I thought the same thing you did. It looked like it had a pretty solid perch though.

Mike
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:50 AM   #10
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Re: City of Rocks

well mike, due to your great snaps, the wife is now wanting to check this place out, so were headed up there this weekend. we are taking the mt bikes and was wondering if either you or zeta know where the bike legal trailheads are? neither castle rock or city of rocks websites show where the trails stop or start and all i was really able to dig up was that there was 2-2.5 mile loops somewhere in these two parks from a story ran in the local paper, lol.

and since you guys are both familiar with the area, maybe a favorite spot within the parks of where to camp? would like to be near the trailheads, but if theres spots we shouldnt miss, we are all ears. judging by the trip reports ive read from you both, im sure we would enjoy most the same places you gents do. we dont care which park and we dont need any hookups, all we want is a little privacy (this will be our first solo trip since we installed our poptop ), which looks like it isnt too terribly hard to find judging by the sites photos. any recommandations?

thanks in advance gents...
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