City of Rocks National Reserve
City of Rocks National Reserve offers scenic walks near the historic California Trail and opportunities for wildlife watching, photography, world-class technical climbing, hiking, picnicking, and camping. The name refers to massive granite rock formations that reminded California-bound emigrants of city buildings.
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Open 8:00 a.m. to 4;30 p.m., seven days a week, April 15 through October 31, and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays during the rest of the year, except holidays. The Reserve is open year-round, but in winter (December through March) it is accessible only by skis, snowmobile, or snowshoes.
The Reserve headquarters is located in an historic building in Almo. Visitor center, trails, wayside exhibits, kiosk, gift shop, grills, picnic tables, campground, drinking water, restrooms. Visit the Reserve's Web site for current information on weather, road conditions, camping, and any restrictions that may be in effect.
There is a seasonal route through Oakley via Route 27. Otherwise, take one of these prominent routes:
From Boise and the West
Take Interstate 84 to the Declo exit south to Idaho Route 77 to Albion, Elba, and Almo.
From Pocatello and Idaho Falls
Take Interstates 86 and 84 to the Declo exit south to Almo.
From Salt Lake City
Tke Interstate 15 and 84 to north of Snowville and Utah Routes 30 and 42, or keep going north on I-84 to the exit for Sublette and then head west toward Malta, Elba, and Almo.
Map Coordinates (NAD83): 42 04.411N; 113 41.705W
City of Rocks National Reserve lies in southern Idaho on the northern edge of the Great Basin, but its streams flow into the Snake River Drainage.
- Outdoor recreation can be pleasant from April through October.
- Summers are generally dry. The 10 to 15 inches of annual precipitation fall mostly in winter and spring.
- Summer temperatures range wildly. Temperatures can approach freezing in July and August, but midday summer temperatures can hit 100 degrees. Those months also see afternoon thunder showers.
- Take precautions for the very intense sunshine at these high elevations.
Regulations and Precautions
The Reserve speed limit is 35 m.p.h. except where posted otherwise. Be wary of blind and sharp corners on the gravel roads. Drive defensively: you may come upon mountain bikers, hikers, or cattle drives using Reserve roads in the spring or fall. Generally the person herding the cows will make a corridor through the herd and escort you through.
Much of the Reserve is private land and discharging or shooting firearms in part of the Reserve is prohibited. Where hunting is allowed, seasons and bag limits are regulated by the Idaho Fish and Game Department.
City of Rocks rivals Yosemite National Park as a western favorite for North American and International technical rock climbers. The degree-of-difficulty scale for rock climbing in the City of Rocks runs from least difficult, at 5.0, to 5.10, most difficult. City of Rocks contains a great number and variety of 5.10 climbs. There are 700 established rock climbing routes, and 300 bolted routes.
Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. For the safety of others, please do not leave pets unattended.
- Backcountry Considerations
- Backcountry Emergencies
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Restrictions and Regulations
- Encountering Wild Animals
- National Park Service Restrictions and Regulations
- Pets in the Parks and Backcountry
- US Forest Service Restrictions and Regulations
Archaeological Resources Protection Act Hotline: 800-227-7286.