Activities for All to Enjoy
There is no recreational shooting permitted anywhere in the Snake River Canyons Park because of the presence of pedestrian, equestrian, biking, and small vehicle activities along with grazing cattle. Work is underway by the BLM, the Fish and Game Department and the Park board to design and develop a world-class shooting range near the Park. This proposed new public range will encompass a variety of shooting distances to accommodate rifle and pistol enthusiasts as well as an archery range.
The Snake River Canyons Park welcomes visitors with their pets. While the remote areas of the Park are appropriate for off-leash adventures, always have your leash handy as you are sharing the trails with others. Pets should always be on leash in the parking areas and the RV camp.
While not within the Snake River Canyons Park boundaries, the rock climbing areas in the Snake River canyon are accessed through Park land. One climbing venue is Tragic Alley, an area with seven climbing routes that were developed in 2017-2019. With spectacular views of Pillar Falls, these 40-50 foot sport routes are for adventurous intermediate climbers, range in grade from 5.9 to 5.11b, and include the valley’s only multi-pitch route.
Dedicated in 2022, the Bridger Baxter Disc and Foot Golf Course opened for play at the corner of Silver Beach Road and Golf Course Road. This free 18-hole course is a challenging combination of elevations and obstacles, with a little Idaho wind thrown in. For disc players, there are the usual baskets on the course ‘greens’. For foot golf players, each of the 18 greens has a target hole for players to aim for. In the parking lot, there is a shelter with picnic tables for visitor comfort before or after play.
With well over 50 species of plants in the Snake River Canyons Park, plan to come out and see what you can find, like the Sego Lily or the various types of milkvetch. There are several types of lichens which color the lava rock outcroppings. Sage brush abounds, and with two different types you can challenge yourself to tell them apart. You’ll find trees located down in the canyon where there is more moisture while the smaller more drought resistant plants prevail up on top.
The Snake River Canyons Park has over 140 species of birds that use the park during different times of the year. Walking the Nellis-Irwin Trail at Yingst Grade Road or exploring the overlooks around the Hansen Bridge to the east, you can see the many different habits the Park offers for the birds. Raptors love the canyon walls that edge the Snake River. Ducks like the water in the river and in Vineyard Lake. Meadowlarks and goldfinches can be found on the grassy areas on the top, while robins like the waterfalls on the Nellis-Irwin Trail.
Trails abound in the Snake River Canyons Park. In the Park section east of Highway 93, hikers can park at the Morley Arbor off of Shoshone Falls Road or at the Zuck Arbor on the 700 East Road. You can plan any length of hike into the Park from these sites. For a more challenging experience, the newly dedicated Nellis and Irwin Trail provides hikers an incredibly scenic path from the canyon rim down to the Snake River. Parking for this trail is available at the trailhead at the south end of Yingst Grade Road on the west side of Highway 93.
Experiencing springtime in the Snake River Canyons Park can hold lots surprises, from a burst of blossoms from the many native plants to sighting a bird of prey on the hunt. The many lava outcroppings offer interesting formations and colors, and can house some of the area’s native wildlife. And history abounds in the Park. Explore parts of the Emigrant Road that runs east to west through the Park, or the Walgamott Road that takes off from the Emigrant Road and runs north toward I-84. Or visit the gravesite of an unknown early pioneer, marked on the south side of Shoshone Falls Road near the 700 East Road. You can also visit the landing site that was never used by Evel Knievel after his aborted mid-flight attempt to fly over the Snake River Canyon.
Bring your unshod or shod horses out to the open spaces and ride the miles of shared trails in the Park. Parking areas are available at the Morley Arbor on Shoshone Falls Road and at the Zuck Arbor on the 700 East Road. Equestrians can follow the path of the early pioneers on the Emigrant Road, ride the many ATV trails, or follow trails east all the way to Vineyard Lake, enjoying the views of the unique Devils Corral formation on the way.
That section of the Snake River Canyons Park on the west side of Highway 93, at the intersection of Silver Beach Road and Golf Course Road, offers a mountain bike course. While still being developed, the area is open for riders to bring their bikes and get some open air exercise. Parking is provided right off Silver Beach Road.
With the development of the Rickett’s RV Camp, overnight stays in the Park are now permitted. This fee-free primitive camp offers a vault toilet facility and 13 individual RV parking pads, each with a picnic table and fire ring, but no electric or water hook-ups. Additionally, a large open area is available to accommodate oversized rigs and equestrian travellers. Corrals are located adjacent to this area. Stays are limited to 5 days. Any overnight parking and dispersed camping are prohibited anywhere in the Park outside of a designated campground.
The Snake River Canyons Park offers miles of diverse dirt trails to explore. From the Snake Canyon rim in the south to the challenging rock crawling lava outcroppings in the north section of the Park, the OHV enthusiast will find many full days of enjoyment putting skills and equipment to the test or just enjoying a family outing in the high desert Park. Parking is available at the Morley Arbor on Shoshone Falls Road or at the Zuck Arbor on the 700 East Road.
The Snake River Canyons Park offers a variety of challenges for the rock crawling enthusiast. With several diverse lava rock outcroppings and the undulating desert terrain, you will find many areas in the Park to keep your skills tuned up. Park your rig at the Morley Arbor or the Zuck Arbor day use areas, unload and head out on the trails to find your first challenge.
The geology of Southern Idaho is something special. It’s a land of contrasts, with volcanic craters, lava caves, hot springs, and river canyons all shaping the landscape. The Snake River Canyons Park contains many interesting lava outcroppings and formations along with the unique Devils Corral area formed during the prehistoric flood that created the Snake River Canyon.
More than a century ago, fur trappers and emigrants followed an old Indian trail that crossed here on its way to Oregon. This north side branch of the Oregon Trail, the Emigrant Road, crosses the Snake River Canyons Park and portions of it are still visible today. In many places, the wagon trains were forced to follow a specified route through the rock outcroppings which wore the rocks they crossed to a smooth surface or created ruts. Go exploring and find these historic pioneer tracings from our Idaho past.