Castle Rocks is a dramatic geological area of granite spires and monoliths similar to its larger neighbor, City of Rocks, to the north. The 1,440-acre Ranch Unit encompasses a portion of the rocks, as well as remnants of its ranching history, Indian pictographs, and superb recreational opportunities. This unit includes two picnic areas, miles of multiple-use trails, and excellent sport climbing routes. Castle Rocks State Park includes two other park units near Almo: Smoky Mountain (240-acres), and the Administrative Unit (12-acres). Smoky Mountain Unit offers 38 campsites (6 are open to equestrian campers), RV dump station, and equestrian trail head for the historic California Trail. The Administrative Unit includes the visitor center for Castle Rocks and City of Rocks, a picnic area, historic wagons exhibit, and park offices.

hiking
2 months ago

Almo, Idaho is home to two magnificent parks with natural rock sculpture gardens. This trail takes you around the rock hoodoo forest of Castle Rocks State Park. I suggest you to download the gpx and load it into your phone before starting the trail as most of Almo and the park has no cell service. While this trail takes you around the perimeter of the rock garden, going in will surely offer another amazing experience of hikes and rock climbing (rock faces). Most of the trail is well marked. From the trailhead, we walked into the rock formations. About 3/4 of the trail is well marked in the counterclockwise direction of the trail. However, once you get to the 3/4 mark, the trail markers seem to guide hikers back into the trail rather than back to the trailhead. Because of this, we ended up going through some of the rock formations, which cut off or down some of the trail. We finished the trail from the further parking lot, walking down the road back to the trailhead parking lot. Though we trekked back via the park road, it seems the actual trail actually also does end through walking on the park road to the trailhead parking lot, but from a different entry point. We are happy with the trail we ended up taking though it was not the expected one.

We went on this trek the spring. Going up to the high point, the trail was mostly flat with gradual 900 foot climb. However going down from the high point was a bit harder. The ascent down was steeper in some sections. Some sections were rocky and there were about 5-6 streams to cross, with some muddy sections. We neither got wet or stuck in mud. We did not have any of these obstacles on the way up. Though we saw some bought mountain bikes, and mountain bikers can do this trail, we did not see any on this trail. The way up would probably be easier for the bikers than the way down. The way down also had some ruts or gullys that could be tricky for mountain bikers to go around. I am saying this as a non-mountain biker! :D

Note: Alltrails named this trek "Cathedral Rocks Loop." but at the park, trail markers named this trek as "Castle Rocks Trail."

Also, somehow my recording stopped several times during the trek, so though our stats state 5.5 miles for about 5 hours, it was actually 6.2 miles in 5 hours.

Youtube video: https://youtu.be/fnehj4E-ofc

Wednesday, June 08, 2016