Looking for a great trail in City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho? AllTrails has 7 great hiking trails, views trails, walking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 4 moderate trails in City of Rocks National Reserve ranging from 1.4 to 10.3 miles and from 6,446 to 10,308 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

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On his way to California in 1849, emigrant James F. Wilkens described the dramatic geological area he encountered as "City of Rocks." The name remains, as well as hundreds of pioneer inscriptions, wagon ruts, and journal accounts, testifying to the nearly quarter-million people who traveled through here between 1843 and 1869. Visitors today will see nearly the same scene - granite spires and monoliths reaching 60 stories tall. Geologists estimate the oldest granite to exceed 2.5 billion years old. Climbers find the younger granite of the Almo Pluton to be some of the best rock they've ever ascended. Established by Congress in 1988 as a National Reserve, City of Rocks encompasses 14,407 acres of federal, state, and private lands containing grand scenery, rich cultural history, and places of relative solitude and silence. The Reserve's visitor center in Almo provides interpretive exhibits and detailed information about camping, hiking, and other recreational opportunities.

If having the trail all to yourself. keep reading. I would say the distance and difficulty are pretty accurate. I did the trail clockwise and was glad I did, even though the incline at the end was tiring. Large parts of the trail are in direct sunlight, so I would recommend sun protection. It did get a little buggy once you were inside the grazing area, due to the cows and cow pies, but wasn't too bad. The trail was a little overgrown and I was glad I wore long pants and a thin long sleeved shirt. Overall, it was a good, quiet trail with beautiful outlooks. Most of the views were in the beginning, so if you aren't sure about the trail, you can start going clockwise and then backtrack to make it a shorter out-and-back ordeal. Lots of climbers to watch when you get done!

Great hike for a quick overlook of City of Rocks, a nice little creek ( this the name) coming down part of it, great rocks to boulder over for youngsters and oldsters alike that aren’t equipped for the bigger scale climbing. We took another back way down to the lower part of this trail ( called staircase) which be prepared to do some uphill on the way back up , beautiful terrain and changing scenery makes it a fun trail.

Fun trail in City of Rocks. Lots of cool rock formations.

Cool loop trail. Lots of cool rock formations. Lots of places to rock climb.

hiking
1 month ago

Quick loop trail. Cool rock formations. Lots of places for climbing.

Here’s a video of the hike from yesterday! https://youtu.be/4M_4XaXiu68 Loved this place! ALMO The town outside is friendly! And the park is amazing. Feels like someone copied a piece of Joshua tree national park and added it in Idaho and made it even more beautiful!

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed City of Rocks. The drive there was beautiful and the park memorable. Make a point to visit Register Rock to step back in time and note the signatures from visitors traveling on the California Trail during the 19th century. The Tea Kettle trail takes hikers through a variety of terrain, and may allow visits with local cows. It is very sunny with little shade except for a small Aspen glade. Segments of the trail are covered in dried grass and cacti are near the path so some alertness is needed while enjoying the beautiful scenery. The only drawback (besides the not terrific trail maps referenced by Dana Egreczky) was the road around the park, which was not paved. Recommend driving a sturdy car with good clearance. Another point of interest: Apparently most of the visitors to the park come for rock climbing. As a non-climber, it was fascinating to watch the climbers ad partners navigate the steep rocks I viewed as interesting scenery.

hiking
2 months ago

First, know that the drive to City of Rocks National Reserve is special and worth the ride even without going into the park. Travelers will be in and see a vast rolling valley of various green hues surrounded by and sprinkled with large ridges/mounds of (mostly dark) volcanic rock. Picturesque farms with red barns, pastures, and concentric lines of plowed fields offer images normally seen only in art galleries. Traffic is non-existent. We pulled over several times whenever we wanted to take pictures. The folks at the Visitor Center were friendly and helpful. BUT, the free park map, which provides road details for both City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rock State Park (neighbors that share common boundaries and ranger staff) does not have trail details. To get detailed trail information, visitors need to pay a very reasonable $2.00 for an additional map. Knowing nothing about the park, going back and forth between the two maps was challenging at first. We had to take some time to figure out how the information on the road map correlated to the information on the hiking map, and as a result, our first excursion on a trail was not on the trail we thought we were hiking. After some additional reconnoitering, we started hiking the Tea Kettle Trail, which is behind Elephant Rock. It was worth the effort. After passing through a secured gate (we just needed to remove/replace a chain), we walked for several miles uphill and finally reached the maximum trail altitude (just under 7,000 feet). By then, we were in an alpine forest of pines and aspen. During the hike, we passed a few notable rock formations (Nematode, Bath Rock). At one point, the trail makes a right turn as the land ahead is privately owned. We had lots of company from a set of grazing cows. Had we continued, we would have also seen Tea Kettle Spring, Bath Rock, and a number of other formations, but we ran out of time and had to move on. This is a thoroughly beautiful trail in a great park and we can't wait to return!

hiking
2 months ago

First, know that the drive to City of Rocks National Reserve is special and worth the ride even without going into the park. Travelers will be in and see a vast rolling valley of various green hues surrounded by and sprinkled with large ridges/mounds of (mostly dark) volcanic rock. Picturesque farms with red barns, pastures, and concentric lines of plowed fields offer images normally seen only in art galleries. Traffic is non-existent. We pulled over several times whenever we wanted to take pictures. The folks at the Visitor Center were friendly and helpful. BUT, the free park map, which provides road details for both City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rock State Park (neighbors that share common boundaries and ranger staff) does not have trail details. To get detailed trail information, visitors need to pay a very reasonable $2.00 for an additional map. Knowing nothing about the park, going back and forth between the two maps was challenging at first. We had to take some time to figure out how the information on the road map correlated to the information on the hiking map, and as a result, our first excursion on a trail was not on the trail we thought we were hiking. After some additional reconnoitering, we started hiking the Tea Kettle Trail, which is behind Elephant Rock. It was worth the effort. After passing through a secured gate (we just needed to remove/replace a chain), we walked for several miles uphill and finally reached the maximum trail altitude (just under 7,000 feet). By then, we were in an alpine forest of pines and aspen. During the hike, we passed a few notable rock formations (Nematode, Bath Rock). At one point, the trail makes a right turn as the land ahead is privately owned. We had lots of company from a set of grazing cows. Had we continued, we would have also seen Tea Kettle Spring, Bath Rock, and a number of other formations, but we ran out of time and had to move on. This is a thoroughly beautiful trail in a great park and we can't wait to return!

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail - mix of sage and dry forest with spectacular overlooks along the first half (walking clockwise). Lots of opportunities for side excursions, and connects nicely to the other trails in the area if you just want to make it longer. Would be five stars, but there are SO MANY cowpies and horse leavings. Neither bothers me much, but I did have to wash the dog in the creek after she rolled in one.

hiking
3 months ago

tread in great shape and surface water running as of mid June. This loop is not signed, but can be followed with the Alltrails shapefile.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

I’m so glad I used this app while hiking! I would have been lost due to many trails veering off. Beautiful views, saw some climbers but did not see a soul on the trail. Nice in some aspects but since I was by myself did get worried but I finished so it was fine! Nothing too technical or difficult except the stone steps on the way back but I just took some breaks.

hiking
3 months ago

We only completed the first portion - from bath Rock Parking Lot to the Parking Lot Trail but it was a lovely little hike. Kids ages 5, 5, and 1.5 loved it and had a great time! The stream was very nice and the views were great!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail to hit in the morning spring or fall. Definitely more like 6.5+ miles. Sturdy shoes recommended. Clockwise is the way to go.

This was a nice hike through a peaceful setting. I would rate it as easy, rather than moderate, though the "stairway" was a little steep. A good lunchtime stroll.

hiking
3 months ago

the trailhead sign says "Teakettle Trail"

This was such a beautiful hike! It is rated as moderate but all of my kids ages 11, 8 and 5 handled it wonderfully. The scenery was amazing. The only thing about this hike is there are a lot of off-shooting trails. I ended up using this app the entire time to make sure we stayed on the right trail. Even though I had no cell service, my GPS worked and this app was a lifesaver!

hiking
4 months ago

The hiking was awesome, but CLIMBING was epic!!!! Climbed on elephant rock and bath rock and it was the best climbing I’ve done yet. Absolutely beautiful reserve. Highly encouraged to go see if haven’t yet.

rocky
5 months ago

This is a great little hike not hard at all. There was still snow in spots on 4/20/2019.

Like the trail guide says, there are so many interconnecting trails here that it is hard to describe them separately. I recommend just exploring the area rather than worrying about a destination, although you can make a loop around most of the park: Parking Lot Rock is a good place to start for that.

Easy walk around magnificent Bath Rock, or as the natives call it "Bath tub Rock".

Beautiful place. I do this hike every year. The only thing is that it is not even close to Malta. The reserve is between Almo and Oakley. I wish All Trails would get it right.

Beautiful. I do this hike every year.

Amazing place to hike and climb. I go there at least once a year. So beautiful. Don't know why they say it is close to Albion, as it is located between Almo and Oakley. Not even close to Albion.

snowshoeing
rocky
snow
7 months ago

Beautiful place, completely different feel in winter but you need snowshoes and 4wd to get around.

11 months ago

really beautiful. city of rocks is full of dramatic scenery.

hiking
11 months ago

Great views going up steep side first. Coming down is longer with fewer viewpoints but got see a lot of rock climbers. Nice hike.

hiking
Sunday, September 16, 2018

So. Many. Cow pies. Despite that there are quite a few beautiful vistas on this loop. There were a lot of climbers and hikers yesterday but my husband and I didn’t come across any other person when we did this loop. It felt like more than 6 miles. I think if we hiked this loop again we would go clockwise. Going counterclockwise on this loop made for a pretty intense hike for the last half. I think the best time to do this hike would either be in early spring or late fall as most of the trail has little shade. We were burning up even though it was mid 70s, overcast, and breezy.

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