After arriving in Idaho for a stay with my mother, I was keen on what kind of outdoor adventures I would be able to find. My brother who lives near by was more than happy to volunteer a few areas for me to go. He suggested Little City Of Rocks, I felt intrigued and figured it would make a good first solo outing for the trip. It has an easy trail to walk, lots of areas for scrambling and he said it is a good area for some solitude.
I headed out for the two hour drive from Pocatello on Saturday morning. My plan was to head for Little City of Rocks and then use the nearby BLM camp areas so that I could drive back through Craters of The Moon.
When I arrived I felt immediate awe at how empty the place was. Sure it was a cloudy day, with a slight chance of rain. But, in Washington any place with this ease of access to class three scrambling and hiking would be full of vans. It was raining as I got there so I hopped into the back of my car, sipped some electrolytes and waited for it to subside. There was a strange beauty to watching the rain roll across the high plateau of eastern Idaho.
The first thing I would caution most people on is that as you arrive there is a sign stating to use caution along the road. I over read into it and thought I should walk down the road. However, if the road is reasonably dry and you dont drive a sedan, you should be fine to drive down it.
The hike through the gorge is nice and easy as you wind along. The rock formations are mesmerizing and the whole thing felt magical. Due to the light rain the most unfortunate part of my day was that many of the areas rocks were too wet to scramble.
I was at one point able to walk up a main hill and on to the top of the plateau above. The view of another storm rolling across the wilds was a joy to watch. Here I also found a couple of rock outcroppings that were a low class II and I got to perform at least a few rock moves for the day.
All in all the walk itself was a joy. But, if you can find yourself a nice dry day, bring a climbing rack and go nuts. There is a thousand spots with route variations to take on. For information on the routes you can check out this page on Mountain Project.
I ended up finding a small BLM campground that was a 45 minute drive NE of Little City of Rocks. It was about halfway to craters of the moon, had only 1 other car in the lot and made a wonderful free place to stay for the night. Overall the day was a great intro to Idaho's outdoors.