Castle Rocks State Park
Climbers on the granite at Castle Rocks State Park
Castle Rocks State Park is a former ranch adjacent to the City of Rocks National Reserve. That means more outstanding rock formations on an additional 1,440 acres of state parks property. As this is Idaho's newest state park, some facilities may still be in development but there's still plenty of rock climbing, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, bird watching, photography and wildflower enjoying to go around.
Castle Rocks State Park was named for, obviously, the Castle Rocks: giant granite spires that make many rock climbers drool. Idaho came into possession of the property after trading some Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation property located within the boundaries of the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument to the National Park Service. Castle Rocks State Park is part of the Castle Rocks Interagency Recreation Area, a geological district that is managed by Idaho State Parks and Recreation in conjunction with the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
The original ranch includes ranching structures from the early 20th century with irrigated pastures and striking scenery. While the main concentration of granite spires is within the City of Rocks National Reserve, some of the formations at Castle Rocks are excellent rivals. There are also some very pristine archaeological sites on the property with evidence suggesting this area was populated as long ago as 2,470 years.
Castle Rocks State Park tends to be open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 7 am to 10 pm. The ranch house has been converted into a museum featuring exhibits about the early days of ranching in Idaho and artifacts that were found throughout the park. Souvenirs, guidebooks, brochures and maps are available, too.