Our Trail Spotlight highlights day trips to multi-day hikes across Idaho. Trail conditions can change quickly- swollen rivers can become impassable, windstorms can knock trees down across trails, and snow can come earlier than expected. Please take these recommendations as a jumping off place and do additional research to understand current conditions and  keep yourself safe if you choose to hike this trail. Physical guidebooks and maps are always good to have or check out some online resources like Alltrails.com for updated trail reports. If your trip is as awesome as you hope it will be, please share photos and feedback!

Photo by Mark Hewes

Duration: Day Hike

Area: Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area near Gooding

Difficulty Rating: 2 – there is some mild elevation gain

Road Considerations: Access to the trailhead is marked by a BLM sign 12.5 miles north of Gooding on Highway 46. The road to the trailhead crosses private land and when the road conditions are muddy, the landowners may close the gate to the trail. Hikers can park at the gate and walk the short distance into the trailhead.

Total hiking miles: The total distance of the loop is 4.9 miles. At about 1.5 miles in, the trail becomes less marked and the way forward is a scramble over rocks. Many turn around at this point making it more of an in and out trip of 3 miles total.

The Hike:

This incredible trail takes hikers past towering hoodoos and through stunning desert canyons in this unique geological landscape. There are many amazing sights to see from the trail and opportunities to explore even more formations off the trail as well. The trail leads along a small creek that must be crossed a few times and dries up in the summer. At the 1.5 mile mark, the trail splits into two canyons. Some trail maps show the route as a loop that can be accessed from either canyon but hikers must be willing to scramble off trail to complete the loop. Many hikers turn around at the 1.5 mile mark to avoid going off trail.

Things to consider:  There is little shade on this hike and it can get very hot in the summertime. The water in the creek will dry up by summer so bring plenty of water for you and your pups! Mosquitoes can be bad here in the spring so don’t forget your bug spray. Rattlesnakes are also very common in the spring, summer, and fall.

Fun places to visit on your way in or out: If one adventure isn’t enough for you, there are some awesome lava tube caves nearby including Tea Kettle Cave. There are some fun dining options in Gooding as well to cap off your explorations.

More info about this hike: Visit the AllTrails page about this hike to learn more.

Photo by Holly Beech

Photo by Mark Hewes