Castle Rocks State Park Tour, Idaho: Fishing, Rock Climbing, and More

To note: We know COVID-19 is impacting travel plans right now. For some inspiration, we’ll continue to share stories from our favorite places around the world so you can keep dreaming of your next adventure.

Many of our country’s most popular national parks are closing for a while, but that just invites us to explore the slightly lesser-known national parks as well as our state parks, as long as we don’t have to travel very far to do it. and stay at least six feet away from others at all times. Fortunately, these conditions are the basis of a good visit to a state park anyway.

One such destination that caught our eye this week is Castle Rocks State Park, in the Albion Mountains of Idaho. Castle Rocks has a brief but brilliant wildflower season, and that season is now.

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Fields of wildflowers make Castle Rocks a popular (but not too popular for maintaining social distancing) destination each spring. | Castle Rocks State Park

“When the mountain iris blooms in the pasture, it’s a sea of ​​blue,” said park superintendent Wallace Keck. “Then another plant will dominate, like the yellow pea, and it will be a field of yellow.”

Castle Rocks is loved for a number of things – wildflowers, bird watching, hiking of course, a fishing pond stocked with trout, even an archery range – but the most popular of between them is undoubtedly escalation. Beginner-friendly routes abound, and the more skilled among you can hike a mile or two to City of Rocks National Reserve – one of the premier climbing destinations in the United States, where you will find hundreds of climbing routes. Also, replicas of historic covered wagons; you walk where the settlers once walked in their efforts to find gold in California.

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Climbing routes abound, even for those with no expertise. | Castle Rocks State Park

“I can’t say if we’re at the front end of spring break or at the end of it, but we had a really busy weekend (last weekend),” Keck said. “The campground (was) about 40% full. So these are mostly normal operations. Visitor Centers at all Idaho State Parks are currently closed, but the parks themselves remain open. Castle Rocks has also temporarily closed some accommodation – The Lodge, The Bunkhouse, the Willow Glamping Yurt and its Smoky Mountain Campground. But the park is open for daytime recreation, including its geological zone and rock climbing areas. There is a $5 entry fee for motor vehicles. Keck does not plan to close the park.

“Continue to follow CDC regulations on distancing, but otherwise the park is here to give people a place to breathe, exercise and stay safe,” Keck said. “Everything people want to get out into nature right now is here. Thank God it’s spring.

CONTINUED: Discover even more of America’s best state parks

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Kastalia Medrano is the travel writer for Thrillist. You can send him travel tips at [email protected] and Venmo tips at @kastaliamedrano.