With 6,000 acres of public lands, the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area is located in Gooding County, Idaho and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Unique rock features known as hoodoos can be found in about a third of the protected area, which is among the Bennett Hills that are located between the Sawtooth Mountains and the Snake River Plain. There are three other Wilderness Study Areas nearby that are separated only by dirt roads; these include the Black Canyon Wilderness Study Area, the Gooding City of Rocks East Wilderness Study Area and the Gooding City of Rocks West Wilderness Study Area.
The range of elevation in the Little City of Rocks is between 4,458 feet and 5,758 feet and within its confines, you can view sagebrush and grasses, along with a grove of quaking aspen. Outside of the area’s flora, visitors can encounter elk, mule deer and coyotes during their time in the Wilderness Study Area.
You will find plenty to see and do within the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area, as well as in the area that surrounds it. Enjoy the unique scenery and solitude as you explore the area and engage in outdoor adventure!
From Gooding, take the ID-46 North and proceed for about 12.2 miles. You will come across a BLM sign on ID-46 that directs you to the park. Near the sign you will turn left and continue on the road, which is paved, for about one mile until arriving at the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area.
Parking is available at the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area.
Public transportation is not available to the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area.
During your adventure to the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area consider camping and spending some time at Bruneau Dunes State Park. Able to accommodate RVs and trailers that are up to 50 feet long, as well as tents, the State Park offers 81 RV sites and 17 tent-only sites. Electrical hook-ups at RV sites are available year-round, while water will be turned off during the winter months (typically turned back on in March).
During the spring, summer, and fall, restrooms and showers are available and vault toilets are present for those choosing to use the campground in the winter. Each site has a picnic table, grill, and fire pit. The campground is a great place to relax after a day of fun!
The Three Island Crossing State Park is host to another camping opportunity. The park is located on the Snake River and includes the Oregon Trail History and Education Center. The campground is home to 81 sites, some of which are able to accommodate 16 people. Water and electric hook-ups are available and RVs and trailers of up to 60 feet are able to be accommodated.
Restrooms are available at the campground and each site includes a picnic table and fire pit. Three Island Crossing State Park has plenty to offer visitors, adding some extra adventure opportunities for after your visit to the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Area.
Another Idaho State Park offers opportunities for camping for those visiting the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area; Massacre Rocks State Park. The Park offers 42 campsites, most of which have water and electric hook-ups. RVs and trailers of up to 60 feet are able to be accommodated at the campground, which offers a bathhouse as well as a boat launch ramp.
Each site includes a picnic table and a fire pit and the campground offers easy access to a variety of activities to include: disc golf, fishing, hiking trails, water sports, and even a museum.
An excellent way to experience the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area up close is by going for a hike. The Little City of Rocks Trailhead offers an out and back hike of around three miles with an elevation gain of 385 feet. You may feel like you have gone back in time as you explore the wilderness that may remind you of a medieval castle, including a city wall and massive rock spires. April through June are said to be the best months to explore the area.
As you spend time in the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area exploring, you will want to keep your eyes out for petroglyphs. These drawings by Native Americans have been there for thousands of years, adding an element of history to the adventure.
While there is a main trail through the area, there are also a number of side trails, which offer additional opportunities for exploration and to view the petroglyphs.
During your visit to the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area, the nearby town of Gooding is worth a visit. While there, check out the area’s caves. The underground experience will be an adventure to remember!
Dead Horse is a cave that offers steps, making it easier to access. Tea Kettle is another cave to explore, where you will come across an unusual sight; an oasis of ferns!
A quick one hour drive from the Little City of Rocks is Shoshone Falls. Visitors to the falls can view them from multiple platforms at a park owned and managed by the City of Twin Falls.
The Falls are said to be beautiful no matter the time of year. However, when the spring runoff occurs the water levels are particularly high, resulting in being able to feel the mist from hundreds of feet away. You can also enjoy a hike on the canyon rim trail, which goes up the canyon wall on the Fall’s southwest end, to where Evel Knievel attempted to jump into the Snake River Canyon.
Located a little more than ten miles from Gooding, Bray Lake is an excellent choice for those looking to spend some time fishing. Grab your fishing rod and fish for carp and catfish, among other species. Fly fishing is popular here and many find success reeling in a few catches at Bray Lake.
While waiting for a bite, enjoy the surrounding scenery and solitude offered at the south-central Idaho lake.
The Gooding County Snow Park, which offers 150 square miles of public land open for snowmobiling, is an easy drive from the Little City of Rocks Wilderness Study Area. Located within the Bennett Hills, park at the Gooding-Camas County Line on Idaho Highway 46 and get ready for some adventure! The Gooding County Snow Park also has opportunities to enjoy sledding and cross-country skiing, ensuring there are available winter opportunities for everyone!