Gate of Death, Devil's Gate, Massacre Rocks -- this natural area nestled in American Falls, Idaho is a land of many names. But don't let these grisly epithets deter you from visiting this seriously stunning region!
Back in pioneer times, the narrow gap in the rock formations which characterize the area proved challenging for brave settlers navigating the unique hazards of the Wild West. So challenging, in fact, that successful trailblazers made their mark -- literally -- on the boulder which is now known as Register Rock. Visitors at Massacre Rocks State Park can take a quick trip to view these centuries-old signatures for themselves or get up-close to the well-preserved remnants of the Oregon Trail within the park.
Though the park is named after a deadly skirmish between native tribes and pioneers along the Oregon Trail, visitors won't find any danger here -- apart from the occasional coyote, that is! Outdoor enthusiasts can fish, paddle, hike or simply sit back and scope out the flora and fauna that calls this biodiverse region home.
Planning a camping trip to Massacre State Park? Whether you're simply stopping over for a night or parking the RV to explore all the geological gems this area has to offer, remember, coyotes live in the park. Secure all food, toiletries, and scented items in an animal-proof locker or locked vehicle, or you just might wake up to an unwanted guest searching for a snack!
RV Rentals in Massacre Rocks State Park
Transportation in Massacre Rocks State Park
Thanks to the park's proximity to I-86, Massacre Rocks State Park is an intriguing spot for RV travelers to stop over on their excursion through the Gem State. The campground loops are paved, with roads wide enough to accommodate big rigs and regular vehicles. The main parking lot and roads by the entrance are gravel. Note that the park is located in a relatively remote area, although provisions can be found in the nearby town of American Falls.
Visiting Massacre Rocks State Parks for the day? Park the rig in one of three parking areas and let the adventures begin! The main lot is gravel and rather small, so keep this in mind if visiting during the peak season. Other parking areas can be found just outside the campground, near the Trapper's Trailhead, and by the boat ramp. Note that a vehicle entry fee applies at Massacre Rocks State Park.
Campgrounds and parking in Massacre Rocks State Park
Campsites in Massacre Rocks State Park
The award-winning Pocatello KOA campground, located in the “U.S. Smile Capital,” is sure to make you smile. You’ll be just around the corner from Idaho State University and the Museum of Natural History. Other local attractions include the mountains, winter sports, Lava Hot Springs and the Pocatello Zoo. Campground amenities include full hookups with cable and Wi-Fi, restrooms and showers, 24-hour laundry facilities, a dump station, a gas station, ice cream and self-serve food service, a convenience store and gift shop, a game room, recreational facilities and a dog park.
Lava Hot Springs / City Center KOA
Enjoy year-round camping in the city center of beautiful Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. From any campsite at the Lava Hot Springs/City Center KOA, you can walk over the safe footbridge and enjoy a day at the swimming complex, or take a soak in the area’s famous hot springs, just three blocks away. There’s a fun playground and jumping pad for the kids, a gift shop and convenience store, and on-site fishing. Amenities include Wi-Fi, restrooms and laundry facilities, Kamping Kitchen, fire pits and picnic tables. Sites offer 50-amp hookups, and there is firewood available for purchase.
Massacre Rocks Tent and RV Camping
Tent and RV campers at Massacre Rocks State Park can choose from 42 sites spread across two loops. Sites accommodate trailers and motorhomes between 18 and 100 feet in length and come equipped with water and 20 and 30-amp electric hookups. Only two sites provide ample space for rigs longer than 99 feet, so if you're planning to visit Massacre Rocks State Park in a large RV, be sure to reserve a suitable space in advance.
Both the upper and lower loops include centrally located restroom and shower facilities. The lower loop's facilities are accessible for guests with disabilities. The fishing area and a wildlife viewing platform are located a short walk away from the campground.
Campers at Massacre Rocks State Park can reserve their site up to four months in advance. Please note only one of the campsites is accessible for guests with disabilities. Pets are welcome at all sites as long as dog owners observe standard etiquette rules.
Massacre Rocks State Park Cabins
In addition to partially serviced campsites, Massacre Rocks State Park offers four camping cabins named after the park's animal and plant life. The Cottontail, Coyote, Juniper, and Sagebrush cabins all accommodate up to five guests and come with electricity. Cabin amenities include bunk beds, futons, front porch seating, a picnic table and fire pit, and dining tables. Note that amenities will vary depending on the cabin you select.
Cabin campers must contact the park 48 hours prior to arriving to acquire information about key pick-up. Pets are prohibited in the cabins.
Seasonal activities in Massacre Rocks State Park
If you're a fan of fishing, don't forget to pack the rod and reel in the wagon -- er, campervan. Bass is the catch of the day at Massacre Rocks State Park, but trout and carp are also on the menu. Anglers are advised to use plastic crayfish as bait for the best chance of bagging a big bass!
When you've had your fill of history, unwind with an excursion on Snake River. Watercraft of all kinds are welcome to hit the water from the park's boat launch. Paddlers can use the separate canoe access point. After a day well spent on the water, park your craft at the dock before heading back to the campsite.
The trail network at Massacre Rocks State Park is relatively short, and historically significant to boot. Follow in the pathway of pioneers past, quite literally, on the Wagon Rut Trail, just over three-quarters of a mile long and home to meticulously preserved wagon ruts. Respect this route by taking nothing but pictures and leaving nothing but footprints.
Once your inner adventurer is sufficiently tuckered out, why not refuel with a packed lunch? Picnic areas are located throughout the park along the scenic Snake River. While it may not be the best place to host your next group gathering, Massacre Rocks State Park makes the perfect spot for an intimate family picnic, complete with horseshoe pits and a volleyball court to keep the kid campers happy.
Geese, pelicans, and herons, oh my! Birdwatching enthusiasts will relish the chance to step out of the RV and spend the day spotting some of the park's frequent flyers. If you're lucky, you just might see a bald eagle! Other resident animals include beavers, rabbits, and coyotes.
Let the games begin! Treat your camping crew to a little friendly competition on the park's new disc golf course. In the park's own words, "This ain't your momma's disc golf course!" Come prepared for a challenge on this wooded course, but don't worry if you forgot your gear -- rentals are available at the park's nature store.