2020 Heartland Trail Runner
2020 Heartland Trail Runner
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Driving a rental RV through southern Idaho takes you through a spectacular yet arid landscape. Three Island Crossing State Park is a small oasis next to the Snake River, featuring just over 600 acres of land with trails, lush trees, green grass, and cool water for wading and fishing. The park is 75 miles southeast of Boise, right off of Interstate 84.
Three Island Crossing earned its name from the famed mid-19th century Oregon Trail crossing. This was one of the most dangerous crossings along the trail, and numerous emigrants lost their lives trying to cross here. If you were successful during low water, you were rewarded with a shorter, much more moderate route to the Oregon border. If the water was too high to pass, you'd be forced along a more prolonged, drier, and much more treacherous route through the desert. A man named Gus Glenn eventually started a ferry a few miles upstream in 1869, at present-day Glenns Ferry.
This region is rich in both Native American and European history, and you can still see the wagon ruts along the river today. Renting an RV in Elmore County is a wonderful way to explore everything that this area has to offer, in vehicles much more suited for it than your predecessors.
Three Island Crossing State Park doesn’t have much in the way of hiking or biking trails, but you should still bring good shoes and your bike when camping at Three Island Crossing State Park. A paved perimeter road around the park is a lovely way to enjoy the park’s scenery and bird population, made up of eagles and other waterfowl. There are a few flat, unpaved trails totaling less than one mile in the interior of the park where you can do the same.
The Snake River is a haven for trout fishermen. The park has plenty of waterfront on the south side where you can cast your line for sturgeon and trout. While there are no boat docks within the park, Glenns Ferry does have launches if you’d rather fish by boat. These docks are also a popular place to start a lazy float down the Snake River on innertubes.
Three Island Crossing also offers a few other attractions guaranteed to help you pass the time with a smile on your face. There is a fantastic disc golf course within the park, one that draws players from all around. If disc golf isn’t your thing, you can challenge your fellow campers to a game of horseshoes. For a more educational experience, be sure to visit the Oregon Trail History and Education Center. This beautiful interpretive center features numerous displays on pre-settler Native American life and the wagon trains. Check out a few reconstructed Conestoga wagons to learn about these early RVs.
The RV campground at Three Island Crossing State Park is open year-round. There are 82 campsites total, featuring water and electrical hookups with 30 or 50-amp service. There aren't any sewer hookups, but a dump station is conveniently located within the park. You'll never be far from a restroom with flushing toilets and showers. Other campsite amenities include a fire ring and picnic table.
You won’t find a lot of privacy at the Three Island Crossing State Park campground due to site spacing and vegetation. However, the trees and soft grass do make up for it and will help keep you cool. Pets are allowed in the campground as long as they’re supervised and kept on a leash at all times.
The campground at Three Island Crossing State Park puts you in a beautiful location for exploring southern Idaho in a camper rental. You have Craters of the Moon National Monument, an otherworldly experience with vast expanses of lava fields and tubes, two hours to the east of Three Island Crossing. And then there’s Bruneau Dunes State Park, another one of the Snake River’s major attractions, just a half-hour to the west. In fact, you’ll have no trouble at all finding things to do on the Snake River. Carmela Vineyards borders the park and has a spectacular nine-hole golf course winding through the property.
Temperatures in southern Idaho can rise in the summer, and heading north will not only help keep you cool but will also take you to some beautiful Idaho attractions. There's the resort town of Sun Valley, the scenic hamlet of Stanley, and Challis, all in the rugged Sawtooth Mountains.
Despite its small size, Glenns Ferry isn't a bad place for provisioning, thanks to its location right off of Interstate 84. Numerous gas stations can accommodate your motorhome rental, as well as some small provisioning stores. You can find larger big-box stores just 30 minutes west in the town of Mountain Home. Both of these towns have some great old-fashioned American diners to satisfy your appetite. If you keep driving west on Interstate 84, you’ll hit Boise after another 45 minutes, where you can find just about anything you’d need for your Three Island Crossing State Park camping trip.