City of Rocks Reopens High-Elevation Loop Trail

Virginia Hutchins
MagicValley.com
Thursday, September 17, 2015

ALMO • A visiting work crew this month reopened a trail at City of Rocks National Reserve that hadn’t been maintained for perhaps a decade.

The reopened trail segment completes a 1.2-mile loop from the 7,874-foot-high Indian Grove Overlook at the north end of the park, down to the grouping of pine trees at 7,665-foot-high Indian Grove and back up to the overlook, passing a meadow that’s awash with wildflowers in late spring and early summer.

“The scenery up there is beautiful,” said Kristen Bastis, chief of cultural resources at City of Rocks, who likes cool, shady Indian Grove as a refuge on hot summer days. “You’re out of the sagebrush plain and up into the alpine environment.”

Indian Grove Loop, a sandy dirt trail, is open to horses and hikers, but not to mountain bikes.

The trailhead at the overlook is accessed by a road that scares off some drivers. But in good weather, Bastis said, you don’t really need a high-clearance vehicle or four-wheel drive to negotiate Logger Springs Road to Indian Grove Overlook.

“The road to the overlook is gravel and in some places rocky, but two-wheel drive is fine in the summer. Very low-riding vehicles may hit a rock, but I have a CR-V and have been fine,” she said. “If it is snowy or recently rained a lot, four-wheel drive might be best.”

Logger Springs Road is near the reserve’s northwest boundary. To reach it, turn north off City of Rocks Road just inside the western edge of the reserve.

The payoff is big. The overlook — a short walk from Logger Springs Road — provides a magnificent view of City of Rocks and the town of Almo.

“It’s a hidden treasure,” Bastis said. “It does not get much use; it should get more use.”

A visiting work crew from the Student Conservation Association, funded by the National Park Service, used chain saws to remove six or eight large trees that blocked the trail and dug out smaller bushes and grasses with hand tools.