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Camping: City of Rocks

Visitors to the City of Rocks will not be disappointed. Fantastic scenery and historic sites will leave you breathless. This area was one of the landmarks of the California Trail. The Twin Sister’s are the most famous formations in the park. These two large granite towers were noted pioneer landmarks. Rising high above these are awe-inspiring monoliths.

City of RocksThis place is a geologic masterpiece, Granite formations rise from a hill-surrounded valley. The area around the park is uneventful, slow rolling hills suddenly give view to a landscape of castle-like stone mounds. The land around the park was once a hunting ground for the Shoshone Indians. Bath Rock is a formation, which has large potholes on top; tribal legend has it those who climb this at night and bathe in these potholes will live forever.

This is a park set in the middle of nowhere. The closest so-called town is Almo. This town is the home of the visitor station and one small store. This store does not have much of a selection, and does not carry beer. Beer is a very important staple of my campsite and I was forced to drive to Oakley. Oakley has a few more amenities but don’t expect much. When coming here you should bring pretty much everything you will need. The basic supplies are available nearby but just barely.

The Camping

The City has about 75 campsites, these campsites range from total seclusion
to neighbors 20 yards away. The restrooms are somewhat far apart, waking up
in the morning you will have to walk a ways to do the morning ritual. The campsites usually fill up on Friday nights. But, there is a secret most don’t know, you can reserve a campsite online. I have found if you check about a week in advance you can have your pick of any campsite in the park. They take credit cards and a site will cost you 13 bucks. This is a park where the campsites are not all equal, my favorite site in the park is #29, this site is isolated and gives an easy access into Circle Creek Basin.

The Hiking

There are numerous hiking trails in this park. Circle Creek basin is one of the City of Rocksbest trails in my book. This trail takes you through some of the best scenery in the reserve. My wife and child enjoyed this trail, although I had to carry a tired two year old out on my shoulders. This is another one of those parks where you can see quite a lot from the road, even if you don’t like to hike, you will appreciate the views here.

The Climbing

Climbing at City of Rocks, IDMost people will come here for the climbing. The City is a world-renowned
climbing destination. This area is great for climbers of all levels, climbs of all grades will be found here. Elephant and Bath rock offer some of the best moderates in the park. For some of the best sport routes head into Circle Creek Basin. Here you will find sport and trad routes of various grades. Some of the best-bolted climbs in the park are found on Bumblie and Transformer rock.

Tony Calderone wrote the most comprehensive guide to climbing here. But, be
aware there are some errors in this book. If you stop by the visitor center they have a short but very accurate guide to some of the newer climbs here. Climbs are constantly being added in the park.

The Access Fund recently purchased a large portion of land bordering the park. Once the paperwork is done this will add a large area of climbing terrain. First ascents will be available once the fences are clipped.

This is a great park!


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City of Rocks National Reserve






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