City of Rocks - TOP 10 TIPS

A person with a camera stands surrounded by a sea of granite.

  1. Check out the Visitor Center

    Stop by the Visitor Center to chat with a Ranger, pick up maps, guide booklets, and other informative resources to elevate your City of Rocks experience. We also offer souvenirs such as books, mugs, apparel, postcards, and stickers. While you’re there, take a stroll around the ¼ mile interpretive loop trail, starting at the wagon east of the parking lot.

  2. Walk, Run, or Ride

    Trail maps are posted on information boards at major trailheads and parking areas. They are also available at the Visitor Center for $2. Trails are designated for either foot-use only, or multi-use, which allow foot-use, biking, and horseback riding. Off-Highway Vehicles are not permitted on trails in City of Rocks or Castle Rocks, check with local agencies for OHV policies on public lands.

  3. Be Prepared

    You should always pack the 10 essentials. These are the minimum items that everyone should have while recreating outdoors. Keep in mind that you may need to pack extra equipment depending on your activity, when you are going, and for how long.Check the weather forecast before your trip and be prepared for temperature extremes and unexpected storms.

  4. Leave No Trace

    Take only pictures and leave only footprints. By leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts, and other objects as you found them, the next visitor can enjoy them too. Be aware that City of Rocks is a trash-free park, please pack out what you pack in. Learn more about Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

  5. Pet Friendly

    Dogs and other domestic animals are welcome in campsites and on trails. Please clean up after pets and keep them on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Be sure your furry friends are safe and have access to plenty of water. Visit our pets web-page for more information.

  6. Local Services

    Basic services are available in the area, such as fuel, limited groceries and camping supplies, restaurants, lodging, post office, and hot springs. Be sure to plan for food and supplies before your trip. When local businesses are closed, the nearest services are 30-60 miles away. Pro-tip: if local restaurants are crowded take your food to-go and enjoy your meal at one of our picnic areas.

  7. Cell Reception and WiFi

    Enjoy a break from calls and texts! Cell service within City of Rocks is basically non-existent. In the Almo Valley and Castle Rocks State Park, AT&T has good reception in most places. Free WiFi is available at our Visitor Center as well as other local businesses. Either before your trip or while you’re here, download the NPS mobile app. Use the app to explore things to do, find hikes and self-guided tours, create and share virtual postcards, stay informed, and much more. The app has an offline mode so you can still access content while you are exploring areas with no cell service.

  8. Camping and Lodging

    Camping is available in City of Rocks Campground or Castle Rocks’ Smoky Mountain Campground. Castle Rocks also has a lodge, bunkhouse, and glamping yurt. Campsites and overnight facilities fill up quickly, it is best to get reservations in advance through Reserve America. Camping is also available at privately-owned campgrounds, on BLM, and National Forest in the area. Local lodging options can be found by searching travel apps and websites.

  9. Parking

    Parking areas can get crowded, especially during the summer. Plan on arriving early to get a spot or enjoy the hike from parking that may be farther away from your destination. It is a good idea to have alternative areas to visit when parking is full. Be sure to park in designated areas, not along roadsides or on vegetation.

  10. Entrance Fee

    There is NO FEE to visit City of Rocks. Castle Rocks State Park and Smoky Mountain Campground require a $7 per day Motor Vehicle Entrance Fee, or an Idaho State Parks Passport or Annual Pass on the windshield of the vehicle.

City Of Rocks National Reserve

Last updated: May 27, 2021