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Idaho state parks offer something special


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There are 8 miles of hiking trails in the area with views of the Snake River canyon. The park’s disc golf course is also open in the winter.

Massacre Rocks is located about 3.5 hours east of Boise on I-84.

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HARRIMAN

The first thing you notice when cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at Harriman State Park, north of Ashton in eastern Idaho, is the natural music — the notes of the wild.

The swans are trumpeting, the pintails are meee-meeing, the mergansers are croaking and the mallards are quacking.

The park has the perfect combination of wildlife watching and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along a winter wonderland bordering the Henrys Fork of the Snake River. The park has a variety of dorms, yurts, cabins and other rentals available.

It’s about 7 hours to the park from the Boise area by taking the freeways to Idaho Falls and north.

HELLS GATE

If you want to experience some of the mildest winter weather in Idaho, this state park along the Snake River at a little over 700 feet in elevation is the place to be.

The park is the beginning point for winter hiking, trail running and horseback riding on more than 13 miles of trails.


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For those who prefer bicycles on pavement, there are more than 20 miles of flat, paved, non-motorized trails that can be enjoyed beginning right from the campgrounds to nearby towns, assistant manager Jeff Smith said.

Asotin and Clarkston, Wash., and downtown Lewiston are all within an enjoyable ride along the Snake River. Restaurants, coffee shops, gift shops and museums are just 4 miles away.

The park has year-round camping and cabins.

CASTLE ROCKS

The state park offers access to some of the most unique snowshoeing (or hiking with lack of snow) trails through City of Rocks National Reserve.

Snowshoers can traverse trails through granite tunnels, around near pinnacles and through mini canyons, all with expansive views of the national monument.

The park is 45 miles southeast of Burley, and it rents snowshoes and park officials will lead hikes for groups by calling in advance at 824-5916.

Camping is available at the state park and more deluxe overnight accommodations are available at The Bunkhouse or Lodge.

PRIEST LAKE

Snowmobilers can access 400 miles of groomed trails from the park’s Indian Creek Campground.

And when it comes to snow and camping, don’t worry. The Indian Creek Campground is open year-round. Five cabins also are available. They can be reached by skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling.

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