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Idaho state parks offer something special

First Published Feb 22 2014 05:17PM      Last Updated Feb 22 2014 05:17 pm
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THOUSAND SPRINGS

Thousand Springs State Park, southeast of Hagerman, has several different sections scattered between Hagerman and Buhl for winter hiking and bird watching.

The area is laced with waterfalls, springs and a mixture of wetlands, canyons and sage country that are all within a short driving distance of each other.

The first park section is Malad Gorge, a little over 90 minutes on I-84 east of Boise.

MASSACRE ROCKS

Massacre Rocks is unique in the winter because hikers have the opportunity to walk along the Snake River and see some of the river’s bottomlands that can’t be seen in periods of high water, park manager Kevin Lynott said.



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.

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.

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.

 

 

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