—While in Idaho in May 2014 to see the State Capitol and spend time in Twin Falls, we visited the Bruneau Dunes State Park. It is a 5-mile loop trail located near Bruneau, Idaho. The park is about halfway between Boise and Twin Falls. Thus it was a perfect place to take a driving break on our way from the Capitol to Shoshone Falls.
According to their site, the Bruneau Dunes State Park boasts the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America with a peak rising 470 feet above the surrounding desert floor. You can explore the dunes in your hiking boots or rent a sandboard from the Visitor Center, but off-road vehicles are only permitted on the main road. You can also fish for bluegill in the lakes at the foot of the dune; unlock the mystery of the desert with a breathtaking hike or horseback ride; plan a group picnic or visit the Bruneau Dunes Observatory and gaze at the night sky through the Observatory's collection of telescopes.
We didn’t have a chance to see the night sky while there, but I would have loved to have had our telescope with us to check out the stars. However, we were there during the day and had a very enjoyable picnic at one of the campgrounds. They were very nice, clean, and had bbq grills available. We didn't use one, but it was nice to know they were there if needed.
It was a little breezy but very nice. Our dogs enjoyed being outside and relishing in the nice breeze. We stayed a little while and took some pictures. sadly we didn’t try climbing any of the dunes, but my kid side kicked in a little bit and we did play a little in some of the sand. Gotta do it you know We had a great time. I was amazed at how tall they were however, I would never have guessed that it was 470 feet high though. Even though we didn’t climb any dunes, we saw many climbers on various size dunes. We took some pictures of them too, lol Maybe next time we will try to climb some if we don't have our dogs with us.
I would have liked to have stayed longer, but we were just driving through and found it a great place to stop and have lunch. We will have to remember this place in the future. In the meantime, here are some of the activities and amenities available at the Bruneau Dunes State Park:
Fish, boat, swim, picnic, bird watch, hike, horseback ride, fly kites, stargaze, dune ski, and rent a sandboard from the Visitor Center and sled!
Showers, flush toilets, dump stations, an equestrian campground, and trails
This is a great place to visit, especially with kids, even if you only spend an hour to two as we did. It is very peaceful, at least when we were there. I am sure it’s packed mid-summer. Definitely worth the stop if you are going between Boise and Twin Falls. Here is a link to their website with more information about the park.
Bruneau Dunes State Park Visitor Information
27608 Sand Dunes Rd, Bruneau, ID 83647 Phone: 208-366-7919
64 miles south of Boise, ID | 259 miles northwest of Ogden, UT | 181 miles north of Elko, NV | 115 miles southeast of Ontario, OR
Motor Vehicle Entry Fee: $7 per vehicle
Basic campsites: $14-$17 per night
Electric campsites: $26-$29 per night
Equestrian campsites: $14-$17 per night
Cabin: $60-$65 per night
All fees are tax inclusive.