Mark your calendars for the 10th Anniversary of the City of Rocks Pioneer Endurance Ride in Almo, Idaho, on June 11, 12, 13.
Come join us for this spectacular ride at the City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park. The park has amazing rock formations and scenery, as well as a rich pioneer history which you will experience on the trail. We will have marked Trail rides as well as 25 and 50 mile rides each day. There are plenty of things to do for families and fun. Durfy Hotsprings has swimming and soaking pools for every temperature preference (be sure to bring your swim suit!). Try the Great Pizza at Rock City, and explore the trails and scenic spots. Basecamp is a large field adjacent to the City of Rocks National Preserve, elevation 5500 ft. The trail footing in this area is very good, with just a few rocky sections - it is NOT a rocky ride! City of Rocks is known for its botanical diversity - you'll see cactus, pinion pine, sagebrush, aspen and sub-alpine fire - all on one day's ride! The wildflowers should be in full bloom in June!
Camp: We'll be renting the same basecamp as in years past, large fields on both sides of the gravel road. We haul all of the water for horses to camp, you will need your own potable water.You do not need certified weed free hay in camp. We will supply hay at the out-vet check.
Basecamp is at 5500 feet, this is a high elevation ride!
From Boise take I-84 to exit 216 (Declo); go south on Idaho 77 to Conner Creek Junction, then southwest on the Elba-Almo Road.
One mile south of the visitor center in Almo, PASS BY the intrance to City of Rocks/Equestrian Campground. Instead, continue straight south onto dirt road, and you'll shortly see Ridecamp on your right - Castle View RV Park.
From Pocatello and Idaho Falls, take I-86 and I-84 to exit 216 and proceed as above.
From Salt Lake City take I-84 to exit 245 (Sublett/Malta) then head west toward Malta.
Turn left (south) onto highway 81 for .2 miles to Highway 77, then turn right (west). At Connor Creek Junction, follow directions above toward Almo.
Trails: The trails are challenging with elevations up to 7500' on some of the days. Footing is very good though, very little rock (except for the scenery), some gravel road, lots of single track in the mountains and jeep roads and cow trails through the BLM land.
How it got started, in 2011:
It's time to start thinking about our next event. We discovered this treasure in 2010. My son Clay had told me about an amazing place after his in-laws had their family reunion in the little town of Almo. Wynne's family came from the area, and it was a chance for them to revisit the old home place. Clay said "you gotta see this place!" .
So, I found myself veering off the Interstate when I saw the sign for 'City of Rocks' on our way home from Wyoming. Merri and I had been crewing for our friends Rusty, Kevin, and Kevin at the Big Horn 100. Heads full of adventure and beautiful scenery from several days in the Wyoming Bighorn Mountains, warm sunny July day ... just seemed like the right thing to do.
The road to Almo and City of Rocks passes through high desert scenery - farmland in the valleys, surrounded by mountains. We wind our way through the valleys and over a few passes and BOOM all of a sudden there is this immense world of granite.
and it just kept going, past Castle Rocks State Park and then into the City of Rocks National Reserve. An expansive stunning landscape of sagebrush, aspen, firs, pinon pines, cactus, sub-alpine firs, snowy peaks... dotted with cattle and old homesteads. This area was a major crossroads for emigrants as they traveled west toward California, Oregon and Nevada, or north to Idaho. Pioneer journal entries describe the site as "a city of tall spires,” “steeple rocks," and "the silent city."
There are natural granite caves with names and dates of the pioneers inscribed in axle grease, or etched into the rock . There is a very strong sense of awe, and perhaps humility, when confronted by such magnificent scenery, and how it must have affected these travelers.
It didn't take long for the idea (compulsion) of an endurance ride took hold. Perhaps a few seconds. I talked with the park managers - they were very excited about the idea having invested heavily in making the park horse friendly with trail heads and well designed equestrian trail. Oh my, getting better. I spoke with the Forest Ranger (Sawtooth National Forest) and he was very supportive. We met a rancher happy to lease us a campsite. And after one evening in the hotsprings there was no going back...the rest is history. The first ride was a mid summer 5-day 250 mile event with trails going off in every direction. Ambitious? of course! and the 'Crick Gang' spent many glorious days scouting new trail, riding the country, basking in the high altitude sunshine.
I've changed a few things since our first 2011 event - only three days now, and in early June instead of mid summer. With the high altitude and mountain ranges summer thunderstorms can get pretty Exciting, and the heat is intense. So we're doing cooler weather, and simpler rides - and sticking with the most scenic trails and easiest logistics. (smarter with age?)
Now... just waiting for springtime to actually arrive! Might be a little snow up at Indian Grove in the high country...
See a video of the trails here:
More information on the ride at: