City of Rocks National Reserve
Double Loop to Boxtop

City of rocks

City of Rocks in an amazing place to go for a hike. Frequently as you walk you can see miles away but not see the next 30 feet, as the trail often winds through tight rock formations and short sections of heavy foliage.

The day I explored City of Rocks, the air was blue sky cool and the trees were hinting at fall colors to come. There were moments of heat in the more dense rock and tree sections, and then the trail would lead to an overlook and I would revel in the cooling breeze.
This is one of my favorite hikes - it's novel, it's quiet, and it's truly beautiful!

From Almo Idaho, head south along the Elba-Almo Rd. 1.0 miles to the City of Rocks Rd.
Turn right on the City of Rocks Rd. and head west 5.4 miles to the parking lot for Bath Rock. Note that the last couple of miles of road are not paved.
There is a fee to park, which can be paid at a self-serve kiosk at the Bath Rock parking area.
Coordinates for the hike: 42.0759520,-113.7212200
Parking / Trailhead amenities
The dirt parking lot is large and level. There are clean pit toilets and a water faucet in the parking lot. Adjacent to the parking lot are a campground and several informational kiosks.
Trail observations
The trail leaves from the left side of the parking lot as you are facing away from Bath Rock.
The trail is mostly either ascending or descending. The trail surface is mostly dirt with a few rock crossings - though the trail is only single file, it's easy to walk on and is in good shape.
The trail markings are a little hard to fathom till you realize that most times the names are referring to a spot to climb and not to a trail. Once you realize that, things start to make sense - sort of...
Luckily there are not a whole lot of volunteer trails that go very far, so trail finding shouldn't be too big an issue.
Bring lots of water - it's dry and hot in the sheltered and lower sections of trail, and there is a lot of uphill climbing.
Trail statistics
The trail is 4.38 miles long. The sum of all the uphill climbs is 335 feet.
Trail waypoints
0.09 miParkingParking
0.10 miTrailheadTrailhead
0.19 miGo rightBranch - stay right (map)
0.26 miGo straightGo straight to follow the SFCC trail
0.29 miStepsTrail heading down steps
0.60 miBridge - go rightBridge - cross, then go right along the SFCC trail to Bumblie
0.74 miSlabbage signSide trail to Slabbage
0.77 miGo leftJunction - go left toward Bumblie and Lost Arrow
0.85 miTee - leftTee - Head left towards Lost arrow
1.13 miGateGo through the gate
1.29 miLady J signSide trail to Lady J
1.49 miCross, then rightCross the bridge, then stay right alongside the creek bed
1.60 miGo straightIntersection - go straight
1.66 miSharp rightBranch - sharp right towards Boxtop
1.81 miStay rightBranch - stay right (Sign for Striped Rock and Lost Arrow)
2.00 miGateGo through the gate
2.08 miBoxtop signpostSidetrail to Boxtop
2.38 miStay leftBranch - stay left
2.43 miGo rightBranch - head right along the South Fork Circle Creek trail
2.81 miGo straightStay on SFCC towards Bumblie and Lost Arrow
2.89 miStay leftBranch - stay left (map)
2.91 miStay rightBranch - stay right on the SFCC trail towards Slabbage
3.12 miReturn - Stay on SFCCOn return, don't cross bridge. Stay on SFCC towards parking lot.
3.18 miBridgeBridge
3.57 miLeft and upCross the bridge and go left and up (Drillng fields sign)
3.61 miRedtail signRedtail signpost - stay on SFCC trail
3.64 miBridgeBridge
3.66 miGo leftUnsigned junction - go left
3.70 miGo rightBranch - stay right
3.73 miTee - leftTee - go left towards Creekside Towers and Bath Rock (map)
3.75 miCreekside towers signCreekside Towers sign
3.80 miThe Office signThe Office, Creekside towers sign
4.06 miGo rightIntersection - go right (Closet, Creekside towers signpost)
4.08 miHead rightBranch - head right towards Bath Rock
4.19 miReturn - go rightOn return head right and up
4.38 miEnd of trailEnd of trail
Trail map - Double Loop to Boxtop
Altitude chart - Double Loop to Boxtop Parking Trailhead Bridge - go right Slabbage sign Tee - left Gate Lady J sign Go straight Sharp right Boxtop signpost Stay left Go right Go straight Stay right Bridge Left and up Redtail sign Go left Go right Creekside towers sign Go right End of trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: Mountainous
Trail surface: Dirt
Trail surface: Rock
Type: Multiple-Loop
View: Enclosed
View: Open
View: Overlooks
View: Wooded
County: Cassia
State: Idaho
Country: United States of America
Incredible wildlife photos
National Park service web site
PDF map of the trails - you should carry a copy of this when you hike the trail.
Printable trail map in PDF format (65 Mb download)
Printable trail map in PNG format (5 Mb download)
Waypoints in CSV format
Waypoints in KML format
Instructions on using a trail description page
Instructions on using a trail map printout
Trails in the surrounding area
Trailheads for Idaho Nevada, Oregon, and Utah (1 additional trail)
Trailheads for Idaho Nevada, and Utah (1 additional trail)
Trailheads for Idaho Nevada, and Utah (No additional trails)