out and about state parks

Hagerman Idaho – Weekend One

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We were pleasantly surprised by the Hagerman RV Village upon arrival. The park is full of beautiful shade trees, flowering fruit trees, and hundreds of birds – Robins, Towhees, Doves, Quail and Warblers galore. The sites are huge, easy to get into, rent is cheap, and the WiFi works great. If it wasn’t for its remoteness, it would be even more appealing, but at the same time it wouldn’t be the park that it is.  We were actually booked in to a place on the Washington coast, but after the worst winter in decades followed by almost every day raining in Spokane, we wanted somewhere warm and dry. 

Hagerman is about 45 minutes from Twin Falls, which you can get to by driving down some pretty rough country roads, followed by an 80mph freeway for a bit. We were surprised however to find that the tiny grocery store in Hagerman has just about everything we need, and because we stocked up on vegan proteins and daiya cheese, we didn’t need anything except the basics. After driving 75 miles round trip all winter to get groceries, that was a relief! 

Hagerman Sheep Monument

Hagerman also has a couple little bars – right across the street from each other. After a couple visits to one, Wilson’s, and sitting way in the back to avoid cigarette smoke, we switched over to The Riverboat which has some outdoor seating – and better beer choices. I like Wilson’s, they have a great little collection of old west antiques and a classic oak bar with a 100 year old mirror in it, but we hate smoke (come’on Idaho, catch up!). 

Since we bought a new truck (probably news to everyone because I didn’t write a blog about it) we’ve had a lot of problems getting temp tags for it. Washington would only give us a 3 day tag for $30, and both the Washington DMV and dealership suggested we try Idaho for a 30 day one once we were here. The 3 day tag got us here on a 2 day trip and we went into the Twin Falls DMV with an expired tag and fingers crossed that we’d get a new one. Idaho said no – we’re not from Idaho and we didn’t buy the truck in Idaho and that’s about the end of that. Our last option was to call Florida and wait 10 days for them to send us a 30 day temp place/tag. All of this is due to the dealership needing to send in the sale paperwork to Florida – which they have yet to do because we’re also waiting on the old truck’s title that they need before they’ll send Florida the paperwork

…too late to make this story short but basically we had no truck for the first 3 weeks of our stay in Hagerman. 

Having no truck wasn’t actually much of an inconvenience, for once, except for the places farther away that we wanted to go on weekends. It actually gave us lots of time to ride our motorcycles all around the area – and we were able to reach a lot of parks and sites with the bikes.

Weekend One

We hadn’t ridden our bikes more than a few miles around Spokane this year before coming here. We were itching to find some dirt roads, but didn’t even know where to start looking. The area is so thick with farms that there are hardly any dirt roads at all (lucky farmers have thousands of miles of paved roads), unless you go some 70 miles west to a really remote desert area towards the Snake River, south of Boise, and our bike’s tanks couldn’t hold enough fuel. 

I had a ton of places in the area marked on google already, so when Saturday came along we decided to hit up as many as possible. I found a non highway route that we could take to Balanced Rock – a phenomenal natural structure over 48 feet tall, 40 tons and balancing on a pedestal just 3 feet by 17 inches! 

We didn’t wear any off-road gear for this trip, just our padded coats, helmets and hiking boots, so we were regretting our choice when we saw an off-road park right across from Balanced Rock! We did one steep, rutty road before deciding it wasn’t worth getting hurt without our gear.  

Next we passed through the farm town of Buhl for some gas and continued on to a place that said only “Clear Springs Visitor Center” on the map. With all the state parks and nature preserves in the area, we figured it had to be another park. We arrived to find it was actually some weird “park” owned by a food company with fish hatcheries. We were annoyed that they would have a green area on the map, and a “visitor center”, almost posing as some kind of state run park, but the towering cliffs next to the “park” were actually really cool and vultures nested high along the edges. Luckily it was on the way to Thousand Springs and Ritter Island State Park so we weren’t really that put off. 

You can’t own the cliffs, Food Company!

We arrived at Thousand Springs, which I’ve so far found really confusingly named because there’s also a Thousand Springs State Park about 15 miles from this area. These falls seem to be on a water company/dam’s property as they’re also not part of Ritter Island State Park. The map merely says “Nature Conservancy” and contains a nice long hiking trail that goes along the Snake River for a few miles past several waterfalls. I believe the falls are part of the “thousand springs” of the general area. We saw several waterfalls from the other side of the river and tracked them down, otherwise google will not really tell you they’re there at all. If you look for Ritter Island you’ll find them along the way. 

 

These falls (pictured) were one of the tallest and most approachable (not fenced off and not spraying you in the face) waterfalls I’ve seen up close. Luckily the falls were the best part because despite the great weather, Ritter Island State Park is only open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Anyway, there were ton of birds and beautiful views abound.  

We made it home with a lot of daylight to spare, took it easy after our long, bumpy ride, and sat outside with the pets. In total we rode 70 miles, and despite being truckless it was a great success!

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