The Castle Rock Road winds through meadows, aspen groves and sagebrush hills in an area along Highway 20, northeast of Mountain Home.
Forest Service Road 152, as it is also known, rounds a bend and comes over a hill revealing strange gray goblins popping out of the landscape.
The granite spires and hoodoos along the Castle Rock Road, between Little Camas Reservoir and Cat Creek Summit, are fascinating. They are part of a small outcropping of formations, but are on par with those at Little City of Rocks, north of Gooding, and City of Rocks National Reserve, south of Burley.
I’ve driven past the Castle Rock Road on U.S. 20 hundreds of times on the way to Sun Valley, always with the thought of, “What the heck is down that road?” And, mainly because from nearby Cat Creek Summit, it looked like incredible Telemark skiing or snowshoeing terrain.
So last week we took a drive down the road and came across the impressive rock formations nestled in the Castle Creek drainage surrounded by beaver dams and overflowing creeks.
It’s kind of a strange area with a spooky feeling. Well, that’s just me. One formation is called Skull Rock, according to old maps.
Castle Rock Road is an easy day trip from the Treasure Valley, probably a total of 75 to 80 miles, and a lot of it on freeway.
Most of the formations are on private land so if you visit the area, stay on the public road to take photos and admire the scenery.
We drove the road last week but with new snows coming, be aware of road conditions.
If the road is snow covered, think about hiking in the 1.7 miles to the formations; If the snow is fairly deep, it would make a great cross-country ski or snowshoe trek. I’ve also seen snowmobilers on this road in past winters.
Getting there: Drive east of Treasure Valley on I-84 and take the Sun Valley exit (U.S. 20) in Mountain Home. Drive 26 miles on U.S. 20 and take a left on the Castle Rock Road. (You know you are getting closer when you pass Little Camas Reservoir.)
It’s a fascinating little area bypassed by travelers from Boise to Sun Valley.
You can also enjoy the scenic overlook on Cat Creek Summit. This can be a jumping off point for snowshoers who want to trek the hills.
Take the side trip and enjoy the intriguing geological area in rolling foothills of Cat Creek Summit.