Visit This Northwestern State Park For Unique Outdoor Adventures

Packing up and heading out to enjoy a vacation in Idaho is ideal if you're an adventurer with a passion for inspiring scenery. Here, you have seemingly endless options to surround yourself with stunning mountains and valleys, as well as scenic lakes, valleys, and rivers. It's fair to say that the diverse landscapes here lend themselves well to outdoor exploration. If you happen to be on the hunt for truly unique outdoor adventures during your getaway, you won't want to miss a stop at Bruneau Dunes State Park.

Idaho is home to 30 state parks, and of the bunch, Bruneau Dunes State Park offers up a one-of-a-kind take on breathtaking discoveries thanks to unexpected landforms within its parameters and terrific options for customizing your visit year-round. The park sprawls across no less than 4,800 acres of eye-catching terrain and welcomes around 85,000 visitors annually.

Many adventurers head here specifically to enjoy time exploring the dunes. Towering 470 feet above the desert valley known as Eagle Cove, these particular dunes have earned the well-deserved title as the tallest free-standing dunes in all of North America. There are minimal restrictions in place when it comes to trekking up to the top of the dunes. This proves to be irresistible to travelers who can't wait to tailor their outdoor adventures to a sense of personal travel style.

Discover the thrill of the dunes

Bruneau Dunes State Park is located in lovely Mountain Home, Idaho, which is about 44 miles from Boise. The fun that awaits here can be reached by following Highway 51 from Mountain Home South toward the Snake River. Beyond opportunities to admire the dunes, this destination appeals to travelers looking to explore a state park that hosts everything from desert and prairie landscapes to lakes and marshes alike.

While observing your surroundings at Bruneau Dunes State Park is already a thrill, it's hard to top options to climb up the dunes at your own pace. When you're ready for a unique experience and gorgeous views, lace up your hiking boots and begin your sandy trek upward. There aren't any rules about how you reach the summit; you'll just have to do it on foot as all off-road vehicles are restricted to the main road. If you tackle the largest dune, the journey takes about an hour.

To elevate your outdoor fun even further, consider bringing a sled or renting a sandboard at the Visitor Center before you head up the dunes. Yes, you'll have more to carry on your journey, but the effort is worth your while. That's because your reward lies in your slide down the dunes at thrilling speeds. After a few rounds of adrenaline-pumping fun, you can settle in lakeside at the foot of the dunes and spend some time casting a line and waiting for bluegills to bite.

Add hiking, horseback riding, and stargazing to the itinerary

Another wonderful way to spend time enjoying the great outdoors during your Bruneau Dunes State Park visit is to take to the trails. A popular and pet-friendly route here is a 6-mile loop that has an easy-to-access trailhead right at the Visitor Center. The loop winds its way around the dunes and provides around two hours of trekking fun as well as spectacular views.

If you prefer your trails to be explored on horseback, Bruneau Dunes State Park hosts a dedicated equestrian area to enjoy. This is designed for guests who are traveling to the park with their own horse in tow. Many visitors come to ride the trails here and take advantage of the on-site corrals, convenient water spigots, and nearby shelters for breaks or picnics as needed.

When you spend a day at Bruneau Dunes State Park, the outdoor adventure doesn't have to end when the sun goes down. That's because there are incredible opportunities for stargazing between early June and mid-October on Fridays and Saturdays at the Bruneau Dunes Observatory. If you arrive an hour before sunset, you can use a special telescope designed for safe solar viewing, or take an observatory tour. When the stars come out, participants can spend time looking up at the cosmos through a collection of high-powered telescopes and ask questions of knowledgeable guides.