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4 Best Off-Road Parks in Idaho

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Idaho is well-known for its production of potatoes, but the Gem State is also a veritable paradise for off-road enthusiasts. Teeming with trails that beg to be explored, Idaho’s wilderness offers plenty of opportunities to get out in your ATV and enjoy nature. Whether you live in Idaho or are just passing through, you need to check these top four off-road parks off your bucket list.


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A map of the Elk City Historic Wagon Road

A map of the Elk City Historic Wagon Road

Elk City Historic Wagon Road

Hours of Operation: Late June through September due to snow at higher elevations
Location:
Between Harpster and Elk City
Cost of Admission:
No charge
Types of Vehicles Allowed:
Street-legal ATVs, motorbikes, UTVs, full-size vehicles

If you’re interested in learning more about Idaho’s history while exploring off-road, check out the Elk City Historic Wagon Road. Along the way, you’ll see 29 historic points of interest that will educate you about early Idaho’s mining pioneers. There are no campgrounds along the route, though there are plenty of places to pull off and pitch a tent. Make sure you take plenty of food, water, bug spray, a map, and a camera—and, of course, make sure you have enough gas to get you to your destination!

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Off-roading at St. Anthony Sand Dunes

Off-roading at St. Anthony Sand Dunes
Sub>Photo: Wikimedia

St. Anthony Sand Dunes

Hours of Operation: None specified
Location:
St. Anthony, Idaho
Cost of Admission:
Free, though you need a safety flag and an Idaho OHV sticker
Types of Vehicles Allowed:
ATVs, dune buggies, motorcycles

St. Anthony Sand Dunes rise up to 400 feet above the valley floor in St. Anthony, 50 miles northwest of Idaho Falls. The dunes are extremely popular with off-roading enthusiasts, who like to take ATVs and dune buggies across the dunes for the ultimate adventure. There are plenty of camping and lodging facilities in the area, as well as places to find food. Leave glass containers at home, as they are not allowed on the dunes, and make sure you stick to marked roads and trails.

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Mackay's Mine Hill Tour is located in Custer County, Idaho

Mackay’s Mine Hill Tour is located in Custer County, Idaho
Photo: Rolf Blauert

Mackay’s Mine Hill Tour

Hours of Operation: None specified
Location:
Mackay, Iadho
Cost of Admission:
Free
Types of Vehicles Allowed:
ATVs, motorcycles

Idaho was a great mining state back in the day, and this off-road trail helps you discover the rich history of the Gem State’s mining industry. Mackay’s Mine Hill Tour combines history with off-road fun in a forested environment. This self-guided tour travels by historically productive gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc mines and has three loops totaling approximately 30 miles. There are no services, so make sure you pack everything you will need before you head out.

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The Big Southern Butte trail is located close to the Craters of the Moon National Monument

The Big Southern Butte trail is located close to the Craters of the Moon National Monument
Photo: Wikimedia Commons”>

Big Southern Butte

Hours of Operation: None specified
Location:
Arco, Idaho
Cost of Admission:
Free
Types of Vehicles Allowed:
ATVs

The Craters of the Moon National Monument offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes in all of Idaho. Big Southern Butte is a mountain slap bang in the middle of the desert and features one of the largest volcanic domes in the world. Naturally, it’s the ideal place for an off-road park that comprises 68 miles through terrain owned by the Bureau of Land Management and adjacent to Craters of the Moon. This long route might require you to refuel along the way, so make sure you take spare gas to avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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