Idaho Park Caters to Rock Climbers

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June 27, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

Used to be that if you wanted to camp among the beautiful and fascinating rocks at the City of Rocks in southern Idaho, all you had was primitive camping.
That was fine with members of the rock-climbing culture who would throw down a tarp and sleeping bag and hit the sack after belting down a few beers after a 16-hour cross-country drive to the place.
Today, the area sports a new RV-friendly campground that makes it easier for families to camp in the area, according to The Idaho Statesman, Boise.
And guess what? Even some of the climbers who are now in their 50s don't mind the hot showers.
Campers woke up to wind, rain, sleet and snow at City of Rocks National Reserve one morning this June. For some in the primitive camping area, like Crystal Wright and Brian Mulvihill of Jackson, Wyo., the weather was too much. They sat out the rest of the soggy morning in their car, watching a movie on their laptop. A backpacking tent gets cramped after a while.
For other climbers in a nearby full-service campground at Castle Rocks State Park, it was pretty cushy.
"We really liked the electric hand-driers in the toilets," said Tom Raudaschl of Golden, British Columbia, as he waited for hard-boiled eggs to cook at the picnic table.
"This is the smarter choice," said Kellie Erwin-Rhoades, a climber who was with the Idaho State University Outdoors Program in the mid 1970s. She now lives in Golden but keeps coming back to the City of Rocks.
With the new Smoky Mountain Campground at Castle Rocks State Park, visitors to the City of Rocks National Reserve have a choice between primitive and plush camping.
The City of Rocks, which is located south of Burley, is on the northern edge of the Great Basin and is known for its unique rock formations.
Some of the granite is 2.5 billion years old, and the rocks are some of the oldest in the Lower 48.
It is a popular recreation destination for hikers, horseback riders, climbers, photographers, mountain bikers and those who just want to smell the wildflowers.

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