Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bruneau Sand Dune Hiking Trail

The Bruneau Dunes Trail is a five-mile-loop trail in Bruneau Dunes State Park, located in the Snake River Valley in Southern Idaho. The hike includes steep sand dune climbing. The dune began forming about 12,000 years ago, accumulating to a height of nearly 500 feet. It is now the highest sand dune in North America. From its crest you will have a peek into the 300-feet-bowl of the “Vortex Crater” as well as views of small surrounding lakes, rolling hills and patches of Russian Olive trees.
The trail starts at the visitor center and is indicated by white marker posts (numbered from 1 to 15). If not already in the dune area, you are able to see the dunes from almost everywhere on the trail. The visitor center can be seen from the dunes crest. Orientational guidance by view is excellent. However, sand hiking and climbing requires some more effort than walking other trails and many sections of the trail don't offer any shade. Expect intense sunshine and blowing sand. There are shortcuts to a park road, lake beaches, and rest areas. You may want to “design” your one loop or just hang out and watch other people struggling updune.

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