History has always intrigued me. Growing up, my father’s idea of the perfect road trip was stopping at historically significant places and telling us kids their exciting stories. It was so boring when I was a kid! I couldn’t have know how much I would miss it when I grew up.
Then along came these BucketList Adventures. Many of them are focused on places of historical significance. One of these is Register Rock, just outside of American Falls. We had spent most of the day stuck in the sand dunes and were headed back to Boise from Pocatello. I remembered that Register Rock was on our way home and only a short detour. It didn’t take much to talk my bestie and adventure partner into going along.
I’m really glad we did. Seeing the names inscribed on Register Rock and knowing the hard times these travelers had experienced gave me a shiver. Especially since some of the names dated as early as the mid 1800s. Idaho is such an open state, sometimes road trips seem to take forever, but imagining how long emigrants traveled in wagons and on foot made me even more grateful for my Ford.
History: Register Rock is in the center of an emigrant campground where travelers inscribed their names on basalt boulders. The largest of these bolder is now sheltered by a pavilion, with other inscribed rocks nearby. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Location: Register Rock is located in Massacre Rocks State Park near American Falls. From Boise take I-84 E about 200 miles toward Pocatello. Take Exit 28 to Massacre Rocks State Park. Follow the signs about 2 miles to arrive at the Rock.
Hours: The park is open 24 hours a day, but day use is limited to daylight hours unless you find a campspot.
Costs: Motor Vehicle entry fees are $5 per vehicle.
Serviced Campsites - $24-$29 per day
Standard Campsites - $12-$21 per day
Cabin Rentals - $50-$65 per day
Eats: There are plenty of picnic areas around the park and several around Register Rock. Bring your own picnic or head into American Falls for dinner at one of their many restaurants.
Lodging: There are hotels in American Falls or you can head to the park for camping.
Throughout Massacre Rocks Park there are 42 Camp spots and 4 cabins. Contact Idaho Parks and Recreation for reservation information.
The park also has showers, flush toilets and dump stations.
Special Notes: There is a horse corral located near Register Rock for those who are bringing their horses along to the park. It is a nice place for a long ride.
Visiting the Rock is easily handicapped accessible and very children friendly. You may have your pets in the park, but please be courteous and clean up after them.
Throughout the park you will find picnic areas, horseshoe pits, hiking trails, a disc golf course, ramps and docks for day-use, fishing and swimming.
It’s such a short drive from Boise, it makes for a great day trip or weekend get-away. Enjoy the park’s many outdoor activities, but make sure to take the time and stop for a minute by Register Rock and appreciate the history of our Idaho forefathers.