Across Idaho

Across Idaho

While going across Idaho we rejoined the Oregon trail in Burley Idaho. The Oregon trail splits from the Mormon Trail at Fort Bridger. Instead of staying on the Oregon Trail, we followed the Mormon trail to visit Salt Lake City.

You might see some similarities in the title of this post. Last month I described our route going across Wyoming and our method of choosing the best days to travel. This post was called Across Wyoming. Here is a quick link to the post. Across Wyoming

I think this flower is a poppy.
I think this flower is a poppy. We found it along the Boise River.

The post Across Wyoming describes our route. We took Interstate 80 until we got to Fort Bridger. Then in Fort Bridger, we took Interstate 80/84 into the Great Salt Lake Valley. The post, Salt Lake City describes our stay there. Salt Lake City

Going north on Interstate 84, we rejoined the Oregon Trail in Burley Idaho. Burley is a nice farm town along the Snake River. The reason that the Oregon Trail is here is because of the Snake River. If you are going to walk across Idaho following a reliable source of water is critically important.


It is kind of funny that I mention Yellowstone here because nothing we mentioned so far has an obvious connection to Yellowstone and we are not headed toward Yellowstone. Yellowstone however ties into the story because of Yellowstone’s influence in southern Idaho.

Flowers growing along the Boise Greenbelt.
Flowers growing along the Boise River Greenbelt.

The Snake River Valley cuts across Idaho following the path of a volcanic hotspot that is now under Yellowstone National Park. Gradually millions of years ago, the hotspot moved across Idaho starting in western Oregon. This hotspot is the reason that southern Idaho is the farm country we think of it today. The volcano supplied the soil. But there was one other key event in history that added to the mixture that makes Idaho the potato capital of the world. (I find it great that we have a state that is dedicated to the potato.)

I mentioned another event that has made Idaho farmland wonderful. It was a massive flood. This flood was huge. Nothing we have witnessed during recorded history was like this flood from Lake Bonneville.

Lake Bonneville

Lake Bonneville covered most of Utah and parts of Nevada and Idaho. Evidence of the lake shore surrounds the Great Salt Lake Valley. If Lake Bonneville were still full today, it would be one of the Great Lakes. It was about the size of Lake Michigan.

Outline of Lake Bonneville in Utah. When the dam broke, the flood went all the way across Idaho.
Outline of Lake Bonneville in Utah. Outline of Lake Bonneville in Utah. When the dam broke, the flood went all the way across Idaho.

About 18,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville’s natural dam broke at a location in southern Idaho south of Pocatello. It flooded the entire Snake River Basin. The water draining from Lake Bonneville was so huge and fast that it crossed over the Snake River flooding areas uphill on the north side of the Snake River. Everything in the Snake River Valley, south of Idaho Falls was flooded all the way to and including much of Oregon. The flood left mud deposits all the way across Idaho. Today this mud is the home of the Idaho and Oregon potato farms.

View Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve Arco Idaho
This view of Craters of the Moon National Monument shows what the Snake River Valley would have looked like without the Lake Bonneville flood.

The Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, and the Bonneville Salt Flats are all remnants of Lake Bonneville. After a year-long flood, the lake continued to drain down the Snake River Valley for more than 3000 years. The draining of the lake eventually cleared the Snake River Canyon bottom free of mud deposits. North of Boise, the Snake River Canyon is very deep because of the flooding associated with Lake Bonneville.

The only area in the Snake River Valley not covered with mud is now known as the Craters of the Moon National Monument. I covered this story about Craters of the Moon National Monument when I described the park in this post. Goodale’s Cutoff

Snake River Valley

Of course, the Yellowstone volcanic hotspot moved across Idaho eons before the Bonneville Flood. The combination of great soil alone didn’t alone create the potato farms of today. The farms needed water. Farmers transitioned the land from a sage-filled high desert by providing the water. Without irrigation, the mud deposits couldn’t have supported farming like it does today.

Snake River downstream of Shoshone Falls.
Snake River downstream of Shoshone Falls.


While in Burley we visited Shoshone Falls and found this year’s lack of water going over the falls remarkable. Our previous visit in 2018 on the same day four years prior had a stunning difference in the amount of water at the falls. Some of the flow this year was probably associated with the drought but water needs and water storage result in various flows across the falls.

The falls were still pretty but not like in previous years. In the past, we have seen Shoshone falls with less water, but that was in the fall when you would not expect a massive flow. Here is a link to that story. Twin Falls

Glenns Ferry

Our next stop westbound was Glenns Ferry. The Oregon Trail Pioneers also stopped here to cross the Snake River. In I told 2018 my story about Glenns Ferry in this post. Three Islands Crossing

Ynot winery in Glenns Ferry.
Ynot winery in Glenns Ferry.

This time while in Glenns Ferry we didn’t stay at the Three Islands Crossing State Park, instead we camped at the Ynot Winery. By far, the winery is the biggest business in Glenns Ferry. We stayed at the winery because of a club we belong to called Harvest Hosts. This club allows us to stay at guest locations as we travel. Here is a link to my article describing the club. Harvest Hosts

At the Ynot Winery, they have a real (paid) RV campground, golf course, and restaurant. As a Harvest Host member, we stayed outside of the campground because we don’t need the campground amenities to be comfortable. Because we were not inside the campground our stay was free.


Our entire trip so far this year had Boise as the goal. Our arrival had to be in the middle of May to get to our grandson’s High School Graduation. We made it. I think he remembers us being there. We intend to see him during our trip south through Oregon, interrupting his first year in college. I am sure that he will enjoy seeing us, especially if we have food with us.

View of Boise Idaho
View of across Boise Idaho

Boise Riverside RV Park

While in Boise, we always try to stay at the Boise Riverside RV Park, because of the location. The Boise River has a wonderful greenbelt and we love to walk on it. We also bike ride nearly every day during our visit. Boise was the place, the first place this year north of Florida, where we could really enjoy really nice weather.

Our campsite at the Boise Riverside RV Park.
Our campsite at the Boise Riverside RV Park looks great from this angle.

This year our stay at the Boise Riverside RV Park wasn’t great. Overall the RV park is well below average bordering on intolerable. We have had better stays in past years. The number one attraction for us about this RV Park is the Boise River Greenbelt.

Really it was the fault of poor planning by the staff and old facilities. I am certain the park was designed in the 1950s or 1960s by people that knew almost nothing about RVs. The park design is bad even though we really love the location. The staff was new but they were still struggling from previous neglect. We didn’t really know how bad the problem could get until they parked another RV next to us. The tow truck driver even hit our RV (no damage) while parking this other huge RV next to us.

Not all is well at the Boise Riverside RV Park.
I can’t think of any time, anywhere we had a neighbor’s RV so close that we could touch their walls.

It is very obvious that these two RVs should have never been parked next to each other. A couple of hours later, the park moved our neighbor but the problem repeated with every new arrival. Since our spot was near the front, the site next to us was the obvious target for every arrival.

Boise River Greenbelt

I guess you can say that we tolerate the Boise Riverside RV Park so that we can be next to the Boise River Greenbelt. It is very pretty and provides for very enjoyable walks and bike rides.

Boise River and greenway park in Boise.
Boise River near Garden City in Boise.

About Freak Alley

Boise doesn’t really have a gritty side of town. It is wonderfully well kept. That doesn’t mean that there are not some “colorful, strange, interesting” people (pick your own adjective). Freak Alley is a restricted use location (few cars, lots of people, and cool art) next to the downtown open-air restaurant row.

Freak Alley in Boise is in downtown Boise along the restraint row.
Freak Alley in Boise is in downtown Boise along the restaurant row.

In Boise, this is what passes for graffiti. To me, it seems that it is amazingly created by very talented artists. I am glad they share their art. I can’t say the same thing about most graffiti.

It must take new paint every year to keep the art at Freak Valley fresh and so vibrant.
It must take new paint every year to keep the art at Freak Valley fresh and so vibrant.
This must be the magic mushroom I keep hearing about.  You see some strange things on your way across Idaho.
This must be the magic mushroom I keep hearing about.
This is not the view of a grizzly bear that you want to see coming your direction.
This is not the view of a grizzly bear that you want to see coming in your direction.


For us, we didn’t travel across Idaho to follow the Oregon Trail. We came across Idaho to see family. It was really good to see everyone. Above all, I want to say how proud we are of our grandson Brady, the new High School Graduate. It was nice to see your picture and name on the jumbotron during graduation.

Congratulations Brady Larsen
Congratulations Brady Larsen

Please subscribe and join us on our journey

We will add you to our email list and send you updates about once a week. Here is a link. Subscribe


Oregon Trail

Mormon Trail

Fort Bridger Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Shoshone Falls

Glenns Ferry

Ynot Winery

Boise Riverside RV Park

Boise River Greenbelt

Freak Alley

3 thoughts on “Across Idaho”

  1. We have stayed at Y Knot Winery several time coming home from AZ. Nice little golf course. You can get into big trouble if you don’t hit the ball straight. Ask me how I know! ☹️ Enjoyed the restaurant.

  2. We stayed at Boise Riverside too and felt the same way. Nice location, but cruddy spacing. Yours takes the cake though. I would be tempted to knock on the window and say “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon…?”

  3. Wow, that was strange. I just wrote a really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *