March 24, 2018

Makin' The Loop

hell-roaring-creekSomewhere inside me is a frustrated explorer. I have an insatiable need to know what’s around the next bend in the river. It’s not enough to know where it comes out. I want to see it for myself. It’s been that way since moving to Island Park a few years ago. I have been on a quest. I want to drive every road, explore every trail, fish every hole, stand on every mountain top. And not only that, I want to do it both winter and summer.

If you feel that, you’ll appreciate the coming stories about things to see and do while you’re here — things that most people will never see and do. These will be day trips. Places to go that yield unparalleled beauty. Places you can go without re-tracing your steps.

Today I’d like to take you on a journey through the Centennial Mountains. The loop starts in Island Park, on the Henry’s Lake flats. You take the Redrock road (just south of the Henry’s Lake outlet. Just keep heading West on that road. About 50 – 60 miles later, you’ll run into I-15. Turn South to Spencer and then East to Kilgore and Island Park. You’ll re-enter Island Park through Shotgun.

Yes, this is a dirt road. Yes, it’s rutted and wash-boardy. Yes it’s remote. But this is the most spectacular view of Sawtelle, Jefferson, and the rest of the Centennials you will ever have. You will see them from all four sides and you will be amazed at just how spectacular they are. Take a picnic and stop at Red Rocks Wildlife Refuge and see the waterfowl. Or stop in Spencer for some opal hunting. Or maybe you prefer a stop in Kilgore for a big Idaho-sized burger and fries.

If you don’t stop, the trip will take a couple or three hours. That includes slowing down and not beating yourself and your car on the dirt roads. There are no services between Island Park and Lima, Montana (on I-15) and depending on the time of day or the time of year, there may not be services anywhere on the route, so plan accordingly. This is a summer-only trip, as the roads are not plowed. If you go in the fall, be darn sure the weather will be good all day. You don’t want to be one of those stranded people you read about on the internet.

Take this drive and let me know what you think. It’s one of my favorites. See you on the road!



  1. Distracted Momma says:

    Couldn’t have said it any better…the ride was spectacular, and filled my soul.

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