Hike the Bruneau Sand Dunes

Idaho Bruneau Dunes

  • Activities:

    Snowboarding, Camping, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    470 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

Hike or sandboard the tallest single structure sand dune in the United States, created during the Bonneville Flood 15,000 years ago.

Set off from the Bruneau Lake parking lot and circumnavigate the lake in a clockwise direction. The hike traverses small rolling dunes before beginning it's ascent of the big dune. The big dune rises 450 feet and it's loose sand is both entertaining to climb as well as a test of patience.

The 360 degree view from the summit of the big dune showcases Bruneau Lake, a cirque formed from sand called The Vortex, as well as many shorter dunes. Proceed along the ridge of the Vortex. Climb to the summit of the next tall dune before dropping straight down it's face to the waters edge. Continue around the lake clockwise until back to the parking area.

The Bruneau Dunes State Park's Visitor Center rents sandboards for $15/day. They also open their solar Observatory to the public free of charge from April to October on Friday and Saturday nights.

Bruneau Dunes has year-round standard, group and equestrian campsites, as well as cabins for rent.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sturdy shoes you don't mind being filled with sand
  • Camera
  • $5 entry fee
  • If camping: camping gear, fees vary by site
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Reviews

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I wasn't really sure what to expect when going to the dunes, but after the first time, I've taken multiple people back to experience them. Not too far from MHAFB, and a cheap day trip! I would recommend going at sunset and just enjoying the view after your climb.

3 months ago
3 months ago

This Idaho State Park is the site of North America's highest single structured sand dune. With an approximate 470 foot incline you might need to take a breather. Hiking in the sand is no easy feat especially with sand getting everywhere. Not a terribly long struggle if you stick with it. Would suggest going in the morning to beat the afternoon heat. I camped around here in late August early September and it was great, not too crowded on a weekend. If you get a chance visit the observatory there too they do tours and it can be pretty cool. That part was a bit more crowded.

6 months ago
6 months ago

This hike took us about an hour to reach to the top of the largest sand dune. It had us panting quite a bit, but the gorgeous views of the sunset and stars were very much worth it!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Took me about an hour and a half to go from end to end. Scored some amazing pictures!

8 months ago
8 months ago

A great spot to spend the day exploring in the high desert. Great spot to view the stars!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Sara SheehyExplorer

Writer | Nomad I Adventuress | Photographer

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