Mountain Bike to the Petroglyphs at Wees Bar

Swan Falls Dam Parking Lot

Mountain bike through the Snake River Canyon to a secluded field full of petroglyphs. 

At Wees Bar, a remote area accessible only by bike or foot, explore hundreds of petroglyphs carved into glacial boulders by Native Americans 12,000 years ago.

Begin at the Swan Falls Dam parking lot. Bring a fat bike in late summer and fall to glide over the dry, loose dirt that forms as the canyon bakes in the summer sun.

Ride across the dam, keeping an eye out for pedestrians. This is a unique experience: how often is it you get to ride across a hydroelectric dam?

Follow the trail briefly upstream before a sharp right switchback climbs over a knobby hillside. 

There is no marked trail to Wees Bar, but the directions are simple: stick to the river. The first half of the ride is on criss-crossed double track. Take the track that seems the most solid, but continue along the river. There are a few times when a road or double track will lead up and out of the canyon - do not take those.

Cross over a wire fence that narrows the path from two track to single track. Keep an eye out across the river (to the north) for a metal pipe snaking down the cliff wall of the canyon. Wees Bar is roughly across from that landmark.

Wees Bar is a wide open field covered in dark boulders. Everywhere you look there are more etchings, beckoning you further into the field.

Return via the same route. Free camping is available at one of Idaho Power’s campsites along the river. 

Watch for rattlesnakes during the warm months! 

Pack List

  • Mountain bike and gear
  • Plenty of water and food
  • Camping gear if camping
  • Camera
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RT Distance 12.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Camping, Fishing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Good Short Ride/Terrible Long ride

The trail was good for the first 6-8 miles then it became overgrown and then vanished. I found myself carrying my mountain bike over boulders to even get over to Celebration Park. There are better rides than this elsewhere or just stick to a shorter 12-16 mile out and back.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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