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Bruneau Dunes State Park, Bruneau

#34 of 54 in Nature in Idaho
State Park Nature / Park
Bruneau Dunes State Park is a state park of Idaho, USA, featuring several large sand dunes and two small lakes. The park is located south of Mountain Home, Idaho, outside of Bruneau. The park is the site of North America's highest single-structured sand dune which is approximately 470ft high. (North America's highest multistructured dune is at Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado and is approximately 660ft higher than its immediate base.) The park is also the site of the Bruneau Dunes Observatory, where visitors can use a telescope for stargazing.Natural historyReportedly the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America rises to 470ft high above small lakes. The dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park are unique in the Western Hemisphere. Other dunes in the Americas form at the edge of a natural basin. The Bruneau dunes form near the center. The basin has acted as a natural trap for over 12,000 years. The dunes may have started with sands from the Bonneville Flood about 15,000 years ago. The prevailing winds blow from the southeast 28 percent of the time and from the northwest 32 percent of the time, keeping the dunes fairly stable. Unlike most dunes, these do not drift far.Flora and faunaThe state park includes desert, dune, prairie, lake and marsh habitat. Desert wildlife is prominent along with birds of prey and waterfowl. Fishing for bass and bluegill is popular in the park's small lake. Only non-motorized canoes, rafts and float tubes are allowed.RecreationActivities include fishing, birdwatching, camping, hiking, swimming and viewing the stars at the public observatory. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the dunes but climbing and sledding are permitted. There are 7-mile and 9-mile horseback riding trails around the dunes. An educational center offers natural history displays and a gift shop. The astronomical observatory is open Friday and Saturday evenings mid-March through mid-October. Two cabins, 82 RV sites (with water/electricity) and 32 standard sites are available year round in two campgrounds: Eagle Cove Campground and Broken Wheel Campground. An equestrian overnight facility, with corrals, is also available.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
80 reviews
  • We did the detour to this attraction on our way to Yellowstone and we were not disappointed! The road to the park is ok maintained but it is in no way bad at all. Just not as smooth as others. Entranc...  more »
  • This is a great spring or fall location for a trip. I say that because it's quite hot there in the summer time, however, we didn't have to fight any crowds in July! The lake and dunes are a fun place ...  more »
  • We rented sand boards and sand sleds at the ranger station and had a great time. The young lady working at the ranger station was very helpful and the boards and sleds worked great (make sure you wax ...  more »
  • It's amazing that big hills of sand can be so beautiful. We spent an entire day out enjoying the views. They have sandboards and sleds available to rent at the main office. Throw a little wax on the bottom and you'll be flying down the dunes. We also went to the observatory they have on-site. Got a good look at some stars and planets. They have a top-notch facility there with high-end telescopes.
  • Always fun, great place to visit -- but VERY disappointed that they eliminated the ability to reserve a group campsite... We've gone there for years for an annual group Daddy-Daughter campout... This year was a HUGE pain having to reserve multiple sites and then have to have them each attached to a different person... Made it VERY difficult to put together since you now have to reserve so early in order to get sites together but without knowing exactly who will be going... The kids love the place but it has now turned out to be a HUGE pain to pull off... PLEASE CHANGE IT BACK TO WHERE THERE ARE GROUP SITES AVAILABLE!
  • "The closest thing Idaho has to a beach"! Beautiful place and a whole lot of fun to run up and down the dunes. There is camping but I didn't check that out. Bring a little board to slide down or a towel and sun bathe on the top or along the side!
  • Bruneau Dunes are unique and a must see for anyone that lives in or between Boise and Twin Falls. I am awed by them every time I visit, which is about once per year. Our kids love them. Just don't go when it's hot.
  • Great place. But kinda had a ruined day trip when we got chased out by mosquitoes. They should probably get that taken care of. Bug spray had no effect. Just a heads up

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