Balanced Rock, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument,
and Malad Gorge State Park

This scenic day trip took us to three impressive natural wonders in the area: Balanced Rock, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, and Malad Gorge State Park.

First stop: The Balancing Act of Balanced Rock

Our first stop was Balanced Rock, a towering natural wonder south of Buhl, near the Salmon Falls Creek Canyon. According to the information signs, this impressive rock stands over 48 feet tall and weighs 40 tons, delicately balanced on a pedestal measuring only 3 feet by 17 inches. We hiked the steep path to the top for stunning views and photos, but unfortunately, we were interrupted by someone throwing rocks near or at us. Thankfully, after a stern word, the culprit (a grown man, not a child as we initially thought!) stopped the behavior, allowing us to return safely.

Next Stop: History and Views at Hagerman Fossil Beds

Our next stop was the fascinating Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. We explored the Oregon Trail Overlook and walked the short trail, learning about the arduous journey of emigrants traveling westward between 1840 and 1860. The remnants of wagon ruts were a tangible reminder of their struggles. The Snake River overlook offered breathtaking views.
Despite the map’s indication, our hiking plans here were hindered when we couldn’t locate the trail along the river. As a result, we decided to continue to Malad Gorge State Park in hopes of hiking there.

Final Destination: The Majestic Malad Gorge

After we attempted the Snake River trail, we continued on to our final destination, Malad Gorge State Park. We paid the $7 parking fee and hiked along the river within the stunning deep canyon. The cascading waterfalls and the sheer scale of the canyon, cleaving the land in two, made for an unforgettable experience.
This day trip offered a perfect blend of geological wonders, historical insights, and breathtaking scenery, making it a day well spent exploring the wonders of Idaho.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021


about 2 miles

Moving Time

about 1 hour


56 °F, light breeze, sunny