As sunshine warms the Pocatello mountains, locals come out of hibernation. In the wintery months you’re lucky to see neighbors at the ski hill or the grocery store. Now they’re out in force donning the traditional spring uniform of sandals, shorts and a hoodie once the temperature hits 50 degrees. Bikers are eager to hit the dry roads and climbers scramble for the Sunny Side before late summer temperatures heat up the basalt cliffs.
Pocatello is by nature an outdoors town. Tucked into a triangular valley with mountain peaks on three sides, it is literally only moments to the mountains. There are trails for every ability level and sport. The 52-mile City Creek Trail System is easily accessed right at the base of the west bench across from a local city park, Centennial Park. Hikers and bikers enjoy trails that reach under the canopy of trees near the creek or up onto the benches overlooking the valley. Dogs welcome, just clean up after them and keep near in case of a moose or other wildlife encounter. YouTube has a great selection of videos to get a feel for the trails (search Pocatello and City Creek). There are also videos of the amazing trails south of town such as Valve House and Mink Creek near Scout Mountain. Ride or hike up to the beaver dams or picnic at Cherry Springs Nature Area. The campground on top of Scout Mountain is a pristine getaway nestled in the solitude of Alpine Pines only 15 minutes out of town.
In town outdoor destinations include the “Shady” and “Sunny” sides of the basalt lava cliffs of Ross Park with over 100 bolted routes from 50-100 feet high with ratings from 5.6 to 5.12c. Open climb is offered weekly by the Pocatello Parks & Rec and Idaho State University. Each September, ISU hosts the “Pocatello Pump,” the nation’s oldest rock-climbing competition. Known for its swag and the community it brings together, climbers travel from all over to participate annually.
Pocatello offers an appealing quality of life with large running, biking, hunting, fishing and skiing communities. Events include a summer fun-run series, the Pocatello Marathon, the Scout Mountain Ultra Trail, archery and shooting range competitions, disc golf tournaments, and bike races. Best of all, after an invigorating outing, you can be back for dinner within 20 minutes. For more information go to VisitPocatello.com.