What to do in Bruneau Dunes State Park

*Note: All information presented is non-seasonal, as per the wishes of the State of Idaho.

The dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park are unique in the Western Hemisphere. Others in the Americas form at the edges of natural basins; these form near the center. They include the largest single-structured sand dune in North America, with a peak 470 feet above the lakes.

The combination of 1) a source of sand; 2) a relatively constant wind activity; and 3) a natural trap have caused sand to collect in this semicircular basin for about 12,000 years. Unlike most dunes, these do not drift far. 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. The two prominent dunes cover about 600 acres.

The park contains lake, marsh, desert, prairie and dune habitats. Since most desert wildlife is nocturnal, early morning and late evening are the best times for spotting the park's inhabitants. However, a sharp eye often is rewarded with a daytime glimpse of lizards and rabbits, or raptors such as owls, hawks and eagles. Look for tracks in the sand. There is no hunting in the park—except with cameras and binoculars. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the dunes.

The small lakes at the foot of the dunes provide an excellent bass and bluegill fishery. Sport fishing from nonmotorized boats, canoes, rubber rafts and float tubes is a popular activity.

Bruneau Dunes has one of the longest camping seasons in Idaho's system. Campers often start coming in March and continue to enjoy the park's warm weather late into the fall. Shade trees and shelters are abundant in the campground. A new group camp area with shelter and 50 sites has been added.

Two cabins rent for $35 per night each. The one-room cabins sleep up to five on bunk beds and futons. Cook outside on the grill-covered fire pit. The cabins are powered and heated. Call 208-366-7919 for reservations.

The Bruneau Dunes Observatory invites you to look at the stars. Take advantage of a unique opportunity to see the night sky like you never have before. Visitors will watch a short orientation program and then have a chance to survey the heavens through the observatory's collection of telescopes.

A facility for day-use and overnight camping is available.

Twenty minutes off I-84 near Mountain Home; westbound Exit 112, eastbound Exit 90. One hour from Boise. One and one-half hours from Twin Falls

The climate in Idaho varies with the elevation. The bottom of Hell's Canyon, Boise and other locations at low elevations receive hot summer weather. Temperatures at these elevations often reach 90 degrees or more during the summer months. At the same time the mountains will get mild temperatures with cool nights. Winters are just as extreme with the mountains experiencing extreme conditions and temperatures. An average of 500 inches of snow falls on the Idaho highlands. Temperatures are known to dip below zero degrees F on many winter nights. The lower elevations enjoy a more mild winter season with less precipitation than the mountains. The sun is a constant throughout the year. Be sure to wear sunscreen and layered clothing in Idaho's unpredictable weather.

HC 85, Box 41
Mountain Home, ID 83647

Phone: 208-366-7919

Fax: 208-366-2844

Email: bru@idpr.state.id.us
  • Bruneau Dunes State Park Travel Q&A