Bruneau Canyon is a giant chasm in the high desert plains of southwestern Idaho. A Google search reveals that the canyon is 40 miles long and up to 1200 ft. deep (the places that I visited were 600-800 feet deep). An 18 mile drive from the town of Bruneau, Idaho will take you to a view point on the eastern rim of the canyon. You will not find any trails there but you could easily follow the rim of the canyon north or south. One day I followed the rim north and another day south.
This trip report is about a hike along the rim north of the view point. For south of view point see this page:
Hike Length: 5.72 miles
Total Ascent: 622 ft.
Forecast had called for rain early in the morning, then lesser chance of rain later in the day. It was raining when I woke up around 6 am at the vacation rental house east of Grand View, Idaho. Slept another hour and finally left the house around 8 a.m. Drove 15 miles to the town of Bruneau then got on Hot Springs Road south. The road was paved for 11 miles, then became a dirt road passable by any car. I had seen pictures of this sign on the internet. It was still funny to see the real thing.
15 miles after Bruneau, at a sign, turned onto another good dirt road and went 3 miles to reach Bruneau Canyon View Point. One vehicle was there and left just then. It was 45 degrees F and elevation was 3600 ft. Started my hike at 9:05 a.m. It remained cloudy the rest of the day with occasional drizzle. The wind felt cold.
Walked to the very rim. An impressive black canyon 800 ft deep appeared in front of me.
I turned north and began to follow the eastern rim of the canyon. A van had camped a short distance north of the View Point. I suddenly saw two big mad dogs barking and running toward me. It is so frustrating when this happens to me again and again during my hikes. With my hiking poles and a big knife hanging from my belt, I am well cable of defending myself against dogs (and hopefully wild animals) but I don’t want to harm a dog and don’t want to deal with the irate dog owner who might act as if it was my fault that his dogs attacked me. On the other hand, I do not want to get injured two hours’ drive from the nearest hospital.
One of the dogs kept its distance but the other one came very close. I kept my calm and held the dog back with my hiking poles without striking it as I kept walking. The owner finally came out of the van half naked saying the usual “don’t worry they are friendly”. Well, they have a strange way of showing their friendliness. I did not say anything and tried to not get upset.
Good views of the canyon.
Elevation slowly decreased as I kept going north.
At 10:35 a.m., after 3.0 miles of hiking, I reached a place where there was a big downhill along the rim. I could see a barbed wire fence down the slope so I decided to end my hike at that spot. Sat there and had my lunch. The wind felt very cold. Elevation was 3440 ft
Left at 10:54 going back the way I had come. I could see a big blue plastic object half way down the western canyon wall. Took a zoomed and un-zoomed picture. What on earth was that and how did it get there?
More canyon views.
As I approached the van, I knew that the dog welcoming committee was anxiously awaiting me. Fortunately, the owners were out and held their dogs as I went by. Reached my vehicle at 12:13 p.m.
Made it back to the house on the banks of Snake River. Bird watching from the house.