City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park are part of the original territory of Numic speaking people from Shoshone and Paiute bands. They and their ancestors moved seasonally across the Great Basin and surrounding areas following game and other resources. Pine nut gathering is still practiced by tribal members in the parks today.
John Halley's stage route connected the railroad in Kelton, Utah with Idaho's mining hub in Boise. The track supplied early economic development throughout Idaho, which won statehood in 1890. The route passed through the City of Rocks, where a stage station was set up near the junction of the California Trail and Salt Lake Alternate Trail.
Settlers began to homestead in the City of Rocks area in the late 1800s. Dryland farming declined during the drought years of the 1920s and 1930s, but ranching survived. Livestock grazing began with early wagon use of the area in the mid-19th century and continues today.
The original rock house was built in 1904-1905 by Aaron McBride, a rock mason, and William E. Tracy, a rock layer and house builder. Eighteen-inch thick rock walls were installed to provide excellent insulation keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The Tracy family lived in the rock house for five years.
Last updated: January 29, 2020