American Solar Challenge: Mountain Home

Solar cars pass through the Mountain Home, Idaho checkpoint on July 20. Check the American Solar Challenge 2018 page for event details. Follow the race and related events on Facebook with: American Solar Challenge and Oregon National Historic Trail.

Mountain Home, Idaho: The Snake River Plateau

The old Oregon Trail across the Snake River Plateau was a tedious, hot, and dusty trek, made more miserable by the fact that the river largely flowed in a deep canyon out of reach from the trail. At Three Island Crossing (present-day Glenn’s Ferry), one place where wagons could get down to the river, the trail split. About half the emigrants continued along the south side of the Snake, although that route was dry and offered little grass for the livestock. The other half risked fording the deep river, which sometimes swept away emigrants, wagons, and oxen, because they believed the northern route to have better forage. That route passed seven miles northeast of today’s Mountain Home, Idaho.

Check out original trail remnants at these places:

  • Three Island Crossing State Park (Glenns Ferry, Idaho) About 25 miles southeast of Mountain Home is a river ford where wagons crossed from island to island in order to reach the north side of the Snake. Visit the state-operated trail center and look across the river to see trail ruts descending the bluff. To access the park, leave I-84 at Exit 121 at Glenns Ferry and turn south on 1st Ave. Turn left on Commercial Ave. and then right on Madison. Drive about 1 mile to the park entrance.
  • Three Island Crossing Overlook and Trail Ruts (Glenns Ferry, Idaho). Walk along original wagon ruts that approach the bluff on the south side of the river. Directions and a map are available at the park visitor center.
  • Bonneville Point (east of Boise, Idaho) Learn about the trail at this Bureau of Land Management interpretive pavilion and explore the trail where it descends the bluff toward Boise. Part of the access road is unpaved but it is usually suitable for passenger cars when dry. Signs to the “Bonneville Interpretive Site” help guide the way. Take Exit 64 from I-84 to Black’s Creek Road. At 2.6 miles from the turn is a BLM sign marking the road to the interpretive site. Where the road splits, bear left onto Upper Black’s Creek Road and follow it up the hill. Watch for trail markers and wagon swales on the right. Park at the pavilion about four miles from the freeway and explore the trail.

Last updated: July 2, 2018

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National Trails Intermountain Region
Oregon National Historic Trail
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