Lake Walcott State Park, northeast of Rupert, is a hidden treasure that’s chock full of outdoor amenities.
The park is situated next to Minidoka Dam on the Snake River. The dam, one of many built in Southern Idaho to bring the desert into bloom, creates 17-mile-long Lake Walcott, a popular spot for fishing and recreation.
Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge rings the shoreline of the lake and protects the islands for nesting waterfowl, including hundreds of white pelicans in the spring. “A lot of local people don’t realize that they have a national wildlife refuge in their backyard,” says Jeff Krueger, Refuge Manager.
The leafy state park is the primary place for launching a boat on Lake Walcott. On any given day, you might find people water skiing, jet skiing, Stand Up Paddle-boarding, and often, sailing. It’s also a great place to catch big small-mouth bass and rainbow trout. On days with little or no wind, the lake would be fun for kayaking or canoeing.
Two, new 60-foot-long docks are being installed at the boat launch this spring; they are expected to be operational by early May, says Travis Taylor, Park Manager. “Those docks will be a big improvement,” he said.
Disc golf is a major activity at Lake Walcott State Park. It’s very well known by disc golfers throughout Southern Idaho. It has an “A” and “B” course with 21 holes. They’ve held three disc golf tournaments there already this year.
“This is the nicest course I’ve ever played,” said Chance Schaner, who was playing the course recently with his friend, Kevin, on a sunny day under the shadows of huge cottonwood trees. They went fishing in the morning, and switched to disc golf in the afternoon.
“It’s a beautiful place with the nice old trees,” adds Kevin Simmons of Rupert. “The Idaho State Championships have been hosted here.”
Lake Walcott also is popular for tent and RV camping, family reunions and weddings. It has 30 tent spots, 22 RV spots and two small cabins right next to the waterfront are available for rent.
You might say, Lake Walcott State Park and Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge are an oasis in the desert. Bird-watchers flock there to see more than 200 white pelicans and other waterfowl that nest in the refuge.
“The pelicans here represent one of only three nesting colonies in the state of Idaho,” Krueger says. “We get a lot of bird watchers that come here from throughout the country. They come to see different kinds of waterfowl, as well as shore birds and neotropical birds as well.”
Lake Walcott State Park is located northeast of Rupert on Idaho Highway 24. Take exit #211 off of I-84 and follow signs to the park.
Be sure to reserve time to visit Lake Walcott State Park and Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge … once you’ve been there, we know you’ll come back!