Idaho is wild, and because of that, some of the terrain is unkept. Forest roads, park roads, and trails have to close occasionally for the tourist’s safety. When it snows in Idaho it snows hard, and your safety is the #1 priority for us. Continue reading for a break down of all the winter road accessibility and closures in Southern Idaho.
Fairfield, Idaho is a small historic town located on the northern end of Southern Idaho. There is a lovely ski resort called Soldier Mountain just north of Fairfield. This road is plowed all winter long to assure visitors can access the resort to ski and snowboard. There are about 50 miles of groomed snowmobile trails available north of Fairfield. Nordic skiing opportunities may be found in the backcountry via helicopter and cat ski guided trips into more remote areas. Soldier Mountain has cat ski booking available.
However, many of the delightful hikes and hot springs located nearby are currently closed. Vehicles are unable to drive up to Worswick or Skillern Hot Springs in the winter time due to wildlife closures, or anywhere past Couch Summit. North-East of Soldier Mountain there are amazing snowmobile trails. Find a parking lot at the base of Couch Summit (right turn before Soldier Mountain on NF-94) where the snowmobile trails are groomed all the way to the summit. There is plenty of powder all around in fields to sled in. Wells Summit is also groomed and open to all for snowmobiling.
If you are a guest visiting one of the cabins up Big Smokey Road that is closed for wildlife, you can access with an annual permit. Access permits are just a travel corridor so property owners can reach their lodge. The road will reopen late spring once the snow melts. Then, back to hot springing and hiking all summer long!
South Hills (Twin Falls)
The South Hills are a delight for anyone who loves snowboarding, skiing, x-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and sledding. There is also a great ski hill called Magic Mountain in the South Hills, about an hour from Twin Falls. The road up to Magic does get plowed, but can be slick so be careful or bring chains. There are other road closures that do occur to keep our ecosystem balanced. An annual seasonal motorized travel closure in the south hills will take place Jan. 16 to Tuesday, March 15, 2022, to prevent resource damage and protect crucial mule deer winter range and sage-grouse habitat. The area is still open to the public for non-motorized use, so grab those skis and enjoy the snow!
Map 2022 South Hills Road Closure
City of Rocks (Almo)
The City of Rocks National Reserve is a loved destination through summer, but quiets down a lot during the winter. This makes it an amazing time to visit, but there are some road accessibility issues due to the snow. Most 4WD or AWD vehicles can make it to Bath Rock parking area. The road past here is generally blocked off by tons of snow all winter. You can still enjoy all the winter recreational opportunities from Bath Rock. From here, you can snowshoe, ice climb, x-country ski, and even unload snowmobiles and head up the road to the Sawtooth National Forest. There are snowshoe rentals at the City of Rocks Visitor Center right outside of the park as well as park information.
All of Southern Idaho
Generally the Magic Valley doesn’t get a ton of snow, but when it does snow certain attractions are less accessible. Shoshone Falls is one of those places since it is on a very steep grade. The road does close every time there is snow to assure everyone’s safety. There is no plowing to most destinations such as Box Canyon, Black Magic Slot Canyon, Little City of Rocks, and others. Although they aren’t plowed it could be possible drive with a 4WD vehicle, x-country ski or hike in. Be careful when making decisions on driving into the snow and be sure someone knows where you are in case you get stuck. Try to respect dirt or gravel roads when muddy conditions appear. Happy winter exploring in Southern Idaho! Please check online for all updated winter road accessibility and closures specific to your destination.