dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park are unique in the Western Hemisphere.
Others in the Americas form at the edges of natural basins; these
form near the center. They include the largest single-structured sand
dune in North America, with a peak 470 feet above the lakes.
The combination of 1) a source of sand; 2) a relatively constant wind activity; and 3) a natural trap have caused sand to collect in this semicircular basin for about 12,000 years. Unlike most dunes, these do not drift far. The prevailing winds blow from the southeast 28 percent of the time and from the northwest 32 percent of the time, keeping the dunes fairly stable. The two prominent dunes cover about 600 acres.
The park contains lake, marsh, desert, prairie and dune habitats. Since most desert wildlife is nocturnal, early morning and late evening are the best times for spotting the park’s inhabitants. However, a sharp eye often is rewarded with a daytime glimpse of lizards and rabbits, or raptors such as owls, hawks and eagles. Look for tracks in the sand. There is no hunting in the park—except with cameras and binoculars. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the dunes.
The small lakes at the foot of the dunes provide an excellent bass and bluegill fishery. Sport fishing from nonmotorized boats, canoes, rubber rafts and float tubes is a popular activity.
Bruneau Dunes has one of the longest camping seasons in Idaho's system. Campers often start coming in March and continue to enjoy the park's warm weather late into the fall. Shade trees and shelters are abundant in the campground.
A new group camp area with shelter and 25 sites has been added.
Bruneau Dunes Observatory invites you to
look at the stars. Take advantage of a unique opportunity to see the night
sky like you never have before. Visitors
will watch a short orientation program and then have a chance to survey the
heavens through the observatory’s collection of telescopes.
Observatory Building (located in the picnic area, ¼ mile past the
When: Friday and
Saturday nights at dusk (see the schedule
for exact times). These programs are very popular. Please call ahead to make
sure you can get in, 208-366-7919.
The Boise Astronomical Society is proud to present the 16th Annual Idaho Star Party, August 3-6, at
Bruneau Dunes State Park. Click here
for more details.
you need a unique outing for your next family reunion, corporate picnic, or
church group? The observatory
is available for private parties every Thursday night throughout the viewing
A facility for day-use and overnight camping is available.