Castle Rocks State Park is Idaho's newest state park featuring granite spires and peaks. Congress authorized the National Park Service to purchase the Castle Rock Ranch in November 2000. Challenge yourself to the steep rock face or take the two hour hike around the base. Either way, you will find the perfect day trip.
For a perfect camping, picnicking or fishing spot, consider Lake Walcott State Park only 11 miles northeast of Rupert. Paved trails connect restrooms, picnic shelters, interpretive kiosk and boat launch. This 22-acre park is the home to a variety of wildlife, including 150 species or birds and waterfowl, serving as the base for the National Wildlife Refuge. The Minidoka Power Plant, constructed in 1904, is located near the park. The dam diverts the water to a series of canals, bringing life to the desert of the Snake River Plain to the south. The dam and the power plant are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available by calling the Bureau of Reclamation office. Recent improvements at Lake Walcott Park include camping and picnicking areas, interpretive trails and horseshoe pits. The lake itself is home to world-class windsurfing, too.
The entrance of the City of Rocks National Reserve is four miles west of Almo. Established in 1988, the 14,000-acre park is a fragile environment with scenic, geological and historical significance. More recently it has gained national renown for the outstanding rock climbing it provides. Most of the more than 600 routes are located on 100 to 300 foot spires and range from 5.4 to 5.14a in difficulty. Camping, hiking, mountain biking and picnicking are also available. During the winter, the reserve is a beautiful place for a cross-county skiing adventure.
What is now Minidoka County was first surveyed in 1890 for a plausible location to construct a dam. On June 7, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Reclamation Act allowing construction of the dam. In 1904, the Reclamation Service reserved three-one square mile town sites for Burley, Rupert, and Riverton (now known as Heyburn).
The area's first permanent residents arrived in 1868 settling in Albion. Many Mormon pioneers, under the direction of Utah Territory Governor Brigham Young, arrived in the Oakley Valley a short time later. Cassia County was later founded on February 20, 1879 with Albion as the county seat.
Rupert has a rich heritage with a Historic Business District that extends around Rupert Square, which is the heart of Rupert. The Renaissance Arts Center, Inc. has been renovating the historic 1920 flatiron Wilson Building and Theatre for the past several years. When finished, it will house retail space, a community center and the grand theater. In the center of the Square is a park with a gazebo that hosts many annual events. Free Rupert Square walking tour brochures are available at the Minidoka County Museum or the Mini-Cassia Chamber of Commerce.
Shoppers on and around the square can find a variety of specialty shops, including a quilting shop, bookstore, shoestore, flower shop and restaurants. Many of the shops are located in historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Besides community events, history and shopping, Rupert offers many recreational opportunities for visitors. Thanks to the work of various service groups, there are miles of paths for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and in-line skating enthusiasts.
The city of Paul is located north of Burley and west of Rupert at the junction of State Highways 27 and 25. It was laid out by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Minidoka Irrigation project. The town is the hub of a vast farming area to the north and offers full services., groceries and restaurants and a new city park that features a snow tubing hill and will soon have a great jet water fountain.
One of Cassia County's oldest communities, Oakley, is situated 20 miles south of Burley on Hwy 27. It is the western gateway to City of Rocks National Reserve and the eastern gateway to the South Hills, where an abundance of recreational opportunities abound all year round. This community is home of the world-famous Oakley Stone; Oakley Dam, the largest earthen filled dam in the world at its completion in 1911; the site of more historic homes per capita than anywhere in the U.S.; and the Oakley Valley Arts Council and Howells Opera House (one of the few continuously operating theatres built in 1907).The Oakley museum, on Main Street, is open May through Labor Day.