Missing Idaho State Parks: how many state parks are in Idaho?

Missing Idaho State Parks Overview

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When B and I started our Idaho State Parks Challenge we were a little confused on how many state parks there actually are in Idaho. It seems like this should be pretty clear. So our first step was to get a list of all of the state parks. Imagine our confusion when we saw different numbers listed for the total number of Idaho State Parks in different publications! I reached out to the Idaho State Parks department to get to the bottom of the discrepancy. It turns out there are a few parks that have flip-flopped between being on the list and off the list over the years. If you look in Idaho State Code, you’ll see 30 parks listed. However, the Idaho Park and Recreation website lists the number at 27, which includes two trails.

Four “parks” you may see listed on literature but no longer make the cut are Veterans Memorial State Park, Mowry State Park, Glade Creek State Park, and Malad Gorge State Park.

The Parks

  • Veterans Memorial State Park: this park has been turned into a city park in Garden City/Boise. It is right on the Boise River and has access to the Greenbelt. There are playgrounds, bathrooms, picnic areas, and lots and lots of grass. In one area there is a tribute to veterans, and different vet’s names are written on bricks. I’m partial to this particular park because my dad’s name is on a brick (Go Pops!). 
Veterans Memorial State Park
Nice monuments remembering those who have served our country at Veterans Memorial State Park.
  • Mowry State Park: this teeny former state park is only accessible by a boat now. It is essentially a campground. We weren’t able to actually go there, but from where we stayed in Harrison we figured we could see it across the Lake Coeur d’Alene. 
Sunset in Harrison, Idaho
Formerly Mowry State Park is in this general vicinity.
  • Glade Creek State Park: This former state park can be found on the stunning Highway 12 between Missoula, Montana, and Kooskia, Idaho. The park is now basically a campground. It will be pretty clear when you visit here why this area was a state park for a hot minute. The Lochsa River is one of Idaho’s prettiest, and that is a bold statement given Idaho’s stockpile of gorgeous rivers.
Clearwater National Forest
The Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho has some of Idaho’s most glorious scenery.
  • Malad Gorge State Park: this park got absorbed into the Thousand Springs State Park. If you are ever driving across southwest Idaho on I-84, you will drive over the gorge. However, you need to pop off the freeway and walk over to fully experience this deep canyon.
Formerly Malad Gorge State Park
No reason to take down a perfectly good sign even if the the state park doesn’t exist anymore.

Conclusion

We’ve learned a lot about Idaho State Parks during 2020, and were able to see the great, not quite as great, and average parks throughout the state. While we didn’t physically step foot in every one of our four missing Idaho state parks, we can understand why they didn’t quite make the cut, mainly due to size. This is not to say you shouldn’t go visit! Like we learned at Harriman State Park (neighbor to Yellowstone National Park), sometimes it is better to be the unassuming neighbor with all the perks and not as many people.

Note: we visited Idaho State Parks as part of our Idaho State Parks Challenge. The challenge consists of visiting all of Idaho’s state parks in one year. We made up this challenge to see a bit more of our beautiful state and help alleviate the restlessness caused by Covid-19 travel restrictions. Feel free to join the challenge!

Related posts you might like:

Or if you want to see all of our posts, visit Past Posts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.