Bruneau Dunes State Park

I’ve lived in Idaho for many years. During that time I’ve visited many parts of the state, North and South, East and West. One site I’ve not visited until yesterday, is Bruneau Dunes State Park outside of Mountain Home, Idaho.

Looking across Dunes Lake
Looking across Dunes Lake

From the Idaho Parks & Recreation web site (, Bruneau Dunes State Park boasts the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America with a peak rising 470 feet above the surrounding desert floor.

The Dunes

If you’ve never climbed a dune, it can be hard work! Sand does not provide firm footing. Walking up a 470 foot dune is a good workout and I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. For each step forward, it feels like you slip half a foot backward.

Following the walk up to the top, you may need a few minutes of rest. The view from the top of the dune is lovely. On the eastern side of the dune is Dunes Lake and the snake river plain opens up on the western side of the dune.

The Observatory

As an science and astronomy hobbyist, my main interest is the Bruneau Dunes Observatory. The main Observatory features a 25 inch telescope and the Park Rangers deploy other telescopes for the visitors. I observed Jupiter, Saturn, and a globular cluster of stars. The cluster was 10,000 light years from earth! That’s some old light. Unfortunately they weren’t setup for a camera connection, so no pictures.

However, I travel with my camera, tripod, and remote release, essential components of my astro-photography kit. I thought this would be an ideal astro-photography location as the dunes would provide a nice foreground, but the road to the dunes was closed by the time I was ready to take pics. the pictures below were taken from the observatory grounds.

The Observatory is open on weekends. Check it out!

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