R-mountain, aka the largest of the Menan Buttes, rests directly to the west of Rexburg only a few minutes out of town. A part of a basaltic dike that ruptured some 10-100 thousands years ago, this unique volcano offers a surprisingly challenging hike that includes great views in every direction! R-mountain has a special place in my heart because of its unique geology, but also because it has represented a connection to elevation for me since I arrived in Rexburg. As I sit, perched on top of the hill south of town, R-mountain rises above the valley fog and accents the broad horizon with its unique shape and commanding presence. To have been able to see that mountain erupt would have been a sight! The mountain, or rather, volcano as R-mountain is dwarfed in size when compared to the Lemhi range looming miles behind it, is home to deer, snakes, rabbits, hawks and eagles, and much more. With moose grazing on the grasses below and a variety of birds flying above, if you only have a few hours in a day to get outside, I highly recommend a morning or evening hike of this volcano. The sunrise and sunset views up there are hard to beat!
There are two routes up the west side of R-mountain, the switch-back route being far easier, but longer to navigate, and the route straight up. The switch-back trail is the designated trailhead, and my preferred way up. Once at the top of the volcano, gaze into the large crater and out towards the Teton mountain range. Do not fear, of course, the dikes and sills of magma below the volcano have long since gone extinct, so sit back and relax, or take a trip around the rim of the crater. Any time of year is perfect for visiting the mountain. From summer wildflowers, to vast oceans of winter snow, to the Spring greenery and wet season, to the beautiful fall colors in the hills, R-mountain is a great place to go stretch your legs and find a quiet perch to rest your mind.
Perhaps one of my more memorable times visiting the mountain was on the 4th of July evening watching the countryside light up with various firework shows. Then as the evening calmed, being able to gaze upon the glittering stars above, which in Idaho, seem to shine just a little brighter! I have biked to the volcano from Rexburg, as it is only 12 miles out of town. So, if you enjoy biking, and still have the energy for a short hike after, this is a good place to go to prepare for that summer marathon!
I feel as though this hike is downplayed by many because of its close vicinity to town and its relatively short hike, but every time I go I find something else to love about this hike! Here are a few pictures taken year round. Enjoy!!