May 1st is an important date to remember here in Idaho! The backroads officially open across southeast Idaho, and provide access to remote areas like Taylor Mountain, southeast of Idaho Falls. With slim to no maintenance done for at least the last 6 months, I recommend you travel at your own risk. Though the roads are "open", they may still be inaccessible due to persistent snow banks in shady canyons. This snow may stick around for another few weeks, leading to muddy and deteriorated road conditions for some time. Many portions of the dirt road, along today's trek into the mountains, had washed out shoulders, concealed boulders, thick mud, and deep ruts.
Taylor Mountain is on my list of hikes to accomplish this year. Today was a scouting mission to the back hills to check for accessibility. I was stopped short, 5 miles before the trailhead because of snow in the road. I suspect the trailhead will be reachable in a few weeks, as the weather continues to warm, and the days lengthen. Though I didn't reach my final destination, I don't feel the drive was a waste of time! On the contrary, golden hour was in full swing, and the scenery is breathtaking! The rich golden fields, snow striped mountains, hazy horizon, and rusted rocks had my head on a swivel at each turn and along every ridge. Whatever time of year you may choose to explore, Idaho has much to offer! With the snow melting, and the plants growing, this state will soon show its true colors in vibrant glory! Summer is soon upon us.
Most of the roads I traveled today can be accessed by following both Ammon Rd or 45th street south into the country. I recommend a 4-wheel drive vehicle with good tires. A stray boulder may catch you off guard and scrape up the bottom of low-clearance cars. They can be tricky to spot as they are often the same color as the dusty road (a lesson I relearned today!) Most of the land on either side of these backroads are private property: farms and grazeland for cattle, until you get closer to Taylor Mountain. Because of this, camping and hiking are limited in the region. My understanding is there is more remote access to the mountains when you enter them from the east by traveling up Sunnyside road then south from there. I'll check on that and report back.
For now, enjoy a few shots from my evening drive today!