World Facts

The 11 National Natural Landmarks of Idaho

There are eleven sites within the state of Idaho designated as National Natural Landmarks.

The National Landmark Program is a program that is responsible for identifying and encouraging the conversion of natural, historic landmarks in the US. The NNL program is the only program in the US that is focused on identifying the best examples of both geological and biological features in private and public ownership. The United States Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, founded the national landmark program in 1962. Idaho is one of the states in the US and is located in the northwestern section of the United States. It is ranked 14th in total area among the fifty states of the US. Below is a brief description of the various natural landmarks identified by the NNL program.

11. Big Southern Butte

The Big Southern Butte is considered as one of the most significant historical volcanic domes in the entire world. This historic site is situated in the Eastern Snake River. It was formed approximately 300,000 years ago and measures about 762 meters high. The Big Southern Butte is most famous for its remarkable panoramic views.

10. Big Springs

The Big Springs, as its name suggests, is a large spring located in the Island Park in the county of Fremont. This historic landmark is most famous for its huge rainbow trout. The big spring is capable of producing over 200 million gallons of water daily. The primary source of this spring is the Henrys Fork of the great Snake River. The Big Springs spring is most recognized because it is the first ever magnitude spring that was formed from rhyolite lava flows.

9. Cassia Silent City of Rocks

The City of Rocks, as it is sometimes referred, is a national reserve situated north of south-central Idaho that borders with Utah. The Cassie Silent City of Rocks covers an approximate area of 4 miles when measured from Idaho-Utah. This historic site is still under study by the Bureau of Land Management and was designated as a natural and historic national landmark in 1989. No clear body is fully managing this park; therefore, there have been difficulties in establishing appropriate protection and management policies to govern this park. This historic site is famous for its structure that is mostly used for mountain climbing and rock formations. The City of Rocks National Reserve is a major tourist attraction in the United States and attracts approximately 107,865 visitors annually as per 2016.

8. Crater Rings

The Crater Rings is a volcanic crater, and it is one of the few examples of volcanic craters found in the United States. This site is situated at Elmore County and was labeled as a national landmark in 1980 by the national natural landmark program. The Crater Rings are composed of the eastern crater ring and the western crater ring. The Eastern crater ring measures approximately 3,000 feet diagonally and around 350 feet deep while the crater of the west measures 300 feet deep and about 2,500 across. This volcanic mountain is estimated to be less than 2 million years of age.

7. Great Rift of Idaho

The Great Rift is both a geographical and a geological feature. The Great Rift of Idaho is a historical feature in the United States, and it was designated as a national landmark in 1968 by the NNL program. This rift stretches from the Blaine County through Minidoka County to Power County covering an approximate area of 464,303 acres of land.The Great Rift is owned and protected by the Moon National Monument.

6. Hagerman Fauna Sites

This site is most famous because it is the only site having the most abundant deposits of the Upper Pliocene age in the entire world. This historic site is situated in the Twin Falls County, and it measures an approximate area of 4,351 acres. Due to its nature, the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument owns and protects the Hagerman Fauna Sites.

5. Hell's Half Acre Lava Field

The Hell's Half Acre Lava Field is precisely located on the Snake River Plain; this river plain is situated in Idaho in the United States. The Hell’s Half Acre Lava Field is a shield volcanic mountain that was titled as a national landmark in 1976 by the National Park Service of the United States. A decade later, the Bureau of Land Management suggested that 68,760 acres of this site be set aside to be a wilderness study area, implying that this land could not be developed or improved.

4. Hobo Cedar Grove Botanical Area

This landmark is a botanical forest that is situated in the northwestern of the United States. This forest is a historic site with numerous camping facilities and was named a national landmark of the United States in 1980. The Hobo Cedar Grove Botanical Area is most famous for its beautiful nature, and it is mostly used for as picnic adventures by tourists who occasionally visit this site.

3. Menan Buttes

The Menan Buttes is a volcanic mountain located in the Southeastern of Idaho, in the Madison County. The Menan Buttes were formed because of the eruption of lava through the waters of Snake River. The Menan Buttes are comprised of two sites, i.e., the North and South Menan Buttes. The Menan Buttes are approximately 1,713 meters tall, and this rock dates back 10,000 years.

2. Niagara Springs

Niagara Springs is a historic site located in the Gooding county of Idaho. This spring is most famous for its beautiful scenery. Tourists can drive into the remarkable canyon and have a clear view of the Niagara Springs. The Niagara Springs has been under the management of private companies since its designation as a national US landmark in 1980.

1. Sheep Rock

The name of this historic site originates from the Bighorn sheep that were living in this area. The sheep rock was labeled a national landmark in 1976 by the NNL program, and it is being managed by the Payette National Forest. The Payette National Forest is the official owner of this site and is responsible for the long trails that pass through the mountain leading to the canyon of this site.

The 11 National Natural Landmarks of Idaho

RankNameDateCountyOwnership
1Big Southern Butte1976Buttefederal (Bureau of Land Management)
2Big Springs1980Fremontfederal (Caribou-Targhee National Forest)
3Cassia Silent City of Rocks1974Cassiafederal (City of Rocks National Reserve)
4Crater Rings1980Elmorefederal (Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area)
5Great Rift of Idaho1968Blaine, Minidoka, Powerfederal (Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve)
6Hagerman Fauna Sites1975Twin Fallsfederal (Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument)
7Hell's Half Acre Lava Field1976Bingham, Bonnevillefederal (Bureau of Land Management)
8Hobo Cedar Grove Botanical Area1980Shoshonefederal (St. Joe National Forest)
9Menan Buttes1980Jefferson, Madisonfederal (Bureau of Land Management)
10Niagara Springs1980Goodingprivate
11Sheep Rock1976Adamsfederal (Payette National Forest)

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