On May 24th 2008 we took a trip to the Rye Patch Road and Fossil Butte area southwest of Mountain Home, Idaho. This area is only about a 60 minute drive from home. The weather was beautiful on the drive out but we could see some thunderstorms developing over the Owyhee Mountains. We parked on the side of Rye Patch Road and meandered along the hillsides. Our goal was to find some obsidian rock, enjoy the afternoon and explore.
Once we got on to the hillside we had a nice little rain shower accompanied by a long rolling clap of thunder over our heads. The rain shower passed to the north and the sun dried us out rapidly. We never did find any obsidian but we did enjoy hiking around this area.
See a slide show of our pictures by clicking here
We headed towards Fossil Butte which is a 5 mile drive to the west of Rye Patch Road or two miles "as the crow flies". The “dirt road” into Fossil Butte is rather narrow and the dirt is more like talcum powder. This road is not suited for a regular car as the ruts are rather deep in spots.
Fossil Butte is quite an impressive sight from Highway 78 but once you get up close, you understand its sheer size. The walk up the side of the butte may look imposing but it's a rather simple hike. The ground is littered with rhyolite type rocks ranging in size from a potatoes to the kitchen table.
Not quite a fossil but almost as old
The only wildlife we saw on this day was a few local lizards and a few snakes hiding under sagebrush. We did see signs of deer, antelope and possibly a big cat type animal. Like most people our sights were set on what was in front of us but during a short rest, we turned around. The views from the side of Fossil Butte are spectacular so don't forget to take in all the surroundings when out and about.
Drive from Mountainin Home or Boise
Distance from downtown Mountain Home to Fossil Butte: 47.5 miles
Distance from the Boise Airport to Fossil Butte: 58 miles
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