BLM Oolite Interpretive Trail - Hiking

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The Idaho Bureau of Land Management has created a great interpretive trail for getting familiar with the wild Owyhee, and in particular, the region's geological origins including a fascinating look at formations of oolite left behind by Lake Idaho 12 million years ago.

Written by

Teresa Bruffey


0.1 miles

The interpretive signs are spread across the 40 miles site.

Destination Distance From Downtown

53.9 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

30 min - 2 hours


Spring, Fall, and Winter

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




Idaho is home to some pretty phenomenal geological history that dates back nearly 12 million years. The Glenns Ferry Formation holds incredible clues to our region’s formative years, which includes 200-mile-long Lake Idaho and the formation of Hells Canyon during a massive flood. 

What Makes It Great

One of the formations that was commonly left behind after the lake drained, helping carve out the pathway for the Snake River, were formations called 'oolites.' Oolites are little egg-shaped grains of rock that are made of sedimentary limestone and were once upon a time layered and shaped by the moving current of water. Then, after the water drained, the formations were eroded into interesting wave-like shapes with windows, arches, and curves. 

Stretching over a 40-mile site, the Shoofly Oolites are fascinating to see, and luckily, the Idaho Bureau of Land Management has created a great interpretive trail for those looking to get familiar with this wild land. The interpretive trail is also fantastic for those who are traveling with young children who tend to max out at quickly, as the “trail” is more of an overland choose-your-own-adventure. 

The site includes interpretive signs that help explain formations and the geology of the area. Find a game trail or light footpath, go a bit of a distance and examine what plants, rocks, and sites are around you. For a route that feels a bit more like a hike, travel around the bluff. You can easily spend a half hour at the oolites, or half a day, depending on how much or little imaginations are captivated. 

Who is Going to Love It

Anyone interested in the history of the area and wants to get a bit of a workout as well. It's a great place for individuals, couples, or families - anyone, really!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Mud Flat Road, travel 10.4 miles until you come to the very obvious sign and turn off.

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BLM Oolite Interpretive Trail

42.841923, -116.10922

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