Outdoors Blog

Idaho 21, recreation sites north of Idaho City closed again; U.S. 20 re-opens

A grove of trees burned by the Pioneer Fire marks the final trek to the Stargaze Yurt. The yurt was damaged by the fire but has been repaired and is open for use when Idaho 21 is open.
A grove of trees burned by the Pioneer Fire marks the final trek to the Stargaze Yurt. The yurt was damaged by the fire but has been repaired and is open for use when Idaho 21 is open. ccripe@idahostatesman.com

UPDATE (Jan. 20): Idaho 21 north of Idaho City has closed again because of avalanche danger, cutting off access to recreation sites. The Idaho Transportation Department posts updates here. It had re-opened earlier this week after several days of closure (see below).

U.S. 20 between Mountain Home and Fairfield — the main route to Sun Valley and Soldier Mountain — has re-opened. The road was blocked by an avalanche earlier this week. Updates on that road here.

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Original report:

The recreation area north of Idaho City has sustained another blow in advance of a three-day weekend.

Idaho 21 is closed from seven miles north of Idaho City (Granite Creek Road) to Lowman because of heavy snow on the roadway and avalanche danger. The Idaho Transportation Department couldn’t provide a timeline for opening the road Thursday. Updates will be posted here.

[Related: Hardy Boise County residents put to test this winter]

John Roberts, the emergency management coordinator for Boise County, said he doesn’t expect to know until late afternoon Friday whether the road will be open for the weekend.

“Right now, it doesn’t look too good,” he said.

Leo Hennessy of Idaho State Parks and Recreation describes the snowshoeing to Stargaze Point.

That stretch of highway services Mores Creek Summit, one of the most popular backcountry skiing destinations in the Boise area, four Park N’ Ski lots, the two State Parks and Recreation yurts that are open and a snowmobile trail system.

I snowshoed to Stargaze Point from Beaver Creek Summit on Saturday for a story that ran this week. The snowstorm that has led to the road closure hit just as we reached Stargaze Point. High winds and snow greeted us there. By the time we stopped in Idaho City for lunch, several inches of snow already had coated the roadway.

According to the National Water and Climate Center, there was 50 inches of snow on the ground at Mores Creek Summit on Saturday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, that number had grown to 78 inches. The snowpack settled at 75 inches by the end of the day Thursday.

The road closure is the latest bad news for recreation in the Idaho City area. The Pioneer Fire kept summer recreationists out of the area while damage from the fire closed four State Parks and Rec yurts and limited the trail system for this winter.

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