Idaho Attractions February 10, 2018
Idaho’s Hell’s Half Acre Is Actually A Gorgeous Destination You Need To Explore
With a name like Hell’s Half Acre, you may not be too enticed to visit this weird landscape. However, this gorgeous destination is one of the most underrated places in all of Idaho. Idaho is an incredible state with a vast array of different landscapes, from the weird to the serene. This place may qualify on the “weird” end of the scale, but it’s a must-visit place for every Idahoan. Not only is there incredible beauty to be found in this desolate landscape, but the area is one of the most unique geologic areas in the country.
You'll find Hell's Half Acre on the Snake River Plain about 25 miles from Idaho Falls.
This 125-square mile area is full of the most unusual scenery. You definitely haven't seen anything like this place before, but there's something incredibly beautiful about the rugged and desolate scenery.
The site is easily accessible to visitors, and contains two well-paved trails that are perfect for exploring the area.
One of the trails is only a half mile long and takes about 30 minutes to complete. The second trail is four and a half miles, and takes several hours. Interpretive signs along the trail are abundant and discuss the geology of the area. The area also includes a quarter mile handicapped-accessible paved loop trail.
But what exactly is this weird place?
Hell's Half Acre is a basaltic lava plain. The area was created from multiple lava flows over a period of centuries. Scientists believe the landscape was created as early as 3250 BC. The region's current name was given to it by fur trappers of the 1800s. "Hell's half acre" was a common term used for rough landscapes such as this one.
As you traverse through this one-of-a-kind landscape, you'll be struck by the gorgeous scenery.
Many visitors stop here during a long drive to stretch their legs and are surprised by the gorgeous destination that's hiding off the highway. It may be named after Hell, but with the setting sun casting a soft light over the lava field it sure does look heavenly!
The area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1976 in order to preserve the incredibly unique landscape for years to come.
This place may look desolate but a ton of plant species thrive on the lava plain including cactus, juniper, bitterbrush, wheatgrass, fern, and dozens more. Wildlife is also abundant. You might just spot a bobcat, coyote, deer, or fox during your visit.
There's truly nothing that can compare to hiking across a lava field. It's unlike any other hiking experience.
Lava rock is sharp and fragmented. Hikers are advised to wear sturdy footwear such as hiking boots, and use caution when traversing the terrain for open cracks and crevices.
Don't let the name scare you away. Every Idahoan should experience this otherworldly destination. It's places like this that remind us how diverse and incredible our wilderness areas are.
To get to Hell's Half Acre from Idaho Falls, drive south along Interstate 15 for 15 miles. You'll eventually come across two rest areas which connect to the site.
Do you think you’ll plan a trip to Hell’s Half Acre soon? Explore more of Idaho’s lesser known places. Check out these
8 Best Underrated Attractions In Idaho.