Pioneer Historic Byway abounds with undiscovered
recreational opportunities, scenic and historic sites
for families and travelers to discover and enjoy. Geological
formations combine with mountain passes providing a
beautiful journey. There are over ten reservoirs which
offer boating, fishing, and camping.
The Pioneer Historic Byway begins on US 91 at the Utah/Idaho
border. It then continues north to Idaho 34 ending at
the Idaho/Wyoming border.
1. Franklin Historic
The oldest continually settled town in Idaho, Franklin
was founded in 1860 by Mormon pioneers. Several original
buildings stand in the historic district: the Relic Hall,
the old ZCMI store, the Hatch House, and others. The Old
Yellowstone Route is just outside of Franklin where stagecoaches
full of tourists once traveled on tours to Yellowstone
National Park. Start at the Relic Hall 1/2 block off of Hwy 91 on
East Main Street.
42° 1'1.16"N, 111°48'11.79"W
The Academy is a unique 3-story Romanesque stone building,
constructed in the early 1890s. It is one of three, out
of 35, similar surviving buildings from the days of Mormon
Church sponsored education. It was moved from Preston High
School to it's current location in 2004. Turn East from US 91 onto Oneida street (traffic
light), drive 1 block to the Oneida Stake Academy on
the south side of the road.
42° 5'45.88"N, 111°52'27.47"W
3. Bear River Massacre
The January 29, 1863 Bear River Massacre of 250 or more
Native Americans, by Colonel Patrick Connor and his troops,
occurred here. It was designated a National Historic Landmark
in 1990. The battle became one of the worst disasters for
Native Americans in the west.
Drive north 4.5 miles, 10 minutes, out of Preston on US
91 to the top of the hill. The entrance is on the right. 42°
4. Red Rock Pass
About 14,500 years ago, an earthen dam suddenly broke,
beginning one of the largest floods ever recorded in
geologic history. Ancient Lake Bonneville, larger in
size than Lake Michigan, emptied in a catastrophic torrent.
Evidence of the flood such as melon sized gravel is visible
along the byway. Today all that remains of Lake Bonneville
is the Great Salt Lake. Proceed north 22 miles, 30 minutes,
out of Preston on US 91 to Milepost 30.1. 42°21'16.18"N,
5. Niter Ice Cave
The Cave was formed when basalt lava flowed out of a vent
500 thousand years ago forming a lava tube typical to
this type of volcanic activity on the Snake River Plains.
It was important to early settlers and native Americans
for food storage. John A. Dalton, the original homesteader,
and his family also used the Cave as a refuge from encounters
with unfriendly native Americans.
Travel north on SH 34, turn right (east) onto Ice Cave
Road and proceed 0.15 mile to the pull off on the left
(north) side of the road above the Ice Cave Entrance. 42°31'58.19"N,
6. Black Canyon
This beautiful gem of the byway could be easily passed
or overlooked if travelers aren't already aware of
it. The Black Canyon Gorge is just one mile west of Grace
and offers display of a basalt lava flow combined with
the effects of nature over time. The Bear River formed
the canyon as it cut through a series of lava flows.
Travel to downtown Grace, Idaho and turn left (west) on
Center Street. Travel 1.1 miles to the Bear River bridge.
7. Last Chance Canal
This site is the point on the Bear River where water was
first diverted by Mormon settlers to develop an agriculture
industry in Gem Valley. It was completed in the early
1900's and was an engineering masterpiece for it's
From the junction of Center Street and SH 34 in Grace proceed
north on SH 34 for 2.1 miles (5 minutes) to Last Chance Ln.
Turn right (east) and go 1.5 miles to this
site. 42°36'0.23"N, 111°42'32.81"W
8. Sheep Rock-Oregon
Sheep Rock was the location of the first split of the Oregon-California
Trail. The Bidwell-Bartleson Party and the Hudspeth Cutoff
diverged from the main trail here. 42°39'0.85"N,
Oregon Trail Public Park and Marina - This park, on the
shore of Alexander Reservoir, features a marina, picnic
area and playground, and a remnant of the Oregon Trail. >East
of the intersections of SH 34 and US 30. 42°39'31.89"N,
9. Chesterfield Townsite
Established in 1879, this historic community on the Oregon
Trail is a well preserved example of a small Mormon settlement.
The town site features 23 historic buildings, many of
them brick, built between 1884 and 1904.
Drive north through the US 30/SH 34 junction onto Old Highway
30. Drive 10 miles to Bancroft, ID. Then turn right on
the paved County Road, Chesterfield Highway, cross the
railroad tracks, and go 10 miles. 42°51'54.16"N,
10. Geyser Park and
Soda Springs boasts having the world's only captive
geyser. On November 30, 1937 in an attempt to find a hot
water source for a local swimming pool, a well driller
set free the natural geyser at a depth of 317 feet. It
is located on Pyramid Spring, a travertine mound described
by Fremont in his 1840s expeditions, along with other area
springs. The history of Soda Springs and Caribou County
is portrayed on picture boards in the Geyser Park Visitor
Center. Historical artifacts and antiques are on display
next door at the Enders Hotel Museum. Enter on Main Street & 1st
Street South and drive 150 feet west to Geyser Park.
11. Hooper Springs
The most famous of the area's springs, is a large sweet-tasting,
naturally carbonated cold water spring. A prime attraction
for more than 160 years, soda water from these springs
was known nationally after rail service reached this resort
area in 1882.
At SH 34 Milepost 59.8, turn left (west) on Government
Dam Road, at the base of a very large hill on your front-left
side. Proceed on the County road for 0.9 miles. 42°40'45.26"N,
12. Formation Springs
In 1989, 160-acres surrounding Formation Springs was turned
into a preserve. It features crystal pools and a wetland
complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. The terraced pools
are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit
high concentrations of calcium carbonate.
Turn east at SR 34 Milepost 60.8 onto Trail Canyon Road.
Proceed one mile to the preserve parking lot. 42°41'39.14"N,
13. China Hat Geological
China Hat and China Cap are rhyolite domes that formed
around older lava flows. There are many faults located
in the area which have had a part in forming these landforms
as well as multiple "grabens." >Drive 9.2 miles on SH 34 to the junction with
Blackfoot River Road at milepost 69.9. Turn right (east)
into the parking lot. To get closer turn left (west) on
China Hat Road at Milepost 69.
The store, built in 1908, is a last remnant of a small
but important livestock community in that time. The once
famous Henry Stampede Rodeo and Stockman's Reunion
began here in 1918.
The Chester Country Store is located at the south end of
the Blackfoot Reservoir in the little community of Henry.
Continue north on SH 34 for 9.1 miles to milepost 76.8.
15. Grays Lake National
19,000 acres of land are home to at least 163 species of
birds including the Great Basin Canada Goose and the Sandhill
Crane. Here you'll find excellent nature viewing opportunities
in a pristine setting. >Drive north on SH 34 for about 8 miles to Milepost
85.0. SH 34 bears east and skirts the south end of the
refuge for 7 miles to Milepost 91.9. Turn left (north)
onto Grays Lake Road. Travel 3 miles to the the field office.
43° 1'49.44"N, 111°22'35.01"W
16. Lander Trail The site is a 7 mile segment of "The Lander Cut-off
of the Oregon Trail", the first road commissioned
by Congress with funding for location and construction.
F.W. Lander supervised the project.
The highway on the way to Grays Lake is following the Lander
Cutoff of the Oregon Trail, and offers a view of Caribou
Mountain on the north side of the road. Starts at
43° 0'43.82"N, 111°30'24.41"W
17. Cariboo Mountain
Jesse "Cariboo" Jack Fairchild discovered gold
high on this mountain in 1870 and a mining rush from Utah
followed. Millions of dollars worth of gold were mined
before it ran out. It created an economic boom for
the region that went as far south as Salt Lake City. The
peak is 9803 feet high.
Viewed from SH 34 between Mileposts 85.0 and 91.9. There
is a highway marker in Wayan at 42.977121, -111.377237.
18. Tincup Canyon
This forested area offers camping, recreation and wildlife
viewing in the great outdoors of the Caribou-Targhee
Tincup is 20 miles past Wayan, Idaho on SH 34.
The Pioneer Historic Byway ends at the Idaho/Wyoming border
at the junction of SH 34 and the paved State Line Road,
one mile north of Freedom, ID/WY.