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
The Pioneer Historic Byway begins on US 91 at the Utah/Idaho
border. It then continues north to Idaho 34 ending at the
Call (208) 852-2703 OR 1-800-723-8597 for more information.
Take a tour of the
Pioneer Historic Byway website!
View Our Google Map for details and directions.
Map and Itinerary
1. Franklin Historic District
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
42° 1'1.16"N, 111°48'11.79"W
2. Preston-Oneida Stake Academy
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 Site
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, 112° 2'56.92"W
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, 111°43'34.75"W
6. Black Canyon Gorge
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. 42°34'35.55"N,
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
From the junction of Center Street and SH 34 in Grace proceed north on
SH 34 for 2.1 miles (5 minutes) to Telford Road. Turn right (east) on
Telford Road and go 1.5 miles to this site. 42°36'0.23"N,
8. Sheep Rock-Oregon Trail
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, 111°42'5.08"W
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, 111°39'0.35"W
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.
10. Geyser Park and Visitor Center
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
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, 111°36'14.36"W
12. Formation Springs Preserve
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, 111°33'18.42"W
13. China Hat Geological Site
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.
14. Henry-Chester's Country Store
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 Wildlife Refuge
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 N 42° 58.629 W 111° 22.621.
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.