Boyer Park


Why? Super Snake River scenery.

Season: Year-round

Ease: Easy. It’s a flat and paved, 3.5 miles one way.

The trail along the Snake River at Boyer Park is quite civilized by my usual hiking standards. However, the Snake River Canyon scenery isn’t. The landscape created by erosion down through layers of the Columbia basalt flows is rugged and spectacular, a personal favorite if truth be told. Surely it’s unique to our area.

The steep, dissected hillsides of the canyon are particularly nice in the late winter and spring, when they’re accented in bright green. And they are particularly nice when viewed while walking rather than driving or boating, for it’s easier to get a sense of the place at a slower speed.

It’s also interesting to see the damn close up and from below, and to consider the village of Almota, now buried in the slackwater behind the next damn down the Snake. It was a Native American village when Lewis, Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped there on October 11, 1805. According to a sign posted near the motel at Boyer, the explorers bought three dogs and a few fish from Almota’s inhabitants.

That this trail would be hot hiking in summer should go without saying, especially since there’s little shade along the trail and no drinking water. But there’s swimming at Boyer for cooling off after a walk, and the evenings would be pleasant. And at most other times of the year this is a fine, comfortable walk, a quiet walk, an easy walk. That it’s a multi use trail also is useful if your friends or family members would rather bike or roller skate than walk.

Note: The paved trail was built by the Army Corps of Engineers and was finished in 1999. It’s paved from a few yards downstream of Lower Granite Dam to a point just shy of the mouth of Almota Creek. The marina, motel, and other amenities at Boyer sit near the middle of the trail, and the road along the same stretch of river sits just above it.

Directions: From Highway 195, turn left at milepost 9 onto the Wawawai Road. Three miles later, turn right on Union Flat Road. Turn right 5.1 miles later, when that road ends, on the Pullman-Wawawai Road. Turn left on Road 194 in 8.5 miles more. Stay on 194 when it goes left to Onecho and Almota at Union Center in another 5.2 miles, the left again in 7.3 miles to Almota. It’s 9.1 miles from there to the park.

Alternately, turn west onto the Wawawai Road at the blinking lights on Highway 195 as it bypasses Pullman. Drive 2.6 miles and turn right and pick up the above directions at Highway 194.

Information: Port of Whitman County,(509) 397-3208. There is camping at Boyer, as well as a motel, store and a place to get a bite to eat. You can no longer drive across Lower Granite Dam.

Maps: Since the trail is right at the river’s edge, a map isn’t necessary.