Floods, Fossils and Fissures — Geology of the Snake River Plain

Rock out with geologists in the Snake River Plain, where you’ll hike City of Rocks National Reserve, explore the Hagerman Fossil Beds and discover many other unique natural wonders!
Rating (5)
Program No. 21598RJ
7 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Unearth the geological wonders of Idaho’s Snake River Plain, a land shaped by volcanic eruptions and mega-floods among other powerful forces of nature. Marvel at Shoshone Falls, and discover dramatic formations at City of Rocks National Reserve. On a whitewater rafting trip, learn the history of lava flows and the Bliss Landslide. Walk the lava fields of Craters of the Moon National Monument, formed by major eruptions which occurred as recently as 2000 years ago, and learn how Box Canyon was formed by a mega-flood. All of this is used to piece together the exciting geological and paleontological story of a unique landscape.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles on one day; getting in and out of vans several times a day, and walking up to a couple hundred yards on most days.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover lava flows, lava caves, cinder cones and more evidence of eruptions at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
  • Examine the findings of the paleontological research at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.
  • Join an expert river guide for an exciting rafting excursion on the Snake River.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Featured Expert
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Shawn Wilsey
A professor of geology at the College of Southern Idaho, Shawn Wilsey loves to explore the geology of western U.S. After obtaining a bachelor’s in geology at Weber State University and a master’s at Northern Arizona University, Shawn worked as a hydrogeologist and professor at several community colleges. He became a licensed professional geologist in 2007, and will offer Road Scholar participants a look into the geologic forces that have shaped the south central Idaho region.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Shawn Wilsey
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Jason Thornton
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Suggested Reading List
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