Ten thousand years of human history at Celebration Park, Melba, ID

by Henry Allen 

Adjacent to the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, Celebration Park is Idaho’s only archaeological park. Here, you can view petroglyphs that are up to 10,000 years old.   

At Celebration Park, learn about human habitation in the area during the Archaic Era (3,000 to 10,000 years ago) and about the Paleolithic Era, which predated it. The Park’s Interpretive Specialists lead free petroglyph tours and offer other interpretive programs about the cultural and natural history of area. Go to the visitor center to find out what guided tours are taking place during your visit.   

Besides learning about early human history, you can take a walking tour to the historic Guffey Railroad Bridge (built in 1897) to learn about more recent events, like the mining and railroad industries, which dominated local commerce in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The bridge also provides access to trails on the south side of the river.  

Hiking is a popular activity at Celebration Park. On the north side of the river, trails go to Halverson Lake, a pond at the base of a canyon wall, and through the Halverson Bar with boulders deposited by the Bonneville Flood. These trails converge and head upstream about 10 miles toward Swan Falls Dam. The region is arid; pack plenty of water if you plan to hit the trail.   

Celebration Park, in Southwest Idaho, is not only accessible by road (less than an hour’s drive from Boise), but also by boat as it sits along the Snake River Water Trail. For boaters, islands located near Celebration Park are part of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge.  

Plan your visit to Celebration Park at canyonco.org/project/celebration-park or visitidaho.org/things-to-do/national-monuments-historical-sites/celebration-park. Learn more about visiting Southwest Idaho at visitsouthwestidaho.org.