A couple weekends ago, my brother and I decided to hike up Sinker Butte as one of our many hill climbing activities to get in shape for hiking this summer. At 6 miles (round-trip) and 1,100 feet of elevation climb, it was a good warm-up, and at this time of year, we didn't have to worry about running into rattlesnakes in the desert lowlands
Sinker Butte is located just south of Swan Falls Dam, which is 25 miles south of Kuna at the end of Swan Falls Dam Road. Sinker Butte sits on the rim of the 800-foot-deep Snake River canyon and is impressive in both its height and unusual shape. The canyon itself is scenic and seems to be popular with anglers, boaters, bird watchers, boulders, and hikers.
We started at the parking lot on the north side of the river and crossed the dam on a public walkway. Instead of following the zig-zagging road up the hillside to the first plateau, we took a small animal trail straight up the steep part of thehill to cut off time. Then we took the main dirt road up the side of the sheer canyon wall. The road passed near Sinker Butte, at which point we left it and took a tiny trail to the top of the butte. Along the rim of the butte, and atop the rocks that form the very peak (where we found a makeshift American flag memorial), we were afforded views of the canyon and a vast panorama of mountains and desert in every direction.
It's not among the more scenic hikes in Idaho, but in winter when trail access is limited and you need to get in shape for the summer, it makes a decent trek.