Last month, David and I stayed at Joe T. Falling Campground on the shore of Mackay Reservoir, Idaho. We chilled out there for two weeks, paddling around in the reservoir, visiting Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, and attending Mackay Rodeo.
Situated at the base of the Lost River Range, Mackay is a small town that appears to be more important than what the number of residents (approximately 500 people) would suggest. There are services in this town including a nice grocery, gas stations, a laundromat, and a hardware store. We were a customer of these places while in the area. RVers would be interested to know that the town has free dumping station with drinking water (donation accepted). We saw two public playgrounds for children in town. Two!
By the way, the name of the town is pronounced “Mackie” with the accent on the first syllable. We had been saying Mac-Kay for several days.
Joe T. Fallini Campground at Mackay Reservoir
Joe T. Fallini Campground is a beautiful BLM campground on the shore of Mackay Reservoir just outside of Mackay. I originally planned for us to be there for a few days, but we ended up staying for two weeks. All RV sites have electricity, which was very helpful when we were there as it got cold for many days. It costs $14 per night for an RV site. The campground has a two-lane dump station ($5 for campers, $10 for non-campers). This campground is on a first-come-first-serve basis. When we were there the campground was full only for a few days. Most of the time, there was at least one available site. All of the sites here accommodate big rigs.
If you look for places for boondocking, there are lots of opportunities. The shore of Mackay Reservoir on both sides of Joe T. Fallini Campground has areas where apparently dispersed camping is allowed. Along the Big Lost River as it leaving the base of the dam also has several free camping areas. These are, however, more suitable for smaller rigs. Some of the spots have tricky access roads, so its a good idea to scout it out before taking your rig in there.
Mackay Rodeo, Idaho’s Wildest Rodeo
It was a mere coincidence that we were in the area during the annual Mackay Rodeo, dubbed as Idaho’s Wildest Rodeo. I haven’t been to a rodeo before, so it’s a great opportunity to see what it’s all about. Mackay Rodeo is a two-day event with a pre-rodeo parade on the first day.
The weather forecast wasn’t looking great for the weekend of rodeo. There was scattered shower and thunderstorm in the forecast for both days. We went to the event on Saturday to watch the parade. The sleepy town did come alive for the rodeo. Many children came prepared with a plastic bag in their arm to collect candies being given away by people in the parade. It was a quite festive to have witnessed. After the parade, it’s time for the rodeo…and the forecast rain.
We meant to do a driving tour of old mines around Mackay. But the wet weather had dampened our desire to drive on wet dirt roads. Although there are other places to explore near Mackay, it’s time to leave. Next stop is Stanley, Idaho.