For people who are intrigued by the canyons above Boise along  Boise River and Mores Creek, a trip to Prairie is rewarding. The community of Prairie is about 23 miles by air northeast of Mountain Home. To reach it from Boise involves a scenic drive along the South Fork of the Boise River. The road runs along plateau land above the canyon with occasional jaunts down to river level. The surroundings are mostly open country with few trees, allowing good views of canyons and snowy peaks.
From Blacks Creek exit east of Boise on I-84, through Prairie and back to I-84 at Mountain Home is 73 miles. 51 miles of that is on unpaved, but good, dirt road. Allow about 4 to 4½ hours to cover the distance. Off-road motorized trails are closed along the route because of erosion damage caused by a fire in 2013. And a stretch of road along the river south of Prairie is closed every night because of landslide danger. Travel on the entire route is safer during daylight hours. The road has no reflectors or guard rails.
Prairie is the only stop on the route with any services though there are Forest Service toilets in several locations. Prairie has two stores: one serves food and the other has a motel and RV park. At one place a dog appeared to be minding the store. The village is half way between Boise and Mountain Home. From Prairie, the road to Mountain Home is a little faster to drive than the one to Boise, not to mention that the Boise road is not kept open during the winter.
From I-84, driving east on the Blacks Creek road brings the traveler to Bender Creek and Willow Creek, which have toilets and may be suitable camping spots. Bring water. The are no government campgrounds on the route except near Anderson Ranch Dam. Past Willow Creek the road climbs to the first view of the South Fork and Arrowrock Reservoir. Then it crosses the river at Neal Bridge.
The road skirts close to the canyon edge before reaching Prairie. It is tempting to look into the canyon but there are no viewpoints or safety fences. Stay at least a person’s length back from cliff edges and teach children and teens how to be safe near the canyon.
From Prairie, roads go east to Fall Creek and south to Mountain Home. Following the road to Mountain Home leads the traveler back to the South Fork. The road parallels the river for a distance and then there is the choice of following the river on to Anderson Ranch Dam and US 20 or turning and crossing the river at Cow Creek. The Cow Creek road goes over foothills to US 20, intersecting east of Tollgate. Mileage for the two options appears similar; this writer followed Cow Creek.

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