BOISE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to discharge water on April 22 and 23 to create what is called the “rooster tail.” The six-hour-long displays are scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. on both days.
“The water used to create the displays comes from required release rates that exceed what can be used for power generation,” said Lucky Peak Lake Operations Manager Matt Walker.
The “rooster tail” discharge comes through the dam’s outlet slide gates, nicknamed “flip buckets,” which dissipate the quick moving water's energy by sending it hundreds of feet through the air, creating an arch of spray into the Boise River.
Depending on lake surface elevations, the "rooster tail" has been observed reaching heights up to 150 feet, Walker added.
The “rooster tail” is historically one of the area’s popular attractions. Traffic congestion and delays are expected.
To reduce parking challenges and make the display more accessible for all ages, Lucky Peak Dam and Lake staff established a free driving route that starts by first crossing Lucky Peak Dam then winds down behind the dam and exits through Sandy Point.
Lucky Peak "rooster tail"
The route offers the public an all-weather event, accessible to all ages and abilities, with many different viewing angles of the rooster tail from the comfort of their own vehicles.
“The driving route was a huge success in 2011 and 2012,” said Natural Resources Manager Keith Hyde. “It’s really neat to see at times a car full of three generations together enjoying the display. It stirs up a lot of great stories from when this display was commonplace before the Power House was built. With the unpredictability of spring weather too, the driving tour makes this a truly rain-or-shine event.”
Hyde asks participants to drive slowly and remain in their vehicles along the route.
Parking is available near the end of the driving route at Sandy Point State Park or Discovery State Park, operated by Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, where a $5 entrance fee is collected.
Free parking is extremely limited and will not be allowed along Highway 21, along the access road to Sandy Point, nor the road across the dam.
To get there from Boise, travel east on Interstate 84 for about two miles, take the State Highway 21/Gowen Road exit (Exit 57), and follow Gowen Road/ Highway 21 east for 7.5 miles, passing Sandy Point, and follow event signs to cross Lucky Peak Dam.
Click here for fact sheet about the "rooster tail."