One of the least populated states in America, Idaho is the third state that makes up the Pacific Northwest—besides Oregon and Washington. This is a large and wild state, spanning two time zones and stretching from the Canadian border all the way south to Utah and Nevada. Its vast tracts of old-growth forests, various subranges of the Rocky Mountains and Hells Canyon, America’s deepest canyon, make camping in Idaho an essential thing to do during any visit.
Idaho’s wide variety in landscapes and biotopes, from arid plains to towering mountains, from pristine forests to river canyons, attract an equally varied array of visitors. Fishermen are drawn to the state’s abundant and exceptional fish species. It’s the West’s only inland state where you can catch blue-ribbon trout as well as king salmon and steelhead. Mountain bikers, rock climbers, and boaters find delight camping in Idaho’s wildernesses.
Hiking and camping in Idaho is, however, arguably the state’s most popular outdoor pursuit. And it’s available all across the state. A particularly great destination is the Boise National Forest, the location of the awesome Red Mountain Trail. Other fantastic places to go backpacking and camping in Idaho include Craters of the Moon National Monument, the remarkable Bruneau Dunes State Park and iconic Yellowstone National Park, a sliver of which lies in the state’s southeastern corner.
In the middle of southern Idaho lies Shoshone Falls, a series of huge cascades on the Snake River sometimes referred to as the “Niagara of the West”. The Snake River meanders its way further west, making up the northern part of the Oregon and Idaho border, and flows through massive Hells Canyon. Ten miles wide and almost 8,000 feet deep, this is the deepest river canyon in North America, an absolutely natural gem to explore when camping in Idaho.
This small lakeside campground captured our hearts. Who could resist it, with wide open lakefront views like these? A easy launch for kayaks by day, and a sunset view from the campfire by night. It was 4th of July weekend, so we did make a reservation, but there are a couple sites that are first come first serve. No hookups so it tended to be a quiet campground for smaller rigs and tent campers. The only noise?…….. Cows! You could hear them in the early morning from the farm all the way across the lake, a country alarm clock. One of the things I really liked about this site, and a rare find in lakeside camping- No Bugs! A couple negatives, nice sized sites that are spread out but a little open so not a ton of privacy. And, the beach was a little lacking in that it was a drop off at most of the campsite edges, so finding a spot to get into the water was not as easy as in others. Cellular signal here was suprisingly good for Verizon. The town of Donnelly, was a 10 min drive away and had a small grocery store for ice and other supplies.
It is not the easiest to get to, and the road is a test for your engine and brakes, but once you arrive it is a quiet peaceful park with great water access. We originally had a reservation for a view site with no hook ups, but upon arrival they had a hookup site(#104) available, and the temps were nearly 100 degrees, so we took it! The park is large and thus the areas seem nicely spaced apart, never felt crowded, even though there are over 100 sites. There is lots of shoreline and plenty of water for everyone. We launched the kayaks and enjoyed the water ourselves- paddled to the opposite shore and found a remote unoccupied camp.
We pulled in and were amazed how nice it was to be right by the creek with covered shelter, picnic table, fire ring, and vault toilet and no charge. Two Tent pad sites, or places to pull in with truck/trailer etc. we thought it was nice and quiet, and the fishing seemed like it would have been fantastic if we would have had some time to stay. Silver creek/Picabo anglers not far up the road and is worth the trip.
This is a pretty quiet place! It about an hour drive/17 miles from Cascade on a paved road. True to it's name, the lake and campsite are right on a summit! The lake is pretty small and a little muddy, but a fun dip nevertheless. It's about a 5 minute hike from the campsites. There are 3 campsites at the campground and they are all first come first serve! Dispersed camping is allowed in the area as well. Managed to find 2 empty spots here on Labor Day weekend, which was a real treat! The sites all have fire rings and picnic tables and share a vault toilet. The sites are well spaced and there little noise carries around the area. The campground is a little close the to highway (Warm Lake Rd) but traffic at night is pretty low, so the noise isn't bad. There is a wilderness airstrip not too far off, so some plane noise as well! Otherwise, a nice spot with some great views of the night sky.
This is one of the coolest places that I have ever stayed. I stayed here for a couple of nights before venturing into the Frank Church. Although this spot isn't quite in the wilderness, it sure feels like it! Driving up to Yellowjacket and through the abandoned mine sites feels like a step into the past. The "ghost town" looks more like several abandoned mines, but is still so interesting to see. The guard station sits in a little meadow beside a creek in a small canyon. The first night that I stayed here, the loudest thunder that I have ever heard rolled through the area! This is truly a wild, unpredictable, beautiful place. The guard station is a lovely building. Depending on the time of year, there is available water, as well as water from the creek. There is a fire ring surrounded by stump seating in the field. There is a pit toilet a little ways from the guard station that oddly smells like pipe tobacco. There are also corrals for horses, and it seems like a great place to go riding. There aren't official tent sites, but there is lots of flat, grassy spaces that several tents can be comfortably set up in. I was in this area for about 2 weeks and didn't see anyone I didn't plan to! A refreshing breath of solitude. It is a pretty far trek to drive out, make sure to have directions ready ahead of time. In mid-May, this place was seemed like ground-zero for ticks. Watch out and check often! Other wildlife seen included rattlesnakes and deer, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bigfoot was hanging out here somewhere. This is a really unique place to experience and a great starting point to explore the Frank Church Wilderness and Salmon-Challis National forest. I would absolutely recommend visiting this spot.
Sam Owen is a nice place to camp for a few days, or spend some time on the water. It is surprisingly quiet for a campsite, considering it's location! Pend Oreille is a beautiful lake and is a great place for boats, kayaks, and paddle boards! The campsites at Sam Owen have picnic tables and some have fire pits. There are dumpsters and water available as well. I have camped here mid-May and came for day visits during busier summer months and never felt that there were too many people or I needed a reservation. Sandpoint is a charming town and area. Joel's in Sandpoint has some of the best burritos in the Northwest. There is an excess of hiking and mountain biking in the area! Some good trails include Mickinnick and Sam Owen trail.
The Selway is one of the most beautiful places in Idaho, and this campground is a good place to stay on your visit! There are plenty of sites (32) to stay at, however it can tend to get crowded, so I recommend reserving a spot ahead of time. The crowds are really the only downside to this site (if you prefer more quiet and privacy) but fortunately there are other sites along the river that are also great spots to camp. This campsites has plenty of amenities and many of the sites are pretty accessible. This is a great place for families, people with limited mobility, and the elderly to visit. There are vault toilets, potable water, and bear-proof dumpsters that serve the whole camp. Individual sites should all have tent spots, picnic tables, and a fire ring. The loop around the campsite is paved. Kids and families often ride their bikes around the loop. Like much of central Idaho, the wildlife includes black bears and rattlesnakes, so remember to be cautious and aware of our wilder friends! The area offers a great variety of recreation opportunities. Slower areas of the river offer great swimming, and the Lower Selway makes a great day trip on kayaks or rafts. There is lots of biking, hiking, and horseback riding along the river and through the mountains. Selway Falls are beautiful and a really fun stop.
Ranger review: Banner and Oak life straw water bottle at Edna creek campground Idaho.
These campgrounds are pretty nice. They had snow early on in the season and it was pretty chilly when we were there. It's not a bad drive from Boise ID as long as the roads aren’t icy. The bathroom was nice enough as you can see in the pictures, but it is just a pit. It is free at least in the off season no guarantees in season. There is a dumpster, but you can’t use it in the winter. The sites are nice and large enough for a medium size family there is a picnic table and a pole to hold a trash bag or a lantern which is very nice. The fire ring was nice but not very deep because of past fires. We had a nice little creek running right near our site. The campground was not very busy so we had no trouble getting a spot and if it had been full there were other places we could have gone with no trouble.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. Today, I am testing the Life Straw Water Bottle as sold on Banner and Oak. Lifestraw Water Bottle at Banner and Oak. The water bottle is very nice looking. It does exactly as stated on the Banner and Oak site. You just fill the water bottle with flowing water. Screw the cap on and then drink the water through the straw. It does need a little more suction power to pull the water through the filter, which is noticeable but, not a big problem. Fair warning the water did taste different than tap water, but I think this is to be expected with any filter. One really cool thing about this water bottle is that for every bottle purchased they give clean water to a school child in Africa for a whole year. This is a huge bonus! This bottle is ideal for camping and hiking adventures. It is also, a good emergency essential.
An incredibly beautiful area. It is rugged and feels so wild. Plan to take your time driving up 17 Mile road (takes about an hour to get here from Riggins!). The views are spectacular and easy to find. There are some areas that can be pretty dry and hot, so make sure to plan ahead and bring lots of water. There are several hikes that can be done in a single day or stretched out to multi day trips that go along mountaintops and alpine lakes. I have never seen more than a handful of other groups out here. This is one of my favorite places to go stay. After hiking, camping, and enjoying the mountains, head down to the Salmon for a swim! Watch out for black bears, rattlesnakes, mountain goats in the area.
This is a pretty decent place to camp. There are other sites in the area that might be a little quieter and less expensive, but I would bump this site up on the list in terms of how easily it is to get to some of the attractions in the area! The giant cedars and Elk River Falls are a must stop if you head this way. It can be crowded, and a little noisy. Interesting plants and mushrooms to see, depending on time of year!
Talk about a hike! This is a pretty steep trek, with rewarding views at the top. Be sure to read trail reports and weather reports before heading out. North Idaho weather can be pretty finicky, especially at high elevations. Make sure to be aware of wildlife as well! Scotchman's is known for mountain goat sightings, but as they become more accustomed to people they can be a little aggressive. Keep a safe distance!
Nice, quiet campsite. Make sure to get there early for a spot! Buck Mountain Trail #176 is a great hike or bike in the area. If you scramble to the top of the mountain, there is an incredible view of the Cabinets and the Selkirks. Watch out for grizzly and black bears in this area! The creek along the campsite is cool and clean.
Whiskey Rock is one of the nicest spots on the lake. It's a serious drive by car and most of the traffic is by boat. I was once here the week before July 4th and even then, there wasn't a lot of people. This spot sits between several mountain ranges and right on the lake. It is quiet and peaceful. Lots of great recreation areas and wildlife in the area. Great views. The campsites are primitive, but there are outhouses on site. No potable water, so bring a filter or a jug!
Great bird life can be seen here all year round. There are ample fish in the water, which are also fun to spot. It can fill up pretty quickly, but is decently quiet during the mid-week, if you are able to make it. Saw two bald eagles during my last trip!
I've hiked to Jerry Johnson hot springs plenty of times, and finally decided to check out the campground! The site was really clean, the outhouses were immaculate! Honestly the nicest outhouse I have ever seen. I went during early October and the larches and deciduous trees were showing great fall colors. The campsite is a little close to the highway, but it was not very loud at night. In the fall, there is a reasonable amount of traffic, but I would assume it gets a little heavier in the summer.
Really beautiful campsites and very clean. There was only one other group at the site, but all the tent spots were well spaced apart. The creek was nice background noise. It is also lots of fun to go look for garnets in the creek! Idaho's state gem! The garnet area was closed when we went (erosion), but garnet sand was visible farther down the creek along the road.
PSP is a great place to stay or spend a day at. There is great lake access, hiking trails, and the Ponderosa's are superb! I like to go to PSP during the "off-season" to avoid the crowds. Heading out in the winter, there are great snowshoeing and Nordic skiing options.
This is a great place to take your dog for a walk. The trail is a nice loop through the woods, and there is a nice picnic area, swings, and volleyball court. There are two sides to this park, one is easier to access than the other. The drive out to the park is easily accessed on paved roads.
I spent the night here on a cross country road trip with just me and the dog. It was free which was awesome. It was deserted which was both great and unnerving for a single newbie camper. We woke up to snow and had a great dawn hike on the hike/bike trails. The campsites are well-loved/worn and some were under water/mud. Because it was both off-season/midweek, it didn't matter at all, as I could pick almost any site.
Seven miles off the freeway. Not many sites like five or six. Grassy and flat with a picnic shade. Just needed a place to sleep on our way to Utah. Be aware…bathrooms are locked and water is turned off after 10/1. We did find a open bathroom over by the boat launch.