$60 - $100 / night

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Established Camping

Big Elk

4 Reviews


National Forest

Caribou-Targhee National Forest


Big Elk Campground is situated along Big Elk Creek on a quiet arm of the beautiful Palisades Reservoir, just 55 miles east of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing and exploring the scenic Big Elk Creek Trail.


Big Elk Creek has great fishing for cutthroat trout and the occasional Kokanee salmon. Canoeing and swimming are popular activities on the reservoir. A small boat ramp is located on-site. When the reservoir level is low, boats cannot be launched on Big Elk Creek. Big Elk Creek Trail, for hiking, biking and horseback riding, begins at the campground and meanders up a beautiful canyon brimming with wildflowers, towering trees and scenic views. Palisades Reservoir is across the highway, offering excellent boating, water skiing, swimming and canoeing. Lake and shore fishing are very popular there as well, with wild and stocked cutthroat trout as the predominate species. Kokanee salmon, brown and Mackinaw trout can also be found. A boat ramp is located at Calamity Campground less than 10 miles away.


This campground offers three group sites with picnic tables, campfire rings and grills. Site A-1 also has a picnic shelter and serving tables, and can accommodate up to 160 people. Sites B-1 and B-2 can accommodate up to 50 people each. Individual sites are available on a first come, first served basis only. Vault toilets, drinking water and trash collection are provided, but there is no electricity. Firewood is available for purchase from the host. Roads and parking spurs are gravel.

Natural Features

The campgrounds lies on a hillside at an elevation of 5,700 feet, above Big Elk Creek among aspens and Douglas fir trees, which provide partial shade. Sagebrush and summer wildflowers dot the landscape.

Nearby Attractions

The Palisades Creek Trail begins nearby, leading hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders to beautiful Upper Palisades Lake and expansive views of Swan Valley. The Snake River and Swan Valley offer more great fishing and boating opportunities, as well as rafting, canoeing and numerous trails for hiking, biking, horseback and ATV riding. Fall Creek Falls is 20 miles away, and the Fall Creek area has hundreds of miles of such trails.

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  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Hike-In
    Backcountry sites.
  • Boat-In
    Sites accessible by watercraft.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • T-Mobile

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • RV Sites
  • Standard (Tent/RV)
  • Group


For Campers

  • Trash
  • Picnic Table
  • Firewood Available
  • Phone Service
  • Drinking Water
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol
  • Fires

For Vehicles

  • Big Rig Friendly

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out of 5

4 Reviews

Brian G.
Reviewed Sep. 7, 2020

Good campground

No hookups but water faucets all over the camo. Very clean restrooms. Bear boxes at each site. The price is good, $26 for single sites. Most can accommodate RVs easily. The "lake"/reservoir is a very short distance away and when the water is low, late in season plenty of parking on shoreline. Jet skis and kayak friendly. Good fishing. Firewood was $6 a bundle from camp host. Good hiking trails in the area.

Reviewed Sep. 16, 2019

Great location

Big Elk Campground in Irwin, Idaho is a great location for anyone looking for seclusion, while still being close enough to a town if you forgot any supplies. The camp host was very friendly, and the camp sites were clean and well maintained.

Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Big Elk by Lindsey E., September 16, 2019
  • Review photo of Big Elk by Lindsey E., September 16, 2019
  • Review photo of Big Elk by Lindsey E., September 16, 2019
Sam S.
Reviewed Sep. 21, 2018

Hiking Big Elk.

Can be very busy in summer months.

Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Big Elk by Sam S., September 21, 2018
  • Kokanee salmon run
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Big Elk is located in Idaho

Detail location of campground


From Idaho Falls, Idaho, travel approximately 56 miles on Highway 26 to Palisades Dam. Once at the dam, continue 6 miles east on Highway 26, then turn left onto Forest Road 262 (Big Elk Creek Road) and travel 2 miles to the campground.




43.3225 N
111.1161111 W

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