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.
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.
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.
ADA Access: N
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.
Can be very busy in summer months.
Right off a "thumb" on the Palisades reservoir, this is an amazing site with many recreational options. Paddling, hiking, bird watching - saw an osprey with an enormous fish and then later a pair of bald eagles. It was fun floating around on our kayaks and paddle boards; there were a few smaller boats and jet skis around as well.
We were there on a busy weekend, but the sites are all nicely separated so it still felt secluded! Plenty of vault toilets and a few group site options as well. The group sites are reservable, but the remaining are first-come first serve.