Lower O'Brien Campground is composed of 10 campsites including 1 double-site on the Salmon River located in a lodgepole pine forest. All sites are first-come, first-serve. The Warm Springs Creek Trail is nearby. Visitors can fish for steelhead and trout or soak in the fabulous Sunbeam Hot Springs which maintains a temperature of 169 degrees fahrenheit. You can adjust the temperature by moving rocks to allow river water to flow in. A boat ramp at Yankee Fork is available for floating the river, which has 14 miles of Class III and IV rapids. An interesting trip is to explore the mining history of the area by touring the Land of the Yankee Fork north of the Sunbeam Dam and resort on Forest Road #013. Sunbeam Dam was the only dam ever built on the Salmon River, which remains one of the last free-flowing rivers in the west. The dam was intended to provide power to mining operations located on the Yankee Fork, but in 1911, the mine property was sold at a Sheriff`s auction and part of the dam was destroyed with dynamite in 1934.
Keep going on the road past Lower O’Brien Campground and you see a sign warning of no turn arounds for rv’s. Don’t worry, the campground is in a loop. The road is very narrow. I don’t know what I would do if another camper met me going around that stretch.
The gurgling of the rapids occupy your attention so the vehicles are not really heard. Rafters pass by at eye level giving an opportunity to spread joy and wave. Choose a site that has a riverside beach or one on the interior of the loop. Our site had multiple levels which allowed us to move around as the shade traveled. With July temperatures, the rocks piled into a circle in the river gave us a perfect spot to take a dip. The sun dried us off quickly and we are now a bit cleaner. Warning: fisher people walk up and down the river as well as rafting folk so pick an appropriate time for bathing. Even my dog came right in.
This river is popular for fishing and rafting. We didn’t find many hiking opportunities but that’s ok with us. A day relaxing in this beautiful setting is worth our time.