I lucked into this empty campground on my drive to Stanley, Idaho. I had my pick of eight sites, a couple of which were double sites. All of the sites were nice with picnic tables and firepits, including site 5, which I occupied. I chose this site as it wasn’t next to the vault toilet (which was clean), there was a nice view of the lake, and it had some nice trees for shade. It was a short walk down to the lake, and there was a nice trail along the lake with good mountain views. There was a family fishing at the boat ramp and a few people out on the lake, but in general it was very quiet. The water was very clear and if the wind had been still, there probably would have been a nice reflection of the mountains on the lake(unfortunately it was a bit breezy).
We were looking for an overnight stay while traveling through Idaho. We didn't arrive until 5pm and were certain the campground would be full. Much to our surprise it was not full but we were not told how many sites were available so pretty much took the first site we saw. It was a huge site for our little rig but we grabbed it anyway. We enjoyed visiting the park in the evening and having it almost entirely by ourselves. We also had a little time in the morning to catch some areas we missed the night before and also had this time to ourselves. Had we not stayed in the park I'm not sure we would have had time to visit on our way (20miles) to the next nearest campground. The park is fascinating and worth the drive.
I was surprised to have the entire campground to myself. While this is primarily a group campground, single sites are plenty here as well. I am assuming you can reserve campsites, but the iron ranger was accommodating for me. Sites are either open in the meadow or with nice trees for a hammock(I went with trees for shade), and all sites have the standard picnic tables and firepits. What I like about the firepits is the built in grill. There is no water available in the campground, so pack in(I am not sure about filtering from the river, it’s kind of marshy to get there). The campground was down a very dusty road, but it was near the headwaters of the Salmon River, AKA the RIver of No Return. There is a trailhead a short walk from the campground that puts you on the Idaho Centennial Trail, and I think there is a trail that takes you to the actual headwaters of the river. I didn’t hike much of it as I was alone and without bear spray. In the evening the mule deer and pronghorn come down to the meadow to graze and the river to drink, so there is great entertainment as the sun sets. Not bad for$10 a night(for a single site).
This is a tent only campground(there is nowhere for RVs to turn around, and backing out would be a horrific proposition) with only seven sites. The best sites are the four that are on the creek side of the camp road. There is a vault toilet(not especially clean) and a bear proof dumpster, and lots of signs about bears, but no bear boxes for food storage. The campsites are nicely shaded, but not especially private(you can see most of the sites from each other). This campground is$2 cheaper than the next closest campground(I drove to the other site to check it out and returned here because except for the price, they were about the same). There is a pretty cool avalanche/rock slide up the road that is impressive in size and there are some pretty cool beaver dams and lodges in the creek/marshy area that feeds into the river. Be careful picking a site along the creek as it runs pretty close to the edge of two sites and I suspect the sites get flooded during big rains(due to the beaver dams). Showers are not terribly far away at Redfish Lake Park.
I lucked into stumbling upon this single site campsite along silver creek. I’m not a fisherwoman, but apparently there is some good fishing in the creek. What I loved about this site was that there was only the one site here, with a clean-ish vault toilet(it was getting close to needed a pump out). No traffic sounds, no campground noise, just the creek and the birds and cicadas and a visit from some mule deer. There was a nice picnic table and a tent pad, and, although there was no where to get firewood, a fire pit and grill. I didn’t see any evidence of fish guts, so I am guessing any fishermen would clean their fish in the creek(?). The next morning as I was leaving the area I found 2 more sites that were more developed with a large gravel parking/turnaround and pavilion covered picnic tables that were handicap accessible. But I am glad I camped where I did for the solitude, just me, Silver Creek, some mule deer, and the cicadas and birds.
Holy Cow! It really was like camping on the moon(except the wind) or on a volcano. This is a barren place due to the volcanic nature of the land, but it was very pretty and the campground was set up in an almost ingenious way to provide privacy for most sites. There were essentially two loops, but the loops had lots of twists and turns and ups and downs in order to squeeze in the most number of sites with the most privacy. I ended up with a deep site where I could set my tent up between some lava rocks to get some semblance of a wind break. From inside my tent I could not see any other sites(which was really nice), but I could see my neighbors from my picnic table. No fires are allowed(which I found interesting since we were camped on a lava flow), and there are no showers(someone told me that maybe I could get a shower at the KOA in Arco, but I didn’t bother). In fact, water is somewhat restricted- there were signs stating RV’s could not fill up, but all were welcome to fill personal water jugs. Even the dish washing station was closed at the restrooms. Speaking of which, the restrooms had flush toilets and sinks with cold water and were fairly clean if a bit outdated. Definitely get some hiking in while you are here. There is a nice trail from the campground that connects to the North Crater Flow trail, and if you have some stamina climb the Inferno Cone for great views(watch the ground for cinders that look like glass!). Get a permit at the visitors center to go into the lava tube caves(its free but required). I only hiked in Indian Cave as I wasn’t comfortable with the pitch black dark of Boy Scout and Beauty Caves by myself. Definitely check out the town of Arco, the first in the nation to be powered by nuclear energy. Not far from Arco is the nuclear power plant, decommissioned, where you can take a free tour. Back at the campground there is one last important note- you have to pay the electronic ranger for your campsite, and NO cash is accepted. Only credit cards.
I loved this campground we showed up in the early afternoon on a Thursday and they had plenty of spots still available. You are completely immersed into the lava landscape at this campground I really enjoyed it. The sites were nice size bathrooms were very clean lots of families and friendly people. A must if you are in Idaho.
Camping in the forest in Sawtooth. Pull through sites were available. Fire rings and picnic tables were at every site. Situated next to stream. Resident moose was sited one morning, and we saw bear claw markings on a tree behind a camp site. Campground hosts were very friendly and helpful. We bought wood and the host split up kindling for us. No hookups but water was available at a few areas.
Located right by the entrance station, this campground has 42 sites, with only a select number suitable for large RVs or 5th wheels(although we encountered a large RV coming toward us that necessitated us backing into an empty site)! It was very windy the day we were here but don’t know if that is typical. Flush toilets but no showers; typical of national park campgrounds. No hookups or dump station. Sites are surrounded by lava rocks; some were very nice but others not as much (sites 1-5 are right by (and I mean RIGHT BY) the entrance station). Sites 34, 35, 42, and 3 are fully accessible and site 34 has an electrical outlet for use by those with medical needs. Open April-November, weather dependent but water only available in peak months. Limited to no cell service (Verizon). $15 during peak season (half price for senior pass holders and when there is no water). No fee during April and November if open.
As the other reviewers mentioned, it is right on the road, so you're likely to hear cars driving past. Because it was so dusty, we decided to stay in our car rather than pitching the tent. Overall though we really enjoyed this great little spot for our night in the Sun Valley area!
Dry camp, first come first served. An official dark sky location. Great for star gazing.
First time camping here (my husband did growing up). I was surprised to find bathrooms readily available (no water but still…) very clean, did not see any trash. Sites were easily accessible. There were some decent ruts in the road in a few spots due to the wet spring, but nothing impassable. Would definitely visit again.
This is what you would expect in the wilderness of Idaho! A unique location, and an experience worth having!
Please obey posted fire safety warnings as Idaho is plagued by enough man made wildfires each year!
Have fun and leave no trace!
Scenic and cool campsite smack in the middle of the lava beds of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Interesting information center within a quick walking distance with lots of national park rangers and activities.
Campsites are pretty small, but many are surrounded by LAVA. That said, very little shade, so if it’s the summer, it will be very hot.
Water, toilets, all available. RVs allowed but no hook-ups. No fire pits, but they do have charcoal grills available.
Very cool lava flow hikes and formations all around.
Camping at Craters of the moon is like camping… on the moon
It's a free campground ran by a disabled vet. He can't and won't charge anyone, though lately has been allowing donations to pay it forward and help with things like recovering the power installation etc. Come make a friend, share a beer, hang as long as you want as long as you're not a jerk. Dogs are welcome and the place is named after one.