The best camping near
Payette National Forest, IDAHO

148 Reviews 223 Campgrounds
Camping Idaho Payette National Forest
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Most Recent Payette National Forest Camping Reviews
Easy launch for kayaks by day, and a sunset view from the campfire by night

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.

Quiet spot

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.

Wow!

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.

Bird watching!

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!

By the water

Nice being able to camp by the lake. Can be pretty crowded, but easier to find a spot out here than in McCall.

Beautiful, but crowded!

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.

Second annual

Liked it enough to come back. Had a huge group and multiple dogs in the group site. Very clean camp area. Extremely reasonable prices. Bathrooms are really dirty. Water for drinking is available just a short walk or really short drive. Nice fire pits. Close to water for playing in. There are some towns nearby. Would recommend just use the woods whenever possible.

Great campground

Close to the water, very chilly at the end of the season. Glad to have toilets and water.

Pretty but crowded

Good location, very close to the city of McCall. Very large and busy campground. Seems like the sites are very close together and none of them are waterfront. Lots of good bike trails. It was also very expensive. Over $100 for two nights in a double occupancy site with water and electric.

Decent base camp area

Camp is decent with a few spots for smaller RV or campers - pit toilet - trees surround - high clearance vehicle recommended - steep in places

You can explore a few miles on the roads by UTV or by pickup while exploring the Salmon River drainage or the Snake River drainage. Traveling to Pittsburgh Landing and Kirkwood from here is considered a short day ride.

Steep terrain surrounds the area

Unit 18

A lot of cattle ranching in the summer and mostly hunters In the fall.

Forest service maps are recommended for travel since a lot just circle back to start, mostly on road, little access for off road travel.

Ponde pines all abound

Electricity, showers and on line reservations- beautiful mountain lake and close to town if you want

First to Review
Awesome

Beautiful

Gorgeous waterfront

Fish and game property, but managed under YMCA. $15 with no discount for anyone. Picnic table and fire ring. Pit toilet that is in desperate need of a simple fly strip! I had to wipe live flies off the toilet seat to sit down. Haul your garbage out. No electricity. Bear sites in campground but no notifications! No potable water. Seemed a bit pricey ! Perfect for canoes. Boat launch area.

Hawks, ducks, gorgeous waterfront!

Full of activities

This area has bike trails, water activities, beaches along the lake, and more. Three loops and a total of 113 sites would seem promising if you are looking for a site. But it was nearly full (3 sites left) on a Monday! Shower houses in each loop. We however found it extremely crowded and chose to go on to somewhere less noisy. We stopped at ice cream alley in McCall for the most delicious ice cream around.

Great sites

Awesome hiking and mountain bike trails right from the camp area. Sites were super clean including bathrooms and showers. Hosts were very nice and polite. By far one of our favorite locations

What heaven on earth truly is

Arrived late on a Saturday night originally intending to camp at the 7 devils campground but there were no available sites so decided to go back to windy saddle. We were the only campers at windy saddle and were able to get a perfect site at the head of the trail over looking hell’s canyon and Heaven’s gate. Had an absolutely gorgeous view of the devils peaks easy access to trails, devils lake, Heaven’s gate trail. One of the best camping trips I have ever had. There is a vault toilet but no other amenities which was ok for our stay. I am definitely going to be coming back to camp at windy saddle again.

Great time

Dagger falls is amazing. The campground is clean and well kept.

Rustic camping right on the river

Lover camping on the river here! You can sleep right on the beach or up in the trees. Bring your own water but there are vault toilets. Need a pan or something for fires, but some of the best camping! Wake up to amazing views of the river, you can put your boat in upstream and float down to your site. There cliffs for jumping off and hikes can be found along the way. Lots of wildlife to see. One of my favorite spots.

First to Review
Open and grassy campsites

Nice grassy sites, water right there, vault toilets, fire rings and picnic tables, tent camping or RVs. Not a lot of shade but cools down nice at night. Lots to do nearby!

Beautiful

The campsite is clean and right by the water. There’s a ton of access to hikes and different places around the lake. Hiking up to granite mountain lookout was a highlight.

Nice lake

Very short hike nice camping. A very cold lake bring water or filter.

Lots of trees

There is a lot of space in each camp. Not much land in between each camp so be courteous. Good drinking water. A fairly dirty pit bathroom. I’m pretty sure it’s pet friendly. You can walk to the reservoir. The beach is very rocky.

Very crowded

There are a lot of people camping here. All of the sites are very close it can be a bit of inconvenience but I have had no real problem. It has very nice bathrooms and showers. It is very close to the lake. I drove to the north side of the lake so that I could bring my dog. It is fairly priced.

First to Review
Rustic campground close to Heavens Gate lookout and trails in the Hells Gate Wilderness

After 45 minutes drive on dirt road we reached this rustic campground and had it all to our selves the first night. There are pit toilets, no trash, no water. We loved the loneliness and the spacious sites in a little fir wood close to a 0.2 trail to the wonderful clear little lake next by and only two miles from the Heavens Gate Fire lookout that is staffed for three months a year. We were lucky to meet and chat with the couple taking care of it learning a lot about local fires, mountain ranges and enjoying time on top of one of the most beautiful lookouts in the area with views of four states.

First to Review
Quiet and relaxing

campsites with picnic tables and fire pits. Bathroom with no running water. Bears are known to visit but we didn’t see any signs. The creek is gorgeous , not deep . The trail head is close to camp. The trails are fairly easy and maintained. Lovely place .

Bring bikes and boat

Pretty good sites clean bathrooms, walking trails. There was a lot of space for the kids to ride their bikes, too. Pretty setting, great views. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a good place for kids to play on the water, but there was a dock and boat launch. Great place to rent watercraft a out halfway back into town. We got a pontoon boat and had a blast

Nice campground

Nice paved road. Sites have plenty of space between you and your neighbors. Fishing, swimming, the store is close if you need the basics. Room for your RV.

Nice Camping

Nice area to camp. Sparse trees. Swimming in the creek as well as pool. If you’re needing cell reception it’s spotty at best. Camping spaces are clean.

Nice place to camp

It was nice being in the shade. Lots of huckleberries when in season(gave the kids something extra to do). Went on a hike around lake, very nice. Swimming was ok. Kind of a mud hole for swimming. Fishing close by.

Awesome experience

We love Ponderosa! Favorite place to camp.