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Salmon-Challis National Forest, IDAHO
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Most Recent Salmon-Challis National Forest Camping Reviews
My favorite campground!

Beautiful campground! Lots of hiking & fishing opportunities!

Great camping for all!

My family of five camped for a few nights and loved it all. There is hiking close by either good for kids up to challenging for adults. It’s right by a river, several good shaded sites and even large ones for horses. It’s close to natural hot springs too.

Beautiful but busy

Rredfish Lake is absolutely gorgeous but with that beauty draws pretty big crowds. Be sure to reserve or arrive very early to get a walk in spot anywhere around the lake. There are many hikes nearby and some decent fishing but not as nearly as many salmon as when the lake earned its name.

Great place to set off

It has great campgrounds nearby but is also a great place to set off into the vast Sawtooth wilderness! If you want to set off and get away from clouds or sit near a beautiful lake then this site is perfect!

Camping by the river

9 great sites along the river, fire rings, CTX toilets and down the road from Yellowpine where you can get a beer and use WiFi.

Wilderness Convinience

Big Creek Canpground is small but fire rings, firewood and picnic tables are provided. Confinement area for pilots and for those wanting to hike into the FCRNRW which is 2 miles down the road. Portable water available and a CTX toilet.

Beautiful area with access to amazing hiking

Gorgeous area with access to amazing hiking and views. The campground is surrounded by a lush forest and has good seclusion of you're looking for isolation. For more solitude it also makes a good spot to set off into the vast Sawtooth wilderness. We made a trip to the beautiful Sawtooth Lake and only saw a few other hikers. Usually go to the south side of the Sawtooths but glad we made it to this side of the Sawtooths!

A relaxing soak and a spacious site

This private Hotsprings has two pools - ine about 97 degrees ( large and inviting), the second is smaller and hotter at 107!

located about 7 miles from Challis it has great lawn areas for tents, and shaded RV sites along the Salmon River. Playground. Showers.

bring your mountain bike or running shoes for a relaxing ride or run on the country access roads.

Easy access with amazing views and hiking!

This is my personal favorite campground to hike from on redfish lake. There is a 4 mile trail that will take you to the other side of the lake. Be bear aware while hiking here! We’ve seen black bear both times! The views are amazing and the access is easy.

Amazing views, hikes and wildlife!

You have to take some form of boat to the other side of the lake to access this campground. It has many spots and it is seasonal. This tends to be the only campground with walk up spots available in the prime summer months.

Sooooo beautiful

I can't wait to come back here one day – stayed here one night while passing through the Sawtooth area. The sunset over the lake was spectacular – the water was so clear and peaceful, I could have sat there all night. The campground was clean and had good facilities – flushing toilets, table and fire ring at our site, and firewood available for purchase.

Stunning, Free, Within 15 Mins from Amenities

A good friend of ours brought us up to Stanley, ID to explore for a week on horseback, hiking, and camping. I have been a professional photographer for many years, although I have seen stunning jaw dropping landscape photos in magazines I had yet to find myself in a location that would take my breath away… Until the day we set up camp at Decker Flatts.

I wont rattle on about how we were within 2 mins of a hiking trail that leads you to "Hell's Roaring lake", or about the amazing Trout fishing within 10 feet of my tent, or even the stunning sunrises every morning. I wont even describe the Beauty of the 5 other lakes that were all within a 10 min drive and a 5-10 mile hike or horseback ride from our camp. (Upper Marshall Lake, Alice Lake, Petti Lake, Alpine Lake & Sawtooth Lake) I'll just let you see the photos attached to this review and hope you'll make the life changing camping trip we did.

a few things to know:

  1. The trails we took are not per-say beginner trails, the shortest one is 10 miles Round Trip and it leads you to Hell's Roaring Lake, (My wife and I Hike quite often and it was a most the day trip)
  2. All the other lakes we visited were on Horseback, they were all day long rides. i could not imagine making those trips in ONE day on foot, although we passed quite a few people whom have hiked up, spent the night, and hiked out the next day.
  3. Decker Flatts is really easy to Miss, passing red fish lodge turn off headed south keep going 12.8 miles till you see a creek crossing bridge called "4th of July creek", take you next left, cross the one lane bridge, follow the road to the left, your next left will enter the different camp sites available

The Sawtooth Mountain camping areas are designed for self-sufficient camping. the USFS campgrounds do not offer trailer hookups for water, sewer, or power. Because of heavy winter snows, most area campgrounds are open only from mid-May through Labor Day. The area you'll find Decker Flatts will amaze you when you see that the terrain flattens and broad meadows push back the forests. This sprawling preserve encompasses four mountain ranges, several large lakes which i have only explored a few. It's the sort of place that begs you to unplug your phone chargers let them die, lock the car, and put some ground under your feet, maybe even get knee deep in the crisp cool water of the river nearby.

Natural Features:

Dispersed campsites are stung along the flat river side, find yourself between pine and spruce trees that tower in stark contrast over the surrounding sprawling meadows. Although, this area is inaccessible during the winter months the meadows are wide and utilized by local ranchers to rise cattle.

Visitors may want to keep their eyes out for elk, deer, coyotes, and hawks as you take in the surroundings. Bobcats, mountain lions, and bear do live in the park, however they are rarely seen near humans.

Recreation:

Hikers, fisherman, photographers, mountain bikers and the average nature junkies flock to the Sawtooth Mountain range for the variety of available activities of the park.

Ranger Review—Matador Pocket Blanket

Felt like absolute royalty at this backcountry campsite i the Sawtooth Mountains! Backpackers looking for the money spot, this is your jam. One must be willing to hike 9 miles to get this spot. It it is absolutely worth it, views across Middle Cramer Lake and the waterfall flowing down from upper Cramer lake. Tent sites a plenty, trees galore for hammocking, a fire pit in place and some downed logs to make seats for everyone to kick back and take a load off after the long hike.

Take the shuttle across Redfish Lake for $18 RT per person or it’ll be 11 miles!

Brought along my new Matador Pocket Blanket and let me tell you, I doubt I will ever backpack without it. Such a tiny little package that upped my backpacking game SO much. I set my blanket up right outside my tent and found myself sitting there a ton during my trip. I used it to keep my gear clean (instead of everything sitting in the dirt), for standing on while changing, and I sat there and drank my morning coffee while taking in the beautiful views. When it was time to break camp, I laid out all my gear on the blanket which made repacking my bag so much easier than normal. The Matador pocket blanket has earned a spot in one of my front pockets on my pack so I can easily access it at any time! In fact, this little pocket blanket is going to stay in my truck in the camping “off season” (is there such a thing???) because it is so useful.

www.matadorup.com. Put Yourself Out There

Great views!

This is a first come first served campground. We had a reservation at another campground and when it was up, we scrambled down to sockeye around 9/9:30 in the morning (late enough that some folks who were leaving had packed up and left) and we didn’t have trouble snagging a spot.

Gorgeous view!

Reserve early, but it’s worth it! Our site had an amazing view and great host.

Just north of Stanley

Located on the banks of the salmon river beautiful spot just outside of town. Several sites located right on the river. Water available in the campground, firewood from the camp hosts, and clean bathrooms.

Primitive hot springs with amazing views

This is located between Salmon and Challis in Idaho. The turnoff is near mile marker 282 on highway 93 near Elk Bend, Idaho (unincorporated). There is a short dirt road (heading east) with a trailhead and parking area at the end. You are not allowed to camp in the parking area. There is a pit toilet here. The beginning of the hike is on private land and consists of switchbacks. Once the trail levels out, you go through the fence and you're on public land. The first camping spot is not much further just across the bridge. There are several other campsites and one more pit toilet all within about 1 mile from the trailhead. Once you cross the second bridge there aren't any more campsites left and it's a little over a half mile up to the hot springs. This is a fairly popular area.

Beautiful hiking and lake

Bring a swimsuit and hiking shoes

Quiet solitude with views

Dispersed camping in the Boise National Forest is top notch camping, for free. There are easy and well maintained roads to access the forest and camping, and in this campground, there were excellent stone fire rings. Several were already loaded with a free batch of locally felled firewood!

excellent camping experience

Short drive off the highway but no highway noise. Found a beautiful FCFS spot the first weekend in August. You have nice white noise from the creek and there's nice shade. The outhouse and camp site was very clean, and the camp host very friendly. It's a quarter mile hike to the hot springs. There's a stocked fishing pond 6 miles down the highway.

Secluded mountains with small lake for fishing and recreation!

Campground was clean and well maintained! Isolated with fantastic views! Many hiking trails make for an adventurous day. Lake is close by for recreation with canoes, kayaks, canoes and swimming. If you search, you may find rope swings in trees! The area is secluded and not crowded which makes for quiet and restful evenings. The stars are absolutely amazing! If you are a stargazer, this is the place!

Beautiful place for campers of all kinds

Great places to hike, kayak, swim, or go boating. After 6pm motorized boats are not allowed on the water. It has cabins as well as tent sites. Not very secluded, to many people for my liking so if you dont want neighbors try another place. It does haave a little store which is nice.

Stanley Lake

Stanley Lake is a beautiful and amazing place..Campsite are close to lake.our site was listed as double but it was qyute bug enough fir 2 trailers sude by side..However we made it work by angling them.Great scenery!

Clean

Bring bug spray and fire wood. Besides that it is a good spot to camp. The creek isn’t to far away to dip your toes in to cool off.

Stan-the-man-ley

Truly anywhere in the Sawtooth Wilderness you're going to be comfortable and happy. Gorgeous place with lots of nature to behold. Enjoy it!

First to Review
Great spot!

We were here in the summer of 2017. we originally got flooded out of our original spot, but were able to get another spot in the same campground. it was a walk up site. however, it was beautiful! it was a short walk down to Redfish Lake. The scenery is amazing. We would definitely return!

Shh... the riverside sites are perfect settings to jump in!

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.

A welcoming place with a view of the river

As I drove in to the campground a woman flagged me down. After a hello, she pointed out the sites with shade. ‘Take a look at site 5.’ Some of the sites have more sun and some have more room. It’s a small campground so drive around the loop. Vault toilets are clean and there is a water pump

This campground is right along a river that is popular with rafters and fishers. We also took a drive to see the Custer Museum. It’s quite a few miles down a gravel road - take your time and enjoy the scenery. You also pass the drudging museum. Stop in to find out what that means. This is a nice campground in the east of the Sawtooth Mountain area.

Quiet and Peaceful

We have been here a handful of times and are going back in a few weeks. Campground is pretty quiet with limited sites and 1 vault toilet centrally located (doesn't smell the best all the times we have been been there). There is also 2 toilets at the trailhead a short walk away. Campsites are pretty private for the most part. Ample room also. The trail is used by a good amount of people as you can access Alpine, Sawtooth, Stanley Lakes a long with other side trails that lead to lakes and points of interest. People on the trail are friendly as are the town folk. The town of Stanley has about all you could need for supplies. There are mosquitos…..with the late snow melt the area and some of the sites stay pretty moist with it right next to the creek. Still a nice pretty place to go for a few days. It is on a first come first serve basis.

Scenery overload!

This campground has scenic beauty all around it. If you like taking pictures of dramatic mountain peaks reflected in a lake, or fields of colorful wildflowers amongst the boulders,you will find plenty of opportunity here. Despite the fact that we were there over the 4th of July, the only busy place was at Redfish Lake. Many people walked down to the lake to fish or to paddle on inflatables, and a few braved the cold lake temperature to swim. We had the trails to ourselves, and the campground itself was reasonably quiet and never filled to capacity while we were there midweek. The campsites are large, with paved and relatively level driveways for campers and RVs, and flat cleared areas to set up a tent. Bathrooms are clean, with flush toilets. No showers here, but they are available within the Redfish Lake area. The drinking water was cool and tasty. Firewood is available for purchase, and the campground host, Wally, was very friendly and helpful.