The best camping near
Salmon-Challis National Forest, IDAHO

131 Reviews 204 Campgrounds
Camping Idaho Salmon-Challis National Forest
Most Recent Salmon-Challis National Forest Camping Reviews
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.

Great Wilderness Access

This is one of the coolest places that I have ever stayed. I stayed here for a couple of nights before venturing into the Frank Church. Although this spot isn't quite in the wilderness, it sure feels like it! Driving up to Yellowjacket and through the abandoned mine sites feels like a step into the past. The "ghost town" looks more like several abandoned mines, but is still so interesting to see. The guard station sits in a little meadow beside a creek in a small canyon. The first night that I stayed here, the loudest thunder that I have ever heard rolled through the area! This is truly a wild, unpredictable, beautiful place.  The guard station is a lovely building. Depending on the time of year, there is available water, as well as water from the creek. There is a fire ring surrounded by stump seating in the field. There is a pit toilet a little ways from the guard station that oddly smells like pipe tobacco. There are also corrals for horses, and it seems like a great place to go riding. There aren't official tent sites, but there is lots of flat, grassy spaces that several tents can be comfortably set up in. I was in this area for about 2 weeks and didn't see anyone I didn't plan to! A refreshing breath of solitude. It is a pretty far trek to drive out, make sure to have directions ready ahead of time. In mid-May, this place was seemed like ground-zero for ticks. Watch out and check often! Other wildlife seen included rattlesnakes and deer, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bigfoot was hanging out here somewhere. This is a really unique place to experience and a great starting point to explore the Frank Church Wilderness and Salmon-Challis National forest. I would absolutely recommend visiting this spot.

Well maintained and beautiful views

Recent renovations and strong maintenance make this a great stop. Easy access to the northern Sawtooths. Great lake views and easy, well maintained road access.

Clearest water

This campground was amazing. Clean vault toilets and clean sites. Camp host was really helpful and sweet. Garbage bins. Lake is crystal clear and gorgeous. Don’t miss this place! Close to lots of great hiking for all levels and experiences.


Five stars on this campground. Only downside we experienced were disrespectful neighboring campers. In the last 5 days we have 3 that run them 7am to 10pm. No quiet time for us at all. Generators are allowed to run here at 6am…

First to Review
Out there....

Lost out on inter 84, looking for a place to stay and came across this place out in the middle of the field. Why Indian Springs? The have a pool that is spring freed. Interesting they charge foe everything…. swimming, picnic table. The facility is well taken care of. The personal are helpful and friendly. They had what appear to be recent upgrades on power. The have several different staging areas, tent camper and pull through trailer sties, (too close) but doable. Great stop over or a couple of days.

Last minute Labor day weekend find

The other reviews really sum up this site. The back sites have easier access to the river while the front are closer to the Hwy.

Clean, large sites!

I want to go back! Loved hearing the coyotes howling. We hiked to upper, middle and lower Elk River Falls, drove up to a red cedar grove with a 3000 year old tree, and ate huckleberry ice cream at the grocery store. $20 per site.

Very nice/clean campground

This was a perfect place to stay before going on our backpacking trip. The camp host Rachel was very nice and helpful. She brought us our firewood and answered all our questions. The sites all had fire rings and picnic tables. The sites were spacious.

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!

Great time

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

Dispersed with vault toilet

If you show up to Redfish Lake on a busy weekend and all of the campgrounds are reserved/full, no worries. There is a bunch of free dispersed camping all along highway 75. A quick stop at the Forest Service Office down the road and I had a pretty good map of the forest roads in the area, but more importantly, a tip about free camping a stone’s throw away from Redfish Lake and Sunny Gulch campground. The road in is a bit rough with ruts and rocks, but there are several established sites with fire rings. There was a loop to the right with about 8 such sites and a loop to the right with about 5 sites as well as one that was hidden behind the site I chose that you had to walk in to(it was actually a nicer site than the one I chose, but I was tired and set up before I saw it on my explorations. There was one vault toilet that was not especially clean, but free is free, and if you really wanted to, you could walk less than a quarter mile across to the developed Sunny Gulch campground. There are no picnic tables or grills or tent pads, but definitely stone fire rings at each site so no worries as long as you brought your own camp chair. If you need a shower, head into Redfish Lake to use the public pay showers there.

Great camping next to the Salmon River

Just down the road from the entrance to Redfish Lake is where you will find this campground on the backs of the Salmon River. I never did really figure out if this is part of the Redfish Lake campground group or not, but I do know I enjoyed camping here and that this campground is owned by the Forest Service. There are two main loops, an upper and lower, and there is no distinction between tent and RV sites as there are no hookups available. The upper loop is closer to the river but doesn’t really have what I could see as great access. I was on the lower loop, which gets more sun as it is further away from the bluffs on the river (and had less trees). I was able to walk from my site to the river fairly easily even though there were no trails and as a result was able to watch rafting groups float on by. The campground was really well maintained and actually looked very new, though the host said it had been around for several years. The vault toilets were very clean and odor free, and it looked like most sites had nice gravel tent pads. Good steel picnic tables and prep tables(I am loving the prep tables the forest service is installing in campgrounds!!) as well firepits and large car/rv pads were really nice too. Showers and laundry are across the road at Redfish Lake along with great trails, horse rentals, and lake activities. Other nearby activities include hot spring sitting and white water rafting.

First to Review
Redfish Lake option

This campground is one of the first ones you come to as you enter Redfish Lake. It is also one of the smallest campgrounds in the park, and it is on its own lake, so it fills fast. I snagged site 13, which was just ok as it wasn’t really on the lake or the creek, but it also wasn’t in the middle of the loop and it wasn’t next to the bathroom (with flush toilets and cold water). It looked like the best sites were #4-6 as they were on the creek coming out of the lake and #7-9 as they were on the lake with lake access. A short walk away was a neat wooden bridge over the creek that lead to a trailhead. If you want a shower, drive up into the park and go to the public service area at the horse corrals for public pay showers. I will warn you that those are the only showers for all of the campgrounds in the park, but they were never busy when I was there. You can bring your own non-motorized boat (kayaks and paddle boards were popular) or you can rent one from the lodge to take for a spin on this pretty little lake. This is a good jumping off point for some great hikes as well.

Busy but beautiful

I got lucky with this campsite. Most of the campground was filled, but this site (#36) had a “see the host” sign on it. Turned out it was only available for that one night, which was perfect for me. Most of the sites had been reserved in advance and I happened to catch it on the one between night. I had amazing views of the glaciers in the Sawtooth Mountains across the lake. The campground is a series of loops, with the best sites in my loop where you have uninterrupted views of the glaciers and mountains. The trade off for the view is that you don’t have any trees on your site, so no shade and no hammock. But the tent pad was nice. The bathrooms are nice and clean, if a bit outdated. When you need a shower you do have to drive to the horse corrals to use the pay showers ($2 for 6 minutes, wait a full minute before getting in unless you like really cold water), but that is a small price to pay. Hiking in the park is amazing! And the only place you will have phone service is at the visitor’s center.

Down on the River

I didn’t camp at this campground but spent a day here on the river. It’s a bit more removed from the road compared to some of the other campgrounds on this road. The river is beautiful, there was a nearby osprey nest with two chicks.

Amazing location

This campground is the only no reservation campground accessible by car on Redfish Lake. It’s great if you are looking to score a campsite without a reservation. It’s a great location on the lake, beautiful view of the sawtooth range and a short walk to the beach. The campsites have flat tent sites, concrete pads for the picnic tables and fire rings and most have trees for some shade. The only down side is the boat and jet ski noise during the day. If you are looking to get away from everything you may want to look at some of the nearby river campgrounds. The bathrooms and campsites were very very clean and the camp hosts were very friendly. If you are looking for a good hike take the ferry from the lodge to the far side of the lake!


Salmon river within walking distance. Clean Would use again

First to Review
Right on the water

Blacktop drive and parking pads with a few pull through sites. You can fish from your camp site. No hookups but water is available. Plenty of space between sites. Fire rings and picnic tables were provided. Firewood was for sale. Bring your bug spray for late afternoon and evening. We needed it in early July.

Quiet and Beautiful

Plenty of paths down to Salmon river level to fish or nap. 

Limited unlocked bathrooms toilet paper in early spring.

Goose poop and ants everywhere around camp sites. 

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.

Beautiful setting

What a beautiful setting on Stanley Lake. Nice sites. A few minutes into the town of Stanley. Good fishing.

Never anywhere else

I will stay here a million times over it’s so beautiful I could live there! I just would want plumbing personally

Quiet, easy camping right on Redfish Lake.

Lovely little campground with many amenities close to Redfish Lake Lodge. Each campsite has a dedicated level pad for tents, a picnic table, a bear box, and fire ring. The sites are a bit open, so privacy can be a bit lacking if that's a concern. This campsite is also walk-in, so you will need to use provided wagons to bring your stuff to your site and park your car in the provided parking lot. There are also bathrooms which had flushing toilets and running water and are well maintained. We loved that Point Campground is within walking distance to Redfish Lake Lodge, which has a bunch of different activities: horseback riding, kayaking, a dog beach, mountain biking, fishing, etc. This campground is great when camping with children, especially with the bathrooms & lack of car traffic on the tent-only side. We will be returning!

Clean, Shaded, and Great for Groups.

Trap Creek Campground was great for our group. There are 3 separate fire rings, each with a picnic table, a clean vault toilet, and an amazing view of the adjacent meadow with the Sawtooths. There was plenty of room for large family tents and plenty of shade to let the kids run around and play. It is RIGHT off the highway, so if noise from traffic isn't your favorite, you'll want to choose another campground. There were also quite a few cars that stopped off the highway to use the toilet. Other than that, it was great for our group of families with dogs and kids.

Sockeye #24

The campsite has a great location between two beaches along Redfish Lake. All of the campsites were in great condition with a picnic table and fire ring. We thought the price of $20/night was a little much as they charge the same amount for tents/campers. We were one of two campers using a tent the two nights we were there. The campground is well maintained and is just a short drive from the lodge and minutes away from hiking trails. The campground is first come first serve and was full both days by 10am when we were there at the beginning of July. Our recommendation is the hike to Bench Lakes (8 mi round trip) which starts at the Redfish TH.

Clean, quiet, convenient

When I couldn’t get into the campgrounds at Stanley lake or Redfish Lake this was the next best option and it worked out well. It was easy to access both of those recreational areas as well as access the services in town. The campground is along the Salmon River so you hear it in the background, which was beautiful. This was a clean and well run campground. The views of the sawtooth peaks were amazing.

Beautiful and Quiet

We stayed here for four nights the weekend prior to July 4th weekend. Our expectations were that it would be full and would be a bit difficult to find a site as it is first come, but we were wrong. When we arrived on Thursday morning the campground was almost completely empty. We easily found a great site that gave a view of Redfish Lake and the long stretch of lodgepoles behind us. Sockeye Campground was below us on the lake but you won’t even know from our site. The vault toilets were clean and maintained. There was a campground host on site who were friendly and provide firewood for $7 a bundle which was significantly better than in town at the Stanley market. There are several trailheads that are an easy walk through woods to find in Sockeye and trails that go around the lake with beautiful views. We will definitely be returning for another long weekend.

First to Review
Nice spot

Nice, fully paved campground with easy access to the lake, swimming beach and rustic lodge. The best part is that you can drive all the way to the campground (from Boise) without leaving pavement. Parking for the beach area (about a mile from the campground) is a bit of a nightmare so carpooling may be necessary.