12 Best Campsites in Idaho

There are no shortages of beautiful places you can go camping in Idaho. There is an RV site, a park, and somewhere you can put up a tent. From campsites that are found on mountain peaks to amazing lakeside spots. There is no greater way to discover the natural scenes of the state than to go camping.

Whether you choose primitive camping or you go driving an RV, Idaho has something for you. Camping in the many different national forests is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Several of the campgrounds in the area are operated by the U.S Forest Service. Most of these places have potable water, vault toilets, while others allow advanced reservations. 

What’s more, the state is a popular spot for dispersed camping also known as primitive camping where you camp outside the designated campground. Generally, campers will find distributed camping sites on pull-offs that are found from Forest Service Roads. 

Primitive parking is free; however, you will not get amenities like trash collection and potable water. You have to carry everything as you visit the park and you clean it on your way out. There are excellent state campgrounds in the area that feature all the modern amenities including showers and flushing toilets. Some adventures in the state parks include wildlife sighting, deep-lake diving, and walking through the large sand dunes. Most of the parks in the area allow you to book six months in advance. Here are some of the best camping sites in Idaho.

1. Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Sawtooth National Recreation Area - The Trust for Public Land
© The Trust for Public Land

This is one of the largest recreational areas in Idaho with over 750,000 acres of mountain terrain in Idaho. There are many campsites in the area that include both primitive and designated camps. The most famous highways in the area is the Sawtooth Scenic Byway also known as Highway 75. The sites are ideal and accommodate both RV camping and tents. The best time to visit the area is during summer. 

The most famous place in the area is Redfish Lake which is the largest in Sawtooth and there are very few places that can rival the stunning views of Sawtooth Ranges. The Glacier View in Redfish Lake has over 60 campsites. The facility allows reservations and you can book several weeks in advance. Other campgrounds found at Redfish include Outlet campground and Point Campground. Additionally, there are the Sockeye and Heyburn campgrounds that operate on a first come first serve basis. Once you visit the area you will enjoy some of the best hiking trails in Idaho.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area - Hipcamp
© Hipcamp

Stanley Lake, Alturas Lake, and the Salmon River Campground are other popular campgrounds. You need to do advance planning to secure a place at Sawtooth National Recreation Area. One important thing to note is that the entire summer will be booked by March.

The primitive camps in the area are easily accessible through dirt roads. These camps do not have many amenities and you have to carry your own water. 

2. Snake River RV Park

Snake River RV Park - The Dyrt
© The Dyrt

Snake Park River Park is one nice place where you will get to explore everything that Idaho has to offer. Nearby you will enjoy the spectacular Idaho Falls, Tuatphaus Park zoo, Yellowstone National Pak, and craters of the Moon National Monument. The Park has a pool, a pet area, and a playground for kids. Amenities in the park include showers and laundry facilities. 

3. Lava Flow Campground

Lava Flow Campground - Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
© Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve Flickr

Lava Flow Campground has a volcanic history that occurred hundreds of years ago. Today it is among the best national parks in the state. It is a nice place to enjoy the outdoors as you camp and hike. Lava Flow Campground found at Craters of the Moon is among the unique places that you can hike in the area. The place has relatively young lava flow and there are flat spots found among molten basaltic rock. 

The campsites in this popular site accommodate small trailers and tents. There are many hiking trails that make your stay at the grounds unforgettable. All the campsites operate on a first come first serve basis. The place is usually overcrowded during summer and if you wish you want privacy you should consider staying at the place at another appropriate time. The restroom of the facility is at the center of the campground and has several potable water spigots. 

The place experiences heavy winds mostly in the afternoons and this makes it essential to attach your tent firmly to the ground to avoid it being blown away. Every weekend there are presentations that take place at the amphitheatre. Other recreational activities include a walk on the seven-mile Loop Road that acts as the main connection point between all the main caving and hiking at the Craters of the Moon.

4. Village of Trees RV Resort

Village of Trees RV Resort - Rainbow RV
© Rainbow RV

 There are many activities that will keep you occupied when you visit the Village of Trees RV Resort. The facility has a fishing pond that offers catch and release fishing every weekend. Moreover, there are river activities, a swimming pool, and a camp store. A short drive away you will find the Craters of the Moon Monument a place where you will get the opportunity to admire the volcanic landscape.

5. Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes State Park - The Manual
© The Manual

Bruneau Dunes State Park is found 60 miles southeast of the capital. It is among the most popular site in Boise. Proximity is not the only thing that makes the park popular as it also has the tallest sand dune in North America. The place is great for photography, fun to climb, and sled down. 

There are two large campgrounds that accommodate RVs and big tents. One popular ground the Broken Wheel Campground has over 50 campsites that are split between those that have electricity and those that do not. The sites are well built and have wind shelters and shade that surround a picnic table. If you go further down the road, you will find the Eagle Cove Campground that has additional campsites that have all the necessary accommodations. 

Bruneau Dunes State Park - Visit Idaho
© Visit Idaho

Both Eagle Cove Campground and Broken Wheel Campground have flushing toilets and shower houses. Moreover, both of them are a short distance where you can easily walk. The dunes are also a short driving distance and most of the tourists spend countless hours in the dunes. Whether you want to fish for the bluegill in the ponds or navigate through the sandy landscape you are guaranteed great enjoyment.

The Bruneau Dunes Observatory that is near the Dunes is open to members of the public every weekend. Once you are at the observatory you will catch a glimpse of the Milky Way and the starry night sky that hover over the state OF Idaho. 

6. Wagonhammer RV Park

Wagonhammer RV Park - Find RV Parks
© Find RV Parks

Wagonhammer is found on the banks of Salmon’s River. The RV Park is pet friendly and you can tag your dog along. While you are at this park you will get to know about the local culture and history. You can visit the Lewis and Clark museum which is a few kilometers away.

Moreover, the Sacajawea Educational center will keep you and your friends fully occupied. The area has tent sites, RV sites and teepees.

7. Farragut State Park

Farragut State Park - Great Runs
© Great Runs

Farragut State Park is found on the Southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille. It is one of the most popular fishing spots in Idaho and locals consider it a camping Mecca. The park is large and has 200 campsites that are spread throughout several campgrounds. Farragut State park allows RV camping and you can also bring large tents to camp with your family and friends. 

The scenery of the area makes the place popular and is always overcrowded especially during the summer months.  Activities at the Lake include boating, fishing, and diving. Moreover, there are those that participate in shoreline trails. Starting from the lake, there are over 40 miles of multi-use trails that run throughout the park. 

The trails are a popular spot for equestrians, bikers, and hikers. Farragut State Park is a popular spot for golfers as it has five courses with a singular parking lot. The good thing with Farragut is that all the parks are near each other. Every campground has a place where you can bring along your RV and set up your tents. What’s more, each of the campgrounds has flushing toilets and shower houses.

You can make reservations at least six months before you visit and it is ideal for a weekend vacation. Farragut allows for equestrian, group campgrounds, and cabins. 

8. Canyon Pines RV Resort

Canyon Pines RV Resort - Cruise America
© Cruise America

The Canyon RV Resort is located a few kilometers from Little Salmon River, and tourists refer to it as the whitewater capital of Idaho. It has many on-site activities, clean facilities, and many amazing locations that you get to explore.

Canyon Pines RV Resort - Canyon Pines RV Resort
© Canyon Pines RV Resort

The resort has over 50 RV sites with electric hook-ups and water. What’s more, every site has a laundry room, showers, restrooms, and a recreation room. 

9. Kirkham, Bonneville, Pine Flats Campgrounds, Boise National Forest

Boise National Forest - PeakVisor
© PeakVisor

If you are one that enjoys soaking as you camping then Boise National Forest is the place to be. The forest has several hot springs that are sure to make your stay more enticing. The good thing is that most of the soaking spots have campgrounds that are nearby. 

Some of the hot springs are on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway also known as Highway 21. The road connects Stanley and Boise. The route is amazing and worth a drive-through. There are other alternative routes including Highway 55 that passes through Horseshoe Bend. 

One area popular with tourists is the Kirkham Hot Springs that has a campground with 16 sites. East of Stanley the Bonneville Campground connects to the hot springs through a hiking trail. Moreover, the Pine Flats Hot Springs and Pine Flats Campground found in Garden Valley are always full of hot spring enthusiasts. 

All the hot spring campgrounds have sites for RVs and tents. Potable water and vault toilets are available for campers and those that visit the camp during the day. Kirkham allows for reservations and you can book a spot before the summer season kicks in. 

10. Glacier View Campground

Glacier View Campground - Mapio.net
© Mapio.net

The Glacier View Campground is near Redfish Lake and it will accept all reservations made three months prior to visiting the park. Once you are at the campground you will get unlimited access to the trail system that goes through the forest. You will get an opportunity to ride on horseback, hike up the nearby hills, kayak, canoe, or fish in the nearby lake. 

11. Ponderosa State Park

Ponderosa State Park - Outdoor Project
© Outdoor Project

Ponderosa State Park is on a peninsula just outside Payette Lake in McCall. The natural environments in this area include a forest, wetlands, and shorelines. The place is full of spectacles and is a wonderful place for wildlife viewing. Additionally, Ponderosa is a great place for camping and has four different overnight areas found within the park. 

Peninsula Campground is the largest in the area and is found near the entrance of the Lake. The area has over 110 sites that can accommodate RVs and large tents. Additionally, there is an RV campground near the park’s entrance and it has another 50 sites. 

Towards the north of the Park, there is the Northwest Passage Campground which has been the place to go for tent campers. Northwest Campground is a primitive site that has 22 first come first serve sites that will give you the solitude you need. Hot showers, vault toilets, potable water, and picnic tables are available on site. The Park has five deluxe lakeside cabins that are fully furnished, well-stocked and has beddings. The only thing that you will carry along is the food you want to cook and eat. The largest cabin in this park can accommodate up to eight people. 

12. Elk Creek Campground

Elk Creek Campground - Hipcamp
© Hipcamp

Elk Creek Campground is found at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains in Elk Creek. It is a beautiful site that has three sites that operate on a first come first serve basis. It is among the best places for bird watching in Idaho; there is also an abundance of wildlife, hiking trails, and a nice tent where you go back at night and relax.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that you will have an unforgettable time camping in the Northern state of Idaho. You will get an opportunity to polish up your fishing skills and many miles of trails for cycling and hiking. No matter what you are looking for Idaho is ready for you.

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