10 Best Places to Camp in Idaho

Camping in Idaho

The Idaho landscape is perfect for camping. Rugged mountains, towering trees and seemingly endless river valleys create ideal conditions for outdoor activities. Whether you need to hike up the side of a mountain, fish your heart out or simply want to relax under the stars away from civilization, there’s an Idaho campground that’s sure to meet your needs. The following are the 10 best places to camp in Idaho, which includes both primitive and developed campsites.

10 Best Campgrounds in Idaho

1. Anderson Ranch Reservoir

This reservoir is located on the Fairfield Bench of the Sawtooth National Forest about seven miles northwest of Fairfield. The reservoir covers an area of 2,000 acres while surrounded by mountain forests that offer a variety of trail systems. Elevation at the reservoir site is 5,300 feet above sea level and offers camping from May through October. Tent sites at Anderson Ranch Reservoir rage from $16 to $21 per site while RV sites range from $24 to $30.

2. Bear Lake

Located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, this lake covers an area of 191 square miles with 130 miles of shoreline along three mountain ranges: the Bear, the Nebo and the Pahvant. The lake is located about 30 miles south of Nephi, Utah with access from I-15. Several developed Forest Service campgrounds are available around the lake. Tent sites at Bear Lake range from $10 to $22 while RV sites range from $15 to 30.

3. Bruneau Dunes State Park

This state park is located on the western side of the Snake River Plain, about four miles southwest of Mountain Home, Idaho off US-20 at Bruneau. The 400-acre day-use park features North America’s largest free-standing sand dunes, which are up to 700 feet tall. Park also offers a variety of desert vegetation species, which include black greasewood, four-winged saltbush, shadscale and winterfat. A campground with 58 sites that can accommodate any size RV is open from the end of April through mid-November. Tent sites are available from $12 to $20 while RV sites range from $15 to $26.

4. Caribou-Targhee National Forest

Camp at one of the many developed campgrounds in this 2.3 million acre national forest that stretches from Wyoming to Idaho. Some of the most popular spots include Cavendish, Island Park, Lost Creek and Two Top Mountain campgrounds. The forest serves as a popular camping destination for visitors from around the world with activities such as hiking, horseback riding, fishing and cross-country skiing. Camping fees at this national forest range from $5 to $20 per night.

5. City of Rocks National Reserve

Primitive camping is available at the City of Rocks National Reserve, a favorite among rock climbers. An additional fee is required to gain access to this site. The reserve is open from May through September and offers hiking trails as well as fly fishing opportunities. There are 29 sites that can accommodate any size RV from $10 to $15 per site. The highest campground is about 10,000 feet above sea level and offers sweeping views of the surrounding area.

6. Cooper Creek

This site, located at the junction of the Caribou Mountains and the Lost River Range in Sawtooth National Forest, is an ideal place to camp if you like fishing. The creek offers some of the best fly fishing in Idaho. One downside to this campsite is that it only has one outhouse for every 10 people. Camping fees range from $6 to $16 per night.

7. Dworshak State Park

Located on the north end of the Snake River Canyon, this park offers a variety of camping amenities from RV hookups to primitive tent sites. Camping is available from April through October and includes activities such as hiking, fishing and biking. The park’s visitor center allows for a close look at the area’s wildlife. Primitive campsites range from $10 to 26 while RV sites range from $16 to $30.

8. Gold Fork Hot Springs

Located in Salmon-Challis National Forest, this camp is a popular destination for bathers. These hot springs offer a variety of pools with temperatures ranging from 102° to 106° Fahrenheit. There are no developed restroom facilities available and the nearest gas station is a 50 mile drive from the site. Camping is available from May through September and camping fees range from $5 to $10 per person.

9. Henry’s Lake

This lake, located in Caribou-Targhee National Forest and Shoshone National Forest, offers fishing and boating opportunities as well as trails perfect for hiking and biking. The area is known for its bird watching; some of the more popular birds to spot include white pelicans, bald eagles and osprey. Camping is available from May through Labor Day and can cost up to $20 a night.

10. Palisades Reservoir

Located along the west side of the Teton Mountains in Caribou-Targhee National Forest, this reservoir is surrounded by dense conifer forests. The campsite offers easy access to hiking trails as well as fishing opportunities for rainbow trout, northern pike, perch and whitefish. Camping is available from May through September and camping fees range from $12 to $16 per night.

The 10 best places to camp in Idaho offer something for everyone, whether you want to go fishing, hunting or just hiking around the great outdoors. With so many beautiful campsites, there’s no question that this state is one of the best places to camp in America.

Eddie Foster

I love camping. I've camped in all 50 states and on six continents. One of my more unique camping experiences came in Tibet, where I joined a yak caravan and slept under the stars with no tent (and some really "large" yaks).

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