Boise National Forest, Idaho Camping & Hiking

Boise National Forest Image Gallery

Boise National Forest

The Boise National Forest is a land of steep mountains, fast rivers and dense forests making it a recreation destination any season of the year. From biking and hiking through lush green mountains and rolling arid landscapes, to snowboarding in cooler months and swimming or kayaking in the warmer ones, the Boise National Forest is the recreational choice for over 1.5 million outdoor enthusiasts every year.

Activities

BIKING, BOATING, CAMPING, FISHING, HIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING, HUNTING, OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLE, PICNICKING, WINTER SPORTS, WILDLIFE VIEWING, FIRE LOOKOUTS/CABINS OVERNIGHT, SWIMMING

Boise National Forest Camping Reservations

Reserve your campsite at these Boise National Forest camping areas:


1. AMANITA >> Camping Area

Amanita Campground is located next to scenic Lake Cascade in west-central Idaho. It is near the town of Donnelly, at an elevation of 4,850 feet. Boating, fishing, swimming and hiking are popular activities in this scenic region. Lake Cascade offers excellent opportunities for boating, water skiing, canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. Anglers enjoy casting for rainbow trout, coho salmon, smallmouth bass and perch. A boat ramp is located at the neighboring Rainbow Point Campground. Many hiking and ATV trails are in the area as well.


2. ANTELOPE >> Camping Area

Antelope Campground is located on the shores of the scenic Sagehen Reservoir in the Boise National Forest, perched at an elevation of 5031 feet. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing and exploring the non-motorized Sagehen Reservoir Trail. The campground is situated in a forest of towering Ponderosa pine, Engelmann spruce, Douglas fir and grand fir. Most sites have plentiful shade and some have partial lake views. Summer temperatures range from 80-90 degrees during the day with crisp, cool nights.

A variety of berries and mushrooms can be found throughout the area. Local wildlife includes deer, elk, black bear, goshawk, woodpeckers and boreal owls.

Reservation


3. BAD BEAR CAMPGROUND >> Camping Area

Bad Bear Campground is located 48 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, in a scenic Ponderosa pine forest along Highway 21 at an elevation of 5,100 feet. Wildlife and summer wildflowers are abundant. Historic Idaho City is just 11 miles south. Mores Creek runs adjacent to the site, offering whitefish and rainbow trout fishing. Highway 21, also known as the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, snakes along Mores Creek to Mores Creek Summit, Gold Fork, and Banner Ridge with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forest.


4. BEAVER CREEK CABIN (ID) >> Camping Area

The Beaver Creek Cabin site was established for administrative use in 1912. The current dwelling was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps using standard blueprints for that time.

Beaver Creek Cabin is open year-round. It’s accessible by car in the summer months and by snowshoes or cross-country skis in winter. Guests arriving in winter should park at the Whoop-Um-Up Park N’ Ski Area (permit required) and access the 1.5 mile Pilgrim Trail to reach the cabin. The trail is moderately difficult in normal conditions, and guests are responsible for their own safety.

The cabin offers many creature comforts for an enjoyable stay. However, several of the amenities are only available seasonally. Guests should be prepared to bring certain supplies or gear according to the season.


5. BIG TRINITY CABIN >> Camping Area

Big Trinity Cabin offers a quiet retreat in a beautiful high alpine landscape. The cabin is situated within a popular summer recreation area with many activities to enjoy. The cabin has a limited season due to late snow melt, but is accessible by vehicles with reasonable ground clearance. Many creature comforts are provided; however, guests may want to bring some supplies and gear to make their experience more comfortable and enjoyable.


6. BLACK ROCK >> Camping Area

Black Rock Campground is located 20 miles from Idaho City, on the North Fork Boise River, at an elevation of 4,300 feet. Visitors enjoy fishing, swimming and exploring local trails. The campground sits on the banks of the North Fork Boise River, where ponderosa pines tower over the area. Most campsites have partial shade, but little privacy from other campers. A variety of wildlife makes its home around the campground.


7. BOILING SPRINGS CABIN >> Camping Area

Boiling Springs Cabin is a popular destination for those who enjoy soaking in mineral hot springs that are adjacent to the cabin. Other hot springs are within the vicinity as well. Guests who stay here also have a variety of other recreational activities to enjoy, such as fishing, hiking, and off-road motor vehicle riding.

The cabin was renovated in 2012 and offers many conveniences, but guests should bring some supplies and equipment to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

The cabin is accessible by car in warmer months and by snowmobile in winter. Guests arriving in snowy conditions should be prepared to snowmobile 11 miles to the cabin from the Middle Fork snowmobile parking lot.  


8. BONNEVILLE >> Camping Area

Bonneville Campground is 19 miles east of Lowman, Idaho just off Highway 21 at an elevation of 4,700 feet. Warm Springs Creek runs alongside the campground and the South Fork Payette River lies across the highway. Visitors enjoy soaking at Bonneville Hot Springs a short distance above the campground, and fishing in the creek and river.


9. BULL TROUT >> Camping Area

Bull Trout Campground is located on the shores of beautiful Bull Trout Lake at an elevation of 6,900 feet. The lake offers great fishing and canoeing opportunities. Many trails for hiking, biking, horseback and off-road vehicle riding are in the area.


10. COLD SPRINGS CAMPGROUND – BOISE NF >> Camping Area

Cold Springs Campground is one of four campgrounds along Idaho’s State Highway 55, next to the North Fork of the Payette River. This area is a popular location for river rafting trips and camping. This campground rests at 3,878 feet.


11. DEADWOOD LOOKOUT REC CABIN >> Camping Area

Deadwood Lookout Recreation Cabin is a historic Forest Service fire lookout on Deadwood Mountain. The structure provides sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding forest, making this a unique place to overnight.

At least two other lookouts have existed previously on Deadwood Mountain, but the current one was built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was actively used as a fire lookout until 1972. It has since become one of the most popular rental cabins in Idaho.

The peak season is late June through mid-October. Guests can drive to the cabin, but high clearance vehicles are recommended for the dirt access road because it is narrow, steep and winding.

The cabin offers only a few basic amenities. Guests should be prepared to bring most of what they need to make themselves comfortable, but the views of the mountains by day and the stars at night guarantee a memorable and rewarding experience.
 


12. DOG CREEK (ID) >> Camping Area

Dog Creek Campground is located on the banks of Dog Creek, at the foot of the Trinity Mountain Range. It is four miles from the town of Pine, in south-central Idaho. Visitors enjoy fishing, swimming and exploring local trails.


13. EASTSIDE >> Camping Area

Eastside Campground is located on the shores of scenic Sagehen Reservoir at an elevation of 4,956 feet. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing and exploring the non-motorized Sagehen Reservoir Trail.


14. EDNA CREEK CAMPGROUND >> Camping Area

Edna Campground is located 56 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, in a scenic Ponderosa pine forest along Highway 21 at an elevation of 5,700 feet. Wildlife and summer wildflowers are abundant. Historic Idaho City is just 11 miles south. Crooked River runs near the site, offering whitefish and rainbow trout fishing.

This campground contains 9 site that can accommodate up to 6 people each. Picnic tables, a BBQ grill, and fire ring with benches are provided. The site is in an open area with shade. Vault toilets and garbage service are provided. Parking spurs are graveled. Due to its proximity to the highway, some noise from passing traffic is to be expected.


15. ELKS FLAT CAMPGROUND >> Camping Area

Elks Flat Campground is situated on the banks of the South Fork Boise River, at the foot of the Trinity Mountain Range in Idaho. It is five miles north of the town of Pine. Visitors enjoy fishing, swimming and exploring trails in the surrounding area. The South Fork Boise River runs along the eastern edge of the campground, offering rafting, swimming and fishing for rainbow trout. Paradise Hot Springs is nearby.

Green Creek Trail 270, a 4.5-mile trail for hiking, horseback riding and dirt bikes, begins a mile from the site. Cross Cut Trail 172 also begins close by and is open to hiking, biking, horseback riding and off-road vehicles.


16. FRENCH CREEK >> Camping Area

French Creek Campground is located next to scenic Lake Cascade in west-central Idaho. It is near the town of Donnelly, at an elevation of 4,850 feet. Boating, fishing, swimming and hiking are popular activities in this scenic region.


17. GRAYBACK >> Camping Area

Grayback Campground is located 36 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, just off scenic Highway 21. Historic Idaho City is just two miles north of the campground. Visitors enjoy fishing in Mores Creek and exploring the Grayback Gulch Trail.


18. HAYFORK GROUP CG >> Camping Area

Hayfork Group Campground is located 49 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, along scenic Highway 21. Historic Idaho City is just 12 miles south of the campground. Visitors enjoy fishing in Mores Creek and exploring local trails.


19. HOT SPRINGS >> Camping Area

Hot Springs Campground is located just east of Garden Valley, Idaho along the Banks-Lowman Highway at an elevation of 3169 feet.
Visitors enjoy rafting, kayaking, fishing on the South Fork Payette River, and soaking in the hot springs at the river’s edge.


20. JOHNSON CREEK GUARD STATION >> Camping Area

Johnson Creek Guard Station was built in 1922 and offers a charming mountain respite with modern conveniences. The cabin offers nearly everything needed for a pleasant and comfortable stay.

Peak season for the cabin is typically early June through late September. It can be accessed by most vehicles via dirt and gravel roads, but trailers are not recommended.


21. KIRKHAM >> Camping Area

Kirkham Campground is located next to the South Fork Payette River just east of Lowman, Idaho, along Highway 21 at an elevation of 4,000 feet. Visitors enjoy soaking in popular Kirkham Hot Springs on the banks of the river and exploring the scenic Kirkham Ridge Trail.


22. PEACE VALLEY CAMPGROUND >> Camping Area

Peace Valley Campground sits just 27 miles north of Garden Valley, Idaho, at an elevation of 4591 feet. The beautiful Peace Valley offers excellent hiking, motorcycle riding, fishing, and hunting opportunities. The surrounding area consists of high, forested mountains, and steep valleys. The campground lies close to an experimental forest and a fire lookout.

A variety of wildlife makes its home in and around Peace Valley, including deer, elk, bald eagles, and red-tailed hawks.


23. PICNIC POINT (ID) >> Camping Area

Picnic Point Campground is located on a bluff overlooking beautiful Warm Lake, at an elevation of 5,300 feet. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and viewing local wildlife.


24. PINE FLATS (ID) >> Camping Area

Pine Flats Campground is located a few miles west of Lowman, Idaho, along the Banks-Lowman Highway at an elevation of 3,700 feet. Visitors enjoy rafting, kayaking and fishing on the South Fork Payette River, and soaking in the hot springs at the river’s edge.


25. RAINBOW POINT >> Camping Area

Rainbow Point Campground is located next to scenic Lake Cascade in west central Idaho. It is near the town of Donnelly, at an elevation of 4,850 feet. Boating, fishing, swimming and hiking are popular activities in this scenic region.


26. RATTLESNAKE >> Camping Area

Rattlesnake Campground is located 13 miles north of Crouch, Idaho along the Middle Fork Payette River at an elevation of 3621 feet. The Middle Fork drainage offers a variety of excellent trails. Fishing and hunting are popular activities as well.


27. SAGEHEN CREEK >> Camping Area

Sagehen Creek Campground is located on the shores of the scenic Sagehen Reservoir at an elevation of 4997 feet. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, exploring Joe’s Creek Trail, as well as utilizing the non-motorized Sagehen Reservoir Trail.


28. SHAFER BUTTE >> Camping Area

Shafer Butte is located atop the scenic Boise Ridge Mountains, near Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Visitors enjoy hiking and biking on various trails in the surrounding area, and simply relaxing and taking in the area’s beautiful views.


29. SHORELINE >> Camping Area

Shoreline Campground is located just across the road from beautiful Warm Lake, at an elevation of 5,300 feet. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and viewing local wildlife.


30. SILVER CREEK CAMPGROUND >> Camping Area

Silver Creek Campground is located 25 miles north of Garden Valley, Idaho, in beautiful Peace Valley at an elevation of 4,490 feet. Peace Valley offers a variety of great trails. Fishing and hunting are popular activities as well.


31. STOLLE MEADOWS CABIN >> Camping Area

Historic Stolle Meadows Cabin is a single-room dwelling that has been restored to near original condition. it’s located in a beautiful setting near a variety of recreational activities. The cabin is available year-round. The route to the cabin is drivable in warmer months but is only accessible by a 6.5-mile ski or snowmobile trek in the winter. Many conveniences are provided for a comfortable and pleasant experience, but guests may want to bring some additional gear and supplies.


32. SWINGING BRIDGE >> Camping Area

Swinging Bridge Campground is located 10 miles north of Banks, Idaho just off Highway 55 at an elevation of 4,000 feet.

The North Fork Payette River flows next to the highway, where extreme kayaking is a popular activity.


33. THIRD FORK CABIN >> Camping Area

Third Fork Cabin is a former guard station, first established in 1906 as Station 10 and renamed Third Fork in 1908. A cabin was built at that time, which
existed until the site was rebuilt by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. The current cabin’s exterior has changed little since that time, with the exception of a metal roof being added sometime before 1984.
The cabin is available between mid-April until late-October, and is accessible by car. Many modern comforts are provided at the cabin, but guests may need to bring some additional supplies and gear for their stay.


34. WARM LAKE >> Camping Area

Warm Lake Campground is near the eastern shore of beautiful Warm Lake, at an elevation of 5,300 feet. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and viewing local wildlife.

More Idaho Campgrounds

Hiking Trails

Looking for nice hiking areas to take a hike? Choose from these scenic hiking trails:

Idaho Hiking Trails

Hennessey Meadows / Riordan Trailhead

Related Link(s)

More Idaho Recreation Areas

Boise National Forest

Visit the Interagency Visitor Information Center at 1387 S. Vinnell Street, in Boise, Idaho 83709 for information regarding your public lands. The Center is your one stop shop for recreation information, fuelwood permits, Christmas Tree permits, Federal Agency passes, Motor Vehicle Use maps, Forest Service maps, BLM maps and so much more!  Center Hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday “ Friday.  208-373-4007  

BEFORE YOU HEAD TO THE FOREST:  

Check with the Districts for campground opening and closing dates. View the Alerts & Notices webpage for road and area closures. Remember most of the Forest has no cell phone coverage. Look at each district (Areas & Activities – Find An Area) for a listing campgrounds.

FIRE WATCH: 

VIEW AREA CLOSURES DUE TO WILDFIRE ACTIVITY AT ALERTS AND NOTICES PAGE.

INCIWEB-  For  wildland information, photos, updates and maps go to: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov.

RESERVATIONS: 1-877-444-6777

Go to:  www.recreation.gov to make reservations for campgrounds and cabins.  Reminder – check on the website for extra vehicle charges, bring cash or a check, no foreign money accepted.  Follow rules on America Beautiful Passes – Military passes are free DAY USE ONLY – not camping.  (Stated on the back of the card.)

NEW HISTORIC AUTO TOUR:

Download the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway Historic Auto Tour and take our tour from Boise to Stanley and back!

RECREATION HIGHLIGHTS:

SCENIC BYWAYSIf you™re interested in taking the scenic route, three Scenic Byways ramble through portions of the Boise National Forest offering unrivaled natural beauty and multiple recreation opportunities.

CABIN RENTALSRustic cabins and guard stations once used by Boise National Forest Rangers can be rented for overnight visits.  Each offers unparalleled scenic surroundings, numerous outdoor recreation opportunities and abundant wildlife viewing

WATER FUN – Water sports enthusiasts are not hurting for options on the Boise National Forest! With 9,600 miles of rivers and streams, and 15,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, there is a wide variety of locations for swimming, boating and fishing.

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