October and November will bring rain and snow to Idahos mountains, but the state still has plenty of places for camping. Just bring your long johns.
Campgrounds along the Snake River, from Glenns Ferry to Lewiston, have attracted campers for eons. Native Americans escaped the harsh weather in the mountains for the Snakes mild climate.
Modern campers have it easier. Several campgrounds have electrical hookups for RVs so you can plug in the furnace and be toasty whatever the weather.
One campground, Hells Gate State Park at Lewiston, is popular with steelhead anglers fall, winter and spring.
Here are some suggestions to extend your camping season as long as possible:[0x0b]
What: This Idaho state park is located along the Snake River at the town of Glenns Ferry and is great for fall bird watching and for taking in the Oregon Trail.
Amenities: It has a full-service campground (although water to campsites is shut off in freezing weather), eight cabins, picnic areas, and an Oregon Trail interpretive center.
Fees: Serviced campsites, $22-$38 per night; cabins, $50 per night.
Getting there: Drive about 70 miles southeast of Boise on I-84 and take the Glenns Ferry exit. Follow the signs to the park.
Information: parksandrecreation.idaho.gov. Go to Find a park.
What: This is a 10-acre area at the base of C.J. Strike Dam thats operated by Idaho Power. It is popular for fishing year-around, even in the dead of winter.
Amenities: Restroom with flush toilets, large grass area, group picnic shelter, waterfront walking path, shade trees, RV dump station at the power plant and fishing in the Snake River. Water is centralized, not at each campsite.
Fees: $10 a night; $5 in winter (November-March)
Getting there: It is located between Grand View and Bruneau at the base of C.J. Strike Dam.
What: Its less than 90 minutes from Treasure Valley and makes a good overnighter.
The 400-foot dune makes a great fall or mild winter hike. The kids will love sliding on the dunes and the observatory is fascinating.
Amenities: Showers, water (until freezing), flush toilets, group shelter, dump station, and RV hookups.
Fees: Standard campsites, $16 per night; serviced campsites, $22; cabins, $50; and equestrian campsites, $14.
Getting there: Take Interstate 84 east and Idaho 51 south to the Snake River. Follow the signs to the park.
Information: parksandrecreation.idaho.gov. Go to Find a park.
What: The 12-acre campground is located on the Bruneau Arm on the south-side of the C.J. Strike Reservoir and operated by Idaho Power. It is popular with anglers, hunters and boaters as long as the reservoir doesnt freeze over.
Amenities: Two vault toilets, marina and piers, fishing pier, 40-foot wide boat ramp, boat docks, group shelter and day-use area. Water is available at the park but not to individual campsites. The nearest RV dump station is located at the C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area headquarters.
Fees: $8 a night; $4 during winter (November-March).
Getting there: It is located off Idaho 78 between Grand View and Bruneau.
What: A popular place to fish, hike, watch wildlife, boat (motorized and non-motorized), and have a picnic. The site is on C.J. Strike Reservoir and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Amenities: Its a developed campground with RV sites, restrooms and a boat ramp.
Fees: $12 a night, RV/trailer camping; $5 per night tents.
Getting there: From Grand View, travel southeast on Idaho 78 approximately 15 miles.
Information: Google Cove recreation site BLM.
What: Three acres of grass and trees in an area on the Snake River across the road from Scout Park.
Amenities: RV and tent camping; vault toilet and boat ramp for Snake River. RV dump station is located at the power plant. Anglers and bird watcher use the area.
Fees: $8; $4 during winter (November-March).
Getting there: Located between Grand View and Bruneau at the base of C.J. Strike Reservoir across from Scout Park.
What: North Park occupies 18 acres on the northwest corner on the banks of C.J. Strike Reservoir and is popular for boating and fishing.
Amenities: Tent camping, RV camping; two restrooms with flush toilets, fish-cleaning station, group shelters, boat mooring, two-lane boat ramp. Central water.
Fees: RV area, $10 per night; tent area, $8 ($5 and $4 in winter).
Getting there: Located just off C.J. Strike Dam.
What: This is a very comfortable campground, even in winter. Its on the banks of Brownlee Reservoir with everything from boating to fishing to eagle and bighorn sheep watching.
It is popular among bird and big game hunters.
Amenities: Showers, electrical hookups, water (in winter water is available in the restrooms), picnic area, shoreline walking paths, pay phone and low-water boat ramp.
Fees: $16 per night RVs; $10 for tents. Half price in winter, November-March).
Note: Nearby Copperfield, McCormick and Hells Canyon parks farther down the road are other options.
Getting there: From Cambridge, take Idaho 71 west to Woodhead Park along Brownlee Reservoir. It takes about two and a half to three hours from the Treasure Valley.
What: Its a U.S. Forest Service campground located right in the middle of Hells Canyon, which is open most of the year.
Its a good base camp for hiking, mountain biking or hunting in the canyon.
Amenities: Vault toilets, water (in season), picnic tables, paved camping spurs for small RVs, and trails.
Fees: Fees are $8 for a single-unit campsite. The fee is charged year-round, even in winter when drinking water is not available.
Getting there: The Deer Creek Road from the White Bird area to Pittsburg Landing is reached by driving U.S. 95, 27 miles north of Riggins.
Information: Go to publiclands.org. Select a state; go to the map region between Riggins and Lewiston and click on Pittsburg Landing.
What: An Idaho state park located on the banks for the Snake River upriver from Lewiston. Its popular with boaters and anglers during steelhead seasons.
Amenities: Its close to Lewiston for supplies. The park has large campsites with plenty of shade, the Lewis & Clark Discovery Center and the Jack OConnor Hunting Heritage and Education Center. You can book guided jet boat trips nearby to tour Hells Canyon or hike nearby trails or Greenbelts.
Fees: $22 per night for RV sites; $14 per night for standard sites; $50, cabins.
Getting there: Drive about 4 miles south of Lewiston.
Information: parksandrecreation.idaho.gov. Go to find a park.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445