Ask Zimo: Trinity campgrounds will open in mid-July despite fire

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.comMay 9, 2013 

Q: I was planning my first camping trip up to the Trinity Lakes last year, and then the fires happened.

Any word on how bad the damage was and if it's worth making the trip up this year.

ALAN S., email

A: The campgrounds at Trinity Lakes Recreation Area north of Anderson Ranch Reservoir are still unburned, but you're going to see evidence of fire.

The fire reached the areas around the campgrounds and the Trinity Guard Station, but didn't damage them, so the area will open at its normal time of July 15, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The campgrounds will open after the federal agency makes safety checks and repairs.

The area is at 7,700 to 9,000 feet elevation and never opens until mid-July. There also is a road closure in the area until that date.

Getting back to the fire. It burned a little around Big Trinity Campground. Little Trinity Campground was hit the hardest. As the result of the fire, all the trees around the Trinity rental cabin had to be cut down, so the cabin is sitting on a open hillside.

Last summer the 123,000-acre Trinity Ridge Fire burned a lot of country north of Mountain Home. If you go up in the fire area this summer, you'll definitely get a lesson in fire ecology.

The Forest Service says there are places that are totally green and others totally black.

You'll still find hiking, fishing and camping up there, but you'll also see a blackened landscape.

The Trinity Lakes area is popular in summer because it is one of the few places in Idaho where you can drive up close to alpine lakes. I suspect it will still be popular this summer. Go to and search for Big Trinity Lake.


Q: On the front of the motor vehicle-use map for the Boise National Forest's Cascade Ranger District there is a picture of what looks to be a ladder going up to some rocks.

There is no mention on the map where the photo was taken.

Can you find out where this place is? We are always looking for fun rides on the four-wheelers.

JANE D.,email

A: I checked with the Forest Service and it sounds like an interesting place. I have to go there.

The image on the 2013 Cascade Motor Vehicle-Use Map was given to the federal agency by a member of the Treasure Valley Trail Machine Association.

It is Gold Fork Rock. The Forest Service said it is located 2.68 miles up the Needles Route Trail No. 115.

The trail does allow for ATVs (not greater than 50 inches ) for the first 1.94 miles.

After that, it's another .74 miles on single-track (motorcycle only) trail.

Go to and search for Needles Route Trail.

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors

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