Idaho Parks and Recreation's yurts in the Idaho City area are catching on - in the summer, that is.
The six yurts, located roughly 25 miles northeast of Idaho City off Idaho 21, are often booked over the winter by cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
But mountain bikers, hikers and families who don't want to camp on the ground are discovering them for the warmer months.
"It is true that the six yurts are occupied less in the summer than in the winter, but last year, every weekend was booked between June and September," said Leo Hennessy, nonmotorized trails program manager with Idaho Parks and Recreation.
Don't lose hope for this summer. Hennessy said there is availability during the June-September season.
Most summer users reserve their yurt in the spring, but you can reserve up to nine months in advance, he said.
HIGH AND COOL
The Idaho City yurts are attractive in the summer because most are on high ridges where you can catch the summer breezes and listen to the whispers of the pines.
In fact, one yurt is named Whispering Pines. The others are Banner Ridge, Elkhorn, Skyline, Rocky Ridge and Stargaze.
The yurts are located along forest roads that make great mountain bike rides, or simple strolls through the woods.
The yurts offer wide-open scenery of the canyon of the South Fork of the Payette River and distance mountain peaks.
The views from the deck of the yurts are also striking.
Camping in yurts, if you want to call it that, is easy. Yurts are spacious and cozy with a futon, bunks, a table and chairs, propane lights, solar LED lights and a propane stove.
All you have to do is bring food, sleeping bags and personal items.
Water for dishwashing and cooking is available in a 55-gallon water barrel. Bring water for drinking, or bring a filter or purifier.
The yurts are located along forest roads that you can traverse with most cars, but you can't park next to them.
Most have a 5-minute walk or so from the parking area and will require hauling gear. You might have to make several trips, so don't overpack.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation's website gives tips on what to bring.
A LITTLE HISTORY
In case you don't know their history, yurts are circular structures with wood lattice frames and fabric coverings patterned after the homes of the nomadic people of Mongolia and Central Asia.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors