Fourth of July Recreation and Camping Report

Despite lingering snows in some areas of Central Idaho, a lot more trails, roads and camping areas have opened up for the July Fourth weekend.

I know what you're going to ask. Can I camp in the Trinities north of Mountain Home? No.

The campgrounds still have snow and aren’t expected to open until July 15.

Can I drive the Magruder Road? Yes, but only 13 miles in from the Elk City side. The road is blocked by snow and not expected to open completely for a few weeks.

However, all roads going into popular Deadwood Reservoir are open.

Here’s an outlook by the U.S. Forest Service:

Cascade area    

All campgrounds are expected to be open.

The Snowbank Mountain Road 446 to the FAA radar site on West Mountain is open.

Lick Creek Road to  the South Fork Salmon River and Yellow Pine is open.

Cascade Ranger District, 382-7400.

Lowman area

All campgrounds are open including Bull Trout Lake Campground and Deadwood campgrounds.

The road to Grandjean is open.

The Clear Creek Road 582 is open to Bear Valley and Deadwood areas.

Trails that begin near the South Fork Payette River are open and snow free.

Lowman Ranger  District, 259-3361.

Sagehen, North Fork Payette, Garden Valley areas

All campgrounds are open.

All access roads to Sagehen Reservoir are open. Visitors hauling trailers are advised to take Road 618 through Ola. Road 626 from Smiths Ferry is not recommended.

The Sage Hen and Kyaott ATV trail system are open.

The Boiling Springs Cabin is open. Deadwood Lookout is closed because of snow. It will open once the road is passable.

The Silver Creek/Bull Creek trails are open through Nov. 14 for motorcycle and non-motorized trail users. 

Emmett Ranger District, 365-7000; Garden Valley Guard Station 462-3241.

Pine/Featherville areas

A closure remains in effect for the Elk and Pony Wildfires of 2013:

Dog Creek Area (east of the Pine Featherville Road) is closed.

The Wilson Creek Trail System is closed to mechanized and motorized vehicle use.

The Danskin Mountain OHV Area is closed to mechanized and motorized vehicle use, but open for foot and horse use. 

Be aware of logging activities on roads near the Elk, Pony and Trinity Ridge wildfires. Visitors in burned areas are advised to use caution on roads and trails. There are a lot of trees that were killed by the fires and could fall in a windstorm, and in the event of heavy rain, flash floods could develop quickly.

Shafer Butte Campground near Boise is open.

Campgrounds in the Trinity Lakes Recreation Area are expected to be open by July 15.

Rental cabins at Trinity Lakes Recreation Area will open July 15. Reservations can be made through 

The Featherville to Rocky Bar Road 156) and Phifer Creek Road 156) to the Middle Fork of the Boise River are open.

The Middle Fork Boise River Road 268) is open.

James Creek Road 126 to Atlanta is open.

Mountain Home Ranger District, 587-7961.

Idaho City area

All campgrounds are open.

The road to Graham Guard Station Cabin (NFS road 312) is expected to be open.  Road crews are going to check conditions. Call the district for updates. 

The Graham Guard Station Cabin and Graham airstrip are open.

The Barber Flat Bridge, which crosses the North Fork Boise River on Road 376, is restricted to vehicles with a wheelbase of 50 inches or less due to bridge damage.

The North Fork Boise River Road 327 is open. 

Campgrounds along Idaho 21 including Ten Mile, Grayback Gulch, Bad Bear, and Hayfork and Edna Creek are all open.

The Crooked River Trail is open.

 Jenny Lake Trail is open.  There may be a few snow drifts along the trail.  Call the district for updates.

McCall area

A snow slide and debris has made using the Big Creek Trail in the Krassel Ranger District within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness impassable to stock, and hazardous and challenging for foot traffic. The slide is approximately one mile downstream, and east of the Big Creek Trailhead.

District personnel are accessing the situation. Until the slide is cleared, visitors who want to access Big Creek are recommended to do so by entering from the east side – use the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trail to gain access into lower Big Creek.  Access into Chamberlain Basin via Mosquito Ridge or Pueblo Summit will be available once the snow melts a little more.

Krassel Ranger District, 634-0600.

North-Central Idaho

Campsites available: O’Hara Campground, located 7 miles east of Lowell along Selway River Road,  Fish Creek Group Site, 8 miles south of Grangeville past the Fish Creek Meadows Campground, South Fork Group Use Site No. 5 at the South Fork Campground located on Idaho 14, east of Grangeville, Wilderness Gateway, 49 miles east of Kooskia along U.S. 12; Powell, 12 miles west of the Idaho-Montana state line along U.S. 12; and Elk Creek, one mile north of Elk River

In the Powell Ranger District, Elk Summit Campground remains snow-covered in places, making the camp loops inaccessible. The Jerry Johnson Campground is closed for the season.

Along the North Fork Clearwater River, the popular Aquarius, Washington Creek, Noe Creek and Kelly Forks campgrounds are up and running.

Cedars Campground is also open. Hidden Creek Campground is inaccessible due to  snowslide south of the campground, near Elizabeth Creek, and a large rockslide just north of Hidden Creek.

Roads: The popular Magruder Corridor Road 468 is open to mile marker 13 on the west side and closed after that by snow.  For updated information, call the Elk City Ranger District at  842-2245.

All roads in the Salmon River Ranger District are open except the Free Use Road 243, Nut Basin Road 441, Seven Devils Road 517, and Square Mountain/Gospel Road 444, are closed to the snowline.

All roads along the Idaho 14 Corridor are open, except the historic Elk City Wagon Road 284.

On the North Fork Ranger District:  Beaver Creek Road 247 is open from Headquarters to Bungalow.  Forest Service Road 250, also called French Mountain Road, is open from Pierce to 4 miles north of the Kelly Forks Work Center.   Deception Saddle Road 255 is open all the way to its northernmost junction with Road 250, 3 miles south of Cedars Campground.  Toboggan Ridge Road 581 and Hoodoo Pass are still blocked by snow.  Mush Saddle Road 711 and Cool Creek Road 5295 are closed because of logging activity in the area.

Lolo Motorway Road 500 and Elk Summit Road 360 remain closed due to snow. Call the Powell Ranger Station at 942-3113 for updates.

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center at the Idaho-Montana state line along U.S. 12 is open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.  The Visitor Center will be open the Fourth of July.

State Parks

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation announced July 2 that open fires are banned at Three Island State Park as a result of a burn ban ordinance implemented by Elmore County commissioners and the City of Glenns Ferry. The resolution will continue until further notice due to extreme fire danger.

The ban also prohibits smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

“Although Three Island State Park is affected by the open fire restrictions, charcoal and propane grills are not yet included in the ban per the Elmore County Commissioner’s Office.” said state parks communications manager Jennifer Okerlund. 

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445,

Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors