Despite a warm and relatively dry spring, Memorial Day camping will be similar to what it’s been in the past, with some exceptions.
Most of the traditional camping areas in Southwest and Central Idaho will be open, or are already open.
Some mountain campgrounds that have been blocked by snow in the past will be open. Many mountain areas still have snow that keeps campgrounds blocked, and even if they don’t, the recreation staff on some ranger districts in mountains do not come on until later, so the campgrounds will remain closed even if they are accessible.
There are lots of campgrounds available for the holiday weekend, and if current temperature trends continue, it’s likely to be comfortable from lowlands like C.J. Strike and Brownlee Reservoirs up to the high elevation campgrounds around Stanley, Ketchum, Cascade and McCall areas.
But who knows? We’ve been teased by sunny, warm weather in the past and then snowed on during Memorial Day weekend. It’s all part of the fun, and it provides some great stories for family lore.
If you’re looking for a prime site, it may be too late because people have gotten savvy to reserving campsites. You can do it at recreation.gov or parksandrecreation.idaho. gov for Idaho state parks, such as Lake Cascade or Ponderosa State Park.
BOISE NATIONAL FOREST
All Cascade Ranger District campgrounds are scheduled to open on May 22, with the exception of Warm Lake and South Fork Salmon River campgrounds, which opened with full services on May 7.
French Creek, Picnic Point and Shoreline (sites 1-19) campgrounds opened May 7 without water, but will have garbage service and restrooms.
Lowman Ranger District
Deadwood and Bull Trout campgrounds, closed, no opening dates available. Call 259-3361 for updates.
The campgrounds along the South Fork Payette River opened without services (no garbage, no water) on May 8.
The following campgrounds are expected to be open with full services on May 15: Pine Flats, Deadwood Park Creek, Mountain View, Kirkham, Helende and Bonneville.
Idaho City Ranger District
Grayback campground is open.
The following will open on May 19: Bad Bear, Hayfork, Edna Creek, Whoop Em Up, Ten Mile and Black Rock.
Emmett Ranger District
These campgrounds are open: Hot Springs, Tie Creek, Silver Creek, Trail Creek, Rattlesnake Group Camp and Hardscrabble.
These campgrounds will open on May 22: Sage Hen Creek, Hollywood, Eastside, Antelope and Antelope Annex, Cartwright Ridge, Boiling Springs, Peace Valley, Big Eddy, Cold Springs, Canyon and Swinging Bridge.
Mountain Home Ranger District
Forest Service officials reported that some dispersed camping areas along the South Fork of the Boise River and campgrounds on the west side of Anderson Ranch Dam reservoir will reopen before Memorial Day weekend. Those areas have been closed since the fall of 2013 when rainstorms caused mudslides.
SAWTOOTH NATIONAL FOREST
Wood River Campgrounds
Murdock, $14, May 15.
Easley, $12, May 15
Caribou, $12, May 15
North Fork (campsites 20-28), $14, May 15, remaining sites by May 22.
Wood River (sites 1-8), $14, May 15, remaining sites by May 22.
Pettit, $14, May 30.
Alturas Inlet, $16, May 30.
Smokey Bear, $16, May 30.
North Shore, $16, May 30.
Tent sites, $14, May 30.
Redfish Inlet, $12, May 15.
Mountain View and Heyburn, $16, May 15.
Sunny Gulch, $18, May 15.
Hwy 21 Complex
Stanley Lake, $16, May 15.
Lake View, $16, May 15.
Stanley Inlet, $16, May 15.
Iron Creek, $14, May 22.
Elk, $14, May 22.
Sheep Trail, $14, May 22.
Trap Creek, $14, May 22.
Grand Jean, $14, May 15.
Salmon River Campgrounds
O’Brien (upper) $14, May 15.
O’Brien (lower) $14, May 22.
Salmon River (riverside) $14, May 15.
Salmon River (above hwy) $14, May 22.
Mormon Bend, $14, May 15.
Casino Creek, $14, May 15.
Riverside, $14, May 22.
Holman, $10, May 22.
Whiskey Flat, $10, May 22.
PAYETTE NATIONAL FOREST
McCall and New Meadows Ranger District
Cold Springs: Opening May 15 with limited services; reservations and services start May 22.
Last Chance: Open on May 15 with limited services, no reservations at this site.
Other opening dates:
Upper Payette Lake: June 9 with limited services; reservations and services start on June 12.
Grouse: June 13 depending upon snow. Open on June 15 with limited services; reservations and services start on July 1.
Hazard Lake: June 13 depending upon snow. Open on June 15 with limited services, reservations and services start on July 1.
Lake Fork: Open on May 22 with limited services, open with services June 12, no reservations at this site.
Kennally: Open on May 22 with limited services; open with services May 12, no reservations at this site.
Burgdorf: Open on June 1 with limited services, open with services June 12, no reservations at this site.
Jeanette: Open on June 1 with limited services, open with services May 12, no reservations at this site.
Chinook: Open on June with limited services; open with services June 12, no reservations at this site.
Krassel Ranger district
The following camgprounds on the South Fork of the Salmon River are open: Poverty flat, Buckhorn Bar, Camp Creek, Four Mile, Secesh and Ponderosa.
Big Creek Campground is closed until Profile Summit opens, which is projected mid-June. (There is fly-in access for backcountry pilots).
Weiser Ranger District
The following campgrounds open May 15: Brownlee, Justrite, Kiwanis, Mann Creek, Paradise, Spring Creek.
Council Ranger District
The following campgrounds will open on May 15: Big Flat, Cabin Creek, Evergreen, Huckleberry, Lafferty.