Outdoors Blog

Many campgrounds in mountains near McCall will be closed for Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of camping season.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of camping season. ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of camping season in Idaho. The national forests in our area have started releasing lists of what will be open and closed for the holiday weekend. Here’s what we know so far — and more will be added as the information becomes available.

The information below was provided by the agency listed.

Idaho State Parks

All campgrounds open for the Memorial Day weekend.

Idaho Fish and Game

Horsethief Reservoir’s 85 campsites on the west side of the reservoir opened in mid-May. However, the 32 sites located on the east side — known as Horsethief Crek — are closed for hazard-tree removal and construction.

Camping at Horsethief operates on a first-come, first-served basis. All sites are primitive (no electricity or drinking water). The reservoir is full and stocked with trout.

Boise National Forest

Emmett Ranger District

Opening dates: Hot Springs (May 3-5), Tie Creek (delayed), Rattlesnake (May 12), Peace Valley (May 26), Hardscrabble (May 26), Trail Creek (May 12), Boiling Springs (May 19), Boiling Springs Cabin (May 20), Big Eddy (May 5), Swinging Bridge (May 19), Canyon Creek (May 26), Cold Springs (May 26), Third Fork (April 21), Deadwood Lookout (June 24).

Sage Hen Area (managed by Emmett Ranger District)

Opened May 15-19: Sage Hen Picnic, Cartwright Camp, Antelope, Antelope Annex, Sage Hen Creek, Hollywood, Eastside.

Cascade Ranger District

All district campgrounds are scheduled to open May 24 except for Amanita and Rainbow Point, which won’t open till July 1 because of hazard-tree removal. Ponderosa State Park is scheduled to open May 25 and the state parks near Lake Cascade opened May 1.

Idaho City Ranger District

Bad Bear, Hayfork, Ten Mile and Atlanta Cabin were scheduled to open May 22. Graham Cabin opens July 1. Black Rock, Deer Park Cabin and Barber Flat are closed because of road closures.

Beaver Creek Cabin, Grayback, Grayback group site, Edna Creek and Whoop Em Up are closed because of the Pioneer Fire.

Lowman Ranger District

Opening May 26: Pine Flats, Little Deadwood, Mountain View, Park Creek, Kirkham Hot Springs, Helende, Warm Springs Rental Cabin, Bonneville.

Opening likely in mid- to late June: Bull Trout/Martin Lake, Deer Flats, Elk Creek, Fir Creek, Deadwood Reservoir. Red Mountain is closed for public safety because of restoration work in the area.

Mountain Home Ranger District

The plan is to open Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Elk Flat and Troutdale before Memorial Day. Repair work is ongoing in the Danskin area with those sites expected to open May 31. The Trinity Recreation Area has abnormally high snow levels and likely won’t open until late July.


▪  The Boise National Forest, Mountain Home Ranger District has lifted the closure for motorized access on all trails in the Danskin Mountain OHV (off-highway vehicle) Area effective May 18. While the closure is lifted, it is important to use caution while riding on changing trail conditions to prevent motor vehicle and trail damage on soft or muddy trails.

▪  Check the Boise National Forest website for the latest on the many road closures.

Sawtooth National Forest

Minidoka Ranger District

South Hills

▪  Schipper, Steer Basin, Lower and Upper Penstemon, Big Bluff, 3rd Fork, Porcupine Springs, Bear Gulch, FS Flats and Harrington Picnic Area are open. Diamondfield Jack sites are snow-covered, parking in the parking lot is open, Father and Son and Bostetter Campgrounds are closed. Campground fees will be in effect. Bring drinking water and provision for packing trash back home. Roads and trails are wet so we encourage users to stay on designated roads and trails to prevent damage. FS Road #500 — Bear Gulch to Magic Mtn. — is not open as of this notice.


▪  Sublett Campground, the dispersed site between reservoir and campground; Mill Flat Campgrounds are open – no fees; North Heglar Snowmobile Parking lot is open.

Raft River (Northern Utah)

▪  Clear Creek Campground is open. Dispersed campground sites upstream from Clear Creek Campground are open. No fees, no water.


▪  Bennett Spring Campground is closed and all other developed campgrounds and trailheads are closed due to snowdrifts. Independence Trailhead is still closed due to snow. Road to the top of Mt. Harrison is not open beyond Pomerelle Ski Area. Oakley – Elba Road is open. Independence Trailhead is not accessible. FS Road 728 is closed due to snow.

Current road and trail conditions can be obtained by calling the Minidoka Ranger District at (208) 678-0430.

Ketchum Ranger District

▪  Boundary Campground will be open with full service. Fees will be charged - $10/night single unit. The District will enforce dog leash and dog waste pickup regulations at Boundary Campground, Adams Gulch and Trail Creek Trailhead. Current trail conditions for the Ketchum Ranger District can be found at: www.trails.bcrd.org.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area

All of the following campgrounds will be open with full service:

▪  Wood River Valley: North Fork – Campsites 20-28 are open, Murdock, Caribou, Wood River – Campsites 1-8 are open, Easley – Closed indefinitely due to snow drifts and flooding

▪  Alturas Lake Complex: Pettit – June 1st opening, Smokey Bear Campground due to snow conditions may not be open until June 1, Alturas Inlet – June 9th opening, North Shore – June 9th opening, Tent Sites – June 9th opening.

▪  Redfish Lake Complex: All Redfish Campgrounds will be open.

▪  Salmon River campgrounds east of Stanley: Salmon River – riverside only, Casino Creek, Riverside (river side only), Mormon Bend, Upper and Lower O’Brien – closed indefinitely due to hill slides, Whiskey Flats will not open until June 15, Holman will not open until June 15.

▪  Stanley Lake: Stanley Lake, Stanley Lake Inlet – only 4 campsites are open due to flooding.

▪  Highway 21 west of Stanley: Sheep Trail, Trap Creek, Elk Creek – June 9th opening, Iron Creek – June 9th opening, Grandjean.

All dump stations will be opened. There are Road Closures in effect on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. For those Closures you can go to http://fs.usda.gov/Sawtooth.

Current conditions for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area can be obtained at (208) 727-5000.

Fairfield Ranger District

▪  Forest Road #227 from Featherville to the Camas County line is closed to the public due to snow and damage caused by flooding. Couch, Fleck and Wells Summits are open but please use caution. Expect to encounter snow, high water and downed trees on most trails. Trails have not been cleared yet. Currently Hunter Creek Transfer Camp, which provides horse corrals, fire rings and a restroom, Bear Creek Transfer Camp and Canyon Campground are open. As the week goes by we will update new openings on our Forest Facebook Page. There are Road Closures in effect on the Fairfield Ranger District. For those Closures you can go to http://fs.usda.gov/Sawtooth. No fees are charged at this site.

Call the Fairfield Ranger District at (208) 764-3202 for up to date information regarding campgrounds, roads and trails.


▪  Due to the lingering snowpack at the higher elevations a number of roads and trails will be closed. We would like to remind visitors to avoid driving or riding on muddy roads and trails to avoid damaging the running surface. The Forest has had an above average snowpack and flooding is occurring in most areas of the Forest. Do not drive past a road closure sign, these signs are in place due to a road, bridge or culvert washout. Conditions are changing daily so we encourage you to check with your local Forest Service office for current road and trail conditions. ... Visitors to the Sawtooth National Forest are encouraged to bring their own drinking water and be prepared to haul their trash back home. Even though many of the developed campgrounds will be open; there may be sites that do not have full service.

▪  The Sawtooth National Forest is closing three roads on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area for public safety due to snow, slides and damaged roads until Nov. 30 or rescinded by the Sawtooth National Forest Supervisor.

The segment of National Forest System (NFS) Road #132 (Fisher Creek Road) is described as beginning at the Forest Service gate approximately 1.86 miles east from State Highway 75, T 8N1 R 14E, SE¼ Section 3, and extending to the road’s tenninus, located at T 19N, R I5E, N 1/2 Section 30.

The segment of National Forest System (NFS) Road #653 (Stanley Creek Road) closed to all public motorized entry is described as beginning at a point approximately 3.85 miles east and north from State Highway 21, and extending for 150 feet either side of the washed out portion of the road, T 11N, R 13E, NE ¼ Section 21.

The segment of National Forest System (NFS) Road #454 (Robinson Bar Road) closed to all public entry is described as beginning at Lower Obrien Campground, located in Township 12 North, Range 15 East, Section 28 and continuing east to the private land boundary located at Township 12 North, Range 15 East, Section 27.

Payette National Forest

Krassel Ranger District

▪  Campgrounds: All campgrounds are open. Some water systems are still being tested. Be prepared to bring water or boil water.

▪  Trails: The popular Krassel Knob Trail (#089) is closed until further notice due to damage to the trail from spring runoff and slumping. This trail is inaccessible by most means due to the nature and size of the damage. Efforts to reroute this trail will be taken this summer, but it is unlikely this trail will be open for motorized use this summer. The popular Teapot Trail (#382) with access to Buckhorn Creek Trail (#096) is closed due to slope failures. The trail is closed to all motorized and horse traffic due to the potential for further slope failures. It is only open to foot and mountain bike traffic.

▪  Roadways: Lick Creek Summit and Profile Gap Summit remain closed due to the heavy snow fall this winter - Valley County Roads Department is projecting at least another two weeks. Access to the South Fork of the Salmon River and Yellowpine is via the Warm Lake Road.

McCall and New Meadows Ranger Districts

▪  Campgrounds: Only Last Chance and Cold Springs campgrounds will be open for the Memorial Day weekend. All higher elevation campgrounds remain blocked by snow.

▪  Trails: Hazard Creek Fall Trail (#317) is open. Goose Falls Trail (#354) is open to the junction with Goose Creek Trail (1.3 miles). Goose Creek Trail (#353) from Last Chance campground is open to the snow line (approximately 5 miles). Grass Mountain Trail (#163) is open to the Morgan Lake Trail junction (approximately 3 miles). Fall Creek Saddle Trail (#108) on the westside of Eastside Drive of Payette Lake is being worked on today with hopes of reaching Blackwell Lake by tomorrow (approximately 3.7 miles).

▪  Roadways: Secesh Summit will not be opened by Valley County Roads Department for the Memorial Day weekend. Valley County is hopeful to open the summit next week – contact them at 208-382-7195 for updates. Goose Lake Road is open to the current snow line. Lick Creek Summit will not be opened – Valley County Roads Department is projecting at least another two weeks. Warren Summit to the South Fork of the Salmon River (although Warren is inaccessible at Secesh Summit) will be closed this summer due to road damage from winter storms and spring runoff. Elk Creek road has also experienced damage – road crews will assess the damage once they are able to reach the roadway.

Council and Weiser Ranger Districts

▪  Campgrounds: All campgrounds are open. Some water systems are still being tested. Be prepared to bring water or boil water.

▪  Trails: As Council and Weiser Ranger District are lower elevation, many of the trails are open at this time. Some trail maintenance may be needed on these trails so be prepared for working around damaged areas. As trails travel into the higher elevations, expect to encounter snow.

▪  Roadways: Mann Creek Corridor is open to all vehicles up to 2 miles past the Spring Creek Campground. Higher elevation roadways remain closed due to snow levels.

District Offices

▪  Krassel Ranger District, McCall, 208-634-0600

▪  McCall Ranger District, 208-634-0400

▪  New Meadows Ranger District, 208-347-0300

▪  Council Ranger District, 208-253-0100

▪  Weiser Ranger District, 208-549-4200

▪  Forest Supervisor’s Office, McCall, 208-634-0700