Outdoors Blog

Here’s which Idaho mountain campgrounds are open for Memorial Day

French Creek campground offers the sound of rushing water from the creek and the recreation amentities of nearby Lake Cascade.
French Creek campground offers the sound of rushing water from the creek and the recreation amentities of nearby Lake Cascade. jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

Stingy snow in the mountains will prevent some campgrounds from opening in time for Memorial Day weekend. Below are updates from the Boise National Forest and Sawtooth National Forest.

Our annual camping guide, including staff picks for favorite places to go, will be in Wednesday’s newspaper and online at IdahoStatesman.com.

Here’s this weekend’s weather forecast.

Boise National Forest

Lowman Ranger District



All campgrounds along State Highway 21 - South Fork Payette River are OPEN with full services.

Park Creek Campground is OPEN.

The road to Grandjean is OPEN.


At this time ALL access roads to Deadwood Reservoir are CLOSED. You cannot get to Deadwood Reservoir from any access roads because of snow.

The Stanley/Landmark Road - National Forest System (NFS) road 579 from State Highway 21 is CLOSED to the Elk Creek Guard Station, Bear Valley and Dagger Falls.

▪ Bull Trout Campground is CLOSED due to snow.

▪ Scott Mountain Road (NFS road 555) is CLOSED due to snow.

▪ The Clear Creek Road (NFS road 582) is CLOSED due to snow.

Emmett Ranger District 208-365-7000 / Garden Valley Guard Station 208-462-3241

All Payette River recreation sites are open. There is a $3 day-use fee for visitors who have not purchased a 2016 Payette River Pass. Passes are available at Forest offices and vendors.


▪ All campgrounds adjacent to State Highway 55 along the North Fork Payette River between Banks and Smiths Ferry are OPEN.

▪ Campgrounds along the Middle Fork Payette River Road (NFS road 698) including Boiling Springs, Hardscrabble, Rattlesnake, Trail Creek and Tie Creek are OPEN.

▪ Hot Springs campground is OPEN.

▪ Third Fork and Boiling Springs Cabins are OPEN with reservations at: http://www.recreation.gov/ Deadwood Lookout opens on June 25.

▪ National Forest System (NFS roads 671 and 698) are OPEN with access to the Silver Creek Plunge area. Peace Valley Group Campground is OPEN. Silver Creek Campground is OPEN. All campgrounds around Sage Hen Reservoir are OPEN.

Mountain Home Ranger District



The Danskin ATV/OHV Trail systems is OPEN.

The Mountain Home Ranger District plans to have all lower elevation campgrounds OPEN by Memorial Weekend.

Fee collections and all services will be in place at Pine Airport, Curlew Creek, and Elks Flat Campgrounds. Group site reservations can be made at: www.recreation.gov.

Fee collections and all services will be in place at Pine Airport, Curlew Creek, and Elks Flat Campgrounds. Group site reservations can be made at: www.recreation.gov.

Anderson Ranch reservoir is open and there are concrete ramps available. Please use caution as floating debris has been spotted in the reservoir.

Water levels in the Anderson Ranch Reservoir are controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation. Call the Bureau of Reclamation at 208-334-9134 for the current river and reservoir water levels. View image and more information about reservoir water levels at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/ramps/anderson/anderson.html

Call the Elmore County Highway District for current updates on county roads. Their number is: 208-587-3211.


All Campgrounds in the Trinity Recreation area (normally they open July 15 or when conditions permit) are CLOSED due to snow. Closed Campgrounds include: Big Trinity, Little Trinity, Big Roaring and Little Roaring Campgrounds.

Shafer Butte Campground is CLOSED, it normally opens June 15. Call the District for updates.

▪ The Mountain Home Ranger District is opening several recreation areas to overnight camping that are located along the South Fork Boise River and the west side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir effective May 26, following an extended period where only day use was allowed.

The change is reflective of continued soil stabilization in the Elk Complex fire area which produced two significant flash flood events since the fire in 2013.

“A careful evaluation of each recreation area on the west side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir and from the dam down the South Fork Boise River to the Danskin Boat Launch has occurred,” said District Ranger Stephaney Kerley. “This review showed that in many areas conditions have improved enough to once again allow overnight use.”

Areas not available for overnight use include campgrounds at Tailwaters and Dog Creek.

A specific description and map of all the recreation areas will be posted on the Boise National Forest website.

Recreation Areas Specific Day and Overnight Use Listing:

Castle Creek Campground: Overnight camping allowed, but the river bar on the west side of the campground is closed to overnight camping due to it being in the flood plain of Castle Creek. Restroom facilities are not available due to the structure being burned in the fire.

Evans Creek Campground: Overnight camping allowed.

Elk Creek Boat Launch: Day Use only as usual.

Spillway Campground: Overnight camping allowed.

Tailwaters Campground: Day Use only. The restrooms are available for use. The Boat Launch is open however a newly formed rapid is just downstream of the launch site.

Village and Reclamation Village: Overnight Use allowed.

Spur Roads off the SF Boise River Road with Overnight Use allowed include the 121J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T and U road spurs.

Danskin Boat Ramp: Day Use as usual.

Cow Creek Campground: Overnight camping allowed.

Dog Creek Campground: Site is located north of Pine. The campground and access roads will remain closed to all entry due to very unstable soils in the headwater area of Dog Creek. The campground would be in a direct path of any mud flow or flash flood event.

Wilson OHV Trails: This area is closed to motorized and mechanized use due to extensive trail damage.

For more information, contact the Mountain Home Ranger District at 208-587-7961.

Trail Closure – The National Forest System Trail 045 (Roaring River Trail) and National Forest System Trail 122 (William Pogue Trail) have a trail closure. See the Boise National Forest website Alerts and Notices (Order number: 0402-01-59).

Cascade Ranger District



▪ All campgrounds and trails are anticipated to OPEN by May 22, with the exception of those above snow levels of 7,000 feet. Call the District for updates.

▪ Campgrounds along the west side of Cascade Lake are scheduled to be OPEN by the Memorial weekend.

▪ Shoreline, South Fork Salmon River, Warm Lake and Picnic Point Campgrounds are scheduled to be OPEN.

▪ The Stolle Rental Cabin is OPEN and access NFS road 474.

▪ South Fork Salmon River NFS road 474 is OPEN to Yellow Pine.

▪ The Johnson Creek Corridor Campgrounds are OPEN and the access roads are open.

▪ Johnson Guard Station Cabin is OPEN for reservations beginning May 26.

▪ Summit Lake, Pen Basin and Buck Mountain Campgrounds are OPEN. Road conditions may be muddy.


▪ At this time all access roads to Deadwood Reservoir are CLOSED. You cannot get to Deadwood Reservoir from any access roads because of snow.

▪ Snowbank Mountain Road NFS road 446 is gated and seasonally CLOSED until May 31.

Idaho City Ranger District



All campgrounds within the Idaho Ranger District are anticipated to open by Memorial Day weekend.

Campgrounds OPEN - Edna Creek, Ten Mile, Willow Creek, Whoop-em-up, Grayback Gulch Bad Bear, Black Rock and Hayfork.

Idaho City Cabins will be OPEN with the exception of Graham Cabin. Graham cabin will on June 1. Cabins are available for reservation through: http://www.recreation.gov/

The campgrounds near Atlanta will OPEN May 22, including Queens River, Power Plant, and Riverside.


· The road to the Graham Guard Station Cabin providing access to the Graham is currently CLOSED due to snow.

For camping reservations and cabin rentals on all the Districts, contact the National Recreation Reservation System by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777 or via the Internet at: http://www.recreation.gov/

Sawtooth National Forest

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.

Minidoka Ranger District

South Hills

▪ Schipper, Steer Basin, Lower and Upper Penstemon, Pettit, 3rd Fork, Porcupine Springs (with the exception of D Loop), Bear Gulch, and the north end of FS Flats campgrounds are open. Diamondfield Jack, 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.


▪ Sublett and Mill Flat Campgrounds are open – no fees.

▪ South Heglar Pass and North Heglar Pass are open for travel.

Raft River (Northern Utah)

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

▪ One Mile Summit is open, stay on designated roads and trails to prevent damage.


▪ Bennett Spring Campground is open 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 not opened beyond the 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.

▪ Full services are available at Boundary Campground.

▪ 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

▪ Murdock

▪ Caribou

▪ Wood River

▪ Easley

▪ Alturas Lake Complex: Pettit; Smokey Bear Campground due to snow conditions may not be open until June 1; Alturas Inlet; North Shore; Tent Sites

▪ Redfish Lake Complex: All Redfish Campgrounds will be open

▪ Salmon River Campgrounds east of Stanley: Salmon River, Casino Creek, Riverside (river side only), Mormon Bend, Upper and Lower O’Brien, Whiskey Flats will not open until June 15, Holman will not open until June 15, Stanley Lake, Stanley Lake Inlet.

▪ Highway 21 west of Stanley: Sheep Trail, Trap Creek, Elk Creek, Grandjean.

All dump stations will be opened. Roads opened May 1 may continue to be partially closed due to snow and wet conditions. Current conditions for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area can be obtained at 208-727-5013.

Fairfield Ranger District

Roads over Couch, Fleck and Wells Summits are open. Some higher elevation roads may be closed due to the fact they are snow-covered and inaccessible.

The following campgrounds are open and are on a first come first serve basis. There is a fee for these campgrounds:

▪ Chaparral

▪ Abbot

▪ Baumgartner – CLOSED until July 1, 2016 due to construction

▪ Bird

▪ Canyon

▪ Bowns

▪ Willow Creek

The following campgrounds are open with no charges:

▪ Five Points

▪ Bear Creek Transfer Camp

▪ Pioneer Campground

▪ Willow Creek Transfer Camp

▪ Hunter Transfer Camp

Trail Closures

▪ Currently the Deadwood Creek trail and the Deadwood Creek/Beaver Creek trail Connector are closed.

▪ Expect to encounter snow and downed trees on most trails. Trails have not been cleared yet.

The Fairfield Ranger District can be reached at 208-764-3202 for information regarding campgrounds, roads and trails.

Payette National Forest

Our mountain passes:

Lick Creek Summit (accesses Yellowpine and the South Fork of the Salmon River) remains closed and Valley County does not intend to plow it open at this time – access to Yellowpine and the South Fork of Salmon River via Warm Lake road near Cascade is open.

No Business Summit (accesses Council from Cascade) is open to high-clearance vehicles.

Profile Summit (accesses Big Creek) remains closed. Valley County does not intend to plow it open at this time.

Secesh Summit (accesses Secech Meadows and Warren). Valley County, for Idaho County, intends to open this road before the weekend.

Goose Lake Road (accesses Goose and Hazard Lakes) remains closed.

Paddy Flat Summit: Open (accesses Patty Flat and Kennelly Creek).

Smokey Boulder Road: Open to access the Pollock Mountain trailhead, but remains closed for access to Lost Valley. Access to Lost Valley is open via Pine Ridge.

Valley County Road Information: 208-382-7195


All campgrounds on the Weiser and Council are open. All Krassel Ranger District campgrounds along the South Fork of the Salmon River are open. Some may not have water available — call ahead for specific information regarding water.

McCall and New Meadows Ranger Districts: As these campground are higher in elevation, some are not open. Upper Payette Lake and Grouse Campgrounds remain closed. Lake Fork, Patty Flat, Kennelly Creek, Last Chance and Cold Springs Campground are open. Dispersed camping is open at Lost Valley reservoir and other areas on both districts.

Phone numbers:

Council Ranger District: 208-252-0100

Weiser Ranger District: 208-549-0200

New Meadows Ranger District: 208-347-0300

McCall Ranger District: 208-634-0400

Krassel Ranger District: 208-634-0600

Note: Upper Payette Lake campground isn’t expected to open until the July 4 weekend. Some reservations were canceled because of snow. If you received a cancellation, you can re-book for dates beginning July 1.

Idaho State Parks and Recreation

All campgrounds are open and they’re just about sold out.