Tucked in between the Rocky Mountains and the rugged west coast, Idaho is known for its spectacular natural beauty and its endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Much of the state is covered by national forests and state parks, but no matter where you choose to camp, you'll be able to fish and hike during the day and sit by a cozy campfire at night. Whether you want to pitch your tent among the majestic Ponderosa pines of a national forest or on the shores of a sparkling lake, here are the best places to camp in Idaho.
1.Heyburn State Park
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Established in 1908, Heyburn State Park is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest, and it boasts a beautiful campground with a picnic area, modern restrooms, and approximately 130 campsites to choose from. There's also a boat launch for anyone who wants to fish or boat on the lake, and kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats can be rented from the marina if you don't have your own. The campground is open on a seasonal basis, but if you want to visit during the winter, there are also several cottages and cabins that are open year-round.
57 Chatcolet Lower Rd, Plummer, ID 83851, Phone: 208-686-1308
2.Lake Cascade State Park
Centered around a picturesque lake in central Idaho, Lake Cascade State Park is surrounded by some of the state's most magnificent mountains. The park is dotted with twelve different campgrounds that offer a total of almost 300 sites, some of which are equipped with water, sewer, and power. If you're visiting with a larger group, there are also two group camping areas, including one that has a handful of rustic yurts to stay in. There are several hiking and biking trails for visitors to enjoy, but the highlight of the park is the lake, which is perfect for fishing, boating, swimming, and windsurfing.
100 Kelly's Parkway, Cascade, ID 83611, Phone: 208-382-6544
3.Three Island Crossing State Park
Set on the banks of the Snake River, Three Island Crossing State Park offers visitors a fascinating look at Idaho's rich pioneer and Native American history. The park's main attraction is the Oregon Trail History and Education Center, which offers both exhibits and interpretive programs, but visitors can also relax in the picnic area, play a round of disc golf on the park's excellent course, or visit the nearby winery and golf course. There are just over 80 campsites to choose from, and while all of them are open year-round, running water and restroom facilities aren't available during the winter.
1083 S Three Island Park Dr, Glenns Ferry, ID 83623, Phone: 208-366-2394
4.Creekside Campground Idaho City
© Creekside Campground Idaho City
Conveniently located 6 miles outside Idaho City just off Highway 21, Creekside Campground Idaho City is a small, family-friendly campground with 10 sites that can accommodate both tents and RVs. A small creek runs right through the middle of the campground, and campers are welcome to fish for trout and salmon during the fishing season. None of the campsites have water or electric hookups, but they're all equipped with picnic tables and pedestal barbecues, and there's also a communal firepit where campers can gather in the evenings. There's also a private event area with a kitchen and plenty of tables.
3193 ID-21, Boise, ID 83716, Phone: 208-392-4325
5.Boise National Forest
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Encompassing more than 2.5 million acres of mountains and forests, the Boise National Forest is one of the most spectacular pieces of wilderness in Idaho. With more than 70 campgrounds, it offers almost endless opportunities for camping, and options range from well-developed campgrounds with modern restrooms to primitive tent sites with hand-pumped water. No matter which campground you stay at, there's no shortage of fun outdoor activities to enjoy, with popular options including hiking through the North Fork Payette River Canyon, climbing to the peak of the 10-000-foot Trinity Mountain, and boating on one of the forest's 250 pristine lakes.
1249 S Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709-1663, Phone: 208-373-4100
6.Idaho Panhandle National Forests
Consisting of more than 3.2 million acres of land spread across three different forests, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests are home to more than half of the state's surface waters. Visitors can enjoy almost every kind of water recreational activity imaginable, and most of the developed campgrounds in the forests can be found on the lakeshore or beside one of the many streams. If you're looking for a more isolated camping experience, dispersed camping is permitted in many different areas of the park, and the Forest Service offices are happy to provide information about the best spots to set up camp.
7.Pine Flats Campground
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One of the many campgrounds in the Boise National Forest, the Pine Flats Campground is a simple but incredibly picturesque campground with 24 campsites, vault toilets, and drinking water. The sites are nestled in a gorgeous Ponderosa pine forest, meaning that most have partial shade, and they all have picnic tables and fire rings. The South Fork Payette River is just down the hill from the campground, and it's an excellent spot for kayaking and fishing. There's also a short trail that leads to one of the many hot spring pools along the bank of the river.
Banks Lowman Rd, Garden Valley, ID 83622, Phone: 208-259-3361
8.Ten Mile Campground
Set right next to the beautiful Ten Mile Creek, Ten Mile Campground is a wonderful summer camping spot for anyone who likes to hike, fish, or simply relax in nature. Both single and double campsites are available, and all are equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. Campers will also have access to drinking water and vault toilets, and the area is full of trails that can be used for everything from hiking to riding off-road vehicles. The campground is open between May and September, and sites are offered on a first-come first-served basis.
Boise National Forest, Forest Rd 025I, Idaho City, ID 83631, Phone: 877-444-6777
9.Black Rock Campground
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Only 20 miles away from Idaho City, Black Rock Campground is a small campground with 11 sites surrounded by beautiful pine forest. Drinking water and vault toilets are available, and all sites have basic amenities like picnic tables and fire rings. The river offers plenty of opportunities for fishing and swimming, and there are also some excellent hiking and mountain biking trails nearby, many of which are excellent for spotting wildlife. Families and groups are not permitted to reserve more than two sites, but if you need more space, you can stay at the nearby Hayfork Group Campgrounds instead.
FS Road 327, Idaho City, ID 83631, Phone: 208-392-6681
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10.Edna Creek Campground
Offering only 9 campsites, Edna Creek Campground is a secluded piece of paradise sitting at an elevation of 5,700 feet. Each site can accommodate up to 6 campers, and they're all equipped with picnic tables, grills, and fire pits surrounded by bench seating. Visitors who come in the summer will likely see some spectacular wildflowers, and there's a nearby creek that offers excellent fishing. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding in the surrounding area, and a visitor's information center can be found at the nearby Upper Crooked River Trailhead.
State Highway 21, Idaho City, ID 83709, Phone: 208-392-6681
11.Bull Trout Campground
Tucked in between Bull Trout Lake and the tiny Martin Lake, Bull Trout Campground offers single sites, group sites, and equestrian sites. Both lakes are only open to non-motorized boats, but they're wonderful spots to canoe, kayak, and fish, and Bull Trout Lake has a primitive boat launch that campers can use. Some sites are located right on the shore of the lake, and all campers have access to vault toilets and drinking water. The campground is only open between June and September, and the sites tend to fill up quickly during summer weekends and holidays, so advance reservations are recommended.
ID-21, Lowman, ID 83637, Phone: 208-259-3361
12.Cozy Cove Campground
Perched on a bluff overlooking the picturesque Deadwood Reservoir, the Cozy Cove Campground is a small, secluded campground located at an altitude of 5,300 feet. The sites are surrounded by a pine forest that provides plenty of shade, but all have wonderful views of the lake, and the landscape is particularly spectacular at sunset. The campground is equipped with drinking water and vault toilets, and there are several picnic tables for campers to use. There's also a concrete boat ramp, which can be used by anyone who wants to boat, water ski, or fish for the lake's plentiful Chinook salmon.
Boise National Forest, Forest Rd 555F, Garden Valley, ID 83622, Phone: 804-265-9000
13.Queens River Campground
With only four campsites to choose from, the Queens River Campground is the perfect place to go if you're looking for some well-deserved peace and quiet. No drinking water is available, but the campground has vault toilets, and each site is equipped with a fire pit and a picnic table. When you're not relaxing at your campsite, you can explore the neighboring Sawtooth Wilderness, which can easily be accessed from a trailhead just to the north of the campground. Sites are available on a first come first served basis, and no camping fee is charged.
FS Road 268, Idaho City, ID 83631, Phone: 208-373-4100
14.Bad Bear Campground
Located just off State Highway 21, Bad Bear Campground offers six campsites with basic amenities like picnic tables, fire pits, and vault toilets. Traffic noise from the highway can sometimes be heard from the campsites, but the campground's proximity to the road also means it's easy to explore the many trails in the surrounding forest and mountains. Campers can also fish for trout and whitefish in Mores Creek, which runs right next to the campground. The campground is open between May and September, and reservations can be made in advance if you want to ensure you'll have a site.
State Highway 21, Idaho City, ID 83631, Phone: 208-373-4100
15.Palisades Creek Campground
Hidden away in the Palisades Creek Canyon, Palisades Creek Campground has eight sites that can be used for both tents and trailers. The surrounding area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation; the Lower Palisades Lake can be reached by a pleasant three-mile trail that starts at the campground, and if you're feeling up to it, you can hike an additional four miles to reach the Palisades Upper Lake. Fishing is permitted in both lakes year-round, and visitors can also fish in the Palisades Creek between the beginning of July and the end of March.
Palisades Creek Rd, Irwin, ID 83428, Phone: 208-524-7500
16.Warm River Campground
One of the most popular places to camp in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the Warm River Campground offers almost 30 campsites to choose from, many of which can accommodate either tents or RVs. Most of the sites are meant for single families, but if you're planning a group getaway, there's also a group site that can accommodate up to 100 people. The sites are strung along the Warm River, which is known for its slow-moving water and its excellent tubing, floating, and fishing opportunities. Because of the campground's popularity, reservations are recommended and must be made at least four days in advance.
Caribou Targee National Forest, Forest Rd 097, Ashton, ID 83420, Phone: 208-558-7658
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17.Grayback Gulch Campground
Sitting on a small hill just off the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, Grayback Gulch Campground is a beautiful, shady campground surrounded by pine forest. A campground host lives on-site, and campground amenities include drinking water, vault toilets, and a garbage collection service. The standard campsites are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits, and there are also two large group sites with campfire circles and serving tables. When it comes to recreation, campers can fish in Mores Creek, stroll along the mile long Grayback Loop Trail that starts right at the campground, and hike or mountain bike the many other trails in the area.
Boise National Forest, Forest Rd 347A, Boise, ID 83716, Phone: 208-392-6681
18.Farragut State Park
Formerly a naval training station, Farragut State Park can be found at the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille. There are more than 230 campsites divided between five campgrounds, and the sites vary from simple tent sites with no hookups to RV sites with water, sewer, and electric. Many of the campgrounds are open year-round, and although the amenities can vary according to the season, flush toilets and showers are available during the summer months. If you'd like a bit more comfort, there are also ten camping cabins that can be booked between May and September.
13550 ID-54, Athol, ID 83801, Phone: 208-683-2425
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19.Ponderosa State Park
Spread across the majority of a 1000-acre peninsula on Payette Lake, Ponderosa State Park has four distinct camping areas to choose from, including one with five deluxe camping cabins. The main campground has hot showers, flush toilets, and more than 100 sites equipped with water and electric, and there's also an RV campground where the sites have full hookups. If you'd like a simpler place to camp, you can stay at the north end of the lake, where the campground has vault toilets, drinking water, and 22 spacious sites with fire rings and picnic tables.
1920 Davis Ave, McCall, ID 83638, Phone: 208-634-2164
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20.Kelly Island Campground
Nestled in a cottonwood forest next to the Snake River, the Kelly Island Campground is a picturesque semi-developed campground open between the middle of May and the middle of September. The river is excellent for trout fishing, and although off-road vehicles are not permitted in the campground, they can be ridden on many of the nearby trails. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and drinking water and vault toilets are available in a central area. There's also a group campsite with space for up to 35 people, which is the only site that can be reserved.
1405 Hollipark Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83401, Phone: 208-524-7500
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21.Sawtooth National Forest
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Covering more than 2.1 million acres of land across Idaho and Utah, the Sawtooth National Forest is a truly special piece of land. Thanks to the park's enormous size, camping opportunities abound, and there's something to suit every type of camper. The established campgrounds range from simple tent pads to family-friendly campgrounds with hot showers and children's playgrounds, and if you're looking for a more rugged experience, dispersed camping is permitted in many different areas of the forest as well. No matter which part of the forest you choose to stay in, there are plenty of hiking trails, picturesque views, and chances to spot wildlife.
22.Willow Creek Campground (Idaho City)
Found at the confluence of the Crooked River and Willow Creek, the Willow Creek Campground is only 16 miles outside of Idaho City. Each of the four campsites can comfortably accommodate up to six people, and they're equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. There's also a vault toilet for campers to use, although you'll need to bring in your own drinking water. The river is a wonderful place to fish for rainbow trout, and in the summer, you'll see a colorful display of wildflowers. Campsites are available on a first come first served basis, and no fee is charged.
FS Road 384, Idaho City, ID 83631, Phone: 208-392-6681
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Home to the popular Kirkham Hot Springs, the Kirkham Campground is the perfect place to relax and unwind. The fourteen sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and a campground host is on-site. There's not much shade in the campground, and the area can get quite hot during the summer, although some of the sites have small picnic shelters that provide a welcome escape from the sun. Most visitors come here to soak in the hot springs, but campers can also explore the beautiful Kirkham Ridge Trail, fish in the South Fork Payette River, and join a whitewater rafting tour.
7359 ID-21, Lowman, ID 83637, Phone: 208-259-3361
Just outside the town of Lowman, Mountain View is a 14-site campground surrounded by a Ponderosa pine forest. It's located on the banks of the South Fork Payette River, and campers are welcome to fish, kayak, and whitewater raft on their own or as part of a guided tour. It makes an excellent alternative to the more popular Kirkham Hot Springs campground, which is less than three miles away. The sites all have picnic tables and fire rings, and amenities include vault toilets and drinking water. A campground host is usually on site as well, although it's best to bring your own firewood.
7359 ID-21, Lowman, ID 83637
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25.Porcupine Springs Campground
Located in the Sawtooth National Forest, the Porcupine Springs Campground has 12 single campsites and 3 group campsites that can accommodate between 50 and 100 people. All sites have fire rings, grills, and picnic tables, and one of the group sites also has spacious corrals for people who want to bring their horses. A multi-use trailhead is conveniently situated right in the campground, and the surrounding trails are excellent for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. If you'd rather do something a bit more relaxing, the nearby Little Fork Third Fork Creek is a popular place for fly fishing.
Idaho 83318, Phone: 208-678-0430
25 Best Idaho Camping Spots
- Heyburn State Park, Photo: Denise Torres/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Cascade State Park, Photo: goodluz/stock.adobe.com
- Three Island Crossing State Park, Photo: mikeobiz/stock.adobe.com
- Creekside Campground Idaho City, Photo: Creekside Campground Idaho City
- Boise National Forest, Photo: Rhiley Allbee/stock.adobe.com
- Idaho Panhandle National Forests, Photo: Maria_Savenko/stock.adobe.com
- Pine Flats Campground, Photo: David Prahl/stock.adobe.com
- Ten Mile Campground, Photo: megakunstfoto/stock.adobe.com
- Black Rock Campground, Photo: Pavel Klimenko/stock.adobe.com
- Edna Creek Campground, Photo: alfa27/stock.adobe.com
- Bull Trout Campground, Photo: brizmaker/stock.adobe.com
- Cozy Cove Campground, Photo: AlexR/stock.adobe.com
- Queens River Campground, Photo: Nattawit/stock.adobe.com
- Bad Bear Campground, Photo: koldunova/stock.adobe.com
- Palisades Creek Campground, Photo: AlessandraRC/stock.adobe.com
- Warm River Campground, Photo: helivideo/stock.adobe.com
- Grayback Gulch Campground, Photo: korchemkin/stock.adobe.com
- Farragut State Park, Photo: Elena/stock.adobe.com
- Ponderosa State Park, Photo: kokliang1981/stock.adobe.com
- Kelly Island Campground, Photo: Prostock-studio/stock.adobe.com
- Sawtooth National Forest, Photo: Michel Hersen Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Willow Creek Campground (Idaho City), Photo: Wirestock/stock.adobe.com
- Kirkham Campground, Photo: NKTN/stock.adobe.com
- Mountain View, Photo: Kristina/stock.adobe.com
- Porcupine Springs Campground, Photo: sam73nz/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: mikeobiz/stock.adobe.com