Camping the 50 States: Tent Camping in Idaho

July 21, 2010
Mountain lake in Idaho

Mountain lake of Idaho
Photo by: Benjamin Earwicker (Stock Exchange)

AllCampgrounds is glad to see you back for another camping extravaganza here on our blog.

We’re going to continue our trek through Idaho now, leaving Shoshone Falls and Snake River behind to uncover the secrets of the rest of this rugged and wonderful land.

As usual around here, we’ll give tent camping a go before we swing by some RV camp grounds in our next post. Remember, despite its clean-cut “nice state” image, Idaho is mountainous and serves as the gateway to six states and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

We could write a book on the terrific camping here, nevermind a post or three!

Some of the Best Tent Camping State-Wide

Last time, we stuck close to the course of the Snake River, so let’s explore further …

Payette National Forest Camp Grounds: The Payette National Forest covers almost 2.3 million miles of forest. Dispersed along the forest are 60 separate camp sites, many oriented near lakes or creeks. All campsites come with access to drinking water. Some are accessible to handicapped visitors, and about half also include access for RV camping. Beware of rain and melting snow, which might make some camp grounds inaccessible or cause temporary closures.

Ponderosa State Park: Ponderosa State Park is located on about 1,000 acres of a peninsula surrounded by the picturesque waters of Payette Lake. There are plenty of campsites, all of which can be reserved in advance, and pets are welcome if kept securely leashed at all times. Ponderosa is best known for its hiking and biking, as well as magnificent views of the lake available from some outlooks. Naturalists provide guided tours which can help you get the most out of birding and other nature viewing. In the winter, patrons can enjoy skiing and snowshoeing on some of the best-maintained trails in the state.

Picnic Point: Though Picnic Point only has eight camp grounds to choose from, this tent-only camp deserves mention for its great location. Standing at an elevation of over 5,000 feet, it’s nestled on a bluff above Warm Lake, shaded by majestic Ponderosa pines and offering fishing opportunities for a whole range of game trout. Beyond the lake, you can enjoy mountain biking or take your favorite ATV (or horse!) out for a spin. There are 20 miles of ATV trails, and a swim beach only about a mile from the center of camp. Cabins are also operated nearby, so bring the whole family.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve: Admittedly, Craters of the Moon does not have its own developed camping or lodging opportunities, though back-country camping is available with a permit. But as a unique attraction goes, this definitely deserves to be mentioned. Described by the NPS as “a vast ocean of lava flows”, it offers a truly unique landscape for hiking, exploring the one-of-a-kind cave systems, and (in season) skiing or snowshoeing across the trails.

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