Camping In Idaho For Everyone
Until I tried to go camping in another state (California) I hadn’t appreciated camping in
Idaho for what it was worth. Growing up here, I was spoiled. I can remember times my friends and I decided to go camping literally after dark. We could load up, get to the campsite, and enjoy the campfire all within about 60 minutes. This is a rare and precious commodity. No reservations, no long lines or traffic, and nobody camping feet away from your site (all of which I experienced in my California camping excursion). In today’s blog post, let’s cover some of the areas popular for camping, and some specific sites that are my personal favorite.
Quick and Easy Campsites
We are going to skip over the KOA’s and RV sites in town. I’m going to assume you are looking for something more adventurous.
One of the closest places to camp without having to put serious miles on your tires would be above Ammon in the foothills. This is a popular spot for local groups to have bonfires and get togethers (be sure to check local laws and restrictions on when and where you can have a fire)
. It is a quick drive to pop up a tent and do some star gazing. This area is known locally as ‘Bone’. The Bone Store can be found up here in the hills and it is described as ‘a great rustic place to eat and relax’. Emphasis on rustic. Other than the Bone Store, this area is very uninhabited. You will notice you are very close to the Idaho Falls windmills. Taylor Mountain is close, and our recent blog post can educate you on that area a little more.
There are a few ways to reach the area, but the easiest would be to take Sunnyside Road East until it turns into Bone Road. There are multiple dirt road turnoffs from Bone Road, they will lead you to non-official campsites. Pick a place with a good view and away from the dusty road!
Also, the ‘Wolverine’ wilderness area can be found very close by, it is accessible from the city of Shelley. Google Maps can be very helpful when you want to analyze the land and understand where you are going. A lot of these places to camp will not show up on camping websites because they are again, non-official.
Camping on River Road in Heise, Idaho
River Road was one of my personal favorite places to camp as a teen. It’s about a 10-minute drive from Rigby, and provides camping spots on the ever-beautiful, Snake River. There are people who literally travel hundreds of miles to experience camping like this, and it is right in our backyard! River Road is a long, dirt road that starts in Ririe and ends in the wilderness about 15 miles later. You will see fisherman on the river, families on ATV’s and dirt bikes, as well as the occasional hunter if the time of year is right. Did we mention wildlife!? There is no shortage here. Deer and moose are the most popular.
Wilderness Camping in Southeast Idaho
If you are willing to spend a little more time behind the wheel, you can find very remote camping areas. These are the type we like. They take more time to prepare, but the payoff is worth it! Be sure to check the weather, know the area you will be in well, and don’t underestimate Mother Nature.
Camping near Palisades Dam
The Palisades area starts after Irwin, Idaho and you surely won’t miss the Palisades Dam. Some people choose to cross the dam and camp on the southern side. Those people experience fantastic camping. Other people choose to continue to head east, and camp on the Northern side of the lake. Those people experience fantastic camping.
Just like the Bone Road, Highway 26 is the gateway to these camping sites and they can be
found by turning off the main road onto dirt. Blowout Canyon Road is a popular site for my friends and family. Look for road number #171. This road, like most roads heading North away from the lake, will go much farther into the wilderness than you expect. There are miles and miles of uninhabited wilderness area, and you will notice campsites every now and then on either side of the road.
We have our favorite spots down these roads, but it’s always a good idea to drive back a decent distance and check out a few sites. They all offer something a little bit different. Depending on what activities you are partaking in and how big your group is, some are better than others.
If you continue down Highway 26 you will run into Wyoming.
Camping Near Island Park
We can’t mention wilderness camping without listing Island Park. It is truly one of the most beautiful areas in Idaho. Bordering Montana and Yellowstone National park, it will provide you camping that is as remote as it gets.
The camping options here are very vast and very different. Depending on the time of the year you could be in for beautiful warm days and nights, or feet of snow. Rather than try to list these different choices, we found a few resources that can educate you on your options. Check out these websites to evaluate what fits your camping style!
The activities in Island Park are endless. Fishing, swimming, water sports, snow sports, hiking, leisure, and motorized fun are only scratching the surface. Step out of your element and try something new!