A hidden gem of the Northwest, find otherworldy features like Craters of the Moon National Monument among top-to-bottom mountain ranges throughout Idaho.
In the eastern reaches of the Pacific Northwest, Idaho offers recreation throughout the year, from whitewater rafting to backcountry exploration. Winter sports are big, with ski resorts all over the state. If you're planning on camping, summer is the best time to visit, particularly if you want to see Idaho's many hiking trails, hot springs, waterfalls, or lakes. Hipcamps are your best private camping option, while Idaho State Parks manages many of the public campgrounds in the state, most coming well equipped with fire rings and picnic tables. Some also have yurts, and many offer RV sites with full hookups.
Between Washington and Montana and stretching up to Canada’s border, this forested region is ideal for winter skiing and snowboarding, plus hiking, biking, and kayaking in warmer months. Highlights include Nez Perce National Historic Park and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, where the Pandhandle rivers are particularly beloved by whitewater rafters. Popular camping areas include Priest Lake State Park, Heyburn State Park, and Farragut State Park, and you can also find campgrounds on the Banks of Lake Pend Oreille and Lake Coeur d'Alene.
On the border of Oregon, southwestern Idaho features lots of outdoor and cultural attractions, plus plenty of wineries and breweries. Boise, the state’s capital, is here and despite its small size, the fast-growing city has great museums and restaurants. Popular getaways from the city include Payette National Forest, Boise National Forest, Ponderosa State Park, Lake Cascade State Park, and Bruneau Dunes State Park.
Characterized by alpine landscapes and crystalline lakes, central Idaho is as known for its summertime hiking as it is for its ski resorts, including the world-famous Sun Valley. Some of the best camping spots in the region include Redfish Lake in Sawtooth National Forest, Craters of the Moon National Monument, and the City of Rocks National Reserve.
The gateway to Yellowstone National Park, eastern Idaho is chock-full of outdoor fun, from fishing on the Snake River's South Fork to cruising down the country's longest Main Street in Island Park. Summer is great for hiking and biking, while winter brings opportunities to ski and snowmobile against the backdrop of the Tetons. The region is also home to a handful of hot springs, the most famous of which is the odorless Lava Hot Springs.
Yes, it is legal to camp in Idaho, but restrictions apply depending on the area and land management agency. Camping is allowed in designated campgrounds and specific areas on public lands, such as those managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Idaho State Parks. Dispersed camping is also allowed in some areas, but it's essential to follow the rules and regulations set by each land management agency. Make sure to research the specific area where you plan to camp, and always practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. For a list of camping options in Idaho, you can visit Hipcamp.
The 14-day camping limit in Idaho refers to the maximum number of consecutive days you are allowed to camp at a specific location on public lands, such as national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas. After 14 days, campers must move to a new location at least 5 miles away from the original site. This rule helps to protect the environment, reduce the impact on resources, and ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to enjoy camping on public lands. Some campgrounds may have different stay limits, so it's essential to check the specific rules for the location you plan to visit.
Yes, boondocking is legal in Idaho on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and in certain areas of national forests. Boondocking, also known as dispersed camping, is a type of camping where you camp outside of designated campgrounds, often without facilities or services. Some popular boondocking locations in Idaho include the Boise National Forest, Kooskia, and Buhl areas. Always make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles, respect local regulations, and practice responsible camping when boondocking in Idaho.
To book a campsite in Idaho, you can use the following resources:
Make sure to research the specific campground or site you're interested in to understand the reservation process and any additional requirements, such as permits or fees.