Salmon-Challis National Forest


Borah Peak
Borah Peak 12,662', highest point in Idaho
Lost River Mountains, Salmon-Challis National Forest

Salmon-Challis National Forest covers more than 4.3 million acres in the mountainous area of east-central Idaho. Included in the National Forest is some 1.3 million acres of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the second largest wilderness area in the 48 contiguous states.

Salmon-Challis National Forest is also home to the Wild and Scenic Salmon River and the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The whole area is a world-class vacation destination for fishermen, hunters, whitewater rafters, hikers, mountain climbers... Even Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery found their way through here, crossing the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass and then trying to work their way down the Lemhi to the Salmon on their way to the Pacific Coast back in the fall of 1805. The Salmon proved to be too much for them and they ended up crossing the Continental Divide back into Montana, probably over what is now Lost Trail Pass. They went further north in Montana's Bitterroot Valley before trying to cross the Idaho mountain barrier again.

Wilderness Areas

  • Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
  • Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness

Salmon-Challis National Forest also includes Borah Peak (Idaho's highest point) in the Lost River Range. Other mountain ranges in the forest include the Lemhi Range, the Salmon River Range, the Hawley Mountains, the Donkey Hills, the White Cloud Peaks and the western slopes of the Bitterroot Range (the eastern boundary of the forest is along the Continental Divide, which runs along the crest of the Bitterroot's).

The Salmon River
The Salmon River

There are 6 Ranger Districts on the Salmon-Challis National Forest:

  • Leodore Ranger District, 176 N Railroad Street, Leodore, ID 83464 208-768-2500
  • Challis/Yankee Fork Ranger District, HC Box 1669 Highway 93, Challis, ID 83226 208-879-4100
  • Middle Fork Ranger District, PO Box 750, Highway 93, Challis, ID 83226 208-879-4101
  • Salmon/Cobalt Ranger District, 311 McPherson Street, Salmon, ID 83467 208-758-5200
  • Lost River Ranger District, 716 W Custer, Mackay, ID 83251 208-588-3400
  • North Fork Ranger District, 11 Casey Road, North Fork, ID 83466 208-865-2700
Looking northwest across the Big Lost River area with high mountains on the horizon
In the Big Lost River area
 
Photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 4.0 License
 

Campgrounds

"I never knew a man who felt self-important in the morning after spending the night in the open on an Idaho mountainside under a star studded summer sky. Save some time in your lives for the outdoors, where you can be witness to the wonders of God."
Frank Church, former U.S. Senator from Idaho

Leadore Ranger District manages and maintains 9 developed camping areas that open in mid-May and close in mid-October (as weather permits). There are also two BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campgrounds in the Lemhi Valley. Hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and horseback riding are all popular activities in the area.

Campground Information:

All campgrounds on the Leadore District are limited to a 14 day stay. The Meadow Lake Campground is the only fee campground. Facilities include drinking water, tables and outhouses at most campgrounds. Pets must be on a leash in campgrounds.

Most other campgrounds in the Salmon-Challis National Forest have a 16-day stay limit.

Leadore Ranger District

Campground Name Amenities
Bear Valley (lower) Equestrian Camping availableDrinking water availableToilets availableStock corral availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Bear Valley (upper) Trailhead Camping availableDrinking water availableToilets availableStock corral availablePicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Hawley Creek (lower) Camping availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Hawley Creek (upper) Camping availableDrinking water availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Big Eightmile Creek Camping availableDrinking water availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Meadow Lake Camping availableDrinking water availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowedNon-motorized boating available
Reservoir Creek Camping availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Timber Creek Reservoir (lower) Camping availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowed
Timber Creek Reservoir (upper) Camping availableToilets availableFishing available nearbyPicnic sites availableHiking trails availableCampfires allowedNon-motorized boating availableBoat launch available

Yankee Fork Drainage

Campground Elevation Season # of sites Comments
Blind Creek 6,000' June-Sept 5 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
11 miles east of Stanley on SR 75, turn north on FSR #013, go 1 mile.
Custer #1 6,600' June-Sept 6 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
About 10 miles north of Blind Creek Campground
Eightmile 7,000' July-Sept 2 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
About 13 miles north of Blind Creek Campground
Flat Rock 6,200' June-Sept 6 sites Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
On FSR #013, about 1 mile north of Blind Creek Campground
Flat Rock Extension 6,200' June-Sept 3 sites Trash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
1/4 mile north of Flat Rock Campground
Jerrys Creek 6,300' June-Sept 3 group sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
About 4 miles north of Blind Creek Campground on FSR #013
Pole Flat 6,200' June-Sept 12 sites Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
2 miles north of Blind Creek Campground on FSR #013

Capehorn Area

Campground Elevation Season # of sites Comments
Banner Creek 6,700' June-Sept 3 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
21 miles northwest of Stanley on Highway 21
Beaver Creek 6,700' June-Sept 8 sites Drinking water availableToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
19 miles northwest of Stanley, go north 0.5 miles on FSR #203, then left on FSR #008 for 3 miles
Bench Creek 6,900' June-Sept 5 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
24 miles northwest of Stanley on Highway 21
Lola Creek 6,600' June-Sept 21 sites Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
17 miles northwest of Stanley, go north on FSR #203 0.1 mile, then left on FSR #083 1 mile
Thatcher Creek 6,600' June-Sept 5 sites Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
15 miles northwest of Stanley on Highway 21

Other Areas

Campground Elevation Season # of sites Comments
Bayhorse 8,583' July-Sept 7 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
19 miles downstream from Stanley on Highway 75, turn onto Bayhorse Road. Narrow, steep dirt road. Use caution.
Little Bayhorse 8,500' July-Sept 3 sites Toilets availableTent camping availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
6 miles up Bayhorse Road, follow Little Bayhorse Lake turnoff. Narrow, steep dirt road.
Bonanza Reservation - overlooks Bonanza Ghost Town 6,200' June-Sept 12 family units Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
11 miles east of Stanley on Highway 75, turn north on FSR #013, go 7 miles then left at Bonanza Guard Station for another 1/2 mile.

Challis Area

Campground Elevation Season # of sites Comments
Mill Creek - June-Sept 8 units; 1 group site Drinking water availableToilets available
Mosquito Flat Reservoir - June-Sept 11 sites Toilets available

Morgan Creek Area

Campground Elevation Season # of sites Comments
West Fork Morgan Creek - June-Sept 1 site Toilets available
Little West Fork Morgan Creek - July-Sept 1 site Toilets available

Pahsimeroi Area

Campground Elevation Season # of sites Comments
Big Creek - June-Sept 3 sites Toilets available
Morse Creek - June-Sept 3 sites Toilets available

Other Campgrounds

  • Borah Peak Trailhead
  • Broad Canyon Trailhead
  • Earthquake Interpretive Site
  • Fall Creek Trailhead
  • Iron Bog Campground
  • Lake Creek Trailhead
  • Loristica Group Campground
  • Mill Creek Trailhead
  • Park Creek Campground
  • Phi Kappa Campground
  • Starhope Campground
  • Timber Creek Campground
  • Wildhorse Campground