Sawtooth National Forest


McGown Peak in Sawtooth National Forest
Sawtooth National Forest: McGowan Peak
Headwaters of the Salmon river in Sawtooth Valley

Sawtooth National Forest contains about 1,500 recorded heritage sites: archaeological, cultural and historic sites that reflect our common American heritage going back maybe 10,000 years. And for we who visit, the forest offers everything from the highly developed recreational activities of the Redfish Lake Complex to the incredible countryside of the completely undeveloped and downright primitive Sawtooth Wilderness.

About 96% of Sawtooth National Forest is located in Idaho, the other 4% in northern Utah.

Looking west across Redfish Lake with snow-capped mountains in the background
The view across Redfish Lake

President Theodore Roosevelt originally designated the Sawtooth Forest Reserve in 1905. Today, Sawtooth National Forest contains some 2.1 million acres, including some of the most remote forestland in the 48 contiguous states. There are more than 3,000 miles of streams and rivers with more than 1,000 lakes on the property.

About 756,000 acres of Sawtooth National Forest is contained in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. About 20,000 acres of that is held in private hands, mostly in Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin with a stretch about 25 miles long downstream from Stanley along the Salmon River.

It was a plan to open an open-pit molybdenum mine that spurred the conservation fight that led to the 1972 creation of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Included in the National Recreation Area are all 3 wildernesses in Sawtooth National Forest. There are at least 700 miles of trails, more than 40 peaks rising above 10,000' and more than 300 high mountain lakes, too.

Sawtooth Mountains
The Sawtooth Mountains
Sawtooth Valley
Sawtooth Valley
A close up of McGowan Peak
A close up of McGowan Peak
 
Photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 4.0 License
 

Campgrounds & Other Recreation Sites

North Fork Canyon

Campground # of Units Comments
Murdock 11 -
Caribou 7 -

Wood River Corridor

Campground # of Units Comments
North Fork 29 -
Wood River 30 -
Easley 10 Reservations allowed
Boulder View Group Area A- 3 sites
Group Area B - 5 sites
Reservations allowed
Wood River Picnic Area - Day use only
Alturas Lake Area
Campground # of Units Comments
North Shore 15 -
Smokey Bear 12 Boat trailer parking & ramp
Alturas Lake Inlet 28 Day use picnic and beach areas
Alturas Lake Picnic Area Area A & B Picnic sites, Reservations allowed
Sandy Beach Picnic & Day Use Area - Picnic sites
Chemeketan Group site Group Reservations required. No Water. Group size limit is 150
Pettit Lake 13 Water & toilets available at Tin Cup
Redfish Lake Area
Campground # of Units Comments
Chinook Bay 13 On Little Redfish Lake
Mountain View 7 On Little Redfish Lake
Sunny Gulch 19 Off Highway 75
Sockey 23 -
Mt Heyburn 20 -
Glacier View Loop A - 26 units, Loop B - 17 units, Loop C - 22 units Reservations allowed
Outlet 17 Reservations allowed
Point 17 Units 1-8 are tent only, Reservations allowed
North Shore Picnic Area A & B Picnic sites, Reservations allowed, Day use only

Highway 21

Campground # of Units Comments
Iron Creek 9 -
Elk Creek 3 Group reservations required
Sheep Trail 3 Group reservations required
Trap Creek 3 Group reservations required
Grandjean 31 10 sites will accept stock

Stanley Lake Area

Campground # of Units Comments
Lakeview 6 -
Stanley Lake 19 Boat ramp available
Inlet 14 -

Salmon River Corridor

Campground # of Units Comments
Riverside 18 8 reservable units for groups, group reservations required
Basic Creek 15 -
Salmon River 30 -
Upper & Lower O'Brien 9 & 10 -
Holman Creek 10 -
Mormon Bend - -

Fairfield Ranger District

Campground Season # of sites Comments
Chaparral 5/20-9/30 7 Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableFishing available nearby
3 miles east of Featherville; leashed pets allowed
Abbott 5/20-9/30 7 Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableFishing available nearby
2 miles east of Featherville; leashed pets allowed
Pioneer 5/20-9/30 5 Drinking water availableToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
Next to Soldier Mountain Ski Area; Group area: 50 people max; Amphitheater; leashed pets allowed
Five Points 5/20-9/30 3 Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
20 miles north of Fairfield; leashed pets allowed
Canyon Transfer Camp 5/20-9/30 6 Drinking water availableToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
26 miles north of Fairfield; stock loading ramps, mangers; leashed pets allowed
Bounds 5/20-9/30 12 Drinking water availableToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
25 miles east of Featherville; leashed pets allowed
Baumgartner 5/20-9/15 30 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
12 miles east of Featherville; leashed pets allowed; Hot springs; Reservations allowed
Hunter Creek Transfer Camp 5/30-9/30 3; 1 group Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
20 miles northwest of Fairfield; Corrals & mangers
Willow Creek 5/20-9/30 5 Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
7 miles east of Featherville; leashed pets allowed
Willow Creek Transfer Camp 5/20-9/30 3 Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
Just past Willow Creek Campground; Corrals & mangers
Bird Creek 5/20-9/30 5 Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
5 miles east of Featherville; leashed pets allowed
Bear Creek Transfer Camp 5/20-9/30 - Toilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
32 miles north of Fairfield; stock loading ramps, corrals & mangers

Minidoka Ranger District

Campground Elevation # of sites Comments
Thompson Flat 8,400' 20 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
Bennett Springs 8,200' 6 Trash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
1 large fire circle
Lake Cleveland west 8,200' 9 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
No motor boats on lake
Lake Cleveland east 8,200' 20 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
Sublett 5,200' 9 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
Bull Flat 5,200' 7 Trash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
Reservable for Groups; ATV trails; Horses allowed
Clear Creek 4,600' 14 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
Trailheads
Pettit 6,800' 8 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
Campground hosts; Interpretive trail
Diamondfield Jack 7,000' 5 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
Interpretive trail; Snow play area
Porcupine Springs 6,900' 3 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
Trailhead
Father & Sons 7,200' 12 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
Baseball diamond
Bostetter 7,100' 10 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearby
Harrington Fork - Day use only 4,750' 11 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
Picnic Area Only
Steer Basin 5,000' 5 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedFishing available nearbyHandicapped accessible
Limited space for trailers & RVs
Third Fork Trailhead 5,200' 2 Toilets availableTent camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowed
Trailhead
Lower Penstemon 6,600' 5 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
Baseball diamond, horseshoe pits, Nordic trail
Upper Penstemon 6,600' 8 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible
Nordic trail
Bear Gulch 6,000' 8 Drinking water availableTrash pickupToilets availableTent camping availableTrailer and RV camping availablePicnic sites availableCampfires allowedHandicapped accessible