Boise National Forest
Big Roaring River area, Boise National Forest
Boise National Forest contains some 2,612,000 acres in central Idaho, north and east of the city of Boise. Elevations on the forest run from a low of about 2,600' to a high of about 9,800'. The forest is comprised mostly of the mountainous landscape of the Idaho Batholith, a very large and easily eroded chunk of ancient rock (obviously, from all the faulting, uplifting and stream cutting that happened here over the millenia).
Most of the tree cover at the Boise National Forest is conifer, including Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, grand fir, whitebark pine and western larch. For big game you'll find mule deer, elk, black bear and grizzly bear. In some areas there might be bighorn sheep, in other areas pronghorn. You'll find native trout in most of the lakes and streams. You'll also find steelhead trout and ocean-going salmon in the Salmon River and some of its tributaries.
Boise National Forest is the recreational backyard for the city of Boise, and Mountain Home, Idaho City, Cascade, Emmett and Lowman. This is where the local folks go to escape the valley heat and city crowds. This is where they find lush green mountains, arid, rolling landscapes, vast reservoirs, alpine lakes, hot spring pools and raging whitewater streams. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, ATV-riding, swimming, horseback-riding...until winter comes and the skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles come out to play.
In 1908, Boise National Forest was created out of sections of the Payette and Sawtooth Forest Reserves. The first forest supervisor was Emil Grandjean.
Cascade Lake on a winter's day
There are 70 developed campgrounds and picnic areas on Boise National Forest, some of which ofter some amount of universal accessibility. Some areas even have rustic cabins for rent. There are also several group campgrounds, most of which require reservations.
The Emmett Ranger District encompasses 350,000 acres of National Forest with more than 150 camping units in 21 developed campgrounds. There are additional dispersed camping opportunities and some of these even include a few facilities such as toilets and unloading ramps. There are 3 cabins that are available for rental, with one cabin available throughout the year. There are many hot springs across the district, and five of these are found near established trails and campgrounds. The Forest Service maintains more than 150 miles of trails for motorized and non-motorized use. The on-going Payette River Project includes many rapids and river access sites with toilet and trash facilities that enhance an already world-renowned whitewater boating experience.
Cascade Ranger District
Emmett Ranger District
Idaho City Ranger District
- Power Plant Campground
- Queen's River Campground
- Riverside Campground (Idaho City)
- Neinmeyer Campground