U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Nez Perce National Forest


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Forest Information

The Nez Perce National Forest is located in north central Idaho and is comprised of 2,224,056 acres. There are fifty-five developed campgrounds four of which met the selection criteria.

The Nez Perce National Forest is a land of peace and challenges, of solitude and self-determination, of rugged beauty and spectacular vistas. With nearly half of Nez Perce National Forest classified as Wilderness, the Forest contains diversity in its topography and eco-systems. This diversity provides visitors to the forest a variety recreational opportunities and outstanding camping locations.

More than 200 miles of Wild and Scenic Salmon, Selway, and Snake rivers lure rafters and kayakers each year for fun in the sun and spray. To retain the quality of the experience, permits are required to "ride the Rivers" (contact a Ranger District Office for more information). For those who enjoy the challenge of a tenacious Steelhead or dinner size Cutthroat, there are numerous clear streams, crystal lakes, and the Clearwater River. The rivers and streams of the Nez Perce National Forest have carved secluded dales, quiet valleys and deep canyons into the rugged mountains. Numerous creeks and streams provide moisture for lush vegetation where hundreds of miles of trails crisscross the Forest. A visitor can explore ancient cedar grove, mountain valley, a willow-lined riverbank, alpine lakes, secluded dales or a mountain top using these trails. The abundance of water make each trail, from a quarter-mile and longer, a memorable experience.

There are numerous dispersed camping sites within the forest but since these locations are undeveloped they do not qualify and are not included in this campground review. The Forest does have four developed camping locations with ten or more sites which are included in this review. Each of these locations can accommodate car, tent, recreational vehicle (RV) and motorhome camping enthusiasts.

O'Hara Bar campground, adjacent to the Selway River and about five miles east of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, is nestled in a cool, moist cedar grove. Fish Creek campground, near Grangeville, Idaho, might be considered the most rustic. However, the network of foot/mountain bike/horseback/cross country ski/snowmobile trails, with fantastic vistas and challenges, make it a favorite among campers. Spring Bar campground is located along a "quiet" portion of the Salmon River under Ponderosa pines and apple trees. The fourth campground is Red River and is adjacent to the Red River. The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is accessible from this campground as is in the Magruder Road Corridor.

The Nez Perce National Forest has developed an interesting recreational opportunity - Forest Adventure Road. The Magruder Road Corridor is an example of a Forest Adventure Road. Constructed in the 1920's by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), this 101-mile roadway winds through a vast undeveloped area. The route followed by Magruder Road Corridor has been known by several names over the years: Southern Nez Perce Trail, Elk City to Darby Road, Montana Road and the Parker Trailer. The Elk City Wagon Road and The Gold Rush Loop Tour are two other Adventure Roads found in the Nez Perce. Forest Adventure Roads offer the forest's visitor not only solitude and pristine beauty but the opportunity for a unique experience - time travel. These are the routes less traveled, so in the hush between night-time and sunrise, one might hear the sound of a wagon bringing supplies to the gold miners or the footfall of a passing ancient hunter. Basically, an Adventure Road is a primitive, rough, steep and winding, one-lane road with few turnouts. It is not meant for the family sedan. This unique experience is slow and recommended for high clearance vehicles only.

The Nez Perce National Forest is a land of peace and challenges with a rugged beauty to be explored over and over again. Go there to hike, camp, fish, challenge the white rapids, explore the less traveled roads or experience any one of the many other recreational opportunities offered.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 1005 Hwy. 13 Grangeville, Idaho 83530 208-983-1950 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Clearwater 1005 Hwy. 13 Grangeville, Idaho 83530 208-983-1963 Moose Creek HCR75, Box 91 Kooskia, Idaho 83539 208-926-4258 Red River POB 416 Elk City, Idaho 83525 208-842-2255 Salmon River 304 Slate Creek Rd. White Bird, Idaho 83554 208-839-2211

Fred and Suzi Dow