Top 5 Best Places to Camp in Northern Idaho
Top 5 Best Places to Camp in Northern Idaho Camping in Idaho Series
Camping is a staple of Idaho life. Whether you have been here for your whole life or just moved here, then you have probably been bit by the camping bug and have been itching to go. However, for a lot of people, even if they have been here since they were born, don't know where some of the best places to camp are. Or, at least, they know of one or two great places, but haven't tried out many new camping spots. Now, if you are in that boat, then you have come to the right place.
Today we are going to go over the best places to camp in the seven distinct regions of Idaho (Northern, North-Central, Southwest, Central, South-Central, Eastern, and Southeastern). In this article, we will start this series off by covering the best places to camp in Northern Idaho.
What Constitutes Northern Idaho?
Northern Idaho, also known as the Idaho Panhandle is, in this case, defined by the five north-most counties in the state. This means that everything North of Clearwater and Latah Counties is Northern Idaho. In total, it includes Shoshone, Benawah, Kootenai, Bonner, and Boundary Counties. Only campgrounds that are in one of these counties will be considered for this list.
Now, one more thing before get into our top 5 favorite campsites, let's talk about what we will be covering specifically. There are 5 criteria we will be covering for each of these campsites are location, type of camping, activities available, the environment of the campsite, and amenities available. If there are any additional details that make them special, we will share those as well.
Heyburn State Park
If you are looking for a very relaxed weekend in one of Idaho's oldest national forests, then Heyburn State Park is definitely the place to be. It boasts quite a great repertoire of awesome activities and campsites for you to enjoy, so be sure to put it on your list for the next time you are up north!
This awesome state park is located on the shores of the Chatcolet Lake (an extension of Coeur d'Alene Lake). It extends almost the entire shoreline of the lake and stretches out several miles both west and south which means there is quite a lot of camping space available.
Type of Camping
At Heyburn State Park, you can enjoy beautiful and cozy cabins and cottages all year round with traditional campsites available seasonally. Now, there are only 6 total cabins and cottages, but a surprisingly high number of campsites to enjoy. As of this writing, they have 73 standard campsites and 56 serviced ones. So, there are quite a few options for when nightfall comes.
There are loads of fun activities available for people to enjoy when they visit Heyburn National Forest. The most obvious one would have to be the lake. Chatcolet Lake is great for all sorts of activities. There is swimming, boating, fishing, and other watersports. However, if that isn't your cup of tea, you can always enjoy some nature trails, wildlife viewing, picnic areas, biking, and so much more.
The Heyburn National Forest is the quintessential mountain lake and forest retreat. After skirting around the edges of the tantalizing trees, when you enter Heyburn, you are completely enveloped by pines and spruces. As you drive farther in you will see peeks of the lake through the trees, its blue water contrasting against the needles of the evergreen trees. Once you make it to your campsite, you will find yourself smack dab in the middle of the most beautiful mountain/ lake scenery imaginable. (Be sure to pack a camera). This camping area is very accessible for all who want to enjoy it.
For the benefit of visitors to the Heyburn National Forest, there are many amenities at their disposal. For instance, there are showers, flush toilets, boat dock, marina, and marina store.
Farragut State Park
Just a bit north up the road is the awesome state park of Farragut. This place is pretty awesome. If you want someplace that will quickly become your new favorite, then Farragut is for you.
This beautiful little campsite is located on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille (which we will cover in more detail later). Farragut is also part of the Coeur d'Alene National Forest which means that it is also part of some of this nation's greatest wilderness. Near to Farragut are the cities of Bayview, Belmont, Athol, and North Pole, Idaho.
There are plenty of great activities in and around the Farragut State Park. On the Parks and Rec website, it says the most common activities include trail riding for horses, mountain and dirt bikes, and leisure travel. There are also places for picnics, a nearby lake, and so much more.
Much like the camping spots above, this awesome spot is a lakeside paradise cloaked in evergreens as far as the eye can see. As you drive in, it looks a lot like Yellowstone park with its northwestern middle-of-nowhere charm.
There are flush toilets, showers, dump stations, and more available for visitors. Not to mention the campgrounds are right next to Bayview, Idaho. In Bayview there are a few different shops where you can buy supplies and food if need be.
Idaho Panhandle National Forest (Coeur d'Alene Forest Reserve)
This lovely outdoor recreation area is located just west of Lake Pend Oreille and just north of the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. It starts on the borders of the lake and stretches almost all the way to the Montana border. To get there you have to drive up north and take small highways that wind in and out of forested peaks.
There are lots of activities available in this remote Idaho forest. There are paths for biking (mountain and dirt), picnicking and, of course, camping. There are also many awesome winter opportunities as well.
Just like above, this forest is blanketed in trees and is home to many, many animals. The real charm of this area is the fact that it is so far away from any large civilization. You can really feel like you are separated from the world while camping out there in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
As we mentioned earlier, there isn't much going on in this part of the state. Most of the people that go to camp up here are trying to camp in the most natural of circumstances so there isn't much in the way of established bathrooms, showers, etc.
Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced pond o'ray), is located just north of Coeur d'Alene and is one of the deepest and biggest lakes in Idaho. It is a massive and beautiful lake that houses some of Idaho's awesome bull trout, rainbow trout, and many more different fish.
When camping around Lake Pend Oreille, there are a lot of things to enjoy. For instance, the lake is great for boating, swimming, fishing, and so much more. Then, of course, there are the plenty of trails that are open for riding and exploring, and then there is also exploring the picturesque towns that line the shores of this great lake.
Camping around Lake Pend Oreille is the epitome of the perfect lake trip. There is beautiful water, breathtaking views, majestic wildlife, and so many opportunities for fun.
Unlike the Panhandle National Forest, camping around Lake Pend Oreille has many amenities. For instance, if you are camping anywhere near one of the many towns that surround the lake, you should be able to find just about anything you might need. The individual campsites will have different amenities compared to the others, so be sure to check the websites of the campsite you are going to for more information.
Coeur d'Alene Lake
Coeur d'Alene Lake is located just south of Lake Pend Oreille on the edge of the Coeur d'Alene Reservation. It is beautiful lake that stretches north and south for over twenty miles.
There are loads of activities you can do if you are camping anywhere near the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Just like with Lake Pend Oreille, there are plenty of opportunities to fish, boat, and swim at the lake as well as plenty of places to explore the surrounding beauty.
There are few places as beautiful as Coeur d'Alene Lake. It is not only surrounded by natural beauty, but architectural beauty as well. The cities and towns that you can explore as well are some of the most fantastic and gorgeous in Idaho. So, be sure that you check them out before you head back home from your camping trip.
Just like with Pend Oreille, there are many different camping arrangements that will have various different amenities. So, be sure to check out your specific camping spot ahead of time so you know what to expect.
Northern Idaho is a great place to go camping, so be sure to book your reservations as soon as you can. Camping here is one of the most exciting activities you could ask for. Check out these and the many other camping areas in northern Idaho if you are looking for a fun place to spend a weekend.
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