Top 5 Places to Go Camping in Southwestern Idaho
Camping is an integral part of life for those who live and visit Idaho. However, with the vast number of camping spots in the state, it is kind of hard to decide where to go. Now if you have been following this series, then you probably already know the drill. If you are new however, our goal is to show those who love to camp, whether they are from Idaho or not, the best places to camp in the state. Today we specifically will be looking at the top 5 best places to go camping in southwestern Idaho. In the course of this article we will talk about where these campgrounds are, the types of camping you can enjoy there, the different activities available in and around the area, as well as the amenities and general atmosphere of the place. So, sit back, and get ready to find your new favorite campground.
The area we will be covering is southwestern Idaho. This is the part of Idaho that encompasses Boise, Meridian, Nampa and so forth. It is made up of 10 counties: Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley, and Washington. Section of the State is one of the most populated, but that does not mean that it doesn't have plenty of great camping spots available. But, without further ado, here are the top 5 best places to go camping in southwestern Idaho.
Bruneau Dunes State Park
Bruneau Dunes State Park, commonly called Bruneau Sand Dunes, is an awesome place to camp and is also a wonder of geology. It is a series of tall sand dunes located about 15 miles south of Mountain Home Idaho. It is a gorgeous place that combines the majesty and wonder of mountains of sand with the joy of Idaho wilderness.
Fun fact, Bruneau Sand Dunes actually includes the tallest sand dune in North America.
Types of Camping
Bruneau Sand Dunes is accommodating for all types of camping. Most people come with campers and tents, however, there are cabins available (according to the Idaho State Parks and Rec website).
The main activity for many people who visit the Bruneau area is to play on the dunes. Whether they come for hiking, photography, sledding, or anything like that, they are going to have fun. There are some other activities available there as well. For instance, there is a lake one can fish in as well as an observatory where one can learn about space and other things beyond the shores of our world. (The observatory is only open Fridays and Saturdays in the spring, summer, and fall and admission does cost a few bucks check their website for details)
It is important to note that no motor vehicles are allowed on the dunes.
The general feel of Bruneau Sand Dunes would have to be of a desert oasis. It is the in-the-middle-of-nowhere intersection between desert sand, water, and plant life. So, if you have always wanted to enjoy a great time at a beautiful oasis far from civilization, then Bruneau is the place for you.
There are flush toilets, showers, dump stations and so on at Bruneau. However, there are also many other amenities to be utilized. For instance, there are equestrian camping spots and trails, a boat ramp for electric motor boats, and so on and so forth.
Located on the border of the Snake River, at the intersection of Ada, Canyon, and Owyhee Counties, is the lauded Celebration Park. This amazing park is a geological park that is designed to be both informational and fun.
Types of Camping
There are some great camping spots open at Celebration Park. It is a first-come-first-served camping area so there is no way to make a reservation. When you are planning your trip out there though, it should be noted that there is no electricity, nor are there any RV hookups available. Whether RVs and Campers are available or not is not expressly stated on their website though.
There are dozens of awesome and fun activities to enjoy at Celebration park. Since it is a geological site, many of the activities revolve around the ancient civilizations that once populated the area. For instance, many visitors love to try out the atlatl and darts that are there. Not to mention there are some amazing opportunities for those who love birds of prey for bird watching. Since Celebration Park is on the border of the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, there are plenty of amazing and beautiful birds that fly around the area.
If you have ever wanted to enjoy a western paradise like the ones you see in the movies, then this the place you need to be. Celebration Park is surrounded by the large semi-arid mountains of southwestern Idaho, cradled by the snake river, and cloaked in sage brush and other desert plants.
There are plenty of amenities available to campers and visitors of Celebration Park. For instance, there are 24/7 bathrooms open to the public near the visitor's center as well as access to potable water. There are also many educational opportunities, nature trails, and picnic areas.
Remember, it does cost money to visit and camp at Celebration Park. So, before you leave, be sure to check their website to see the going rate for a visit to this awesome Idaho gem!
Located near Emmett, Idaho is the awesome overnight camping park known as Triangle Park. This, combined with Black Canyon Park, Wild Rose Park, and Cobblestone Park (all day use parks), makes up the Black Canyon Park System. It is situated in a bend in the Black Canyon Reservoir.
Types of Camping
Triangle Park is mainly a tent camping spot, but there may be room for campers as well (maybe an RV if you are lucky) so it is best to call ahead when you make your reservation to make sure that there is room. Rust be advised that there is no place for electrical hookups.
Most of the activities that people enjoy here at Triangle Park (or at any of the Black Canyon Parks) revolves around the water. The reservoir is a place where a lot of people like to gather to enjoy some time on the water. There are places to swim, wade, launch boats, kayak, and so forth.
This is a very fun camping area if you love the water. It is a lush oasis stuck between the open high-desert of Idaho and the blue water of the reservoir.
There aren't many amenities at Triangle Park, aside from the activities. There are is not drinking water, nor is there any electricity.
Lake Cascade is the lake for which the City of Cascade, Idaho got its name. It is an awesome lake positioned along Highway 55 between Horseshoe Bend and McCall. The lake is over 45 square miles in size so there is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy a trip to the lake.
Types of Camping
There are hundreds of different camping spots around Cascade Lake and they range from simple tent sites to RV hookup.
Some of the activities available at Lake Cascade include boating, fishing, hiking, riding, and so much more. In the winter time there are also great trails for snowmobiling and awesome spots for ice fishing.
Cascade Lake is situated between the high peak mountains of the Boise and Payette National Forests. It is surrounded by trees on all sides giving the area a distinct 'lake trip' like feel.
It depends on what campground you go to, but a lot of amenities are available around the lake. So, no matter where you go you will probably have what you need close by.
Ponderosa State Park
Ponderosa State Park is a wonderful state park located right next to McCall Idaho on the shores of Payette Lake. It is a cozy outdoor sanctuary with both overnight and day-trip experiences available.
Types of Camping
There are several kinds of overnight camping that you can enjoy. There are several standard and 'serviced' campgrounds as well as cabins so on and so forth. At Ponderosa, there are also campsites for large groups, so you can schedule a space for your next big retreat or reunion if you like.
Aside from camping, some of the great activities that visitors can take advantage of include hiking and cycling trails, volleyball, swimming, fishing, and even sightseeing for various animal and plant life. Not to mention there are boat docks and ramps if you want to launch out in the lake.
As we mentioned earlier, the Ponderosa State Park area is a very cozy place. It is surrounded by dense wood that acts as a home to many of the critters that frequent the area. Not to mention, it is surrounded by the beautiful blue water of the lake.
According to their website, Ponderosa State Park has "Flush toilets, showers, dump station, electricity, sewer and water."
Now, these aren't the only places there are to camp in southwestern Idaho, nor are they the only great ones. There are plenty of other amazing places where you can set up your tent. Some honorable mentions include Givens Hot springs, Grimes Creek, and so forth. However, if you only have time to visit the five above, you are going to have a great time!