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Idaho Statesman: Zimo’s top 10 favorite campgrounds

From the bloggers at Idaho Statesman. 

Alpine lakes, mountain ridges, creek meadows, high-desert juniper and sage — campers have a wide choice of places to go in Idaho and neighboring states, with millions of acres to camp as close as an hour away and within an easy day’s drive.

I’ve been retired for almost a year, and my number of camping nights will definitely double this season from my usual 40 or so.

With more than 50 years of exploring the West, it’s difficult to come up with my 10 favorite campgrounds. My favorite ones change anytime I look at a map and plan a weekend trip.

I love state parks in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. I love U.S. Forest Service campgrounds as jumping-off points for camping along rivers like the Salmon near Stanley and the Lochsa near Lowell. But sometimes, my favorite camping spots are those undeveloped areas along back roads, such as through Bear Valley, or across the Owyhee Byway.



What: The Owyhee National Backcountry Byway goes more than 100 miles between Idaho’s town of Grand View to Oregon’s Jordan Valley and offers miles of camping opportunities off the beaten track. There’s only one developed campground in the area, so most of the camping is not in a campground. You’ll have to be self-contained, which means bringing your own drinking water, setting up a portable potty and making sure you have enough gas and good tires.

The beauty of the drive is that it passes the edges of three sections of the recently designated Owyhee Wilderness: Little Jacks Creek, Pole Creek and the North Fork of the Owyhee. You can camp near interpretive signs marking wilderness boundary and do quick hikes into the high-desert areas.

Make this trip in May and early June before the desert’s summer heat. Parts of the byway are 6,000 feet in elevation, so the evenings get cool.


To read the full story by Idaho Statesman, click here.

About Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith is a Wisconsin native currently living in Illinois with her husband, Eric, and two dogs, Maggie and Grace. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and, of course, camping in cabins and park models.

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