Idaho has 30 beautiful state parks and recreational trail ways that service over 2.5 million visitors annually. Both campers and day-use customers alike choose Idaho’s State Parks for the experiences that the parks promote and the benefits that they have to offer.
Idaho's state parks feature mountains, rolling hills, rivers, forests, lakes, and historical areas. The state parks in Idaho are family friendly - many parks have playgrounds and picnic areas, as well as developed and electric campsites - some even include WiFi to help you stay connected while getting away. Some of the activities you can enjoy in the parks include: biking, hiking, boating, camping, swimming, fishing, golf, horseback riding, family fun, and relaxation! Use this guide to plan your next adventure in your own backyard!
The Idaho Parks app includes these awesome state parks:
Bear LakeBear Lake State Park is located in a high mountain valley in the extreme southeast corner of Idaho. At 5,900 feet elevation, the park offers a wide variety of both summer and winter recreation opportunities. Bear Lake itself is 20 miles long and 8 miles wide with half of the lake in Idaho and half in Utah. The lake is a water sports Mecca attracting boaters, water skiers, and beach lovers from all over the country.
All that inviting water is hard to resist. Swimmers will enjoy a two-mile-long beach on the north end of the lake, plus a 1-1/2 mile beach on the east side. The gradual slope of the lake bottom provides an enormous swimming area. Ramps are available for boaters and water skiers who want to enjoy the water, too. Anglers can try for a native cutthroat or lake trout in the summer. In the winter, they can come back with buckets and nets when the Bonneville cisco run. The fish is found nowhere else on Earth.
Bruneau DunesThe tallest sand dune rises to 470 feet high above small lakes in the high desert south of Mountain Home. The state park includes desert, dune, prairie, lake and marsh habitat with opportunities to observe nocturnal species. Activities include fishing, birdwatching, camping, hiking, swimming and viewing the stars at one of only two public observatories in Idaho. Feel free to climb but no vehicles are allowed on the dunes. A visitor center offers information on birds of prey, insects, fossils, wildlife and the sand dunes. A variety of gift items are available for purchase. Two cabins are available for rent. Also 82 serviced with W/E and 16 standard sites. The Equestrian Area provides facilities for visitors to camp with their horses and there is a 9-mile riding trail around the park.
Castle RocksCastle Rocks is a dramatic geological area of granite spires and monoliths similar to its larger neighbor, City of Rocks, to the north. The 1,440-acre Ranch Unit encompasses a portion of the rocks, as well as remnants of its ranching history, Indian pictographs, and superb recreational opportunities. This unit includes two picnic areas, miles of multiple-use trails, and excellent sport climbing routes. Castle Rocks State Park includes two other park units near Almo: Smoky Mountain (240-acres), and the Administrative Unit (12-acres). Smoky Mountain Unit offers 38 campsites (6 are open to equestrian campers), RV dump station, and equestrian trail head for the historic California Trail. The Administrative Unit includes the visitor center for Castle Rocks and City of Rocks, a picnic area, historic wagons exhibit, and park offices.
CDA ParkwayWalkers, hikers and bikers love this linear park that follows the north shore of beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene. The Coeur d' Alene Parkway lies along the north shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, following Centennial Trail east from Coeur d'Alene to Higgens Point. At Higgens Point there is a boat-launch facility, a picnic area overlooking the lake, and docks. Over 1,000 feet of public shoreline parallels the path. Also available are an exercise court, roadside picnic tables, toilet facilities and benches for those who wish to stop and enjoy the lake view.
City Of RocksOn his way to California in 1849, emigrant James F. Wilkens described the dramatic geological area he encountered as "City of Rocks." The name remains, as well as hundreds of pioneer inscriptions, wagon ruts, and journal accounts, testifying to the nearly quarter-million people who traveled through here between 1843 and 1869. Visitors today will see nearly the same scene - granite spires and monoliths reaching 60 stories tall. Geologists estimate the oldest granite to exceed 2.5 billion years old. Climbers find the younger granite of the Almo Pluton to be some of the best rock they've ever ascended. Established by Congress in 1988 as a National Reserve, City of Rocks encompasses 14,407 acres of federal, state, and private lands containing grand scenery, rich cultural history, and places of relative solitude and silence. The Reserve's visitor center in Almo provides interpretive exhibits and detailed information about camping, hiking, and other recreational opportunities.
DworshakDworshak State Park is located among trees and meadows on the western shore of Dworshak Reservoir. The park is comprised of three units - Freeman Creek, Three Meadows Group Camp, and Big Eddy Lodge and Marina.
Camping, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and water-skiing are just some of the many activities that await park visitors. A boat ramp and handling dock provide easy launching most of the year. A fish-cleaning station is nearby to help with the dayâ€™s catch.
Eagle IslandEagle Island is a 545-acre day-use park west of Boise that features a popular swimming beach, a grassy picnic area, a waterslide and more than five miles of trails for those looking for a place to ride horses, hike, walk your dog, or play disc golf.
FarragutInformation on the park is available at the Visitor Center between
8-8 or by calling 208-683-2425.
CAMPING AREAS (Reservations can be made by calling 1-888-922-6743 or on-line by following the link on this page, may be made for dates through SEPTEMBER 5TH, otherwise sites are first come first served with registration at the Visitor Center)
CAMPING CABINS; (OPEN, at both WILLOW and WALDRON, for reservations 1-888-922-6743)
GROUP CAMP AREAS (FOR RESERVATIONS 208-683-2425)
WALDRON, one full loop or more
SUNRISE GROUP SHELTERS (FOR RESERVATIONS 208-683-2425)
EAGLE BOAT LAUNCH, WILLOW PICNIC AREA, BEAVER BAY BEACH, and FLYERSâ€™ FIELD DAY USE AREAS (OPEN 8-8)
MUSEUM AT THE BRIG; (OPEN DAILY 10-4 and until 5 on Friday and Saturday)
HarrimanHarriman State Park lies within an 11,000-acre wildlife refuge in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Moose, Elk, and Sandhill Cranes are common, as is North America's largest waterfowl, the Trumpeter Swan. Known as one of the best fly-fishing streams in the nation, the Henrys Fork meanders for eight miles through Harriman. Over 20 miles of trails are available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross county skiing. Guided horseback tours are offered by a park vendor, Dry Ridge Outfitters, 208-558-RIDE (7433).
Hells GateHells Gate State Park is the gateway to both Idaho's Lewis and Clark country and to Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. Shady campsites along the Snake River make comfortable base-camps for exploration of the surrounding area. Jet boat excursions into Hells Canyon leave on a regular basis from the park's docks. The Nez Perce National Historic Park is only 30 minutes away. A wide choice of restaurants and shopping are just minutes away, in nearby Lewiston Idaho.
Henrys LakeLocated just 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park, this high mountain lake is the kind of place fishermen dream about. The state park, named after explorer Major Andrew Henry, opens the Thursday before Memorial Day and closes mid-October, weather permitting. Anglers fish for cutthroat, brook and rainbow-cutthroat hybrid trout. The park has a modern fish cleaning station near the boat ramp. Camping is at one of 44 sites and there are camping-cabins also available for rent. During winter, information on Henrys Lake can be obtained by calling Harriman State Park.
HeyburnHeyburn State Park is the oldest park in the Pacific Northwest. Created in 1908, it is comprised of approximately 5,500 acres of land and 2,300 acres of water. The park includes three lakes; Chatcolet, Benewah, and Hidden Lakes, with the shadowy St. Joe River meandering along the eastern boundary of the park.
Natural and cultural history is plentiful at Heyburn. Before it was a park, the general area was a gathering place for the Coeur d' Alene Indian tribe. In the 1930's, the park was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and those hardworking crews built many of the park's buildings.
Heyburn is a natural park with a variety of different habitats. Large, tall Ponderosa pines tower over grassy hillsides covered in wildflowers. On shadier slopes, cedar trees mix with hemlocks and huge white pines. On the edges of the lakes, the wetland/marsh areas are home to many types of wildflowers and plants.
Lake CascadeLake Cascade State Park provides diverse and exciting recreational opportunities throughout all four seasons.
Popular for all types of boating, prevailing winds on the water make it especially well suited for sailing and windsurfing.
Rainbow trout, Coho salmon, small mouth bass and perch can be caught from the shore or by boat in the summer or through the ice in the winter.
Hiking, bird watching, photography, mountain biking, all types of boating, ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and just plain relaxing are all easily accessible from Lake Cascade State Park.
Lake Cascade offers two group camping opportunities, including Snowbank group camp and Osprey Point group yurts, 200 individual campsites in 7 developed campgrounds (with Ridgeview offering power, water and 5 sites with sewer), dispersed camping areas with primitive camping, several day use areas, and 6 boat launch ramps.
The various campgrounds and facilities of the park are dispersed around Lake Cascade's forty-one square miles of surface water and 86 miles of shoreline.
The office for the park is located in Cascade near the intersection of Dam Road and Lakeshore Drive.
Lake WalcottLake Walcott State Park is located at the northwest end of the Bureau of Reclamation's Lake Walcott Project, a welcome refuge on the edge of Idaho's high desert. Water skiing, power boating, windsurfing, sailing and bird watching are only a few of the activities that will make your stay at Lake Walcott enjoyable. Camping areas with RV hookups are available. Picnickers and tenters enjoy the acres of grass beneath groves of stately eastern hardwoods. Nearby sites of interest include Minidoka Falls near the park, Rupert City Park, and the historic railroad community of Minidoka.
Land of Yankee ForkThe Land of the Yankee Fork State Park brings to life Idahoâ€™s frontier mining history. This State Park is part of the larger Land of the Yankee Fork Historic Area located in scenic central Idaho. Managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Salmon-Challis National Forest and the Challis District of the Bureau of Land Management this historic area provides unique historical interpretation and many recreational opportunities. At the Yankee Fork Visitor Center near Challis there are museum exhibits, a gold panning station, audiovisual programs, and friendly personnel to provide information on local mining history and area attractions. Also of interest are the ghost towns of Bonanza, Custer and Bayhorse, the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, the Custer Motorway and the Challis Bison Jump.
Land of the Yankee Fork provides outstanding trail opportunities from hiking and biking trails, to motorised ATV and Motorbike trails. Camping in the National Forest and BLM lands is varied as well with both primitive and developed campsites available
There is truly something for everyone at Land of the Yankee Fork State Park and Historic Area!
Lucky PeakThree distinct units can be found at this state park, three of which are located near Lucky Peak reservoir just 8 miles east of Boise. Discovery Park is a popular roadside park for picnics, walking your pet or fishing in the Boise River. Sandy Point, at the base of Lucky Peak Dam is most popular for its sandy beach and clear, cool water. Spring Shores offers lakeside access for water enthusiasts by providing two boat ramps, parking, a full-service marina, on-site watercraft rentals and convenience store.
Massacre RocksOregon Trail emigrants referred to the Massacre Rocks area as "Gate of Death" and "Devil's Gate", but modern day travelers use terms like beautiful, serene, and restful to describe the park. The park is rich in Oregon Trail, geological, and natural histories.
Rich in history, pioneers used this area, specifically what is now referred to as â€˜ Register Rockâ€™ as a rest stop for years. Today we invite horse owners to water and rest their animals in the corral at Register Rock. Many emigrant names are inscribed on the large rock, which is now protected by a weather shelter. A scenic picnic area surrounds the rock, creating a desert oasis for the modern traveler. The site also includes a horse rest area for highway travelers.
Oregon Trail remnants are most easily seen from highway rest areas in either end of the park. For additional information on the Oregon Trail visit the Three Island Crossing State Park page and the Oregon/California Trail Center website.
McCroskeyThis 5300-acre ridgeline park is dedicated to pioneer women. McCroskey State Park's highlight is an 18-mile skyline drive through the park on unimproved roads provides spectacular views of the rolling Palouse country and access to 32 miles of multi-purpose trails. Facilities include a group day use shelter, primitive camping areas and picnic areas along the road. The road is not recommended for large RVs and may be too rough for your family car.
Old MissionThe oldest standing building in all of Idaho is found here, in the Coeur dâ€™Aleneâ€™s Old Mission State Park. The Mission of the Sacred Heart or Sacred Heart Mission was constructed between 1850 and 1853 by Catholic missionaries and members of the Coeur dâ€™Alene Tribe. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sacred Heart Mission and the Coeur dâ€™Aleneâ€™s Old Mission State Park provide an educational experience not found anywhere else, giving visitors an opportunity to examine the dynamics and complexities between Jesuit missionaries and the tribal people among whom they settled.
The park features the Sacred Heart Mission building, a restored Parish House and an historic cemetery. The visitor center includes an interpretive exhibit about the Mission and the Coeur d'Alene Indians. A walking audio tour tape is available.
PonderosaPonderosa State Park covers most of a 1,000-acre peninsula that juts into beautiful Payette Lake near McCall. The scenic overlook at Osprey Point offers a spectacular view of the lake. The park offers hiking and biking trails, guided walks with park naturalists and evening campfire programs. The North Beach Unit has a beach and picnic area. The topography ranges from arid sagebrush flats to dense forests. Wildlife that can be viewed at the park include Canada geese, osprey, bald eagles, wood ducks, mallards, songbirds, deer, moose, beaver, muskrats and even bear. Winter activities include Nordic skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails.
Priest LakePriest Lake State Park lies just 30 miles from the Canadian Border, nestled deep below the crest of the Selkirk Mountains. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Northern Idaho and mile-high mountains, Priest Lake State Park sits along the eastern shores of Priest Lake, a 19-mile long, over 300 foot deep lake.
Visitors to the park will enjoy the dense forests of cedar, fir and tamarack and will be able to observe the park's year round inhabitants such as the whitetail deer, black bear, moose and bald eagles. Noted for its extremely clear water, fed by streams cascading from the high Selkirk peaks, the main body of Priest Lake extends north south for 19 miles. A two-mile thoroughfare connects the main lake to the remote Upper Priest Lake that is accessible only by foot, mountain bike, or boat.
Round LakeRound Lake State Park is situated in 142 acres of forest surrounding a 58-acre lake at an elevation of 2,122 feet. The lake is the product of glacial activity dating back to the Pleistocene Epoch.
Flocks of Canada geese pass over towering pine, hemlock and larch as osprey plunge to the lake for trout or perch. Robins and raven inspect the campgrounds while a lake breeze carries campfire smoke up through the canopy of ponderosa, western red cedar and paper birch.
Close to shore, turtles and frogs, beaver and muskrat dart about for food amid the reeds and grasses, red alder, skunk cabbage and water lilies.
Along one of three trails, hikers find beaver lodges, dams and ponds and, often, glimpse a resident moose. With an afternoon breeze stirring the lake's waters, trout jump after insects as grebe dive under ripples and water ouzel dance on logs.
Echoing across the lake is a strange chorus of bullfrog and duck calls, red-winged blackbird screeches, odd splashes and plops, and the sound of children playing on the beach.
Thousand SpringsThousand Springs State Park, with its five beautiful units and multiple areas, is a testament to why the area is called the Magic Valley. Visitors can view wagon ruts and bridge abutments at Kelton Trail, explore the magnificent Malad Gorge, access the riding arena at Billingsley Creek, get writing inspiration at Vardis Fisher, step back in time and tour historic structures at Ritter Island and Bonnieview, take in the scenery at Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve, view Niagara Springs, fish at Crystal Lake. Day use opportunities abound within the units of Thousand Springs State Park.
Three Island CrossingThree Island Crossing State Park is located on the Snake River at Glenns Ferry. It is home to The Oregon Trail History and Education Center where visitors can learn about pioneer emigrants and Native American history.
Oregon Trail pioneers knew this spot well. It was one of the most famous river crossings on the historic trail. Pioneer travelers used the three-island crossing until 1869, when Gus Glenn constructed a ferry about two miles upstream. The Glenns Ferry community sponsors a crossing commemoration the second Saturday of each August. Events often include living history presentations and historic skills fair.
Trail of the CDA'sThe Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a 73-mile paved trail spanning the Idaho panhandle between Mullan and Plummer. It was created through a unique partnership between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Union Pacific Railroad, the U. S. Government, and the State of Idaho. The trail begins in the historic Silver Valley, continues along the Coeur d'Alene River past scenic Lake Coeur d'Alene and through rolling farmlands to Plummer. Twenty developed trailheads provide entry points, and there are seventeen scenic waysides along the route for picnicking.
WinchesterWinchester Lake State Park surrounds a 104-acre lake, nestled in a forested area at the foot of the Craig Mountains, just off US 95 adjoining the town of Winchester.
Winters at the park are long and cold with ample snowfall. Four Yurts are available for rental all year. Summers are short with warm days and cool, refreshing evenings. Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir are the predominant vegetation. Fishing for perch, tiger muskie, bass and blue gill are popular. Wildlife often seen in the park includes white-tailed deer, Canada geese, muskrats, Stellerâ€™s jay, racoons, osprey, bald eagles, and Columbian ground squirrels. The Wolf Education and Research Center is located one mile from the entrance to the park.