Sunday, August 9, 2020

Mt. Heyburn Campground

     Redfish Lake is a natural, glacier carved lake with thick pine forest on the east side and the jagged Sawtooth Mountain range on the west side. It’s named after the thousands of sockeye salmon that made the yearly journey from the ocean up the Columbia River, the Snake River, and the Salmon River to spawn in the gravel of the streams flowing out of the lake. Today very few sockeye make the 900 mile trip to the lake because their passage is blocked by four dams on the lower Snake River.

       There are five forest service campgrounds with over 140 sites at the north end of the lake. Glacier and Outlet are reservable. Mt Heyburn and Sockeye are first-come, and Point is tenting only. The campgrounds are very popular so make reservations or show up early in the day to get a first-come, first-serve site. Our friends were camp hosting at Mt Heyburn and invited us to come spend a week camping with them. Thanks guys!
  The campsites at Mt Heyburn are left in a natural state with paved parking pads but grass and dirt around the tables and grills. None are accessible but most can be used. All of the campsites in the other campgrounds that accept RVs are accessible.  The Visitor Center is on a hill and is not accessible due to many steps. The beaches are not accessible. We walked/rolled almost every day from Mt Heyburn Campground to the Redfish Lake Lodge along Orion trail in Outlet Campground which connects to a section of the lake road that is closed to traffic. This route is about 1.5 miles one way and requires walking along the road with traffic for several hundred feet in two spots. Mt Heyburn  44.13532, -114.91498

Bethine and Frank Church Overlook

  After climbing up to 8,701 feet to Galena Summit, Route 75 starts down into the Sawtooth Valley. The overlook provides a perfect spot to enjoy a breathtaking, expansive view of the 15 miles wide and 30 miles long valley. The overlook is named in honor of lifelong environmentalists,Beth and Frank Church. As a Idaho senator Church sponsored the Wilderness Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

  The overlook has ramps to both levels of the viewing platform but the accessibility stops there. The walls are all too high to see over. The signs are too high to read. Visitors in wheelchairs will get a better view from their vehicles or from the sidewalk.

    The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Overlook  43.87262, -114.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Trail Creek Road Boondocking

  This very scenic and popular boondocking area starts about five miles north of Ketchum, Idaho and continues for three miles. Look for the dirt roads on the west side of Trail Creek Road. The first  road parallels Trail Creek Road and has three possible entrances/exits. The dirt roads farther north dead end so if the spaces are occupied you may have to back out. The road where we camped has two site, one on a bend in the road and another on a small loop at the end.

  Trail Creek Road is paved and smooth along the boondocking area but become rougher and narrow before turning to dirt as it heads north. The dirt boondocking roads are suitable for RVs but if you’re not sure walk them first. Forest  43.76867, -114.27808

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Silver Creek South

There are only four sites in this campground. Two have been updated with gravel parking areas, picnic tables with shade shelters, and vault toilets. The other two are primitive parking spots.

  The first site traveling east and north along the campground road is a large grassy area which I don’t recommend because it’s a favorite spot of free range cattle. A cattle guard and barb wire fencing keeps the cattle (except for a couple of them who have figured a way around the barriers) out of the first improved site where we camped. It’s a shared site with two shelters on the bank of the pretty Silver Creek. The next site is a small pull off with wooden steps to get over the fence. The last site sits high above the river and has a picnic table without a shelter and a vault toilet. (no photo).

  The first improved site is accessible with concrete under the table, fire ring, and grill stand. Large rocks block close parking to the concrete pad leaving a section of gravel to push through. The second improved site has a concrete parking pad next to the toilet but the table on a downhill grade with uneven ground.

  Turn off of US 26 onto Cutoff Road and travel north for about a mile to access to the campground road which parallels Cutoff. Cutoff is washboard gravel but fine for any RV. The first improved site is large enough for all RVs. The second improved site is very long but is back-in only. Campground  43.2445, -113.9958

Monday, August 3, 2020

Unhenge Campground

   Richfield, Idaho is a sleepy little town with streets so empty that the kids can ride their bikes in circles on the main drag. A grocery store, a convenience store, and a couple of bars make up the commercial section. There’s also a free dump station at the corner of North Main Street and West Latah Ave.

   The campground is south of US 26. It’s has seven sites nicely spaced around a loop road. There are a few scattered tables, a shelter with more tables, and one trash can but no restroom. Camping is free and limited to seven days.  A few of the local rocks have been arranged in a circle at the edge of the park to form Unhenge. :-D

  A BLM sign identifies the site as Richfield Pumphouse. There’s a fee collection container that hasn’t been used for a while. Cross the Little Wood River if you wish to camp on BLM land but check for ownership because this land is a patchwork of owners. Campground  43.04255, -114.15442

Monday, July 27, 2020

Shoshone Falls Park

    Around 16,000 years ago Lake Bonneville, a huge landlocked lake that filled the Great Basin area of Utah, broke through a
sediment dam and rushed into streams flowing to the Snake River. The weaker basalt layer downstream of the falls was carved away by the immense amount of water, forming a 212 foot drop.

   A small park with a paved trail and overlooks is located on the south side of the canyon. A longer paved trail climbs about a mile uphill and continues for another mile to the site of Evel Knievel’s attempt to jump over the Snake River canyon in a specially designed rocket-powered cycle.

   The paved trail makes the park accessible but full views of the waterfall are blocked by vegetation and railings. We did not realize that the longer trail is paved and could not find an easy way to access it.
    The road down to the park is narrow and steep but can be accessed by any vehicle. RVs and trailers are not permitted in the small overlook parking lot at the fee booth. Continue down the road to the first parking lot on the right side of the road which is reserved for RVs. Falls  42.59567, -114.39826

Friday, July 24, 2020

Milner Historic Recreation Area

  Six gravel spur roads head north off of the three mile, paved park road to campsites along the shore of Milner Lake. The campsites are all different  - some are grouped closely together and some are small single sites; many are rough and well used while others have recently been built. Trees grow along the shoreline but since the sites get southern exposure there isn’t much opportunity for shade. Most of the sites have tables and fire rings. Some have trash cans and there’s a dumpster at the boat ramp parking lot.
    The park road intersects with West Milner Road (rough washboard gravel) at both ends. There’s a pay station at each entrance but RVs can only access the west end due to a low railroad underpass at the east end. Internet reviews mention the smell from either feedlots or manure spread on fields. We noticed just a slight odor in the evenings when the wind changed direction.

  We camped in site 9 and although we didn’t check out all of the sites we liked this one more than any of the others that we did see. The wide-open view to the west is of lake, sagebrush, and farm fields. Trees on the east side block noise from the other sites and add a lot of privacy. I really enjoyed the parade of birds that came every morning, one after another, to sit on the top of the pyramid-shaped rock and survey their world before beginning their day. Besides all of the rather common birds, we also were visited by a great horned owl that landed in the tree just feet away from our RV.

   The campsites are rocky and uneven making access difficult. A paved trail has a small parking area where short RVs will fit. The trail has gentle slopes and is accessible. It follows along a portion of the Oregon Trail. In the right light the ruts can be seen. Campground  42.52966, -113.99279

Monday, July 20, 2020

Lud Drexler Park

  Salmon Falls Creek was dammed in 1910 creating a long narrow reservoir to control flooding and provide irrigation water storage.
  The park and campground sit on the hill above the dam and most sites have a nice view of the water and the distant mountains. Amenities include picnic tables with shade shelters, grills, fire rings, vault toilets, fresh water, and a dump station. Campers have a choice of sunny or shady sites. Camping is also permitted on a short section of shoreline. Some of the sites have been upgraded and have new shade shelters. Amenities include picnic tables with shade shelters, grills, fire rings, vault toilets, fresh water, boat ramps, and a dump station.

   Uneven, rocky ground makes rolling around a little difficult. The tables have short overhangs and the toilets are not accessible.

   Most of the sites are large enough for motorhomes. Campground   42.21001, -114.73003