Ep. 96: 5 Favorite Campgrounds in Southern Idaho | RV travel camping

Ep. 96: 5 Favorite Campgrounds in Southern Idaho | RV travel camping

Welcome back to Grand Adventure! In this
episode we’ll share five of our favorite campgrounds in southern Idaho, ranging
from a glacially-fed mountain lake to hot springs, from a summer lakefront paradise
to sand dunes, and even rock monoliths along the historic California Trail. You
don’t want to miss this, so stick around! If you’re a Grand Adventurer, chances are
that you recognize this scene from the intro to each and every Grand Adventure
video. We get asked about this boondocking spot more than just about
any other. It’s near Sun Valley, Idaho, which we covered back in episode 19. We’ll
link to episode 19 right here on the screen in case you haven’t seen it. Because we’ve covered it previously, we
won’t return to our Sun Valley camp in this episode of Grand Adventure. Instead,
we’ll share five of our favorite campgrounds across southern Idaho, and
we’ll start out in the Sawtooth Mountains north of Sun Valley. Redfish Lake is located in the Sawtooth
National Recreation Area at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains in Custer County,
south of Stanley. It’s named for the brilliant sockeye salmon that once
returned from the Pacific Ocean in such massive quantities that the lake
shimmered red during spawning season. Now though, only a small percentage of the
wild sockeye succeed in making it through the several hydroelectric dams
along their route back to the lake to spawn. Situated at 6,547 feet above sea level,
Redfish Lake is four-and-a-half miles long and nearly three-quarters of a mile
wide, with five National Forest Service dry campgrounds along its shore. We stayed in the Glacier View Campground,
which offer 65 paved sites scattered throughout three loops at $16 to $18 per
night. Drinking water and flush toilets are available in the campground, and a
dump station with potable water is located nearby at the entrance of the
lake. A special shout-out to our friend and fellow YouTuber TR Bowlin for
providing these great photos of the campsites. Check out TR’s YouTube channel
linked right here on your screen. At the Redfish Lake Lodge, built in 1929
a short distance away in the lake’s northwest corner, there’s a general store,
marina and overnight accommodation. There you may pick up a boat or canoe rental,
fuel and shuttle service to popular hiking trails at the far end of the lake. Campsite reservations at Redfish Lake
fill up quickly, but two of the lake’s campgrounds — Sockeye and Mt. Heyburn — are
walk-up only for first-come, first-served. Now let’s head further west
into Boise National Forest to the Pine Flats Campground west of Lowman. There’s
really nothing special about the sites themselves in this dry Forest Service
campground squeezed between the North Fork Payette River and the Banks-Lowman
Road at 3,700 feet of elevation. Some camp site pads are paved , and vault
toilets, drinking water and trash collection are provided for 15 bucks per
night. Sites include the standard fire ring and picnic table. There is no RV
dump. What makes this place special sits above
the riverbank adjacent to the campground. Here, hot springs spew water heated deep
beneath the earth, and that water spills down the rock facing the river and
collects in small pools, perfect for soaking. These natural hot springs are
only about a half-mile walk from the campsites of Pine Flats, making Pine
Flats Campground a truly special place indeed. Both forks of the Payette River are
popular with whitewater enthusiasts, and there are a number of outfitters near
the town of Banks offering guided rafting trips for those camping in the
area. A bit further north on a thousand-acre
peninsula jutting into beautiful Payette Lake is the spectacular summer
playground of Ponderosa State Park. Camping is available within the park in
four locations, but we stayed in the Peninsula Campground which offers 113 campsites with water and 30 amp electric hookups, fire
rings, picnic tables, a dump station, and three bath houses with hot showers and
flush toilets. We even spotted these two young fawns
wandering through our campsite. The park offers hiking and biking trails, guided
walks with Park naturalists, and evening campfire programs. The charming four season lakeside resort
town of McCall is only a mile and a half down the road, too. Our next favorite campground to share
couldn’t be more different than the previous ones. Near the Snake River,
southeast of Boise and south of Mountain Home, is another Idaho State Park:
Bruneau Dunes. This 4,800-acre preservation area features large sand dunes and small
spring-fed lakes. Campsites are gravel and feature electric and water hookups.
There’s a dump station within the park, and bath houses feature showers and
flush toilets. This natural basin has trapped and stacked flying sand for over
12,000 years. Activities include sand boarding, fishing
for bass and bluegill, bird watching, hiking and swimming. No motorized
vehicles are permitted on the dunes. Nearby the Bruneau River has cut a 1200-foot deep canyon as it enters the Snake River. It’s a good thing that campsites at Bruneau Dunes feature electric ,where it could be brutally hot in the summer. In
fact, it was well over 100 degrees during our July visit. However, once the
sun goes down, the sky lights up. With little light pollution, Bruneau Dunes
offers exceptional stargazing. There’s even an observatory within the
park with a 25-inch Newtonian reflector telescope for visitors to use. For our
final stop in southern Idaho we’re going to head east to the City of Rocks
National Reserve near Almo. California Trail wagon trains of the 1840s and
1850s left the Raft River Valley and traveled through the area and over
Granite Pass into Nevada. The area’s historic and geological values, scenery,
and opportunities for recreation led to its designation as City of Rocks
National Reserve in 1988. This unit of the National Park System is managed
cooperatively by the National Park Service and the Idaho Department of
Parks and Recreation. There are 64 campsites in the C ity of
Rocks Campground, although a few of them are walk-in only. Sites are small, and are
therefore best suited to tents and camper vans. A few can accommodate small
travel trailers and RV’s up to 25 feet. Names or initials of emigrants written
in axle-grease are still visible on Register Rock. Ruts from wagon wheels
also can be seen in some of the rocks. There’s exceptional hiking in City of Rocks.
However, the area is best known for its climbing, with over a thousand trad and
bolted sport routes available. There’s even more hiking and climbing in
Castle Rock State Park immediately adjacent to City of Rocks. Here at the
Smoky Mountain Campground, 37 paved campsites with water and electric are
nestled among Idaho’s largest pinyon pine forest for $29 per night. Restrooms
and showers are centrally located. Southern Idaho offers a plethora of
great camping locations in diverse surroundings. Whether traveling through
on I-84, or treating the region as a destination in its own right, we hope
that this video helps you plan your own RV camping trip to southern Idaho. We’ve
included helpful links in the video description down below. If you liked this
video, please give us a thumbs up! If you’re not yet a Grand Adventurer be
sure to smash that subscribe button and ring that notification bell! We air new
outdoor adventure videos each and every Wednesday, so we’d be honored if you
shared Grand Adventure with your friends and family. And as always, we’d love to hear
from you in the comment section down below this video. Until next week
remember … life is nothing but a Grand Adventure! We’ll see you soon!

34 thoughts on “Ep. 96: 5 Favorite Campgrounds in Southern Idaho | RV travel camping”

  • My home state πŸ˜„ check out Priest Lake sometime. Great channel thoroughfare that connects the lower and upper Lake. Great place to kayak through to the beautiful secluded Upper Lake that's only reachable by canoe or boat. Nice camp spots on the sand shores


    Another great video. My only camping in Idaho was down closer to Yellowstone. Will definitely look at some of the bigger places, unfortunately I am a little big for some of the places you showed at 38'.
    We are looking at going West well to Minot ND and North West
    after we get back from Maine in early August. We leave home on the 8th of May to head Toward Maine.

  • As usual another great episode. Later this summer when my home is sold I will be returning to the full-time RV life. With all of the journeys that you have taken us to I will be busy for the rest of my life visiting them over and over. It was nice seeing that Big Wood River is a favorite of others as well. You once emailed me that I would be good at investigating insurance claims for a living. IronRick THANK YOU.

  • Christina McMillan says:

    Mark, do you find the weather to be moderate around Idaho durning summer? Have you ever had a problem getting campsites at these campgrounds without reservations? With such remote locations, are nearby towns, grocery stores, gas, etc plentiful or are they far and few between?
    Sorry for all the questions! Thinking we could spend a good portion of our summer in Idaho!

  • Campsite Videos says:

    What a great guide for Idaho! Have never been, but will use for planning one day! This was excellent and I love how you showed some of the state parks in it! Well Done once again Grand Adventure!

  • Mark, thanks (again) for sharing these recs with us. And a special 'thank you' for including elevation info for each site. Some 'flatlanders' won't initially appreciate the impact of density altitude on tow vehicle engines. Remember hearing you say it was time to exchange the time card for full-time travel – any updates on that? Best wishes from Bozeman MT.

  • Nomadic In Nature says:

    Amazing video! We will put these on our list of places to check out! Pine Flats looks absolutely outstanding. Thanks for putting this video together! Keep the content coming!

  • Great video and excellent timing, just picked up a Idaho Gazetteer. Just started planning our trip for this summer . See ya down the road!

  • The McMillan Express says:

    Beautiful just beautiful!!! Wow we can't wait to hit these places! Idaho here we come πŸ˜€! Thanks Marc πŸ‘

  • The Glamping Guys says:

    WOW! Thank you for this lovely video and for providing the links to all the locations! Just added to our bucket list.
    Peace & Love!
    Have a Glamperrific Day!

  • Starbreaker666 says:

    Mark you're killing me with these video's. Wonderful job! If you get back into Colorado this coming season let me know I can turn you on to some great little known areas you may have not seen yet.

  • Rollin with the Roche'z says:

    Hey Marc, again great info and video! Question for you, How do you video (record) the image of Google maps zooming in on locations?

  • Chris Lonsberry says:

    Thank you for a very informative video. Idaho is on my bucket list and I’m saving this video! I hope to visit each one of the parks you highlighted.

  • City of Rocks and the Dunes are two of my favorite parks in the Northwest (I'm from Washington). One word of caution about the Dunes in June they have the worst population of mosquitos I have ever seen. No lie!

  • Another great vid Marc. I haven't been to Idaho with the trailer. Did you happen to bring your kayak on this trip? I had friends go through Idaho this spring and they had to stop at each boat wash station even though it was the same day. I'm sure it was worry about Zebra mussels, but every wash station? Thanks

  • Outstanding video, as always! Did not get to ID last year, so now you really gave me the itch. So much to see there, and love the people. I have California plates and they're STILL nice to me!

  • Ramblin' Ralph says:

    Another great video!! I've camped at Redfish Lake (different campground), Ponderosa SP and City of Rocks. Idaho has some great camping!

  • Gavin Streetie says:

    Better stay in the uk I think , I really would not know which one to choose all offer so much , however I did like ponderosa and Mcall , really could spend a lifetime there !

  • Good luck getting a campsite – its like times square in NYC during the spring /summer season – if you like wall to wall people (I live in Boise ID)

  • Nice video but the climate is not sunny most of the time / clouds rain and wind up in the forested areas the sand dunes from May to October are most likely 100 degree temps.

  • Very informative video, great pictures. Only Bruneau Dunes and City of Rocks are in southern Idaho. The other sites are central Idaho.

  • Great picture of the Bruneau sky. It's my absolute favorite reason to visit the park, the observatory being second.. However, even the your great photo doesn't do it justice. It really must be seen in person. Great job covering the southern gem state. .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *