Finding America by RV—Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway

Lewis & Clark, the mighty Nez Perce people, wild and scenic rivers rushing through remote canyons—just three of the many reasons to go in search of America in the wilds of North Central Idaho. One of America’s famed Scenic Byways traces the trail followed by the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery through Idaho in 1805 and 1806. It’s now known as the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway.

RV travelers longing to study these intrepid explorers, and the native people they lived among, won’t find a better route to follow than US-12 from Lewiston, ID east two hundred miles to the Montana border at Lolo Pass.

How Do We Get There?

Lucky for you, RV traveler, this gorgeously remote byway is easy to reach from a couple of major cities. It is, for example, only five and a half hours east from Portland, OR to Lewiston, ID along US-12. Lewiston is also about ten hours north of Salt Lake City via I-84. Either way, once you make your way to Lewiston, ID, the journey really gets spectacular.

As we mentioned, you’re going to follow US-12 from Lewiston all the way to the Montana border, through Lolo Pass. A spur of the Byway branches south at Kooskia, ID on Hwy 13 to Grangeville, so plan time to make that side trip for even more historic interest.

What Can We See and Where Can We Camp?

Whether you’re looking for historic sites, outdoor recreation or simply stunning views to capture in vacation photos, you’re going to love traveling the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway by RV.

By starting your journey at the Byway’s western terminus, you’ll be able to visit the Lewis & Clark Discovery Center on the Snake River in Hells Gate State Park. Take time to watch the half-hour video presentation From the Mountains to the Sea: Lewis & Clark in Idaho to learn the high points of this famous exploration. You’ll also find roomy campsites along the river, so consider a stop here before continuing along the Byway.

To fully understand the history of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, we must also know the role the Nez Perce people played. Follow the Scenic Byway (US-12) east along the Clearwater River to Spalding to find the Nez Perce National Historic Park. There’s a visitor center and museum here, plus access to numerous sites sacred to the Nez Perce.

As you continue east along the Byway, you’ll find the site of Canoe Camp, where the Corps of Discovery stopped to fashion canoes from large pine trees. A little farther east, in the town of Kamiah, be sure to visit the city park, where an interpretive exhibit highlights Long Camp,

Lewis & Clark with the Nez Perce Indians

Lewis & Clark with the Nez Perce Indians

where Lewis & Clark camped with the Nez Perce people. Don’t leave Kamiah without visiting the Heart of the Monster, the site where legend says the Nez Perce people were created.

From Kamiah, you have a choice to make. If you’re ready to stop for another night of Idaho RV camping, this is the perfect place to do it. The Kamiah, ID area boasts numerous private RV campgrounds along US-12 as well as campgrounds beyond Kamiah in Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

Should you decide to travel on to Kooskia and then south to Grangeville on Hwy 13, there are also private RV campgrounds in Grangeville. To fully understand the role of Western expansion in the history of the Nez Perce, seek out the interpretive signs on Hwy 13 near Stites, ID that tell the story of the Battle of the Clearwater and the forced migration of the Nez Perce into Montana under Chief Joseph. Once you’ve studied this site, it’s time to return to US-12 at Kooskia to conclude your journey.

You’re moving now through the remote beauty of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, along the Byway to the 1920s Lochsa Historical Ranger Station. Take time to soak in the stunning views in this rugged country and you’ll understand why it was sacred to the Nez Perce and highly praised by the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

At the end of your journey, two-hundred-two miles from where we started in Lewiston, you’ll find yourself at Lolo Pass, the main route over the Bitterroot Mountains into Montana. Stop at Lolo Pass Visitor Center to complete your education of the Northwest Passage Expedition and the final exodus of the Nez Perce people.

Are you ready to visit North Central Idaho by RV? The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway is the place to start. Whether you rent an RV for the trip or travel in your own beloved home-on-wheels, this trip through time is one every modern-day explorer should make.

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Drive the Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway in an RV

Downtown Sandpoint, Idaho looking north from 1st and Bridge

Downtown Sandpoint, Idaho looking north from 1st and Bridge

The Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway conjures up mental images of cowboy days when horses ran wild and fences didn’t exist. Taking an RV vacation up this byway is inspiring and fulfilling when you wish some time to contemplate our natural world. You will drive north on the eastern side of the Selkirk Mountains and follow a historic path that was taken by Kootenai Tribes is early days. Moving through northern Idaho’s beautiful scenery is something you won’t want to miss.

Sandpoint, Idaho is your starting point. This resort community deserves some of your vacation time, as it is a town which gives you easy access to all kinds of outdoor fun. All sorts of events are happening throughout the summer months and into the fall, so your family will never want for things to do and see.

Of course, Lake Pend Oreille is right there, with plenty of big fish and many miles of water so you can get in some boating. This is the state’s largest lake and its deepest as well. In fact Lake Pend Oreille is the fifth deepest lake in the U.S. The beaches are wonderful places to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun.

If you love paddling, you may want to try the Pack River which is a 23-mile river trail and used for canoeing from April to October. You can take Upper Pack River Road and reach stunning views at Chimney Rock and find miles and miles of hiking trails.

Wildlife is abundant at the McArthur Lake Wildlife Management Area. You may catch glimpses of numerous birds, and if you are a birder this is definitely the place to stop. The 200 species of birds here include waterfowl, upland birds, shorebirds and raptors.

Naturally, the scenic wonders you can enjoy on this trip include the beautiful Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Fishing in the waters in this forest provides many catches you will be able to write home about. See all the wildlife that make this region their home, from deer and elk to grizzlies and wolves.

Before you reach Bonners Ferry, you can stop to camp at the Blue Lake RV Resort. You can rent paddle boats or kayaks, exercise your pet in their pet run, and find convenient laundry facilities. When you head once again north, you will move through the Kootenai Valley to see the rich agricultural lands which make this area so popular.

Bonners Ferry will take you back in time, with many historic buildings and other stories from early days. Here is where Edwin Bonner created the ferry crossing so gold seekers could make their way across the Kootenai River and discover their fortunes. Take a side trip to Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge for more wildlife viewing. There is so much to do in this area and you will want to fit in as much as possible! Once you explore the immediate surroundings, you can turn back towards home or continue north to the Canadian border and have more adventures. What a trip it has been!

Picture credits: The picture of Sandpoint, ID is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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An RV Adventure on the City of Rocks Back Country Byway

Emery Canyon in the City of Rocks National Reserve

Emery Canyon in the City of Rocks National Reserve

Get set for a real adventure on the City of Rocks Back Country Byway in Idaho. This is a drive around the Albion Mountain Range with amazing sights to see along the way. Beginning your trip through the Albion Valley you will take Idaho 77 and follow the roads to Birch Creek and finally Oakley, Idaho. The entire route is only 49 miles and will take a few hours depending how often you stop and for how long.

Albion is a fascinating place to visit before you embark on your RV journey. If you stop in at the Albion Museum you’ll find mementos of the area’s pioneer history. Another attraction in this historic town is the Albion Normal School which operated from 1893 until 1951. Once you get your fill of history, you can move on with your travels.

Follow the Howell Canyon Road and get out into nature in the Sawtooth National Forest. Climb to Mount Harrison and visit the fire lookout to get some of the most panoramic views imaginable. If you are really adventurous, you may want to do a long hike all the way from the lookout to City of the Rocks National Reserve. You could either have someone drive your RV there and meet you, or you could hike the 26.2 miles back again. Be sure to have your sleeping bags to hand if you do this. If not up for a hike, you can simply enjoy the scenic lake.

When you reach Connor Creek you’ll be in the region where emigrants moving along the California Trail traveled in their quest for a life in the West. Further along in Elba, the towering mountains on all sides brings to mind how difficult travel was for these pioneers.

Next stop is beautiful Castle Rocks State Park. This is where you have the chance for some real outdoor recreation. Any rock climbers in your family? The rock climbing opportunities here are abundant. There are trails where you can ride horseback, hike or bike. Wildlife and birds are abundant too, and you may spot a moose wandering in the forest. This is always a thrilling experience!

City of Rocks National Reserve is something you definitely won’t want to miss. This is a picturesque area with the granite spires towering above and meadows beckoning you into nature. Rock climbers come here from all areas of the U.S. to meet the challenges of those granite formations. Have a picnic, hike or do some bird watching. This is a marvelous place to relax and let all worries fade away.

Camping at Birch Creek provides an ideal spot with the backdrop of the Albion Mountain Range and Middle Mountain. There is a campground with 20 RV sites with hookups. Then onto your last stop on this byway adventure – Oakley Historic District with its amazing stone and wood structures from the late 1800s. This entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

What a trip this has been! There is nothing like an RV adventure on the City of Rocks Back Country Byway!

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Travel where the Buffalo Roam on an RV Vacation

Bison in the National Bison Range

Bison in the National Bison Range

Take an RV and travel through Montana and Idaho, enjoying the landscapes, the wildlife and the simple pleasures of travel. This trip is a long one, through buffalo territory, into the wilds of national forests and stopping in small towns filled with history. You begin this journey in Missoula, Montana where you can stay a while to experience festive occasions the year round. Jim and Mary’s RV Park is a great place to stay with lovely shaded sites.

From Missoula you will follow I-90 to where MT 200 and Highway 93 turn north. Follow MT 200 to Highway 95 and south again on I-90 back to Missoula. This route will take you to untold beauty, scenes from picture books and views of where the buffalo roam. In Glacier Country, you can experience the Northwest as you always imagined it would be. Stop to hike, fish, paddle on the lakes or just watch the wildlife wander the forests. Glimpse grizzly bears, deer, elk, moose and wolves.

When you reach the National Bison Range where herds of bison still roam, get on Red Sleep Mountain Drive which takes you into the refuge along an incredibly scenic drive. No trailers are allowed on the road and you should ensure your RV can make the trip. There are plenty of steep inclines and sharp curves. But if you have a motorcycle or other vehicle, you definitely won’t want to miss this opportunity for stunning views and a wide array of wildlife viewing as well.

Part of your trip will be within Kootenai National Forest and you will reach Thompson Falls and the beautiful Thompson Falls Dam along the Clark Fork River. Have a picnic with the family before moving on to Cabinet Gorge Reservoir. This is the ideal place to break out the fishing gear and possibly catch some largemouth bass, or rainbow, brook or cutthroat trout. Be sure to ask locals for the best place to go. Finally you enter the Idaho panhandle and have Coeur d’Alene National Forest surrounding you. This is a wilderness area of lush forests, mountains and lakes.

One of the most beautiful lakes in Idaho lies in your path – Lake Pend Oreille. With 111 miles of shoreline it offers lots of fishing opportunities. It is also one of the deepest inland lakes in all of North America at an approximate 1,170 feet. Take to the water on a Jet Ski, paddleboard or sailboat. The fun is never-ending!

Of course, Sandpoint, Idaho is right on the lake and surrounded by mountains that provide endless chances for all sorts of outdoor recreation. Some state parks in the area are highly recommended for a visit such as Round Lake State Park, where you can rent a canoe and paddle until dusk. Fish for perch or trout! Then head for the other state parks in the region like Farragut and Priest Lake State Parks.

When you get your fill, you head south on 95 to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and more activities to keep your days full. From here, simply follow Interstate 90 back to Missoula, not forgetting to stop at Old Mission State Park on the way. What a perfect RV trip! What fun! Come back again!

The picture of the bison is by Paul Frederickson and is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

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Explore the Elk River Back Country Byway in an RV

If you would love to explore the back country of northern Idaho, a trip on the Elk River Back Country Byway is just the thing. Taking an RV makes the drive just that much more enjoyable as you will have your adventures with much comfort and convenience. Starting your drive in Orofino and taking back roads to Bovill, Idaho, you discover more than just beautiful scenery. You may discover more about your spiritual nature and find inspiration in the diverse landscapes.

This byway consists of two-lane roads, including some turnouts and passing lanes. The entire length is 57 miles of lovely terrain and plenty of activities at every stop. While in Historic Orofino you can find three RV parks where you can camp for a while and plan the rest of your drive. This town dates back to 1895 and the gold rush days.

Dent Bridge

Dent Bridge

When ready to continue your journey, you will move through forests and past ranches and farms that give you a view of what life is like in Northern Idaho. You’ll catch glimpses of plenty of wildlife along the way, including cougar, bear, elk, bobcats and maybe even some wolves. When you come to Dent Bridge, marvel at this beautiful structure, and grab that camera because you’ll certainly want to share this view with friends back home.

Elk Creek Reservoir is the perfect place for some peaceful fishing and bird watching. Spot bald eagles soaring high above you, swans floating in the sparkling waters, and otters playing. At the confluence of Elk Creek and Clearwater River, you have a unique view of this natural forested area from a scenic viewpoint. Loop Road is fun to navigate and you can stop to catch some rainbow trout or explore the mill pond site.

Between Orofino and Elk River, an interpretative trail takes you to Elk Creek Falls. Three cascading falls flow over ancient lava flows and add up to 140 feet of tumbling waters. This is the perfect place for a picnic. This National Recreation Trail provides a relaxing hike into a fascinating canyon with lovely formations.

The small community of Elk River not only has campgrounds available for RVers, but also has full services and some sights to explore. Stop by the Elk River Historical Museum for a taste of the history of the region and wander the town to get an idea of what it was like here in the early 1900s when this mill town began.

Now for some nature and some hiking among the trees! At Perkins Cedar Grove you can follow some trails and take in the magnificent trees that range from 500 years to 3,000 years old. It is Trail 748 which takes you to the Idaho Champion red cedar tree which is the oldest of all. The family will find it quite inspiring to marvel at the wonders that Mother Nature has created here.

Finally you come to Bovill, Idaho with its wildlife viewing opportunities, fishing and hunting. There is an RV park for you to make your base for a few days before heading home. There is nothing better than sitting back and reliving the best parts of your journey before heading home once again.

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Drive along Lake Coeur d’ Alene Shores on an RV Vacation in Idaho

Beauty Bay on the Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway

Beauty Bay on the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway

Driving through an area of mountains and lakes filled with an array of wildlife makes an ideal RV vacation to take this summer. On the Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway the traveler will discover a summer playground that outdoes most others. As you drive from the junction of I-90 and Idaho Highway 97 along the eastern shore of the lake, you will spot elk, moose and deer roaming and grazing. This will be a trip to remember.

The byway is a two-lane affair, winding through the forests. Access is simple in the summer months and RVers will just have to be confident in their driving abilities. When you reach Wolf Lodge Bay this is where bird watching is at its zenith. Find raptors, waterfowl, upland birds and songbirds galore. The Western tanager is likely the most colorful bird you see. Learn to listen for the call of the loons and the soft hooting of the owls.

Before moving on you will find RV camping is excellent at Lake Coeur d’ Alene Camping Resort with full hookups and direct access by boat to the lake. Stay awhile here then drive on. Obtain some of the best views of Lake Coeur d’ Alene from around Beauty Bay. You can take one paved trail to a deck that overlooks the water. There are other unpaved trails in the area as well. This day-use area is a great place to stop for a picnic among the trees.

More panoramic views and wildlife spotting at the Mineral Ridge Trail! Wander through the Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs as you admire the natural beauty surrounding you. The lake glistens and the sun shines as you make your way to the viewpoints and stop to take in the magnificent scenery. Take the short trail to the west to see an abandoned mine.

The Caribou Ridge National Recreation Trail invites you into the wilderness at any time, but the summer season is the best. In five miles of hiking you can go from around 2100 feet to 4400 feet in elevation. Some parts of the trail are just gentle strolls, so just choose your expertise level. Get a view of the lake in the distance and go all the way to summit – just to say you did it.

For boat access to Lake Coeur d’ Alene, head for Blackwell Island Recreation Site. There are plenty of launch sites, parking spaces and picnic areas to sit and enjoy a quiet lakeside lunch. Walk along the boardwalk that follows the path of the Spokane River. Wildlife viewing decks are the favorite attraction along the way.

One of the best trails in the West is the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. You can find access near Lake Coeur d’ Alene, although the entire trails spans some 72 miles from Plummer, Idaho to Mullan, Idaho. This is a paved trail which is ideal for hikers, bikers, skaters and even those in electric wheelchairs.

When you end your journey at Idaho Highway 3, you may wish to carry on exploring on the White Pine Scenic Byway. Otherwise, you can now head home with memories that will last a lifetime.

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An RV Adventure along the Salmon River

Salmon River

Salmon River

An RV trip along the Salmon River provides an excellent vacation, a way to enjoy the Salmon River Scenic Route in a unique manner. You will be creating a vacation to remember. And this is the perfect time of year to travel this gorgeous byway, too. June is a great time to move along this river road and gaze out into the wilderness to enjoy watching the wildlife. You can carefully navigate the two-lane road and find the peace that only the Idaho backcountry can provide.

Begin your adventure in Stanley, Idaho. This is a mecca for outdoor recreation, such as rafting, biking, horseback riding and fishing. The community is filled with friendly folk who will answer your questions and point you to the best eateries. Here you will also find guides if you wish a guided fishing trip or other exciting excursions.

You will take Idaho 75 out of Stanley and head for the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park to visit a special place where history comes alive. Naturally, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside in the forest and find recreational fun. Don’t forget to stop at the Custer Historic Mining Town, a ghost town within the historic area. There are a number of buildings from the mining era. Stop in the gift shop and pick up some mementos.

Another sight to see is the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center. Try your luck at the gold panning station and enjoy the many museum exhibits. You can really get the feel of earlier times when you watch the audiovisual programs offered. Those of all ages enjoy those! Not far away you can also visit the Challis Bison Jump Site which is a fascinating place indeed.

When you reach Challis, Idaho you may want to stay awhile. More outdoor adventures await! Fishing is marvelous and the clear and flowing Snake River gives you the ideal fishing environment. You can take off and hike to the higher mountain lakes if you desire, or you can fish right near town. Hook some cutthroat, brook or rainbow trout. Challis is also a birding paradise and you’ll see sandhill cranes along the river and watch as bald eagles fish the cold waters. The Pioneer RV Park in Challis is the ideal place to stay while you visit. They have lots of space and full hookups.

In Salmon, Idaho, stop at the Lemhi County Historical Museum. Get a new understanding of the American West as you tour the museum and see the numerous artifacts. You will get tastes of the Shoshone culture, the gold mining days and aspects of ranching in this area. There are a number of photos coming from the Chinese people who arrived here when gold was discovered.

The Tower Rock Recreation Site should come next on your itinerary. This is where Lewis and Clark camped and you may feel their spirits in the forest greenery and the blue skies above. Trout fishing is great here and you can catch steelhead and trout. You will even find RV sites, and although there are no hookups, it is an amazing place to camp in an RV.

A must-see is the Tower Creek Pyramids, a site that Lewis and Clark visited in the early 1800s. The geological formations viewed by Clark were spelled “pirimids” in his journal. Sit on the banks of Tower Creek and have a picnic. This is a spot to shed all cares and get back to nature.

William Clark’s Reconnaissance is a three-paneled interpretive sign along the byway. You will find it fascinating to stop and read the history of Clark’s observations and what the Down River Reconnaissance was all about. Even though you are nearing the end of this adventure, sometimes the beauty of the area takes you suddenly by surprise and you think seriously about moving here.

The final stop on this trip is the Lost Trail Pass which is located at the far north end of this wonderful Salmon River Scenic Byway. This is right on the Montana border and soars 6,995 feet above sea level. Spectacular views of rocky cliffs and forested hills make this a place to stay for a little while and enjoy.

This scenic route offers so much in the way of beauty and the presentation of some of the natural wonders of our world. To experience it all again, drive back the way you came for a new viewpoint. And come back soon to do it all over again.

Picture credits: The picture of the Salmon River is by Fredlyfish4 at the English language Wikipedia. It is from the Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Take an RV Excursion through Idaho and Visit Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve

Idaho is a mountainous and majestic state, and planning a vacation through the southern part rates right up there with the best vacations you can imagine. You’ll definitely want to see Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve while you are here, but you’ll be seeing a lot more than just that. As we always say, getting there is more than half the fun.

Start in Boise, Idaho, and allow a day or two to enjoy this lovely city. Locals say boredom is not an option in Boise, and once here you’ll see why. Green paths and trails into the foothills beckon you out into the landscapes. There are places to escape and find a bit of isolation and peace. You’ll be taking Interstate 84 South to begin, stopping along the way at points of interest. Lucky Peak State Park is one of those points. You will love the lake, and there is a full service marina if you wish to go boating.

Mountain Home is your next stop, with waterways for boating and fishing. You’ll find RV camping at Mountain Home RV Park which will make a great home base while you explore the area. As you move on, you will find a center where you can absorb some history of the pioneer travelers who first ventured here at Three Island Crossing State Park on the Snake River.

The best place for hiking is at Malad Gorge State Park, and another stop worth the time is Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, with its gorgeous shoreline around Lake Walcott. At Lake Walcott State Park, within the refuge itself, you’ll find places to picnic, hike and fish. Wildlife watching here is also tops!

Now you will reach the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve and are in for a treat with so much to see of this volcanic wonderland. According to historic research, eight different volcanic eruptions formed this land. The best place to stop first is the Visitor Center so you can plan your itinerary through the park.

Because hiking trails are so abundant, you simply must get out there with good shoes and trek the landscape. There is a long list of trails in the park. If you want to enter a cave you find along the way, realize you’ll need a permit. You may also want to drive the scenic loop and just relax in your own vehicle. No matter how you wish to conduct your visit, you are sure to have a good time.

The Shoshone and Bannock Indian tribes make their home nearby. You can stop at Fort Hall Indian Reservation to learn a lot more about their history. In Blackfoot, Idaho, you will find a number of attractions that may interest you before continuing on your RV journey. Then finally you are at the end of your trip when you reach Idaho Falls. Here you can engage in any number of outdoor activities, or enjoy museums, operas or theater.

Now you are ready to head home, but not before promising yourself and your family that you’ll be back again to travel the highways of beautiful Idaho.

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Enjoy Scenic Idaho on an RV Vacation to Remember

Payette River

Payette River

For an RV vacation that will stay in memory for many years, you can drive through Idaho on the Payette River Scenic Byway and experience the best the state has to offer. Driving along the Payette River and through the Payette National Forest, you come to charming towns along the way that provide activities the whole family can enjoy.

Starting out in Boise, Idaho, you will move north and end your adventure in Meadows. Before starting the drive on Idaho Highway 44, you should devote some time in Boise to see the sights and check out all the attractions. Hike the Greenbelt trail or trek into the foothills on the Ridge to Rivers trail. When you are done enjoying your starting point city, head for Horseshoe Bend. At an altitude of 2,614, you will breathe in the fresh air and get ready for more outdoor fun.

Continue north and stop at Smith’s Ferry for a snack. If it is wintertime, this is the perfect place to try some snowmobiling or take off across the landscapes for some cross-country skiing. Visiting Cascade, Idaho may take more than just a few hours. There is so much to enjoy here you might find an RV Park to stay awhile. The Arrowhead RV Park is a great place to stay and famous for its carved totem poles throughout the park.

Along the Payette River in Cascade is a park that offers whitewater rafting and tubing. Kelly’s Whitewater Park has a number of water features for all ages and levels. Even when you have no experience in rafting, you can take a guided float trip down the river and take in the beauty on all sides.

You could make your home base for a few days at one of the RV camping spots around Lake Cascade. You’ll find all the amenities you need. And the lake itself is ideal for the recreational opportunities of a lifetime. Boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching – you name it, you’ll find it! East of the town of Cascade, you will also find some natural hot springs, a relaxing spot to soothe those muscles after all the activities of the day. From southeast Cascade, you can take a refreshing walk on Cascade River Walk and have fun trying to name the birds that sing in the trees surrounding you.

When you have a little experience in river rafting, you’ll want to visit the South Fork of the Salmon River. Take a half- to three-day excursion on the river and enjoy some real whitewater. Don’t leave out a visit to Donnelly as you move on towards your final destination.

You are nearing the end of your RV trip, but there is still plenty to see and do. At Ponderosa State Park you can enjoy guided walks, campfire programs and much more. You will want to include some time in McCall on your itinerary without a doubt, as here a rugged landscape not only gives you amazing scenery, but also provides wonderful hiking opportunities. As you drive the final miles to Meadows, Idaho, you know your trip is over, but you also realize you’ve made many fine memories to last a lifetime.

Photo credits: The picture of the Payette River is Copyright © 2000 Sage Community Resources. It is used here in accordance with the terms & conditions outlined on the National Scenic Byways page for the picture.

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Sawtooth and Ponderosa Pine RV Adventure

Visiting Idaho any time of year is a breathtaking experience, particularly if you are on an RV vacation and are bringing your “home” right along with you. Traveling the highways and byways in an RV always provides a unique adventure.

Begin your Sawtooth trip on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway in Boise, Idaho. You will find the two-lane narrow road winds through the wilderness landscapes, but there are passing lanes so you can let others whiz by. Sometimes this road closes in the winter, so you should call ahead to ensure the way is clear. Otherwise you can enjoy this scenic route year round.

Lucky Peak Dam Southeast of Boise Idaho

Lucky Peak Dam

From Boise, head north on Idaho 21 towards Idaho City. Along the way you should stop at the Lucky Peak Dam and enjoy the views. Perhaps you’d like to get in some boating at the Lucky Peak Reservoir. Nearby, you can let your dog out for a walk, or fix a picnic lunch at Lucky Peak State Park.

Once you reach Idaho City, you may feel it’s time to absorb some area history. Surrounded by Boise National Forest, this historic town is where you can get the flavor of the Old West as it really was. If you want to find a spot to spend the night, you’ll find plenty of camping available, with approximately 14 different campgrounds between Idaho City and Stanley, along Idaho Highway 21. Camping in the Boise National Forest is a special treat for those on RV vacations.

As you continue north to Lowman in your RV, the Sawtooth Mountains welcome you. Wildlife will peek at you from forest glens. The sky is blue and cloudless and the highway is beckoning you onward. You will eventually arrive at Warm Springs Creek in the No Return Wilderness, and then move on to pass Banner Summit, one of Idaho’s highest peaks. As you drop down into Stanley, Idaho, marvel at the panoramic view of the mountains in the distance.

Stanley, Idaho, surrounded by pristine forests, is a place to park your motorhome and get out into the sunshine. Recreation here includes hiking, rafting, biking, horseback riding, fishing and so much more. Take Highway 75 from here, heading south, and make it a point to stop at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and visit the headwaters of the famous Salmon River.

Your motorhome vacation isn’t done yet. Pull over at Galena Summit overlook to stretch and take some awesome photos. The air is fresh and clean and you can breathe deeply and shed all your cares. Hop back in your RV to carry on with your journey, for your next stop is the lovely mountain town of Ketchum. After experiencing the pleasant ambience of this quaint spot, you can take a side-trip to the recreational paradise of Sun Valley.

You are entering the last leg of your trip in your RV now. Once past Clarendon Hot Springs, you will come to the Shoshone Ice Caves, which are worth a visit. Your Sawtooth and Ponderosa Pine journey ends in Shoshone, Idaho. It almost goes without saying that you will be sad to end this marvelous RV vacation through the forests and parks of Idaho. But you can always come back again.

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