Thursday, May 25, 2017

10 super-reliable camping ideas for Memorial Day weekend! Weather forecast is fantastic!

Dad and Drew at Succor Creek State Park ... that'll be popular this weekend! 
Sitting around the campfire is one of life's simple pleasures 
The Owyhees should be a fantastic place to be this weekend. Painted Canyon. 
It'll be a fabulous weekend for running the Bruneau River ... Surf's up baby! 
Hi all,

Memorial Day weekend is upon us! Typically, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer camping season, and I'm sure there will be tons of people heading into the high country this weekend to their favorite camping destinations.

For once, we're going to have great weather for the weekend! Temperatures are forecast to be in the 70's on Friday and Saturday, and 80s on Sunday and Monday in the valleys. Woo hoo! Enjoy the sunshine! We've been waiting and waiting for that!

Because of deep snow in the high country, the best camping destinations are going to be in the lower-elevation areas this weekend. Think Idaho State Parks -- all of their campgrounds are open. Call ahead for reservations. The Owyhee Canyonlands should be fantastic with wildflowers blooming! Low-elevation campgrounds in the Boise, Payette and Sawtooth national forests will be open, and high-elevation spots will be closed. Here is a great roundup of Forest Service campgrounds from Statesman outdoors.

So here are 10+ last-minute camping recommendations for Memorial Day weekend:
  • Camping in the Owyhees should be excellent. The snakes may be emerging. See my spring camping blog post for suggestions ... places like Bruneau Dunes State ParkLeslie GulchSuccor Creek State Park or the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area would all be good bets. See the spring camping post for more info. Be sure to take my Owyhee Canyonlands guide with you for tips on hiking and biking near your camping destinations. 
  • Morel mushrooms are popping in the Boise and Payette national forests. Morels are delicious and easy to identify. Look for them above 4,000-foot elevation. See last week's blog post on morel-picking near the Pioneer Fire.  
  • Float the Owyhee or Bruneau rivers and go river camping. The Owyhee still has good rafting flows in the 1,750 cfs range, and the Bruneau was running 1,950 cfs today, and probably is coming up with the sunshine melting the snow on Jarbidge Mountain.
  • Go car-camping on the North Fork or Middle Fork of the Boise River. The Rabbit Creek Road is open from Idaho City, so you can access the North Fork Boise River campsites from there. If you want to go to Barber Flats and the Middle Fork Boise River, go up via the road to Lucky Peak and Arrowrock Reservoir. 
  • Salmon River beaches! A great spring camping location is on the sweet white sandy beaches along the Salmon River, upstream of Riggins. There are numerous big beaches up there where you can set up a great camp, hang out by the river, do some floating on the Salmon and/or go hiking. Use caution around the Salmon River, though, because the river is running high and climbing at 65,000 cfs! The hike on the Wind River Trail via the Wind River Pack Bridge about 25 miles upstream of Riggins has a number of switchbacks as you climb higher and higher up the Salmon River canyon. The trail eventually leads into the Gospel Hump Wilderness, but you probably won't get that far. That'd be a great hike right now.
  • Take a day hike on the front side of the Owyhees ... See my Owyhee Canyonlands guide, available at most outdoor stores and book stores. I'd recommend Little Jacks Creek, the West Fork Shoofly Quick Loop, Between the Creeks, Toy Pass hikes, Reynolds Creek, Wilson Creek, Jump Creek Canyon or Wildcat Canyon. 
  • Head up to the Lochsa River and go rafting on the biggest whitewater weekend of the year on the Lochsa.  
  • Stay home and hike/ride/run in the Boise Foothills - It's super green, the wildflowers are out, and the trails are in great shape!  
  • Stay close to home and go for a road bike ride. See my Boise Road Cycling Guide for ideas. 
  • Stay close to home and check out the Memorial Day sales at your favorite local outdoor stores. There are usually some great deals to be had, at up to 50% discounts! 
There you have it! Have a great weekend no matter what you do! 
- SS