Thursday, May 27, 2021

10 last-minute ideas for Memorial Day getaways in Idaho

Wendy in the White Clouds

Hi all, 

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and if last year is any indication, it's going to be busy out there! 

Last week, I provided numerous trip-planning resources for deciding where to go in advance. Be sure you have a Plan B, Plan C and Plan D because the campsite you planned on snagging may be taken! 

So here are some suggestions on where to go: 

Snake River canyon singletrack

  • Camping in the Owyhees should be excellent. Watch your step ... rattlesnakes may be emerging. Places like Leslie GulchSuccor Creek State Park or the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area would all be good bets. Be sure to take my Owyhee Canyonlands guide with you for tips on hiking and biking near your camping destinations. 
  • Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is opening this weekend. Around the Mountain trail is still snow-covered in places and is not open yet. But there are other trails to explore close to the base area, and the mountain coaster is open. And it'd be a fun place to go and hang out! Trails to Stack Rock and Eastside are open.
  • Morel mushrooms are popping in the Boise and Payette national forests. Morels are delicious and easy to identify. The tricky part is where to find them! I was finding shrooms in the 5,000-foot range in the greater Valley County area last weekend. Any fresh burn areas can be excellent. See a recent blog post on morel-picking in burn zones.  
    Genuine Idaho morels

  • Go fishing! Memorial Day is the annual kickoff to the summer fishing season. Many reservoirs, ponds and river sections have been freshly stocked. See the IDFG Fishing Planner to discover where to go fishing.
  • Go car-camping on the North Fork or Middle Fork of the Boise River. Check on road conditions with the Idaho City Ranger District. See list of campgrounds that are open in the Boise National Forest. You can look for dispersed camping sites along the Middle Fork of the Boise River, driving up along Lucky Peak and Arrowrock and continuing upstream toward Atlanta. Do the self-support camping trip and pick your own spot.
  • Go camping in the national forest. Look for low-elevation sites in the Boise, Payette or Sawtooth National Forest ... see the interactive map for more information.
  • Salmon River beaches! A great spring camping location is on the sweet white sandy beaches along the Salmon River, upstream of Riggins. Get there early! It's popular! 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! 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. That'd be a great hike right now. Rapid River Trail is great in Riggins, too.
  • Take a day hike in the Snake River canyon or in 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. Google any of those hikes and rides; I've blogged about all of them. Watch for snakes.
  • Head up to the Lochsa River and go rafting on the biggest whitewater weekend of the year on the Lochsa.  
    Route of the Hiawatha inside the Taft Tunnel (Courtesy Lookout Pass)

  • Ride the Route of the Hiawatha in Wallace. It's opening Friday. Highly recommend it! Family friendly!  
  • 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. Boise Ridge should be clearing of snow now.
  • 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!
While you're out there, be sure to Recreate Responsibly, be a good steward, practice leave-no-trace camping principles, etc. Thank you.


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