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5-14-2014 Memorial Day Recreational Opportunities Update

Contact(s): David Olson 208-373-4105

Vehicle stuck in snowbankBOISE, Idaho - Boise National Forest visitors will experience deeper snow conditions Memorial Day weekend compared with previous years. Water levels in rivers and streams are beginning to rise with the warmer spring temperatures although the snow melt has been slow. Most trails, roads and campgrounds will be open within the national forest with the exception of those above 6,000 feet.


Recreationists planning on going to higher elevations should contact Ranger District offices, or the Interagency Visitor Center to get information about higher elevation recreation facilities.  As Memorial Day approaches any strong increase in temperatures could change conditions fairly quickly.


Roads at lower elevations are clearing, but at higher elevations snow remains on the road surface.  Several drivers over the past few weeks have risked driving through the snow thinking they can go further only to find they get stuck in the deeper snows.


Road blocked by snow“It is easy to think you can keep driving once you reach the snow line, but that snow typically just gets deeper,” said David Olson, Boise National Forest Public Affairs Officer. “Forest roads are not plowed and persons getting stuck have the strong potential for expensive tows or long walks to get help.”


Specific updates by Ranger Districts are as follows:


Lowman Ranger District   208-259-3361


ALERT:  Currently there is 50 inches of snow on Banner Summit.  Roads and trails above 6000 feet may be inaccessible due to snow.


Many campgrounds and trails at the lower elevations including those along the South Fork Payette River are OPEN.


Park Creek Campground is OPEN.


The road to Grandjean is OPEN. There may be patches of snow along the road.



Bull Trout Campground road is CLOSED. 

Deadwood Reservoir is CLOSED due to snow on all access roads. 

Scott Mountain Road (NFS road 555) is CLOSED. 

The Clear Creek Road National Forest System (NFS road) 582 is CLOSED at the 10 mile marker from Highway 21.

The Stanley/Landmark NFS road 579 from State Highway 21 is CLOSED to the Elk Creek Guard station. 



Emmett Ranger District   208-365-7000 

Garden Valley Guard Station 208-462-3241



All Payette River recreation sites are open.  There is a $3.00 day-use fee for visitors who have not purchased a 2014 Payette River Pass.  Passes are available at Forest offices and vendors. Visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/PayetteRiverPasses for more information.

All campgrounds adjacent to State Highway 55 along the North Fork Payette River between Banks and Smiths Ferry will be opening Friday, May 23.

NEW THIS YEAR!  Cold Springs Campground is open for group reservations only. Contact www.recreation.gov to reserve for your group. Group size is up to 50 people.

Campgrounds along the Middle Fork Payette River Road (NFS road 698) including Boiling Springs, Hardscrabble, Rattlesnake, Trail Creek, and Tie Creek are OPEN. Hot Springs campground is OPEN.

Third Fork cabin is OPEN. Boiling Springs Cabin OPENS May 23 and will be open during the 2014 winter season. Cabin reservations are made through: www.recreation.gov.

National Forest System (NFS roads 671 and 698) are OPEN with access to the Silver Creek Plunge area. 

Peace Valley Group Campground OPENS Friday, May 23.

Silver Creek Campground is OPEN.

Sage Hen Campground area:  At this time, access is open only from the Ola route. Access from Smith’s Ferry is CLOSED due to snow levels. Contact the Emmett RD for updated information on road conditions via the Smith’s Ferry route.

All campgrounds around Sage Hen Reservoir will open Friday May 16.

Deadwood Lookout cabin rental is closed until July 27. Reservations can be made through: www.recreation.gov


Mountain Home Ranger District   208-587-7961

ALERT:  Personal Use Mushroom permits will be required for the 2 fire areas (Elk/Pony, Trinity) starting May 15, 2014. 

Be watchful for debris, log jams and increased water levels for the river and reservoir’s as spring runoff is still occurring.

Water levels:

Anderson Ranch Reservoir is 4158 – full is at 4196

Arrowrock Reservoir is 3204 – full is at 3216

Lucky Peak Reservoir is 3039 – full is at 3055

Road conditions:

The 217 road (Rattlesnake) is washed out and not drivable.

The 166B3 and 166T roads typically have a May 1 open date for the gates but both of the roads that access these areas were still snowed in for probably at least a half mile before the gate on the 166B3 and the main stem 166 road was drifted in just past the 166D junction (several miles before the 166T junction). There are also a few large rocks in the middle of the 166 road.  They are passable, but just beware until they get moved.

From the junction of the 268 road (Middle Fork) and the 255 road (Roaring River) up to the Lower Roaring River Trailhead there are a lot of rocks in the road.

Water flow:

Above Anderson Ranch is 1440 cfs and below the dam is 304 cfs.

River rafting from Danskin Boat Launch to Neal Bridge has started but the water levels are low. 


Elks Flat is open with services and fees are in place.

Curlew and Pine is open with services and fees will start by the Memorial weekend.

Troutdale, Badger Creek, Willow Creek, Cottonwood and Ice Springs are open.

Dispersed camping:  Little Camas is open.

Campground hosts located at Elks Flat and Middle Fork Boise River.

Day Use Areas: Fall Creek and Deer Creek are open.

Closed due to snow:  Big Trinity, Little Trinity, Big Roaring, Little Roaring and Shafer Butte

Fire Area Closures – Dog Creek, Castle Creek, Evans Creek and Green Creek trail #270.   The area closure for the Elk/Pony Complex Fire is still in effect and the closure specific area description can be viewed on the Boise National Forest Web page.


No trail maintenance has occurred on any of the trails. The Danskin and Wilson OHV and ATV trail systems are CLOSED.



Water levels in the Anderson Ranch Reservoir are controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation. Call the Bureau of Reclamation at 208-334-9134 for the current river and reservoir water levels.

Call the Elmore County Highway District for current updates on county roads. Their number is:  208-587-3211.



Cascade Ranger District   208-382-7400


All campgrounds are anticipated to OPEN by May 23 with the exception of those listed below due to the snow levels above 6000 feet.   Call the District for updates.

Campgrounds along the west side of Cascade Lake are scheduled to OPEN by the Memorial weekend. 

Shoreline Campground, Picnic Point Campground and Warm Lake Campground scheduled to OPEN by the Memorial weekend. 

The Stolle Meadows Road NFS road 474 is OPEN into the meadows, but not to Rice Peak.

The South Fork Salmon River NFS road 474 is OPEN to Yellow Pine.


Summit Lake Campground and Pen Basin is CLOSED due to snow levels.

The Johnson Creek Corridor Campgrounds are CLOSED.

The road from Warm Lake to Landmark and down Johnson Creek is CLOSED due to snow.

The Landmark – Stanley Road NFS road 579 to Deadwood Summit is CLOSED due to snow. Currently there is no access to Deadwood Reservoir.  Call the District for updates.

Snowbank Mountain Road NFS road 446 is gated and seasonally CLOSED until May 31.

High mountain lakes and trails above 6000 feet are CLOSED due to deep snow.



Idaho City Ranger District  208-392-6681


ALERT: Free personal use permits are required for gathering mushrooms within a burned area starting May 15 (Pine Creek, Little Queens Fire area).


Currently there is 45 inches of snow at Mores Creek Summit.  Roads and trails above 6000 feet may be inaccessible due to snow.


The Barber Flat Bridge is open only to motorcycles and ATV’s less than 50 inches. The bridge is closed to all other motorized travel due to structural and weight bearing concerns.



Campgrounds OPEN May 13 – Edna Creek, Ten Mile, Willow Creek, Whoop-em-up, Grayback Gulch and Beaver Creek and Deer Park Cabins.


Campgrounds OPEN May 18 - Bad Bear, Black Rock, Hayfork and Barber Flats Cabin.


Idaho City Cabins are open with the exception of Graham Cabin and Atlanta Cabin.  Graham opens for reservations on June 27 and Atlanta opens on June 1.


Cabins are available for reservation through the Web site:  www.recreation.gov . 

For more updates on snow levels, call the Idaho City District office.



The campgrounds near Atlanta are CLOSED until June 1 including Queens River, Atlanta, Power Plant, and Riverside.


The road to the Graham Guard Station Cabin providing access to the Graham is currently CLOSED due to snow.




For camping reservations and cabin rentals on all the Districts, contact the National Recreation Reservation System by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777 or via the Internet at www.recreation.gov.  Camping can be a great experience, and good planning will ensure that you have a campsite once you arrive in the area.  Determine in advance the campground that you would like and make a reservation.  Most campgrounds provide some sites for non-reservation use and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information on recreational opportunities in the Boise National Forest, visit the Natural Resource Visitor Center at 1387 S. Vinnell Way in Boise, or call 208-373-4007, or visit the Web site: http://fs.usda.gov/b