About the Forest


The Payette National Forest offers the visitor over 2.3 million acres to enjoy. Everything from the deep recesses of Hell's Canyon to peaks reaching elevations of almost 9,500 feet.

Dry desert grasslands compliment heavily forested acres. Gateways to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness lead the visitor to experience the solitude of seldom traveled trails.

To the west is the Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area, the deepest river gorge in North America. Stand on the canyons east rim and in some places you gaze down 8,000 feet to the Snake River that carved this canyon. Gaze across the ten mile wide chasm into the neighboring state of Oregon.

Located entirely within Idaho, the Payette NF shares lands with Adams, Idaho, Valley, and Washington Counties.

Graphic depicting the forest location within the state of Idaho.  Larger map shows division of forest by ranger district.

View larger image of Forest Map

Learn more about the ecology and history of the Payette

Our Neighboring National Forests

Adjacent to the Payette NF is the Boise National Forest, the Salmon-Challis National Forest, and the Nez Perce National Forest. The Boise National Forest is immediately to the south of us. The Salmon-Challis National Forest is to the east, with the huge expanse of the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness in between and managed by both forests. The Nez Perce National Forest is north of the Payette National Forest.  The Salmon River canyon forms a partial border between the two forests, with the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area forming the border further north. The Snake River Canyon is the western boundary of the forest, where one can look over into Oregon and the Wallow-Whitman National Forest.


The southern most reaches of the Payette Forest are accessed from Highway 95. Ranger Districts located in the cities of Weiser and Council administer these lands. It provides the fastest route to the Hell's Canyon Area. Many visitors begin their approach to the forest's northern sites from Boise, Idaho and reach the forest by traveling the Payette River Scenic Byway (Highway 55). McCall, Idaho, 100 miles north of Boise is home to the McCall Ranger District and the Krassel Ranger District offices, along with the Supervisor's Office. Continue traveling north to the Highway 55 junction with Highway 95 to the city of New Meadows and the location of the fifth ranger district office. The New Meadows Ranger District lands are bisected by Hwy 95 as it heads north to Riggins, Idaho and Salmon River country.

Organizational Overview

All national forests are administrated by the U. S. Forest Service which is a part of the United States Department of Agriculture.  The Payette National Forest is a part of the Intermountain Region (Region 4). It is under the jurisdiction of a forest supervisor and is divided into five ranger districts, with a ranger managing each district. The supervisor's office is located at 500 N Mission St Building 2, McCall, Idaho and the district ranger's are stationed at the McCall, Krassel, New Meadows, Council, and Weiser district offices.
Payette National Forest Contact information.

How We're Organized

Meet the Forest Service
Read about the when and why it was established and what the Forest Service does.