Emmett Ranger District and Office

Sagehen Reservoir Trail #527

The Emmett Ranger District encompasses 350,000 acres of National Forest. The District manages more than 150 camping units in 21 developed campgrounds. There are additional dispersed camping opportunities across the District and some of these even include a few facilities such as toilets and ramps. There are three cabins that are available for rental, with one cabin available throughout the year.

There are also many hot springs across the district, and five of these are found near our trails and campgrounds. There are over 150 miles of trails to meet needs for motorized and non-motorized use. All campers please remember that there is a 14 day limit for camping at the same campsite, or within a 5-mile radius of the same campsite in any undeveloped area or developed campground during any 28-day period.


SPRING AND SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS:  might include fishing along the Middle Fork Payette River. Riding motorcycles or ATVs and hiking on one of the many trails are all fun activities while camping at the Silver Creek Campground.


Please call the District if you need further information:  208-365-7000

Make your reservations at: www.recreation.gov


Find out more about the Payette River System Passes which are now available at www.recreation.gov

The $3 standard amenity fees begin, the gates are opened and restrooms are available.


WINTER RECREATION HIGHLIGHTS  -  Check out the updated Idaho Parks and Recreation website!

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Activities:  Snowmobiling   Nordic skiing   Rent a Yurt! 

Click and print the Garden Valley Area 8B Snowmachine Grooming map.


Emmett Ranger District
1857 Highway 16, Suite A
Emmett, ID 83617
(208) 365-7000

Office hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

District Ranger:  John Wallace

More information about the Emmett Ranger District.


Click on the SHOW ICON below the map to view more information about Emmett RD recreation ACTIVITIES.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Most of the campgrounds open in late May and close in September.  For the early bird campers, Tie Creek Campground, Hot Springs Campground are the earliest to open when conditions permit. Silver Creek Campground  usually opens mid May.  Check with the District for updates:  208-365-7000.
Reservations: www.recreation.gov  
Closest Towns: The District office is located in Emmett, ID. The duty station for this position is located in the Garden Valley Field Office, approximately 50 miles north of Boise and approximately 48 miles northeast of Emmett, ID.
Information Center: There are numerous recreational opportunities located in and around Garden Valley, including golfing, whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, visiting natural hot springs, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and horseback riding and the newest Snow Tubing hill in Idaho.

General Information


From Boise, Idaho, travel west along State Street past Eagle, Idaho to the intersection of Idaho State Highway 44.

Travel west along Highway 44 to the intersection of State Highway 16. 

Turn right and proceed north along Highway 16 toward Emmett, Idaho to the Ranger District Office on the left side of the Highway. The address is 1857 Highway 16 Suite A, Emmett, Idaho  83617.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Silver Creek Summit Trail (044) - For intermediate mountain bikers, this 7 mile round-trip single-track route follows the headwaters of Silver Creek, shaded by spruce and fir trees.  The entire ride affords spectacular scenery with big granite slabs from the summit, wildflowers and expansive views. The path climbs about 1,450 feet to Silver Creek Summit, which is 6,250’ in elevation. Many bikers prefer to stop at the summit, where an aluminum width limiter is installed, and turn around.  After the summit, the trail descends steeply and goes into the Bull Creek drainage.  To begin the journey, go to the end of Forest Road 671 where the trailhead is located.


West Mtn. Trail Loop - Advanced mountain bikers will revel in this slightly over 7 mile trail that affords great views of Sage Hen Reservoir at certain spots.  The loop starts at the West Mountain Trailhead off Forest Road 626. Begin the climb up the West Mountain Trail(#131) and travel 5.3 miles to the junction of Joe’s Creek Trail (#137) where the route descends down the mountain for 1.75 miles to the Joe’s Creek Trailhead on the west side of the Emmett Ranger District.  From Smiths Ferry on Highway 55, take 626 west to begin the ride. These are single-track motorized use trails. It is recommended to have vehicles parked at both the West Mountain and Joe’s Creek Trailheads.


Peace Creek Trail (#026) – This single-track motorized use trail is in the Silver Creek drainage that is shared by the Emmett and Lowman districts.  Intermediate mountain bikers will enjoy the nearly 9 mile long, one-way, trail that crosses several tiny creeks that feed into Peace Creek. About 2.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail steeply ascends a dry southern slope. To the north granite boulders provide scenic views in three directions. The trail levels, and then ascends steeply once again through ponderosa pine forests and sagebrush hillsides. The steeper sections of the trail offer views of Peace Rock and the surrounding mountains and valleys. To get there, take Forest Road 671 to about a mile north of Silver Creek Campground to the trailhead.


Long Fork of Silver Creek (#028) - This single-track motorized use trail is in Silver Creek drainage shared by the Emmett and Lowman districts. The approximately 11 mile trail is used by intermediate to advanced mountain bikers. The trail begins in a narrow canyon, passes through meadows, and from the top of the Silver and Bitter Creek drainages offers views of the mountains and valleys to the west and east. Huge granite outcrops border the north and south sides of the trail. The trail levels, and then descends to meet the creek again near a large blade-shaped granite wall. The trail climbs steeply away from the Long Fork of Silver Creek. The trail passes through a large meadow, then several small ones. The trail crosses the Long Fork of Silver Creek for the last time about a quarter mile from its highest point--the top of the Silver Creek drainage. Grassy slopes are replaced by boulder fields as the trail climbs steeply to a saddle dividing the Silver Creek and Bitter Creek drainages. The trail crosses the saddle and descends steeply into the Bitter Creek drainage where it soon levels. Within three miles, the trail traverses a lodgepole flat, then fords Deadwood River. The trail overlaps a short, narrow road and ends at its intersection with the Landmark-Stanley Road (Forest Road 555).  To get there, take Forest Road 671 all the way to the end of the road and go right, crossing over a bridge to the trailhead parking. The trailhead kiosk is located right next to where the trail begins.

Areas for Mountain Biking at Emmett Ranger District and Office

Lake and Pond Fishing

Sage Hen Reservoir is extremely popular for fishing its native and stocked by Fish and Game fish. Boat ramps are located at the Sage Hen Creek Campground and Antelope Campground.  The reservoir is heavily used by non-motorized watercraft (i.e. canoes/ float tubes/kayaks). Motorized watercraft is allowed with a 15 mph speed limit restriction. 

The Middle Fork Payette River is a great place for those who like to drop a line from along the shoreline. Several species of trout are commonly caught, but mountain whitefish are also present. Access is via Forest Road 698 – all along the road and in the campgrounds adjacent to the Middle Fork River and 698.

On the North Fork, South Fork and Main Payette Rivers the rainbow trout stocked by Idaho Fish and Game are coveted by anglers.  Access is via Highway 55 and the Banks-Lowman road (Highway 17).   Boat launches for kayaks and whitewater rafts are located at Deadwood Campground, Danskin, and Deer Creek on the Banks-Lowman road, and at Banks Access and Beehive Bend on Highway 55.

Areas for Lake and Pond Fishing at Emmett Ranger District and Office

River and Stream Fishing

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Emmett Ranger District and Office

Viewing Wildlife

Highway 55 and the Banks-Lowman Road travel through a canyon that offers many scenic views of the Payette River.  North of Banks on Highway 55, visitors delight at the sight of the adventure-loving kayakers riding the Class V rapids on the North Fork Payette River. In fact, many river-runners consider the North Fork Payette River to be one of the most feared and respected Class V rapids in the world.  On the Banks-Lowman Road at Banks, the South Fork Payette River views are a stunning mix of emerald green waters and whitewater rapids.  A large turnout halfway between Banks and Garden Valley provides an easy stopping place to view kayakers attacking the well-known and extremely challenging Staircase Rapids.  A stopping place along the Banks-Lowman Road provides a roadside scope where visitors can look out across the South Fork Payette River and into some pasture land where elk reside during the winter and spring seasons. Elk and deer are also commonly seen from Garden Valley to Lowman.  

On Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 698) visitors enjoy spectacular views of the Middle Fork Payette River and Six Mile Creek Falls, a waterfall that stair steps several hundred feet from Six Mile Creek cascading into the Middle Fork Payette River.

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Emmett Ranger District and Office

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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