Idaho City Ranger District and Office


IC - Hayfork Campground

The Idaho City Ranger District (RD) is just over 400,000 acres in size, ranging from open foothills along the Payette River on the western border of the District to the beautiful and famous Sawtooth Mountains on the eastern portion.

Elevations range from 3200 to 8800 feet. The climate is generally dry with plentiful sunshine year around. Annual precipitation in Idaho City is approximately 15 inches, with most of it occurring as snowfall.

Winter temperatures range from a high of 35-40 degrees F, to lows just above zero and summer temperatures range from a high of 80’s to the upper 90’s, to lows in the 40’s.

The District receives high visibility due to its close proximity to Boise, the capitol city of Idaho.  Several beautiful pristine rivers flow through the District offering some of the best strongholds of bull trout habitat in South West Idaho.

Trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and motorized activities are abundant and provide for numerous opportunities in the mild season. With relatively heavy snows and long winters, the District is a destination for many cross country skiers and snowmobilers with abundant ski and snowmobile trails.

 

 

SPRING AND SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS - Visit the historic town of Idaho City.  The District features many great trails for hiking and fishing. The Crooked River trail is a favorite for scenic beauty. A rental cabin is a geat choice providing some of the conforts of home and great adventures in every direction outside the front door.

Idaho City gates on roads normally open June 15 and close September 15.

Please call the District for updates. (208-392-6681)  

Make your reservations at www.recreation.gov

 

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! 

For more information on passport renewal, registrations, regulations and permits for winter recreation visit: Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

  

 

Idaho City RD - Map of Park N' Ski Areas 

Snowmobiling in Southern Idaho

More information about areas to cross-country ski and snowshoe near Idaho City.

 

Idaho City Ranger District
Highway 21, milepost 38.5
P.O.Box 129
Idaho City, ID 83631
(208) 392-6681

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

District Ranger: vacant

 

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

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Most campgrounds are open from late May through late September.

General Information

Directions:

From Boise, Idaho, travel along State Highway 21 approximately 38 miles to Idaho City, Idaho.

The Idaho City Ranger District Office is on the right side of State Highway 21 as you enter town.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

The Idaho City RD offers a variety of mountain biking trails, from beginner to advance. No matter what your experience there is a trail that will accommodate you. Scenery along the trails include: mountains, rivers, creeks, lakes, and wildlife.

There are many trails to consider if you visit this part of the Boise National Forest, but to get you started here are a few recommended trails.

Beginner Trails - Buena Vista Loop and Charcole Gulch
These two trails are for beginners and well maintained. The Buena Vista Loop begins and ends at the airport, where parking is available. Bathroom facilities are also available. To get to the airport take McGomery Street then take a left on Walstreet and that will take you to the parking area. You can choose to stay on the Buena Vista Loop which is 2.5 Miles or about .5 Miles into the trail you can go right on Charcole Gulch.

Intermediate Trails - Crooked River Trail and Jenny Lake Trail
These two trails are for those who are in the intermediate category. Both trails are non-motorized and in fair to good condition. There is parking for both trails.
Crooked River Trail is 12 miles long but only the first 5 miles is maintained. If you go past five miles the trail becomes more advanced. This is a heavily wooded area with a creek running along one side of the trail and a hill on the other. Along the 12 miles a mountain biker can expect to see interesting rock formations, beautiful rapids, pools, rocky cliffs with steep canyon walls in the lower two miles.

Advanced Trail- Swanholm-Warrior Trail
Swanholm-Warrior Trail is for the more advanced riders. It connects with the Horse Heaven Trail and Lodgepole Trail to create a loop. The trail is in fair to good condition. However Mountain bikers will find this trail difficult in most sections. The length of Swanholm-Warrior Trail is 8 miles, LodgePole is 3 miles, and Horse Heaven Trail is 8 miles. There are lakes along the loop that bikers can visit. Make sure you take plenty of drinking water with you on this trail.

Additional Trails

Bear River Trail - This is Forest Service Trail #171 and is a single-track trail for non-motorized use only. The scenic 10-mile long route starts flat but ascends steeply in the middle and at the end. The scenery becomes increasingly more interesting as one goes up the trail. Bear River runs between 8,800 foot ridgelines with 8,870 foot Wolf Mountain on north side and 8,900 foot Shephard Peak at its headwaters. Intermediate level mountain bikers will find the first 3 miles to be the most rideable. To get there, follow Highway 21 northeast from Boise through Idaho City. Turn off Highway 21 onto Forest Road 384 at Edna Creek (18 miles past Idaho City). Follow Forest Road 384 for 13.5 miles to North Fork Boise River and Forest Road 327. Turn upriver on 327 to Deer Park (6 miles) and turn left onto Forest Road 348. Follow 348 to Bear River (6 miles). Cross bridge and travel 200 yards beyond bridge and turn right onto side road. Approximately 100 feet up this road, turn right again onto jeep road (OK for 2-wheel drive pickups) and follow jeep road about 0.25 miles back to trailhead.

Bear Run- Mostly flat with views of open meadows and ponderosa pines. Variety of roads and trails, some for single-track motorcycle use.

Bogus Basin

Numerous Idaho State Parks offer single-track mountain biking. Click HERE for more information.

The Idaho City Ranger District also has several single-track trails for motorized, off-highway vehicle use.

Areas for Mountain Biking at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Campground Camping

The Idaho City RD provides an incredibly variable range of country to explore and campgrounds to visit. See the list for more details about each campground.

There are three campgrounds recommended that are in close proximity to Idaho City and an easy drive from Boise.

Ten Mile is at 5,000 feet and includes 14 tent sites. Located Highway 21, with most sites creek adjacent, the camping is under a canopy of conifers.

Black Rock requires a long drive in. Campers can hear the sounds of The North Fork Boise River from their campsites. The area holds 11 sites in close proximity, with little privacy. Set at 4,300 feet, the sites include fire pits. RVs are allowed, but there are no conveniences at the location.

Grayback Gulch is at 4,200 feet (with a steep final approach), includes 18 sites and is very similar in design to Black Rock.

Areas for Campground Camping at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Group Camping

The Idaho City RD offers several choices for group camping. 

Areas for Group Camping at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Cabin Rentals

The Idaho City RD has created a brochure of the great opportunities to rent a rustic cabin on the Boise NF. Check out the brochure and get ready to experience the rustic cabin life in the Forest.

Idaho City Rustic Cabin Brochure.

When you are ready to make a reservation, contact:

Idaho City Ranger District
3833 Highway 21
P.O. Box 129
Idaho City, ID 83631
(208) 392-6681
or go to:
www.recreation.gov

Areas for Cabin Rentals at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

River and Stream Fishing

The Idaho City Ranger District has many areas to fish. There are rivers, lakes, and streams that have rainbow trout and bull trout (remember bull trout must be released if caught).

The headwaters of the North Fork Boise River offer some of the best trout fishing in the area. Both the North and Middle Forks of the Boise River are heavily stocked by Idaho Fish and Game.

Crooked River (a tributary of the North Fork Boise River) features brook and rainbow trout for catching, but it’s also jut a beautiful roadless setting. The easiest way to access the river is via the Edna Creek Road (Forest Road 384) off Highway 21, northeast of Idaho City. 

The 4-acre Jennie Lake is a popular hiking location as well as fishing. Whether you’re fly fishing, bait casting or spinning, your chances of getting a bite here are good. The lake is stocked with cutthroat and rainbow trout. From Highway 21 in Idaho City, go east on Forest Road 384.  Follow 384 for about 6 miles to the junction with Forest Road 348, which is just shy of the Willow Creek campground. Follow 348 for just over 7 miles. To the north is a small spur road. Take this and park at the Jennie Lake Trailhead.

 

 

You can purchase maps at the District Office located at 3833 Highway 21 in Idaho City.  Call the District to find out road conditions - (208-392-7300).  Remember cell phone coverage is often limited.

When undertaking any outdoor activity, take plenty of water, sunscreen, bug spray, appropriate clothing, a map and of course your Idaho fishing license.  For more information about obtaining hunting and fishing liscenses:     http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/

Areas for River and Stream Fishing at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Day Hiking

The Idaho City RD has many hiking trails for you to enjoy. No matter what your skill level there is a trail to suit your needs. While on the different trails hikers can enjoy watching wildlife, viewing beautiful scenery, and hiking along rivers, creeks, and lakes.

Beginner Trails - Buena Vista Loop and Charcole Gulch
These two trails are for beginners and well maintained. The Buena Vista Loop begins and ends at the airport, where parking is available. Bathroom facilities are also available. To get to the airport take McGomery Street then take a left on Walstreet and that will take you to the parking area. You can choose to stay on the Buena Vista Loop which is 2.5 Miles or about .5 Miles into the trail you can go right on Charcole Gulch.
The area is flat, with the exception of one small hill. Along the Buena Vista Loop there are dredge ponds and Elk creek. There is a creek along only part of Charcole Gulch and it is a wooded area.

Intermediate Trails - Crooked River Trail and Jenny Lake Trail
These two trails are for those who are in the intermediate category. Both trails are non-motorized and in fair to good condition. There is parking for both trails.
Crooked River Trail is 12 miles long but only the first 5 miles is maintained. If you go past five miles the trail becomes more advanced. This is a heavily wooded area with a creek running along one side of the trail and a hill on the other. Along the 12 miles you can expect to see interesting rock formations, beautiful rapids, pools, rocky cliffs with steep canyon walls in the lower two mile.
Directions to Crooked River trail: Follow Highway 21, northeast from Boise, through Idaho City. Turn off Highway 21 onto NFS road 384. Crooked River Trailhead is indicated with trail sign one mile from the turnoff.

Advanced Trail- Swanholm-Warrior Trail
Swanholm-Warrior Trail is for the more advanced riders. It connects with the Horse Heaven Trail and Lodgepole Trail to create a loop. The trail is in fair to good condition. However Mountain bikers will find this trail difficult in most sections. The length of Swanholm-Warrior Trail is 8 miles, LodgePole is 3 miles, and Horse Heaven Trail is 8 miles. There are lakes along the loop that bikers can visit. Make sure you take plenty of drinking water with you on this trail.
Directions to trail: Follow Highway 21, northeast from Boise through Idaho City. Turn off Highway 21 onto NFS road 384 at Edna Creek (18 miles past Idaho City). Follow NFS road 384 for 13.5 miles to the North Fork of the Boise River and NFS road 327. Turn upriver (left) on NFS road 327 and cross the North Fork Boise River by bridge just below Deer Park Cabin. Continue on NFS road 327 for another 2 miles to Horse Heaven Creek and Trailhead. Ride or hike about 3 miles on Horse Heaven Trail up to low saddle and intersection with Swanholm-Warrior Trail.

Areas for Day Hiking at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Horse Riding

There are several trails that are suitable for horseback riding.  Along our many trails the rider may enjoy, wildlife, forested areas, mountains, lakes, rivers, and creeks.  Recommended Horseback Riding Trails:

Horse Heaven Trail and Lodgepole Trail - These two trails connect so they can be ridden separate or together to make a longer ride. Horse Heaven Trail is in good condition and is 8 miles long. Lodgepole Trail is in fair condition and is 3 miles long. In order to get to Lodgepole Trail you must travel along Horse Heaven Trail. Along both trails expect to see deer and elk. Along the trail you can enjoy creeks, and wonderful scenic views.

Directions to Horse Heaven Trail and Lodgepole Trail —Follow Highway 21, northeast from Boise, through Idaho City. Turn off Highway 21 onto NFS road 384 at Edna Creek (18 miles past Idaho City). Follow NFS road 384 for 13.5 miles to the North Fork of the Boise River and NFS road 327. Turn upriver (left) on NFS road 327 and cross the North Fork Boise River by bridge just below Deer Park Cabin. Continue on NFS road 327 for another 2 miles to Horse Heaven Creek and Trailhead. Look for trail directions.

 

Grouse Creek Trail - Grouse Creek Trail is a 5 mile trail and horse riders should have no difficulty on this trail. The last mile of trail leading to the lakes becomes rockier and has an incline. You can expect to see deer and elk along the trail. The trail also follows along Grouse Creek. Open slopes in the spring are in bloom and in the fall the colors are spectacular.

Directions— Follow Highway 21 northeast from Boise through Idaho City. Turn off Highway 21 onto NFS road 384 at Edna Creek (18 miles past Idaho City). Follow NFS road 384 for 13.5 miles to the North Fork Boise River and NFS road 327. Turn upriver (left) on NFS road 327 and follow to the Middle Fork Boise River (12 miles) and turn left onto NFS road 268. Follow NFS road 268 upriver toward Atlanta. Cross the Kirby Dam bridge and continue about 0.2 miles and turn right on NFS road 289, which goes up Yuba River. Follow for about 2 miles to the confluence of the Yuba River and Decker Creek (NFS road 289 turns into NFS road 207). The Grouse Creek trailhead is located about 1.5 miles up NFS road 207 and is identified by a trail registration box and direction sign. Most people riding unload and ride from Atlanta or at junction of NFS roads 268/289.

 

Corbus Creek Trail - is a 9 mile trail and is good condition and horse riders will have no difficulty. There are various streams along the trail to enjoy. You can visit Corbus Lake and South Fork Corbus Creek lakes. You can expect to see elk, deer, and mountain goats along your ride.

Directions—Follow Highway 21, northeast from Boise, through Idaho City. Turn off Highway 21 onto NFS road 384 at Edna Creek (18 miles past Idaho City). Follow NFS road for 13.5 miles to North Fork Boise River and NFS road 327. Turn upriver (left) on NFS road 327. Follow to Middle Fork Boise River (12 miles) and turn left onto NFS road upriver toward Atlanta. Cross the Kirby Dam Bridge and continue about 0.2 miles where the road intersects for the Yuba River NFS road 289 and James Creek 126 road. The James Creek Road trailhead is located about 6 miles from Middle Fork Road 268, indicated by a registration box and directional sign. Vehicle parking for this trailhead is located about f200 yards north on a pullout above the road (Look for remnants of an old log cabin; park just to the south). NFS road 207, 289 and 126 are not recommended for passenger cars. Most people riding unload and ride from Atlanta or at junction of NFS roads 268/289.
 

 

Areas for Horse Riding at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Big Game Hunting

Idaho City RD is a good place to hunt for big game such as elk and deer. For hunting and fishing season information and permits hunters should visit Idaho Fish and Game web site:

http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/

A few things to remember are please stay on designated roads and have a map and GPS unit with you at all times. Take plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.

The most asked question is, “Can I take my ATV off the designated area to retrieve my game?” The answer to that question is, no.

If you have any further questions please contact the District located at 3833 Highway 21 in Idaho City. Their phone number is 208-392-7300

Areas for Big Game Hunting at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Viewing Wildlife

At over 7,800 feet, Sunset Mountain presents extensive views of the Boise Mountains and the forest opening up before you. Its summit is home to a fire lookout that is staffed during the summer months. On clear days, you may also see the Trinity Mountains to the southeast and Shafer Butte and Mores Mountain above the Boise Basin to the southwest. From Idaho City, take Highway 21 east to Mores Creek Summit, just past milepost 52. Turn right on Forest Road 316 and proceed for 4 miles. High-clearance vehicles are recommended on 316. Visitors should also be aware of snow conditions at the higher elevations before heading out.

Thorn Creek Butte Lookout sits at approximately 7,500 feet and affords fantastic 360-degree views of the forest, mountain peaks, lakes and rivers.  From Idaho City, go one mile east on Highway 21. Turn right on Forest Road 203.  Go 8 miles, then turn right on Forest Road 203L for one mile. The road makes a loop. High-clearance vehicles are recommended on 203 and 203L. Visitors should also be aware of snow conditions at the higher elevations before heading out.

From the Graham airstrip, visitors can get a birds-eye view to the east across the wilderness to the stunning Sawtooth Mountain Range. From Highway 21 at Edna Creek, go east on Forest Road 312.  A high-clearance vehicle is recommended on 312.

Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

OHV Camping

Areas for OHV Camping at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

OHV Trail Riding

Idaho City Ranger District has many trails for those who enjoy seeing the back country by ATV or motorcycle.

Motor Vehicle Use Maps are the official map for designating all roads, trails and areas available for public motorized travel on the Boise National Forest. Visitors should not rely on any other maps for making decisions about motorized travel. 

The MVUM maps and Boise NF maps are available at the Idaho City RD.  Visit the maps and publications link for more information on MVUM maps.

For permits, registrations, and rules and regulations, please see web site for Idaho Parks and Recreation:

http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/index.aspx

Reminder: During hunting season please be courteous of other hunters not using ATVs and stay on all designated trails. (Noise scares game away) ATVs are not allowed off the trail to retrieve game.
 

Picnicking

The District hosts many excellent family picnic spots. There are day use areas with picnic tables, and no fees. Double check with the office if you have any questions, their phone number is 208-392-7300.

Three popular areas are Whoop-um-up campground, Bad Bear, and Granite Creek.

Granite Creek is located just out of Idaho City about one mile. Bad Bear is North of Idaho City about 15 miles on Highway 21. Whoop-um-up is North of Idaho City about 18 miles on Highway 21.

Areas for Picnicking at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Group Picnicking

Group picnicking is available at all of the group camping choices within the Idaho City RD.

Areas for Group Picnicking at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Scenic Driving

The Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway is a great scenic drive.  It starts in Boise and follows Highway 21 along the Lucky Peak Reservoir north to the historic mining town of Idaho City where you can still pan for gold in a nearby stream bed.

Campgrounds, hiking trails, wildlife viewing and fishing opportunities line Mores Creek and Highway 21 all the way past Idaho City to Lowman.

In the summer months the historic town of Idaho City hosts horse and motorcycle events and in the winter, visitors can find cross country skiing opportunities and snowmobile trails. Stop at the Idaho City RD office for more information about recreation opportunities and sightseeing in the area.
 

Areas for Scenic Driving at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Swimming

A sure way to take down the heat of a summer day on your visit to the Idaho City RD, is to wade into a clear, cool, mountain stream or river. 

On your way back to Boise, a dip in the Lucky Peak Reservoir can also be very refreshing.

Areas for Swimming at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Areas for XC Skiing/Snowshoeing at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Snowmobiling

Idaho Parks and Recreation website:

http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/index.aspx.

Click on link to recreation on the left hand side; choose the sport you need information on. All information for Boise National Forest is located in Southern Idaho area. Make sure you are on the right link. Idaho City RD areas include: Banner Ridge Park N’ Ski, Gold Fork Park N’ Ski, Whoop-Um-Up Park N’ Ski. Maps can be downloaded at this site.


Boise Snowmobile Club

http://boisesnow.com/snow/index

This link gives you access to grooming reports, grooming maps, snow reports and much more.
Like all winter outdoor activities make sure you take plenty of water, appropriate clothing, and a map or GPS unit. Any questions contact the local Idaho City RD at 208-392-7300.

Areas for Snowmobiling at Idaho City Ranger District and Office

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
43.82204

  Longitude : 
-115.84197