St. Joe Wild & Scenic River

St. Joe River

The "Shadowy" St. Joe River flows down the western slopes of the Bitterroot Mountain Range from it's headwaters at St. Joe Lake near the Idaho/ Montana state line.

The upper portion of the St. Joe River was Congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River in 1978; designating the portion of the St. Joe River from North Fork of the St. Joe River to Spruce Tree Campground (39.7 miles) as a Recreational River and the segment from Spruce Tree Campground to St. Joe Lake (26.6 miles) as a Wild River.  The Recreational portion of the river provides multiple vehicle access opportunities and developed campgrounds.  Above Spruce Tree Campground the Wild portion of the St. Joe River is accessible only by non-motorized travel, with Trail 48 following the river to Heller Creek Campground.

The St. Joe River offers a variety of recreational opportunites, such as fly fishing, floating, camping, hiking, horseback riding and backpacking.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: USGS Current Conditions for the St. Joe River at Calder
Closest Towns: Avery, ID Saint Maries, ID Wallace, ID St. Regis, MT
Information Center: Information is available from the St. Joe Ranger District in Saint Maries and Avery Idaho.  A volunteer host staffs the Historic Red Ives Ranger Station during summer months.


Campground Camping

There are several developed campgrounds which provide access to the Wild & Scenic St. Joe River. 

Packsaddle Campground

Turner Flat Campground

Tin Can Flat Campground

Conrad Crossing Campground

Fly Flat Campground

Line Creek Stock Camp

Spruce Tree Campground

River and Stream Fishing

Known for excellent cutthroat trout fly fishing.  Special fishing regulations apply, refer to Idaho Department of Fish & Game Fishing Season & Rules.

Idaho Department of Fish & Game:

USGS Current Conditions for the St. Joe River at Calder

Scenic Driving

Drive the St. Joe River Scenic Byway along the St. Joe River on highway 50 from Saint Maries, Idaho to the Montana state line (89 miles).  Key scenic attractions include the steep walls and clear water of the St. Joe River, opportunities for viewing deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, birds and the golden Larch trees in the fall.  Many opportunties exist for camping, hiking and picnicking along the way.  Services in Avery, ID vary seasonally.  The road beyond the state line (Gold Pass) is not paved but does access St. Regis, Montana. 

The Red Ives Road (Forest Road 218) is equally scenic and follows the Wild & Scenic River to the beginning of the Wild, unroaded segment of the river at Spruce Tree Campground.  This is a 11 mile single lane road with turn outs, that is mostly paved.  From St. Maries, travel up highway 50 approximately 75 miles to Forest Road 218 turn off. 


WINTER:  Highway 50 above Avery, ID and the 218 Red Ives Road are not plowed or maintained for highway vehicles beyond Avery, ID during the winter months.  Call St. Maries or Avery Ranger Stations for current conditions.

Boating - Non-Motorized

Boating the St. Joe River is a popular activity and there are opportunities for all skill levels, from floating in inner tubes to whitewater rafting. 

St. Joe River Float Trips

USGS Current Conditions for the St. Joe River at Calder

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities