Wilderness Gateway Campground

Area Status: Open

Wilderness Gateway Campground is one of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest’s premier campgrounds. Located at milepost 122.5 along the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway (US Highway 12), the campground offers 91 sites consisting of RV and tent camping, group camping, stock camping and facilities. The recreation area boasts its very own bird-watching trail, large trailhead parking for access into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, dump station, large picnic shelter and flush toilets, too. The Wilderness Gateway Campground has something for everyone: fishing, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and don’t forget your camera! The scenery, wildlife and stunning Lochsa River are visions you won’t want to forget!

The Campground will accomodate RV's up to 50-ft. length.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open seasonally. Different loops have different opening and closing dates. Reservations are accepted at www.Recreation.gov. Dump station closes Sept. 7, 2023. Flush or vault toilets available in all loops and pavilion.
Operational Hours: Loop A: 26 Sites with 2 pull thru's
  • May 18 - Sept. 12, 2023
Loop B: 27 Sites with 3 pull thru's
  • May 18 - Sept. 12, 2023
Loop C: 26 Sites
  • May 18 - Sept. 26, 2023
Loop D: 11 Sites
  • May 18 - Oct. 30, 2023
Pavilion: 15 Picnic Tables
  • May 18 - September 7, 2023
Dump Station
  • May 18 - September 7, 2023 (water shutoff September 7)
Reservations: Reservations can be made by visiting Wilderness Gateway at Recreation.gov or by calling their toll-free number 1-877-444-6777.
Fees: $14.00 per site with an 8 person site maximum. $2 per extra vehicle.
Open Season: May 2023 - October 2023-See Operational Hours for specific close dates for loops
Best Season: Summer, Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Stock camping Loop D only.
Closest Towns: Lowell, Idaho or Kooskia, Idaho
Water: Yes
Restroom: 6 flush toilets and 10 vault
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center:
  • Lochsa-Powell Ranger District, 208-926-4274
  • There are also bulletin boards with information provided on each loop as well an informational kiosk at the campground entrance.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Road Cycling

Cycling is permitted within the campground only, and not on the trails.

Campground Camping

  • 91 sites total
  • Large Group Camping Loop is available via reservation only; consists of 26 sites (Recreation.gov)
  • One loop is located adjacent to the Lochsa River
  • Loop D is a Stock loop reserved for stock users; 11 sites total--all with feed mangers and water troughs
  • Two other loops for general tent and RV camping; 26 sites; some reservable and some first come first serve 

Group Camping

Large Group Camping Loop is available with 26 sites.  Available by reservations only (Recreation.gov).

River and Stream Fishing

The Lochsa River in Idaho is especially known for its fly fishing opportunities, with crystal-clear water and lots of cutthroat trout.
Please contact the Lochsa Ranger District Office at 208-926-4274 to find out detailed information about catch-and-release rules in the Lochsa River Corridor. Check the IDF&G fishing regulations for open seasons and catchable species.
Note: Barbless hooks are called for everywhere on the Lochsa River Idaho.

Day Hiking

Bird Watching trail located within the Campground area.


There are certain restrictions when traveling in the wilderness. Please contact your local Ranger Station to learn about what is and is not permitted. No motorized vehicles are allowed and a group size limit is enforced.

  • Large Trailhead parking with stock facilities--acccess to trail 198 and 220 (access to Selway Bitterroot Wilderness)

Horse Camping

Horse Camping is provided in Loop D

Horse Riding

Viewing Wildlife

It’s always possible to view wildlife: deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, bear...and more in the Lochsa River corridor! Springtime is especially prime viewing time on the open, brushy hillsides.

  • Bird Watching trail located within the Campground area

Viewing Scenery

Scenery is beautiful through the Highway12 and Lochsa River corridor, ranging from dense forests to shrubfields created by wildfires in the early 1900s. Canyon walls are steep, and rock outcroppings are impressive.

Group Picnicking

A large picnic shelter is provided within the recreation area.

Scenic Driving

US Highway 12, the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All American Road, is a paved two-lane highway. It is a winding road, with limited opportunities to pass and speed limits 50 miles per hour or less. There are a few turnouts to allow faster traffic to pass. These, too, are limited. Access to the Highway 12 corridor is from Lewiston, Kooskia or Missoula.

Boating - Non-Motorized

For the whitewater thrill-seeker, the Lochsa River and some of its tributaries offer floating and kayaking opportunities generally from April to June. No permit is required. Check our list of licensed guides who are ready to help the amateur enjoy the excitement whitewater offers.


There are several "sand bars" along the river. These sites are undeveloped beaches with no lifeguards. Please use extreme care if you explore the waters. Watch out for moss-covered rocks, submerged logs and swift, cold water.

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Boulder Creek Trail (not groomed) is an excellent nearby trail for winter cross country skiing and touring as well as snowshoeing.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude :