Recreation

Endless Waters, Edges and Islands

From the shores of big lakes to the banks of winding rivers, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests create a tapestry of land and water in the handle of North Idaho. 

Recreation opportunities on the IPNF can be viewed as occuring in 5 fairly broad geographic areas, each centered around one or more distinctive features. These areas are the:

  • Priest Lake Area (Priest Lake Ranger District - flanking scenic Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake)
  • Lower Kootenai River Area (Bonners Ferry Ranger District - rugged mountains surrounding the Kootenai River as it flows through the northern panhandle)
  • Pend Oreille Lake Area (Sandpoint Ranger District - centered around Pend Oreille Lake and its major tributaries - Clark Fork River, Lightning Creek, and Pack River)
  • Coeur d'Alene River Area (Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District - comprised largely of the Coeur d'Alene river basin)
  • St. Joe River Area (St. Joe Ranger District - comprised primarily of the St. Joe River basin)

On our web site you'll find our recreation sites organized by these areas. So, note the area on our forest you'd like to stay or explore and then discover our recreation opportunites. Or, choose an activity and see where on the forest it is offered. Either way, we're sure you'll find exceptional recreation opportunities on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

The map below shows these areas in relation to the entire Idaho panhandle. These areas are also coincident with our 5 Ranger Districts: Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene River, and St. Joe.  Read more...

 

Interested in learning more about how recreation opporunities are managed?  Check out the 2019 IPNF Recreation Strategy

 

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Bartoo Island Group Site/Campgrounds    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Beauty Creek Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Beaver Creek Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Bell Bay Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates. or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Berlin Flats Group Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District - 208-664-2318
Big Creek Campground    Closing for season October 19, 2020
Big Hank Campground    Tentatively opening July 1, 2021. Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Bumblebee Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Camp 3 Campground    Closing for Season: 10/19/2020
Cedar Creek Campground Closed to Visitor St. Joe Ranger District 208-245-2531
Conrad Crossing Campground    Water shut off for season. Closing for season:  10/19/20
Copper Creek Campground Open to Visitor Bonners Ferry Ranger District - 208-267-5561
Devil's Elbow Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates. or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Emerald Creek Campground Closed to Visitor
Emerald Creek Garnet Area Closed to Visitor The Emerald Creek Garnet Area will reopen under a permit system May 28 - September 6, 2021. Permits are expected to be available for purchase on Recreation.gov in mid-March 2021.

In alignment with current federal, state, and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of its employees, visitors, and volunteers, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, St. Joe Ranger District, the Emerald Creek Garnet Area is currently closed. Please remember to review current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with local and state guidelines for social distancing and cloth face coverings
Fly Flat Campground    Closing for season:  10/19/2020
Geisinger Campground    Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Green Bay Campground    Sandpoint Ranger District 208-263-5111
Honeysuckle Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates. or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Kalispell Island Group Site and other Campgrounds    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Kit Price Campground Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2021 season for major campground renovations. Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates. or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Luby Bay Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Mammoth Springs Campground Closed to Visitor
Meadow Creek Campground Open to Visitor Bonners Ferry Ranger District - 208-267-5561
Mokins Bay Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates. or call Scenic Canyons Recreational Services, Inc. at: 435-245-6521
Navigation Campground    Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Osprey Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Outlet at Priest Lake Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Packsaddle Campground    Closing for season:  10/19/2020
Plowboy Campground    Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Reeder Bay Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Robinson Lake Campground Open to Visitor Bonners Ferry Ranger District - 208-267-5561
Sam Owen Campground    Refer to Recreation.gov for latest updates.
Sandpoint Ranger District 208-263-5111
Shadowy St. Joe Campground    Closing for season: 10/19/2020
Smith Lake Campground    High elevation, access depends on snowpack. Bonners Ferry Ranger District - 208-267-5561
Spruce Tree Campground    Closing for season: 10/19/2020
Telichpah Campground    Closing for season: 10/19/2020
Tin Can Flat Campground    Closing for season: 10/19/2020
Trapper Creek Campground    Priest Lake Ranger District 208-443-2512
Turner Flat Campground    Closing for season: 10/19/2020
Upper Landing - Avery RV Dump Station Closed to Visitor
Whiskey Rock Bay Campground    Sandpoint Ranger District 208-263-5111

Spotlights

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.

Areas & Activities


https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/ipnf/recreation