Find Your Awe in Idaho’s State Parks
By: Jennifer Okerlund, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
Photos by Kimberlee Miller
Article Cover Photo Submitted by Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
Camping and spending time outdoors has a lengthy list of benefits. Not only is it a great way to make memories with your friends and family—but being outside can even increase your happiness and boost your creativity.
As human beings, we’re wired for wonder; we feel compelled to stop and soak up the sunset or gaze up at the stars — and there’s no better place to do that than camping outdoors. Research even suggests that awe-inspiring moments can make us happier and more inventive.
Whether you’re a novice or expert camper, prefer a tent or a 65-foot-diesel-pusher with slides, your Idaho State Parks can provide the perfect overnight opportunity. So, grab the kids and get outside.
There are so many camping opportunities within just a couple of hours of Eagle. Here’s a list of your nearest Idaho State Parks with campgrounds.
Ponderosa State Park: McCall
The beautiful Payette Lake is the centerpiece of Ponderosa State Park, located in the heart of one of Idaho’s most popular year-round destinations, McCall. Hike, bike, listen to a park naturalist around an evening campfire, let the kids ride to the Visitor Center for ice cream, rent a canoe or kayak and meander along the Payette River.
With almost 200 campsites, Ponderosa State Park has every kind of overnight experience imaginable, with a variety of serviced campsites that provide water and electricity hook-ups and cabins for small or large groups.
Windsurfers and boat sails crisscross Lake Cascade when the afternoon winds kick up. Fishers catch rainbow trout, coho salmon, or small mouth bass all year long and hikers or mountain bikers traverse a variety of trails within and beyond the park and the nearby North Fork of the Payette River offers world-class whitewater adventure.
Lake Cascade has as many camping options as it does recreational opportunities with hundreds of campsites ranging from primitive to fully serviced hook-ups. The sites are located along 86 miles of shoreline with beautiful views of Lake Cascade and the North Fork Mountain Range.
Three Island Crossing State Park: Glenn’s Ferry
Modern travelers will find a stay at Three Island Crossing much more hospitable than did the 19th century Oregon Trail pioneers who crossed the mighty Snake River at this location.
Take a self-guided tour of the park and see the original wagon ruts and Conestoga replicas, visit the Oregon Trail History and Education Center to learn more about pioneers, early settlers and Native American history, dangle your feet or a line in the Snake River where emigrants made their historic crossings or sit under a tree and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Three Island Crossing State Park offers over 80 serviced campsites and eight camping cabins, complete with lockable windows and doors, electricity, heat and air conditioning.
Bruneau Dunes State Park: Mountain Home
Bruneau Dunes State Park boasts the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America with a peak rising 470 feet above the surrounding desert floor. Explore the dunes in your hiking boots or rent a sand board from the Visitor Center. You can also fish for bluegill in the lakes at the foot of the dune; unlock the mystery of the desert with a breathtaking hike or horseback ride; plan a group picnic or visit the Bruneau Dunes Observatory and gaze at the night sky through the Observatory’s collection of telescopes.
Bruneau Dunes State Park offers over 100 serviced campsites and two camping cabins.
What are you waiting for? Find your awe within Idaho’s State Parks. Visit www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov to learn more, plan your adventure and make your overnight reservations.
Your Idaho State Parks Passport covers your daily Motor Vehicle Entry Fee (MVEF) into Idaho’s State Parks. The MVEF is charged in addition to camping fees. Pick up your Passport and start saving! Visit www.idahoparkspassport.com for details.