Explore the Camas Prairie

September 21, 2023

Train Trestles near Winchester Idaho
Train Trestles near Winchester Idaho

Welcome to the Prairie! Homesteaders found the fertile land on the Camas Prairie ideal for growing grains, hay and livestock – agricultural activities predominant today. Visit in May or June when brilliant yellow canola contrasts with deep green wheat fields.  In August and September, watch combines complete the harvest. The Camas Prairie is named for the camas flowers native to the area. Their deep purple blanket the prairie in early May and June.

Winchester, is a quiet vacation destination located on the western edge of the Camas Prairie, surrounded by ponderosa pines. Winchester Lake State Park features camping, fishing, and several trails to explore.

Craigmont is a rural community with an agricultural/tourist-based economy located along Hwy 95, nestled among the gentle rolling hills of the Camas Prairie. 

The little community of Reubens’ claim to fame includes the only railroad "turn around" between Spalding and Grangeville and the only cyclone to hit the Camas Prairie.  The railroad on stilts movies "Break Heart Pass" and "Wild Wild West" were filmed near Reubens.

Explore the farming community of Nezperce. This town is steeped in history and Native American culture. The land surrounding Nezperce was once the summer camping ground for the Nez Perce people.

The world’s biggest beagle marks your arrival in Cottonwood. Stop by Dog Bark Park and say "hello" to chainsaw artists Dennis and Frances, known for their whimsical wooden carvings of dogs. You can even stay in the most unique bed and breakfast, the "big dog," known as Sweet Willy.  The chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude is one of the most ornate in the state and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Historical Museum located here preserves the rich history of this area.

Originally founded in the 1860s as a commercial center to supply the mining camps at Florence and Buffalo Hump, today Grangeville is the hub of the agriculturally rich Camas Prairie. It sits adjacent to the Nez Perce National Forest and Gospel-Hump Wilderness Area, within 15 minutes of the Salmon River to the south and South Fork of the Clearwater River to the east.

Try a juicy steak of local grass-fed beef at a local steakhouse, sample regional wines and microbrews at a bistro or delectable sweets at a local bakery. Explore dozens of unique, locally-owned shops on Main Street, or enjoy the fountain and mural at Heritage Square.

The discovery of gold in 1898 at the base of Buffalo Hump started one of the last major gold rushes in the western United States. Remnants of placer mines, diggings, and abandoned boom towns are still evident. Prospecting and mining continue today in the Gospel Hump Wilderness area.

Find Camas Prairie Lodging

Fall Activities


Fall is the perfect time to explore and sip local brews. Wolftrack Brewing in Cottonwood has craft ales on tap and Three Mile in Grangeville offers good food and beer.

Hiking, Biking, & ATVing

September and October are good months to enjoy the beautiful colors and fall temperatures. Between Grangeville, White Bird, Winchester, and the Elk City area, there are 750 miles of trails that are within the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest boundaries and make excellent off-roading for ATVs and OHVs.

Scenic Drives

State highways 95, 13 (part of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway) & 14 are just gorgeous in the fall. Hillsides are dotted with yellow, orange, and bright red hues. Stop in at the prairie towns for a bite to eat and a warm welcome.


Chinook & Coho salmon and steelhead fishing are at their prime in the fall. You can fish year round for Bass, Brook Trout, Bull Trout, Kokanee, Sturgeon, Tiger Muskie, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, and Whitefish.

Winter Activities

Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding & Tubing

Cottonwood Butte offers groomed runs and powder-filled trails for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Night skiing is the 1st Friday of each month in January, February, and March. Snowhaven, near Grangeville, not only features a downhill ski area but a fantastic tubing hill. A ride down the run features an approximate 150-foot vertical drop. Once the ride is completed a 600-foot-long lift carries you back to the top of the two 1100-foot-long runs for another tubing adventure.

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

Trails at Winchester Lake State Park are perfect for beginner to intermediate level cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Fish Creek Meadows Park n' Ski near Grangeville features groomed trails for cross country skiing. Snowshoeing is permitted but off groomed trails.


Ice fishing for rainbow trout, catfish, or the elusive Tiger Muskie is a popular winter sport at Winchester Lake. Soldiers Meadow Reservoir near the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area is stocked with kokanee and rainbow trout for some prime ice fishing.


You'll find 750 miles of groomed trails for snowmobiling near Winchester, Grangeville, White Bird, and beyond to nearby Elk City and Dixie.

Spring & Summer Activities

Canola Fields on the Camas Prairie
Canola Fields on the Camas Prairie

Scenic Drives

The Camas Prairie in late spring is the most spectacular sight you'll ever see. The golden hues of the canola fields are views unlike any other. For miles and miles, there's bright yellow foregrounds contrasted with blue skies forever. Combine this with the drive up Highway 95 through the train trestles and forested hillsides and you'll think you've entered heaven.


Any time of year is the perfect time to explore and sip local brews. Wolftrack Brewing in Cottonwood has craft ales on tap. Trestle Brewing in Ferdinand offers a good selection of beer and food.

Hiking, Biking, & ATVing

When spring and summer months come, it's time to enjoy the 750 miles of trails. Between Grangeville, White Bird, Winchester, and the Elk City area, the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest boundaries these trails make excellent off-roading for ATVs and OHVs.


The Idaho Fish & Game stock rainbow trout at Winchester Lake and kokanee and rainbow trout at Soldiers Meadow Reservoir near the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Spring and summer chinook runs make this area a world-class fishing destination. Bass, Brook Trout, Bull Trout, Kokanee, Sturgeon, Tiger Muskie, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, and Whitefish can be found in most rivers year round.


June - Craigmont Picnic | Culdesac Shebang Days

July - Grangeville Border Days & 4th of July Celebration | Grangeville Summer Concert Series | Winchester Days | Nezperce Prairie Days

August - Grangeville Summer Concert Series | Idaho County Fair | St. Gertrude Raspberry Festival

September - Lewis County Fair

December - Winchester Christmas in the Pines



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