More Value for Your Vacay in North Central Idaho

July 26, 2023

You’ll find no shortage of adventurous and budget-friendly pursuits this summer and fall. Situated among 4 million acres of national forest, this region offers opportunities for hiking, biking, rafting, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors, giving you more value for your vacay.

Make a Splash in the Capital of American Whitewater

The Salmon River is the perfect way to tap into summer with wild rapids, breathtaking scenery, riverside hot springs, and beautiful sandy beaches. For as little as $69, you can experience a ½-day rafting the infamous rapids on the Salmon River of No Return with Salmon River Experience. Explore nearby lodging, camping, and RV parks, like Swiftwater RV Park in White Bird where tent camping is $12/pp per night or pull in your RV for $37/night.

While you’re here, there’s lots of other activities to take in. The Hells Canyon Wilderness and Seven Devils Mountains create a 7,900-foot drop into North America’s deepest river gorge, Hells Canyon. Day hikes and backpacking in 218,000 acres of stunning, rugged terrain and lush meadows. Just ¾ of a mile south of Riggins take Forest Road 517 up to Seven Devils Campground.

Wind your way up the scenic Old White Bird Hill Backcountry Drive. The road passes by the historic White Bird Battlefield, the site of the first battle of the Nez Perce Flight of 1877. Interpretive signs dot the 3.8-mile loop trail.

Grab your fishing license, load up your gear, and stop along the Salmon River for steelhead, salmon, trout, and bass fishing. Check the IDFG site for the latest on seasons and rules.

Our area members will be happy to help with your visit!

Check Off Your Bucket List

Idaho’s longest byway, the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway (Highway 12), follows the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers for 202 miles from the Montana to the Washington border. The historical sites and recreational activities are infinite! You’re literally following in the steps of history as this is the path of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the heart of the Nimiipuu homeland.

Countless pull-outs and trailheads lead hikers to hot springs, waterfalls, mountain lakes, cedar groves, and across rivers and streams. This country is relatively untouched and a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts. Elk, deer, moose, bear, cougars, and mountain goats call this area home.

Pull-outs along the road allow the perfect opportunity to cast a line for trout, salmon, or steelhead. Pack a picnic launch a float on the scenic Clearwater River or choose a white sandy beach to hang out for a day filled with playing in the cool, clear water.

Just minutes from Orofino, you can visit the highest dam in the Western Hemisphere, Dworshak Dam, as well as the tallest bridge in Idaho (2nd highest reservoir bridge in North America), Dent Bridge. This bridge crosses the massive Dworshak Reservoir and is part of the Elk River Backcountry Byway. Dworshak Reservoir is a wonderful place to spend some time hiking, fishing, camping, and playing in the water.

Continue along the Backcountry Byway to Elk River and plan a hike to Elk Creek Falls Recreation Area, the tallest waterfall in Idaho. Perkins Cedar Grove, also near Elk River, is home to Idaho’s largest tree, a Giant Western Red Cedar, that’s over 3,000 years old and 18 feet in diameter.

Our area members will be happy to help with your visit!

Dive Deep into History, Culture, & North America’s Deepest River Gorge

a blue jet boat, surrounded by whitewater rapids, makes its way through the Snake River, in Hells Canyon

Lewiston is the gateway to Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America. There are lots of white sandy beaches to play on and a nearly infinite number of river miles for boating or fishing. Splurge for a guided trip into the canyon to see ancient carvings in rocks…messages and art from native people from long ago. You often get a chance to spot wildlife like bears, bald eagles, and bighorn sheep among the rugged canyon walls. Throw in some tales of miners, Native Americans, and ranchers to add to the excitement. Prices start at $150 pp with significant discounts for children.

Popular affordable activities include fishing, riverside camping, hiking, and enjoying the miles of paved riverside trails. And speaking of miles….walk in the steps of history at the Nez Perce National Historical Park and learn more about the history and culture of the Nimiipuu, this region’s native people.

And, if you’re a wine enthusiast, there are enough wineries to keep you busy for a few days. Tasting fees are affordable and the award-winning yet budget-friendly wines rival Walla Walla.

Our area members will be happy to help with your visit!

Follow the Trestles to the Camas Prairie

The towns of the Camas Prairie offer many diverse activities and scenery. Explore the picturesque trestles made famous by Will Smith in the movie Wild Wild West. Take a recreational detour to fish, camp, and hike at Winchester Lake.

Just off Highway 95 on your way to Grangeville, you can’t miss Dog Bark Park and visit the world’s biggest beagle. Afterwards, take a scenic respite at The Monastery of St. Gertrude and learn more about the history of the area.

Stay over in Grangeville and access the millions of acres of outdoor recreation and majestic prairie sunsets. The South Fork of the Clearwater River is just down the hill filled with trout and steelhead. Trails are plentiful for hiking, mountain biking, motorcycling, and ATV riding.

Our area members will be happy to help with your visit!

Sample America’s Tuscany

Take a scenic culinary tour of the Palouse from Moscow to Deary. The mix of rolling hills and forests paired with farm-to-table restaurants and award-winning wineries make this a choice destination for foodies, photographers, and nature lovers.

Start your Saturday morning at the Moscow Farmers Market (ranked 8th best in the nation and #1 in Idaho). A blend of local farmers, artists, musicians and food vendors create a feast for the senses. Explore the local shops, tasting rooms, art galleries, and restaurants.

Nearby Moscow Mountain is a mecca for hikers and mountain biking enthusiasts. The paved paths of the Bill Chipman Palouse & Latah Trails attract walkers, runners, and bikers.

Take a leisurely drive on Hwy 8 towards Deary where hiking, biking, fishing (and eating) are quite popular. Brush Creek Creamery and The Pie Safe Bakery are a destination for locals and visitors alike. Try their delicious pastries, wood-fired pizzas, cheeses, and ice cream, all made from scratch and local cows.

Our area members will be happy to help with your visit!

Come explore the heart of outdoor adventure, history, culture, and wine in one of America’s most affordable and friendly destinations!

Some campsites in North Central Idaho are free. Click here for a list of developed campsites and sites that can be reserved.



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