The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests offer a huge variety of recreational opportunities in 4-MILLION acres of beautiful and diverse land. Four wilderness areas, two of which are the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48 states, are within the national forest (Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, Gospel Hump Wilderness, Hells Canyon Wilderness, and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness). Wildlife is plentiful, hiking and backpacking trails are numerous, and you’ll find never ending scenic vistas around every corner.
The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway is Idaho’s longest byway spanning the state east to west from Lolo Pass to Lewiston. This route is a favorite of many motorists, especially the 2-wheeled kind, following the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers nearly the entire way.
The Elk River Backcountry Byway is an off-the-beaten path adventure that crosses Idaho’s tallest bridge and the massive Dworshak Reservoir and winds through the forest to Elk River and Idaho’s tallest waterfall.
Highway 95 winds through forests along Winchester Grade and on to the rolling hills and farm towns of the Camas Prairie.
The Magruder Corridor and Southern Nez Perce Trail is a 101-mile, single lane, mostly unimproved road that offers solitude and pristine beauty with expansive scenic views.
The Lolo Trail National Historic Landmark Corridor (also known as the Nez Perce National Historic Trail and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail) is a rustic road that follows the route
The Gold Rush Historic Byway follows the Clearwater Valley into the Weippe Prairie and forested towns of Weippe and Pierce.
The Elk City Wagon Road is another rustic trail that follows the route miners took from Elk City to Clearwater.
The White Pine Scenic Byway has panoramic views of farm land, forests, rivers, and mountains, as well as the largest stand of White Pine trees in North America.
Dworshak Reservoir extends about 54 miles into the Clearwater National Forest. It’s a favorite fishing spot year round and offers miles and miles of summer fun for boaters.
The Clearwater River is the perfect spot to set up for fishing or spend the day playing in the water from a white sand beach. Kamiah to Orofino makes for an easy 1-2 day float. Outfitters offer floats on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater.
The Lochsa River is one of the premier whitewater rivers in the world. No other river in the United States offers as many class IV river miles with non-stop whitewater action. Outfitters offer trips starting in May until mid-July depending on water flows.
The Selway River flows through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and is protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This makes for a pristine rafting experience with crystal clear water, an inland rainforest and mountain slopes covered in cedar, fir, and pine.
The Salmon River is a rafting trip you’ll never forget. Multi-day trips take you through rugged and astounding wilderness with action-packed rapids, and nights filled with stars. Outfitters also offer 1/2-day and full-day trips near Riggins.
Thousands of miles of groomed trails are ready for you to explore. Over 350 miles of trails compose the Elk City groomed trail system and cover the Nez Perce National Forest area. In the winter, snow depths of one to ten feet provide great snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Check out all the winter recreation options in North Central Idaho here.
Several downhill ski areas dot the region and provide lots of winter family fun.
Locations: Elk City, Dixie & Red River and Upper Clearwater River Corridor
Category: Bicycle Rides, Family Activities, Hikes & Walks, Parks & Campgrounds, Ranches & Riding, Skiing & Snowsports, and Wildlife Viewing