Finlay Flats Recreation Area In Montana
Cell Service: none, but we were told other sites at the same campground do have service
Elevation: 2,335 ft
Although this free campsite is actually in Montana, were including it on this list because its on your likely route for your Idaho road trip if you avoid interstates like us and are trying to zig zag through the national forests of Idaho.
This dispersed camping area is found on national forest land along the Clark Fork River, just off Hwy 200 near the Idaho/Montana border. After turning north onto NF-2654/Finlay Flats Road, which is well maintained gravel, travel under 2 miles, cross the railroad tracks, and youll arrive at Finlay Flats.
The free camping spots are large enough for bigger RVs, level, and most of the 10-12 sites have a bit of shade. The spots are close enough together that you wont have a lot of privacy or feel very secluded, but the views of the Clark Fork River and surrounding area more than make up for it.
Youll need to be prepared to boondock while staying at this free campground. There is no potable water, trash, or electricity, however, there are pit toilets available.
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Yellowstone National Park
Located in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park, the Tower Junction to Slough Creek road corridor offers access to hiking, fishing, auto touring, and wildlife watching. Beginning August 3, 2022 through October 31, 2022, day use visitors to Slough Creek will need a reservation to visit this…
Free Or Reduced Rates For Campground Hosts:
If you have more flexibility in your schedule if you are retired, homeschool, etc being a campground host might be an option for you. Typically you can get free rates to camp in exchange for being available to help & answer questions for the campers. The minimum stay is typically one month, though, but this might be a fun option for the summertime if you plan ahead.
You can find available campgrounds that need hosts by searching this website for National Parks & Forests all around the country. At the time of this post, I found over 10 locations that needed hosts, this list is constantly changing, so definitely check that site out to see if theres an option that will work for you. I would think youd need to schedule this out far in advance though.
Let us know if you have other ideas of ways to get discounts or free passes for camping!
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Outdoor Air Quality Report For Idaho Falls Id
We love the outdoors right? Fealing that intake of clean fresh air removes the worrys and stress of life. The current EPA air quality indications today for Idaho Falls is 0. The scale goes from 0 to 5 with 0 indicating the best air conditions and 5 the very worst air conditions.
Get Out Exploring Near Idaho Falls?
Idaho Camping Locations That Are Dispersed
Lets start with a few general remarks regarding free camping in Idaho if youre planning an Idaho road trip and want to take advantage of some free camping:
Whether on BLM land or in a national forest, these are all primitive camping locations in Idaho.
This means youll need to be prepared to boondock or wild camp without running water, electricity, garbage service, or shower facilities. Next, go to this post for some advice Begin camping in the wild like a pro.
Before going on any wild camping trip, familiarize yourself with the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.
Always leave locations in better condition than you found them, which may include cleaning up other peoples trash. When people fail to handle these amazing shared resources with care, they are routinely shut down because they are too expensive to maintain. We recommend bringing a few garbage bags and disposable gloves with you.
You cant rely on consistent cell service in Idaho. Check out our post with advice on how to acquire better service, including an explanation of our personal camping wifi setup, if you rely on service for business.
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Why Go Dispersed Camping In Idaho
A state with the least population in America, Idaho sits snugly in between Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. If you think the small size of this state is a declaration of its lack of potential, you might want to think again. Idaho might be one of the least populated states in the USA, but what it lacks in human life is overcompensated with stretches of uninhabited land rich in biodiversity. Idaho is a large state that spans two time zones from the Canadian border to the south, connecting with Utah and Nevada.
Idaho is easily one of the most underrated locations for enjoying a connection with nature. With its vast landscapes and biotopes that range from undisturbed forests to towering mountains, river canyons, and arid planes, it is easy to see how Idaho is any campers dream. Because Idaho has such a vast stretch and abundance of natural locations that range from forest to land and sea, it easily attracts an array of visitors who want to enjoy nature.
Although Idaho attracts tons of people with different interests like mountain bikers looking to explore the terrains, tourist hikers and campers remain a significant percentage of the visitors. Idaho is made of approximately 62 percent of public land, making it a great place to practice dispersed camping. Legal dispersed camping sites on both national forests and BLM land isnt uncommon. Below, we provide a list of the 20 best spots for boondocks in Idaho.
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General Grant National Memorial
“Let Us Have Peace.”The final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia, is the largest mausoleum in North America. It testifies to a peopleâs gratitude for the man who ended the bloodiest conflict in American history as Commanding General of the Union Army and then, as Pres…
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Massacre Rocks State Park Id
139 RV rentals
In the southeastern section of Idaho, between Pocatello and Twin Falls, is Massacre Rocks State Park. This park is just south of the Craters of the Moon Monument & Preserve, and both are pleasant places to visit when you book an RV in Power County. Massacre Rocks State Park is located along the Snake River and is named in tribute to an emigrant wagon train traveling along the Oregon Trail that was ambushed by Native Americans at the site.
Two large boulders are on either side of the former Oregon Trail, and travelers at the time feared an attack because of the pinch the boulders made in the trail. Alternative names for the boulders that were popular with
Free Camping In Eastern Idaho
Did you know that Idaho holds a sliver of Yellowstone National Park? Combine that with easy access to the tourist hotspot of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and eastern Idaho is an attractive option for adventure-loving campers.
Island Park, which is surrounded by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, is an eastern Idaho destination in its own right. This small town is known for its world-class fly fishing along Henrys Fork of the Snake River. Its also a stones throw to West Yellowstone. Free camping in Island Park includes the peaceful sites at Red Rock Pass, the waterfront sites at Romsett Beach, and the pretty landscapes at Targhee Creek Trailhead.
From the welcoming downtown of Boise to the wild rivers of Island Park, Idaho is a state that will surprise you. With plentiful public lands, youll never be too far away from a great, and free, nights sleep.
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What Is Free Camping
Free camping is any spot where you can legally camp overnight for free. Specifically, the term often references land managed by the Bureau of Land Management So, take care to ensure that camping is permitted in the area you plan to set up camp. Contacting park rangers or local authorities is certainly the best way to verify any questionable camping locations.
These locations are often dry camping, and youll need to be self-contained to make use of the area. Although, some free campgrounds do have restrooms available and, if youre lucky, a water fill station.
Also, be sure to check the facilities at your chosen spot in advance, so you can better prepare for your adventure.
Pro Tip: Heres our guide for using Campendium to find free campsites.
Below The Dam/caribou Targhee Natl Forest
Management: Public Forest Service
The road in is Gravel. Tissue Point is open n/a. There are 6-15 Idaho boondocking locations in this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. You may stay n/a at Tissue Point. A dirt road drive from Palisades reservoir up a side canyon, fed by the Bear Creek tributary.
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Balanced Rock County Park
Cell Service: No
Elevation: 3481 ft
This free campground is tucked between canyon walls and alongside Salmon Falls Creek. And it’s super nice, especially when considering that its free!
Each site has a covered picnic table, garbage can, fire pit, and grill. There are pit toilets and a small swing set towards the entrance to the campground. Automatic sprinklers come on each night – so check the signs for timing and dont set your tent up in their path!
The creek wasnt one we were going to swim in, but several kayaks and paddle boards went by during our stay. Locals were also heading out on a trail alongside the creek, about 30 minutes of walking from the back of the campground, to get to a larger swimming and fishing hole.
We stayed at the site furthest back and therefore had no close neighbors, and our daughter loved exploring the giant boulders at this site. Some of the other sites are closer together and may prove to be more challenging for larger RVs to set up in.
If you need to be connected for work, you should start getting service if you turn left out of the campground entrance and head up the road less than a mile to Balanced Rock.
White Bird Gravel Pit
Cell Service: none
Elevation: 1440 ft
This free BLM camping area in Idaho is good for a quick overnight stop. From 95, turn west onto Old Highway 95 and drive for a few hundred feet. Youll see a large gravel parking lot on your left, right along the Salmon River. This is the free camping area.
However, if youre in a truck bed camper or other small camping setup, go to the back of the parking lot and youll find a small trail leading to a more secluded spot overlooking the river. Now its not so bad!
Although Highway 95 is nearby and youll be able to see houses in the hillsides, pulling as far back as possible does help create the feeling that you have a private campsite right along the Salmon River.
Pit toilets are provided, but other than that, there are no other amenities at this free camping spot in Idaho.
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Milner Historic Recreation Area
Cell Service: Yes on booster
Elevation: 4137 ft
FEE: $5.00 when we visited
Although this place isnt technically free camping in Idaho, it made our list because the $5.00 fee is so minimal for such a nice camping area. The Milner Historic Recreation Area stretches for 4 miles along the Snake River with primitive campsites throughout.
The sites are spaced far apart and there are basic amenities at this wild camping area – picnic tables, fire pits, and pit toilets. Because there are 6 different offshoots down to the multiple camping areas, it can take a bit of time if youre trying to drive around to check out each one. Looking at google maps in satellite view can help you pick out your desired campsite without spending as much time!
There are two main entrances to get into the camping area, each one with a pay station. Take the western entrance if your camper needs more than an 11 height clearance, as theres a low train bridge you have to go under when using the eastern entrance. The road in is maintained gravel and any length rig should be able to find a spot.
If youre into history, theres a hiking trail to historic wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail days in this same recreation area.
Free Camping Sites In Idaho To Camp On A Budget
Our free camping guides for the Northwest as well as Free Camping in California have all been so popular, so we wanted to expand & offer more camping options for those in the Northwest. Idaho is one of the most beautiful places to get away from it all & head out to the great outdoors for camping, so we wanted to put together a list of resources & campsites for you to camp at for free in Idaho.
There are a number of public lands that offer camping at no cost in Idaho and the crowds may be less there, too, meaning you could have an easier time finding a place to camp than some of the other areas around the Northwest.
Remember that when you go camping for free, these are typically available first come, first serve and they usually have very limited or no amenities like water, picnic tables, flush toilets, etc. But if youre willing to rough it & just bring the supplies you need ahead of time, you can find some great, out of the way spots & make some amazing family memories on a steep budget.
Also, here in the Northwest, the most popular time for camping is of course in the summertime, but many locations will open up their sites with free or reduced rates once the busy season has passed, so those are great options as well to check it out in the fall or spring when we still might have some beautiful camping weather.
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Black Canyon Recreation Site
Cell Service: Yes on booster
Elevation: 4748 ft
This free camping area is really more of a gravel parking area on BLM land in the mountains above Pocatello, ID. The sign posted during our visit stated that its only open April 14 – November 16.
Because no one was there during our quick overnight stop, we enjoyed this place and the great views. Theres a pit toilet at one end of the parking area and several nice tent sites right across the road with covered picnic tables and fire pits.
This is an OHV area, so from what we understand, it can get rather noisy on the weekends from ATV and OHV traffic. If this were the case, I would imagine this free camping area would be suited for nothing more than a late night pull-in and place to lay your head, if that.
There is no exit directly from I-15 onto N. Black Canyon Road, so your GPS will first route you onto Old Hwy 91 in order to get to this free campsite. The gravel road in is a little bumpy but should be fine for all types of vehicles and campers, but is not ideal for larger RVs.
North Fork Big Wood River
Location: Near Sun Valley
North Fork Big Wood River is the perfect free camping homebase for exploring the Sawtooth Mountains.
These campsites are located along North Fork Canyon Road just 15 minutes north of Ketchum and about an hour south of Stanley.
While there used to be a nearly unlimited number of dispersed campsites here, I believe there are now a little over a dozen designated dispersed campsites you must camp within one of these and are no longer allowed to just set up camp anywhere.
Luckily, these designated dispersed campsites are spaced quite far apart, so you still have all the privacy youd expect from normal dispersed camping. The only problem is that these campsites fill up extremely quickly during the summer months.
North Fork Big Wood River is a decent place for boondocking in RVs and trailers. There is some minor washboarding on the gravel access road, but all but the biggest rigs should do just fine here. Most campsites can accommodate trailers and RVs.
What I Like:
I love how convenient these campsites are for exploring Sun Valley and Ketchum as well as Stanley and the Sawtooth Mountains. The location really just cant be beat.
What I Dont Like:
Unfortunately, due to overuse and abuse, youre now required to camp in a designated dispersed campsite along North Fork Big Wood River. But, if you prefer true dispersed camping, there are still plenty of options throughout the surrounding national forest.
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Bear Lake State Park Id
570 RV rentals
Some people may not consider Idaho the perfect getaway however, there’s a hidden gem in St. Charles that’s a water lovers absolute paradise. Packed fun of fun outdoor activities, Bear Lake State Park is only minutes from Montpelier and a variety of shopping and restaurants. Be sure to book an RV in Bear Lake County and spend some time camping at Bear Lake State Park.
The park is situated close to the Utah and Wyoming border, making it easy to visit three states within a weekend of motorhome camping. Salt Lake City is only 133 miles away, or about two and a half hours south of Bear Lake State Park whereas Jackson, Wyoming is about 134 miles away, about two