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Ponderosa State Park Camping Reservations

Lava Flow Campground Craters Of The Moon National Monument And Preserve

Ponderosa State Park – Camping with dogs // Reidsview 2019

This aptly named national park highlights a volcanic history that occurred thousands of years ago. Today, this monument and preserve is among the best national parks in Idaho and is an otherworldly place to hike and camp.

The Lava Flow Campground at Craters of the Moon is one of the most unique places to camp in Idaho. The campground is within a relatively young lava flow and has flat spots among the molten basaltic rock. Campsites at Craters of the Moon accommodate tents and small trailers. Hiking trails and interpretive opportunities also stem from the campground.

Sites at Lava Flow are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground does fill up during the summer, and early arrival is the best bet to secure a spot. Not all sites accommodate trailers as well as others. The campground has a centrally located restroom facility and potable water spigots near every campsite.

Heavy winds blow through the campground in the afternoon, making it essential to tether anything to the ground that might fly away.

An amphitheater connects to the campground and offers free presentations on summer weekends. Other activities near the campground include a trip on the seven-mile Loop Road. This main thoroughfare of the park connects all the major hiking and caving opportunities at Craters of the Moon.

States That Have Additional Charges For Out


Non-resident campers in a Connecticut state park can expect to pay $5 to $15 more per night for campsites and cabin rentals.


Camping in one of Delawares five state parks will cost visitors $5 to $10 more than residents in the spring, fall, and summer seasons. In the winter, no additional fee is charged to out-of-staters.


Non-resident visitors to Hawaiis state parks can anticipate paying $5 to $30 more per night to stay in a state park campsite or cabin.


Idaho recently implemented a fee increase for out-of-state campers at its busiest state parks, including Farragut, Henrys Lake, Ponderosa, Priest Lake, and Round Lake. At these parks, non-residents will pay double what residents pay, with nightly rates starting at $48 for a basic campsite.

Non-residents will pay $5 more per night to camp at Nevada state parks.

New Jersey

The fee to camp in New Jerseys state parks is $5 more per night for out-of-state campers and $10 more per night for cabins.

New Mexico

New Mexicos camping fees on a per-night basis are the same for residents and non-residents however, its popular Annual Camping Permit is less expensive for residents.

New York

Out-of-state campers at state parks in New York can expect to pay $5 extra per night for campsites and $7 extra per night for cabins and yurts.



Rhode Island






What You Need To Know

  • In addition to a park entrance fee, equestrian riders need to purchase a horse pass. Daily and annual options are available and are required per horse. Permits are available for purchase in the park or online here. The money generated from these fees goes towards maintaining horse trails.

    Daily fee: $6/horse

    Annual fee: $30/horse

  • Users are responsible for the upkeep of corrals and other impact areas. Please clean up hay and manure daily and before you leave, both in the park corrals and all use areas.
  • Ride only on trails designated for horse use. Ask park staff for information about park areas that are closed to horseback riding such as, campgrounds, playgrounds, or picnic areas.
  • Tie horses to corral posts or horse trailers, not to trees. The use of hobbles is prohibited.
  • Many of the trails are located on privately-owned land. Please respect the rights of landowners and keep your horses on the designated trail right-of-way.
  • Leave all gates as you found them.
  • All North Dakota State Park and Recreation Area maps are available free on Avenza maps, download the free App here.
  • Hay is available for purchase at the park.
  • Bringing horses into North Dakota: Information on health certificates and tests can be found on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s website, , under Animal Import Permits.

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Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Sawtooth National Recreation Area contains over 750,000 acres of rugged mountain terrain in Central Idaho. Several designated and dispersed places to camp line the main thoroughfare of the recreation area, Highway 75. This highway is also known as the Sawtooth Scenic Byway. With thousands of sites to accommodate tents and RV camping, this bustling area receives a lot of due attention during the summer.

One of the most popular places to camp is Redfish Lake. It is the largest lake in the Sawtooths, and few other views of the Sawtooth Range rival the the lake’s stunning backdrop. Glacier View is the largest campground at Redfish Lake, with 64 campsites available. Reservations are available for Glacier View Campground, and campsites often book up months in advance.

Other reservable campgrounds at Redfish Lake include Point Campground and Outlet Campground. Two more campgrounds at Redfish Lake, Heyburn and Sockeye Campgrounds, are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of the best hiking trails in Idaho stem from these scenic campgrounds.

Alturas Lake, Stanley Lake, and Salmon River Campground are also popular designated campgrounds. All reservable Forest Service campgrounds can be booked six months in advance. Generally, any reservable campsite will book out for the entire summer by March. Advance planning is required to secure a campsite reservation in the Sawtooths.

Kirkham Bonneville & Pine Flats Campgrounds Boise National Forest

Ponderosa State Park

For those that enjoy a little soak alongside their camping experience, Boise National Forest is the place to go. The national forest has several enticing hot springs, and a few of the better-known soaking spots have campgrounds nearby.

Several of these hot spring campgrounds are on Highway 21, also known as Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, which connects Boise to Stanley. This lovely route is worth the drive alone. An alternative way to get to hot springs from Boise is Highway 55 through Horseshoe Bend.

The popular Kirkham Hot Springs has an adjacent campground with 16 sites available. East towards Stanley, Bonneville Campground connects to hot springs via a short hiking trail. Likewise, Pine Flats Campground and Pine Flats Hot Spring, west of Lowman towards Garden Valley, is also a popular hot spring destination.

These three hot spring campgrounds all feature sites for tents and RVs. Vault toilets and potable water are available to campers and day users. Reservations are available for these popular campgrounds and are recommended for the summer season.

For more thermal areas to enjoy in the area, check out our best hot springs in Idaho article.

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Priest Lake State Park

Less than 30 miles from the Canadian border in the Idaho Panhandle, Priest Lake offers a surplus of campsites surrounded by pure nature. The state park comprises three units spanning the east side of the 19-mile lake, and each unit has a campground that facilitates tents and RVs.

The Indian Creek Unit, near the center of the lake, is home to the park’s visitor center and other amenities like a gas station and amphitheater. The Indian Creek Unit has over 30 campsites available, with a mix of electric and nonelectric spots.

To the north, the Lionhead Unit is also a popular camping spot within the park, with nearly 50 sites. Camping is also available south of the lake within the Dickensheet Unit.

The state park also has unique overnight opportunities. Six Lakefront Cabins in the Indian Creek Unit sleep five people and provide rustic accommodations. A large group camp is within the Lionshead Unit. The Lionshead Group Camp includes a cabin that sleeps 12, and enough RV and tent sites to accommodate 50 people. Advance reservation is required for the group camp.

Address: 314 Indian Creek Park Road, Coolin, Idaho

Do Senior Citizens Get Into State Parks For Free

Some states, but not all, welcome senior citizens into their state parks for free. Its best to call ahead or search online for discounted rates before arriving. The same goes for military members or veterans check with each state park system for discounted rates.

Whether youre visiting for the day or staying for a week, state parks offer the opportunity to recreate and relax in some of the most beautiful natural areas in the U.S. Ready to start planning your trip?

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How Do You Get A State Park Pass

Many states offer state park passes to residents and non-residents, allowing unlimited day-use entry to state park facilities, trailheads, boat launches, and other recreational amenities. Sometimes, these passes also offer a discounted rate on camping. State park passes can often be purchased online, over the phone, and at local park offices. Check the state park systems website for more info.

Lake Cascade State Park

Idaho Today: Day Trippin’ at Ponderosa State Park

Thirty miles south of McCall, and 75 miles north of Boise, Lake Cascade is a year-round recreation destination. The eye-catching North Fork Mountains backdrop all 86 miles of shoreline. The reflective water attracts all sorts of activity, including boating, fishing, and windsurfing. The state park surrounding Lake Cascade operates a dozen different campgrounds with over 230 campsites in total.

Campgrounds at Lake Cascade are on the southeast and northwest side of the lake. Poison Creek and RidgelineCampgrounds are the only two that offer full hookup RV spots. The rest of the developed campgrounds at Lake Cascade are nonelectric and cater to both tents and RVs. Lake Cascade also features group camps and dispersed camping areas.

Another thing that all campsites at Lake Cascade have in common is access to the water. All campgrounds have nearby boat docks, and many, such as Van Wyck Campground, have sandy beach swimming areas. Each campground also has restroom facilities and potable water. Sunsets from either side of the lake make a trip to Lake Cascade worth the visit alone.

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Best Places For Camping In Idaho

Written by Brad Lane Sep 28, 2020

Idaho has no shortage of scenic places to pitch a tent, or park an RV for that matter. From lakeside spots to campsites beneath jagged mountain peaks, camping in Idaho is the best way to explore the natural wonders of the state. Whether driving an RV or primitive camping away from the crowds, Idaho has thousands of campgrounds.

Camping in the different national forests of Idaho is always an excellent way to go. Designated campgrounds operated by the U.S. Forest Service punctuate these woodsy environments. Forest Service campgrounds generally have vault toilets, potable water, and some are available for advance reservations.

Dispersed camping is also popular in Idaho national forests. Dispersed camping, sometimes called primitive camping, is camping in the national forest outside of designated campgrounds. Generally, campers find dispersed camping on pull-offs from dirt Forest Service roads. Dispersed camping is free, but these areas offer no amenities like potable water or trash collection. Dispersed campers need to pack out anything they bring into the woods.

State parks in Idaho also provide excellent campgrounds. These campgrounds feature more amenities, like flushing toilets and shower facilities. Some state park adventures include massive sand dunes, 1,000-foot-deep lakes, and abundant wildlife sightings. Many campsites in the state parks are reservable six months in advance.

City Of Rocks National Reserve

City of Rocks is a beacon for adventure in the southern part of the state near Utah. Giant boulders and unique rock monuments litter this 14,400-acre reserve. The eye-catching monoliths at City of Rocks were once a landmark for emigrants on the California Trail. Today, this state park attracts rock climbers and hikers from across the nation.

Camping at City of Rocks is a unique experience. The reserve has 64 sites in total, spread throughout different areas and pull-offs in the park. Every site offers unique perspectives on the rocky landscape. Campsites are primitive at City of Rocks, with only a picnic table and fire ring. Vault toilets are in central locations near the campsites.

Water is available at two different picnic areas in the park between April and October. Backcountry camping is also available in the Grove Area of City of Rocks. Permits are required to sleep in the backcountry.

Most campsites at City of Rocks are reservable six months in advance. The park sees a lot of visitors during the summer season, making reservations recommended.

More camping options are available at the neighboring Castle Rock State Park and Smoky Mountain Campground. These sites are more developed and have full hookups for RV drivers.

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Bruneau Dunes State Park

Over 60 miles southeast of the capital city, Bruneau Dunes State Park is also one of the best campgrounds near Boise. It’s not just the proximity to the city that makes Bruneau Dunes popular, though. What draws heavy weekend visits is the tallest freestanding sand dune in North America. This shifting spectacle is fun to climb, photograph, and sled down.

Two large campgrounds at Bruneau Dunes accommodate tents and RVs. The Broken Wheel Campground has 50 campsites split between electric and non-electric sites. Many of the campsites have shade and wind shelters surrounding a picnic table. Down the road, the Eagle Cove Campground has an additional 50 sites with similar accommodations.

Both campgrounds at Bruneau Dunes State Park feature shower houses and flushing toilets. Both campgrounds are also within walking or short driving distance to the dunes. Visitors spend hours at the dunes, whether navigating the sandy landscape or fishing for bluegill in the adjacent ponds.

Near the dunes, the Bruneau Dunes Observatory is open to the public on the weekends. This public observatory allows campers to catch a better glimpse at the starry night sky and Milky Way that hovers over Bruneau.

Address: 27608 Bruneau Sand Dunes Road, Bruneau, Idaho

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