There are a number of exciting and beautiful campsites spread throughout the state of Idaho. However, if you are simply visiting the Treasure Valley and don’t want to drive very far for some good, old-fashioned camping, here are a few campsites that are within a two-hour drive of the Boise area.
French Creek Campground- This shady campsite is a little under two hours away from Boise and is located on Lake Cascade. To get to the campground, you will need to drive on the eastern side of Lake Cascade (which has no shade whatsoever). Once you get to the tip of the lake, you will drive onto West Mountain Road, which will eventually lead to the wonderful shade provided by the Boise National Forest. The campsite itself holds a total of 21 different sites, each having its own set of unique features. It is recommended that you set up camp in sites 1-8 if you would like a view of the lake (as well as a site next to French Creek itself). If you reserve a spot on site No. 1, you will be more secluded from the others, giving you a more peaceful experience. Sites near the creek also boast access to the lake, so you can have fun swimming, fishing, and relaxing in the nice shade. Each campsite also comes with a flat pad to pitch your tent, a fire ring, and a grill for an easy barbecue. You can also take your dog with you, and you are able to arrive in your RV for even more comfort!
Succor Creek Campground- This desert campsite is two hours west of the Boise area and is the ideal place to enjoy the stars. Wildflowers bloom, the mornings aren’t as chilly, and the lack of trees creates the best view of the western skies. Succor Creek is just over the Idaho-Oregon border, so be warned that the drive over may seem a bit bland and uneventful. However, once you cross into the Owyhee wilderness, you will get a glimpse of magnificent and breathtaking scenery. The campsite itself is ideal for an overnight stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spend hours hiking through the trails near Leslie Gulch, or visit the Owyhee Canyonlands if you plan on staying a little longer. It is recommended that you visit this campground in early June since the later months of the summer tend to be much hotter. Bring emergency supplies, as well as plenty of water, sunscreen, and a spare tire that is fully inflated. There is also no cell phone service, and the walk back to the main road takes about 14 minutes (so have some decent walking shoes!). It seems so easy to forget those essentials when you’re so close to home; please take this advice to heart!
Shafer Butte Campground- Located in the heart of Boise on top of the Boise Ridge Mountains (which is also near Bogus Basin), this campsite is a great way to spend time in nature without having to drive for miles just to get there! It offers some closeby city access, scenic views of the Boise National Forest, trails, partial shade at most of the campsites, picnic areas, campfire rings, and much more! You can even hike to Bogus Basin from here for even more recreational activities. Even though the city of Boise may still be seen from the campsite, Shafer Butte is known to be one of the best campgrounds in the Boise area because of all of the recreational opportunities and the beautiful overlooks.
Willow Creek Campground- This campground is located in the Sawtooth National Forest, which is about an hour and a half drive from Boise. Also known as the South Fork of the Boise River Campground, it is fairly small as it only holds three campsites. Each has its own picnic table and fire pit (however, you will need to gather your own firewood). You may consider going out exploring along the trails, fishing in the creek, or checking out some of the wildlife as they pass through the grounds. The sites are given on a first-come, first served basis. However, if you do get one of these spots, you will be rewarded with a spot right next to the Boise River. Although there isn’t much to do here for the adventurous visitor, it still has the beauty of the river and canyon, peace and tranquility, and is the ideal getaway for a summer weekend.
Middle Fork Boise River- There are a number of campgrounds along this part of the river, and it is only about 50 miles from the Boise area. You will have to drive on windy roads to get there, but you will be rewarded with at least a dozen hot springs, fishing, biking, hiking and countless outdoor activity opportunities. Water levels at the hot springs are usually high until late summer and early fall. One of these campsites, Troutdale Campground, have five different sites to choose from on a first-come, first served basis. This campground in particular also has many opportunities to spot some wildlife! Another campground in this part of the Boise River is the Ninemeyer Campground. It has plenty of hot springs and has eight unique sites. However, unlike the Troutdale Campground, there are no bathroom facilities (be prepared to go in the woods).
Within a two hour +/- drive of Boise, there are plenty of other options to choose from that haven’t been mentioned on this list. Ask the locals for more places to visit, and make sure you are fully prepared before you set up camp in the wild. Have any questions regarding fees, amenities, etc.? Feel free to call these campgrounds, or check their websites for additional information. It is hoped that you will take the locations mentioned into consideration, as well as any tips that may have been advised. The most important thing is to have a fun and relaxing camping experience. Have fun in the great outdoors, and stay safe!