Bayhorse Recreation Site is a day-use and campground area, happily situated on the east bank of the Salmon River, where a concrete boat ramp provides access to the waterway. Fishing is a popular activity on the river at the recreation site; however, boating, informal floating, and swimming are also available at the recreation site and campground. The campground has 11 sides with a water supply, vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits. The site is named for the historic mining town that is located nearby.
The Bayhorse Recreation site is situated at just over 5100 feet of elevation and is a Bureau of Land Management site administered out of the Challis Field Office in central Idaho. The Challis Office also manages several other recreation sites in the area including East Fork Campground, Cottonwood Campground, Little Boulder Creek Campground, MacKay Reservoir Recreation Site, and the Joe T. Fallini Campground.
The Salmon River and Salmon River Canyon provide a variety of recreational activities in addition to fishing, including whitewater rafting, hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing rockhounding, OHV activities, cycling, and cross country skiing.
The Bay Horse Recreation Site is surrounded by sagebrush-covered hills and the area is subject to extreme climate conditions typical of a high, exposed, desert region, with little shade. Be prepared for dry, hot conditions in the summer, when fire restrictions may be in place, and cold snowy winter weather in the region.
Several large national parks and wilderness areas are within a reasonable driving distance of the BLM recreation site. While staying in the region visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Sawtooth National Forest, Payette National Forest, and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest to discover the rich wilderness areas that abound in the area.
The Bayhorse Recreation Site is located 10 miles south of the town of Challis, Idaho, where services and amenities are available for travelers in the region. Cellular service in the area is spotty and visitors should not rely on cellular phones for communication and GPS services. To reach the site from Challis, head south on Highway 93 for two miles, then turn right onto Highway 75 and continue to the BLM site, eight miles down the highway. From Stanley, Idaho, proceed north on Highway 75 for 47 miles to the campground on your left.
Bayhorse Recreation Site is easily accessible, located on the west side of Highway 75, next to the Salmon River. The highway is a paved, well-maintained route that RVs and tow trailers can navigate without any issues.
The area has extremely hot temperatures in the summer, and travelers should ensure their vehicles have adequate fluid levels, especially coolant when traveling in the summer. During the winter, sub-freezing temperatures can result in icy, and snow-covered highways. Winter tires provide better traction in icy conditions. If traveling with a tow trailer or large RV unit be sure to leave more room for stopping and turning during slippery conditions.
Overnight visitors can utilize camping sites at the Bayhorse Recreation Site which are accessible for tents and smaller RVs. The campground is on level ground and open with few trees, and there is a well-maintained lawn at the site. There is a sprinkler system on-site to water the lawn, so campers should be careful when staking out tents, so they don't get a soaking!
Some sites have sand-filled tent pads, which make a great option for tenting visitors. A parking area at the site accommodates large RVs, buses, and tow trailers. The campground is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, for a small fee, for up to 14 days per stay. The campground is easily accessible off paved Highway 75 and located on the east bank of the Salmon River.
A concrete boat launch allows access to the river surface. There are 11 sites here, equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and grills, and there are vault toilets and a potable water supply at the recreation site for day use and overnight guests. Trash facilities are located on-site.
Fishing, boating, swimming, and floating are popular at the river, and nearby historical sites and hiking trails provide additional recreational opportunities. The campground has a host on-site, is ADA accessible, and pets are permitted at the campground. The nearest RV dump site is located at the Land of the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center.
Bayhorse Recreation Site is situated on the Salmon River and boasts a concrete boat ramp that provides watercraft access to the river. There are plentiful fish populations in the river for angling which draws visitors to the site.
Fish for cutthroat, rainbow trout, steelhead, and whitefish on the waterway, from the shores, or the water surface. Water levels are higher during the spring and summer. Be sure to have a valid State of Idaho fishing license for your tip!
Cool down after a long day hiking in the Bayhorse Recreation Site area in the Salmon River at the BLM campground. Although there is no designated swimming area, visitors may not be able to resist a quick dip to cool down during the summer when temperatures in the area soar.
Be sure to exercise caution, as there are no lifeguards present, and the river has a significant current. A life jacket is recommended. You can also use floating devices to relax on the river, float downstream, and arrange for a separate vehicle to pick you up at a downstream recreation site.
Picnic sites available on the Salmon River shore at the Bayhorse Recreation Site are an excellent place to enjoy an outdoor meal and the beautiful wilderness scenery. Fire pits and grills at the site will allow you to cook a hot meal when fire restrictions are not in place.
Keep an eye out for local wildlife like foxes, deer, coyote, and rabbits, and an ear out for the many species of songbirds that inhabit the vegetated and riparian areas along the river. There is a potable water supply at the recreation site as well as vault toilets for picnickers to avail themselves of.
Explore the areas in and around the Bayhorse Recreation Site, and up and down the Salmon River Canyon on foot to get a first-hand experience of the wilderness areas, watercourse, and nearby historic sites. Hiking during the transition seasons when temperatures are lower is recommended as the region is very hot and dry in the summer.
Wear good hiking boots to protect you from loose footing, tough vegetation, and rough terrain. Pack lots of water even during the cooler months when hiking in the region. There is potable water available at the Bayhorse Recreation Site.
The Bayhorse Recreation Site was named for a historic mining settlement nearby and the entire area is dotted with the remnants of mining activities that took place here, which incidentally, also makes it an ideal place for rockhounding!
If you drive west to the Bayhorse Lake you will come upon numerous historic mines. The Land of the Yankee Fork is only 8ight miles to the northeast, and this park contains several historical sites which include the Challis Bison Kill site, and the ghost towns of Bayhorse, Custer and Bonanza, along with the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge.
Mountainous areas to the west experience sustained snowpack at higher elevations, and trails and nordic ski areas are available in the region during the winter months. Cross country ski trails may not be groomed, and skiers will have to break trail which can require significant exertion, especially after heavy snowfalls.
Experienced backcountry skiers will enjoy the pristine winter wonderland in the Idaho wilderness areas west of the Salmon River Canyon and BLM sites. Check weather conditions prior to travel to avoid frigid conditions and avalanche hazards, and pack plenty of water for strenuous trips.