Blackfoot River
Guide

Introduction

The Blackfoot River is a section of waterway near Pocatello in Idaho managed by the BLM. The river is formed by the union of two creeks, Diamond Creek and Lanes Creek. The creeks join forces in the depths of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to flow in a meandering north-westerly direction until it merges with the Snake River. The river runs for a total of one hundred and thirty-five miles. The length managed by the BLM runs for twenty-three miles starting at Government Dam on the Blackfoot Reservoir and ending at Tail Creek Bridge.

The five primitive campgrounds along the stretch of the Blackfoot River in Idaho under the control of the BLM are all popular with anglers and kayakers. The river here is not suitable for any form of motorized boating. Many parts of the river around the campgrounds are lined with pine trees or are bordered by extensive grass-covered prairies. It's a superb spot to go hiking through a varied landscape with little or no other humans anywhere nearby. There are also two great trails nearby for seasoned hikers seeking something more challenging.

The campgrounds along the Blackfoot River are the ideal place to go RV camping and have that real back to nature experience. If after a few days of peace and quiet you need something more to do, Pocatello is only a few miles drive away. It's a city with a fascinating historic center to explore, indoor and outdoor museums to browse and the gothic architecture of a nineteenth castle-style mansion to admire.

RV Rentals in Blackfoot River

Transportation

Driving

How you get to your chosen campground on the Blackfoot River depends on which one you're planning on pitching camp at. Possibly the easiest route to take to any one of them is through the small rural community of Soda Springs to the south of the Blackfoot Reservoir and then driving up Government Dam Road which runs adjacent to the lake's west shore. If you haven't decided on any particular campground, you can always pitch camp at the first one with an empty space you see as you drive by. The drive along the lakeside to the furthest campground takes around two hours.

If you're motoring to Idaho after RV camping in the Ashley National Forest in Utah, once you've gotten through Salt Lake City you can hit the I 15 northbound in Ogden. From there you'll have a straight run to McCammon where you'll turn-off onto the US 30 for Soda Springs. It's a trip that will take around two hours.

If you've been RV camping in The Yellowstone National Park before going to the Blackfoot River, head for Idaho Falls where you can join the I 15 southbound. It'll take you through Pocatello to McCammon where you'll find the junction for the US 30 to Soda Springs. All told, the drive will last about one and a half hours though that's not including the time on the road from Soda Springs to your campground.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Blackfoot River

Campsites in Blackfoot River

First-come first-served

Blackfoot River Campgrounds

The BLM manage five small campgrounds along the stretch of the Blackfoot River near Pocatello. The campgrounds are spread out along the twenty-three miles of river bank and all can be reached from Soda Springs by driving along Government Dam Road.

All of the campgrounds operate on a first-come-first-served basis throughout the twelve months of the year. The campgrounds are busiest during fishing and hunting season or when the water levels in the river are good for kayaking. All of the campgrounds are primitive with no utility hook-ups.

Graves Creek Campground has five campsites furnished with picnic tables, fire rings, and grills.

Sage Hen Flats Campground has four campsites fitted out with grills and picnic tables.

Cutthroat Trout Campground has three campsites for RVs with grills and picnic tables.

Morgans Bridge Campground has ten campsites for RVs plus two that are walk-in only.

Tail Creek Bridge Campground has six campsites with grills and picnic tables.

All of the campgrounds have a block of vault toilets and a horseshoe pit plus an undeveloped area for launching drift boats and kayaks.

Seasonal activities in Blackfoot River

In-Season

Fishing

The Blackfoot River is a great spot to go fishing either from the shore or wading in the water while casting a fly. The river is well-stocked with rainbow trout, brook trout and bass as well as many other edible species. All anglers fishing on the Blackfoot River need to be in possession of a current fishing license and be aware of the different bag limits set in place by the Idaho Department of Fishing and Game.

Kayaking

The Blackfoot River between the Blackfoot Reservoir and Tail Creek Bridge is a popular length of the river for kayaking and canoeing. While it's not strictly a whitewater river there are patches where there are harder to navigate class II and III rapids. Paddling the Blackfoot River is a peaceful and scenic ride through beautiful countryside that will keep you happily floating on the water for hours.

Hiking

If after taking a stroll along the banks of the Blackfoot River, you need a more difficult hike to challenge your leg muscles, head over to Portneuf where you'll find the Gibson Jack Trailhead. The seven and a half mile long loop trail has an elevation gain of around five-hundred feet as it leads up the hillsides and through a forest of Aspen.

For even more exercise, test yourself on the Chinese Peak Trail. It's a seven mile out and back trail that winds up the side of Chinese Peak, a mountain near Pocatello. There are amazing views of the city and countryside around it from the top.

Geyser Park

You can enjoy a picnic lunch with a difference if you take your sandwiches to Geyser Park in Soda Springs. The park is home to a unique captive geyser that has been spurting since the late 1930s. The geyser is surrounded by lawns with picnic tables where you can sit down and wait for the next eruption, which occurs hourly and reaches a height of over one hundred feet. The park is open all year and the geyser functions every day.

Fort Hall Replica

Take a step back in time when you enter through the walls of the Fort Hall Replica, a living museum, in Pocatello. Inside, the museum is set out as a trading post would have been in the 19th century with pioneer wagons, tepees, all the trappings of the fur traders, and a blacksmith's forge. The museum opens five days a week from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon and is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Standrod House

Drive along North Garfield Avenue in Pocatello and as you pass the Standrod House you could be forgiven for thinking you'd driven onto the movie set for a horror movie.

The dark and foreboding construction dates back to the early 19th century. The sixteen room mansion, also called the Standrod Castle because of its spike-roofed round tower, is reputed to be haunted by the daughter of the original owner.

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