Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area
Guide

Introduction

The Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area is an expansive region covering over 23,829 acres of Idaho land. The Wilderness Study Area stretches out from the mouth of the Pahsimeroi Valley, towards the northeastern slope of the famous Lost River Range in Custer County, Idaho.

The landscape of the Wilderness Study Area is dotted with green and grassy hills and sagebrush on the north and east end of the Wilderness Study Area. Pockets of Douglas fir and juniper dominate in the southern and western regions.

Exploring the WSA, you’ll also come across a small lake hidden within the thicket of trees, and several animals can be found drinking from it as it the only water source for many miles. The topography of the WSA includes high mountain ranges that run northwest along with intervening deep and stretched-out valleys that take after the distinctive topography of south-central Idaho.

The Wilderness Study Area holds parts of Burnt Creek, Long Creek, Short Creek, and Dry Creek drainages and it lies at an elevation range of between 7,450 feet to 9,808 feet. Borah Creek, the tallest in Idaho is located a little towards the west of the Wilderness Study Area but is still considered a part of this vast WSA. Recreational opportunities include hiking, horseback riding, hunting, sightseeing and much more.

RV Rentals in Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area

Transportation

Driving

Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area is located in Idaho, 35 miles away from the city of Arco. Approaching from the city, take Idaho Highway 33 east on to Little Lost River Highway and then Dry Creek Road in Howe. Continue on the road for around 22 miles to arrive at your destination.

Roads to the north and east of the Wilderness Study Area are unnamed access roads and most of them are rarely used dirt roads. On the south and west of the Wilderness Study Area is the massive Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area

Campsites in Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area

Reservations camping

Meadow Lake Campground

The closest campground to Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area is over a two-hour drive away. Whether you want a more developed campsite or simply want to spend a few more days camping in your RVs, this campground has it all.

This campground boasts 17 RV campsites along with a day-use picnic area. Campsites come with picnic tables, fire rings, tent pads, prep tables, and barbeque pedestals. For larger groups, four double campsites are also available. Potable water and vault toilets are available at the campground.

First-come first-served

BLM Campground

Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area offers the chance to experience primitive camping in Idaho's spectacular wilderness. You can pick any spot that you like as your overnight dwelling. There aren’t any amenities available, so you’ll have to arrange and figure out everything on your own. Take care of your surroundings and do not leave any traces behind. You can use dead and down wood for fire rings but no live vegetation. Your pets are welcome to accompany you to camp as long as they are behaved and under your control. The stay limit at all BLM Wilderness Study Areas is 14 days.

Seasonal activities in Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area

In-Season

Hunting

Hunting is a popular activity at Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area because there are several small and big game animals that reside within its boundaries. Elk hunting is the most popular game animal, followed by deer.

Make sure to read the guide and call the BLM office before you head out on your hunting escapade as there are several protected species that are not to be hunted or tracked.

Mountain Biking

There aren’t any developed roads in the wilderness region but if you are keen on mountain biking, you can take on the single-track 3.9-mile-long, Burnt Creek trail, that begins at Highway 75 at Burnt Creek and comes to a finish at Gardner Creek. The multi-use trail is shared by motorcycle riders and horseback riders alike.

Hiking

The best thing about the Wilderness Study Areas is that you don’t necessarily have to approach a developed trailhead to begin your hiking adventure. As long as you are within the WSA, the world is your oyster and you can pick any route you like and make it a hike not soon forgotten.

Walk in any direction you want and you’d be greeted with hills and ranges on all sides such as Donkey Hills and the Lost River Range.

Off-Season

Wildlife

Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area is situated in an important ecological zone, and part of Salmon-Challis National Forest, which means wildlife here is as diverse as it gets. You might see bears shuffling through the undergrowth or mule deer crossing the road.

Elk, bighorn sheep, pygmy rabbits, Golden and Bald eagles can all be spotted here. Mountain goats and moose are also seen enjoying their surroundings in the more remote and rugged region of this vast wilderness.

Winter Activties

In winters, most places are crowded and it’s difficult for solitude-seekers to find a place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing that isn’t flooded with winter recreationists. However, Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area has several trails that allow visitors to enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing without the fear of crashing into someone else.

It is especially an ideal place for those that are at a beginner level. Burnt Creek is part of Salmon-Challis National Forest and many of its trails run right through its center.

Climbing Borah Peak

You cannot visit Burnt Creek WSA and not attempt to climb Idaho’s tallest peak that is situated within its boundaries. Numerous climbers visit the WSA for the sole purpose of challenging themselves to summit the peak via the Borah Peak trail.

The peak has an elevation of 12,662 and is named after Idaho’s senator, William Borah, whose nickname was Lion. The best route to climb this highpoint is via the southwest ridge which is a seven-mile round trip and a class 3 climb.