Tucked away in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains of Idaho, Farragut State Park has got to be the best park you have never heard of. This huge 4,000-acre park has four different campgrounds, over 200 individual campsites, and is the perfect destination for an RV vacation. Whether you want to hike, fish, kayak, swim, practice your archery skills, go horseback riding, or just relax and recharge in nature, Farragut State Park lets you do it all year long.
Many visitors come to Farragut State Park to see Idaho's largest lake, Lake Pend Oreille, but stay to learn about the long history of the grounds they walk on. The area was formerly used for military training during World War II and for a few years after. But thousands of years before that, the peninsula that encompasses the park was originally deposited during the last ice age, meaning the park is overflowing with both geological and cultural history.
Winter is a fun time of year in the park too with several cross-country ski trails, one Nordic ski skate trail, and plenty of places to go sledding. You may also want to do some hunting or target shooting in the park, which is allowed in certain areas at certain times of the year. Farragut State Park is the perfect destination for families of all sizes and even offers a handful of companion sites so you can camp in larger groups with two RVs. The most difficult part about camping at Farragut State Park is just deciding what to do first.
The state highway leads directly into the park in Farragut so you shouldn't have any problems accessing it, and the primary roads within the park are paved for your convenience. Take the scenic route into the park along Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway, which travels from Interstate 90 to State Highway 97 near the shores of the lake. You will see osprey and bald eagles nesting along the lake, and, if you need to stretch your legs, you can get out and take a walk on the 3.3-mile Mineral Ridge Loop Trail. This interpretive trail is not only scenic but is also educational with detailed signage along the way to help you learn about the area.
The campgrounds themselves also have wide enough roads for your RV to fit through, although just be careful in the winter when the roads may be icy or snowy. All vehicles must also fit on the campsite parking spur, so make sure you choose a campsite that can fit your RV. If you bring an extra car and it cannot fit on your campsite, you will have to park it in one of the parking lots. An extra vehicle parking lot is located near each campground, so, if you must park in one, you are still fairly close to your campsite.
Motorized vehicles can be used on any of the park roads that are not closed off or otherwise marked. Since the park is so large it may be easier to get around using a secondary vehicle like a motorbike or scooter. Be sure to read the street signs carefully when trying to navigate the campgrounds as some roads in the campgrounds are one-way streets.
Gilmore Campground is located off South Road, near the entrance of the park and offers campsites any RV traveler will adore. Gilmore Campground is the smallest of the campgrounds with over 90 campsites, all of which have water and electric hookups. Forty-eight of the sites offer sewer hookups as well. The parking pads range from 18 to 60 feet in length, and each site has a picnic table and campfire grill. With five companion-style sites, Gilmore Campground is also suitable for multi-family camping. Both the Visitor Center and the museum are easy to access from Gilmore Campground and Buttonhook Bay isn't too far away either.
Like the other campgrounds, Gilmore Campground offers centrally located restrooms and showers, several gray water disposal sites, and a garbage dumpster far enough away from the campsite, yet not too far to be a hassle. Lastly, the main park trails can be easily accessed while staying at Gilmore Campground. However, if you want to get a campsite at Gilmore Campground you will have to reserve it in advance. Reservations can be made up to nine months in advance. Pets are permitted as long as they are properly restrained and attended at all times during your stay.
Whitetail Campground probably won't be your first choice if you are looking to vacation in your RV since it is comprised of 61 non-hookup campsites. Still, it offers a more primitive approach to camping if you like roughing it. This campground has 55 individual sites, 10 companion sites, and spacious lots with enough room for two tents. The parking pads range from 14 to 28 feet in length and each site has a campfire ring with a grill for cooking and a picnic table. Restrooms and showers are within walking distance.
If you are planning on launching a boat or throwing around some discs on the disc golf course, Whitetail Campground may be your best bet since it is near both of them. Typically, Whitetail does not fill up as quickly as the other campgrounds, but if you do not make your reservations in advance you probably will not be able to get a site. This campground is also just a short walk from Bennion Trail, which is a short loop with several educational signs posted along the way to teach you and your family about the historic park. Reservations can be made up to nine months in advance. Pets are welcome as long as they are properly restrained and attended at all times.
The family-friendly Snowberry Campground is a bit smaller than Waldron and offers a more intimate experience. There are 44 water and electric hookup sites available and no companion sites, making it great for individual families who want a little more space. The parking pads range from 18 to 60 feet in length and each site has a campfire grill and picnic table. Snowberry Campground is located close to the disc golf courses, making it the choice campground for disc golf lovers. It is also fairly close to Lake Pend Oreille and a few of the trail heads.
Restrooms and showers are located in the center of the campground and gray water disposal sites are located throughout. The campground is open year-round, but it is also busy year-round, so be sure to get your reservations before they fill up. No cabins are available at this campground, but there are the Willow Cabins and Locust Grove Group Campground nearby if those better suit your needs. Reservations can be made up to nine months in advance. Pets are allowed as long as you keep them properly restrained and attended at all times during your stay.
Waldron Campground is the largest campground at Farragut State Park and offers 69 water and electric hookup sites, 11 of which are companion style. Parking pads range from 35 to 60 feet long, and each site has a large picnic table and a campfire ring with a grill. This means your RV and a friend's RV can share the same lot and both have hook-ups. Restrooms, showers, and gray water disposal sites are scattered throughout the campground so you can easily access one no matter where your actual campsite is.
Waldron Campground is separated from the amphitheater and model airplane flying field by State Highway 54 and a short walk. As the first campground you will come across upon entering the park, these campsites fill up quick so make your reservations early. There are also three camping cabins available at Waldron Campground for larger camping groups and a centrally located volleyball court for recreation. Extra parking is available nearby if you have secondary vehicle you want to use. Reservations can be made up to nine months in advance. Pets are always welcome as long as you keep them restrained and attended at all times during your visit.
If you are looking to escape the cold, Farragut State Park Museum at the Brig is open year-round and allows visitors to get to know the area better. The Brig was originally built when the area was the naval training station during World War II and is one of the few buildings that survived from the era. The museum does a great job of preserving history and teaching visitors what it was like during World War II not just for soldiers, but also for German POWs and the brave women that volunteered to serve. The Brig is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a must-see stop for any history buff.
Make sure you pack your snowshoes in the RV because the flatter areas of Farragut State Park offer the perfect setting for snowshoeing in the winter months. This area of Idaho usually gets plenty of snow during the winter and offers ski routes from less than a mile to 3.7 miles long. The 0.6-mile Visitor Center Loop is perfect for families with little ones because it is flat and easy. The 1.6-mile Thimbleberry Loop is a fun trail on the west side of the park. The 3.7-mile Highpoint Trail is ungroomed and takes you to a nice viewpoint of the Idlewilde Bay. You will get plenty of views of the snow-capped mountains while on the trails.
For all those who own horses and are always looking for new adventures, Farragut State Park is your place. Near the equestrian area is the 8.2-mile Buggy Trail, which is ideal for horseback riding. This scenic trail loops around the northern area of the park and through the native pines, poplars, and firs, giving you plenty of opportunities to observe all the wildlife that inhabits the area. Depending on what time of year you go you may see deer, hawks, squirrels, owls, bears, and rabbits.
Cross-country Skiing in Farragut State Park is popular so make sure you put the skis in the camper before you head out. At the southern tip of the park, you can find all kinds of ski trails that accommodate beginners and experts alike. Starting at the Visitor Center, there are five groomed ski trails ranging in distance from 0.6 to 6.2 miles long. Skate skiing can also be enjoyed here off the Thimbleberry Trail on the Skate Ski Loop, which is about a half-mile in length.
Besides chilling in your RV, boating on Lake Pend Oreille has got to be one of the most relaxing things to do in the park, and luckily there are many ways to do it. Not only are there boat rentals available a few miles from the park, but there is also a boat launch area available so you can easily venture out onto the lake. Scenic Bay is the perfect place for a romantic afternoon or a little family bonding. Whether you are out to catch some fish for dinner or just want to explore the lake and all of its hidden coves, this lake has something for everyone to enjoy.
One unique feature of Farragut State Park are the large disc golf courses. Disc golf is not too difficult to master and is lots of fun for the whole family. Several courses are set up in a large field by the Locust Grove group campground and make the perfect activity for a family afternoon during the spring and summer months. Disc golf is not necessarily a traditional camping activity but can be a great way to spend a few hours goofing around, especially if you have never played before.
Farragut State Park is perfect for hikers of all ages and offers walking trails that are easy and some more difficult trails for seasoned hikers. If you are hiking as a family, especially with small children, Squirrel Cache Trail is a great option, since it is only a little over a mile with no difficult terrains. However, if you are looking for the trails with the best views, the High Point Trail gives you some of the best views of Lake Pend Oreille and is only three miles long. So, make sure you pack your hiking boots in your camper!
The Tree to Tree Adventure Park in Farragut State Park is a fairly new addition and is very popular with the locals, as well as visitors from all over the country. From Tarzan swings to zip lines, nets to obstacle courses, you and the kids will love hanging out in the trees above the park. The park has both adult and children’s courses available and packages for everyone to enjoy. Crossing wobbly bridges, climbing tightropes and ladders, and walking on balance beams are just a few of the awesome activities to explore here.