Grandmother Mountain Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is a 27 square mile Bureau of Land Management park that features heavily forested drainages, several mountain lakes, bare peaks, and landscapes that range in elevation from 4,600 feet to 6,800 feet. Access to this wilderness located 45 miles northeast of Moscow, Idaho is via forest service roads from Clarkia. No vehicles or motorized equipment are allowed in the wilderness, so parking spaces are provided outside for vacationers and visitors.
Things to do to stay active at Grandmother Mountain WSA range from hiking along ridgetops to downhill areas; horseback riding; flora and fauna viewing; and nature photography. In winter, guests can enjoy cross-country skiing through the wilderness areas too. Moreover, anglers can go after cutthroat trout in the water bodies around the wilderness, while hunters will find big and small game, waterfowl, mule deer and other fauna species they can go after. For more opportunities, especially water-based recreation like boating and swimming, Dworshak reservoir is open to all.
Within this BLM wilderness, only primitive sites are available for camping, so have all you will need with you because there are no services or facilities provided. However, you will get the chance to enjoy developed camping at Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
Grandmother Mountain Wilderness Study Area lies 45 miles northeast of Moscow, Idaho. This Bureau of Land Management wilderness can be accessed primarily via Forest Service Road 301 (also known as St Joe Nf Road 301). This Forest Service Road connects from Idaho Highway 3 at Clarkia all the way to the wilderness. Other local access routes lead to the areas surrounding this wilderness.
Access to the wild lands around the wilderness requires good navigational skills and the appropriate vehicle to negotiate the rough dirt roads, preferably high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. All visitors are advised to be prepared for adverse road and weather conditions on the approach to the wilderness.
The use of motorized vehicles and other mechanical equipment is prohibited within the boundaries of the wilderness, so as soon as you arrive at the boundary, park your vehicle and continue the rest of the journey on foot or horseback. Parking spaces are provided outside the wilderness area and at Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Wheelchairs are allowed in the wilderness.
There are no direct public transportation services to Grandmother Mountain WSA.
Elk Creek Campground lies within a picturesque setting of mature pine trees sitting next to Elk Creek. This campground consists of 24 campsites, six of which are available by reservation. The remaining sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis only. A group shelter is also available for family meetings and vacations.
Within the campground, tents and RVs are accommodated, and there are electric hookups available. Other amenities provided include water spigots, restrooms, and picnic tables. The maximum RV length in the campground is 40 feet.
Recreational activities here include bicycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking.
Dent Acres Campground lies on Dworshak Lake and is surrounded by forests that make it a shaded setting appropriate for relaxation. Tent and RV camping options are provided in the campground. Open season is from April to December, but the campground is busiest between May and September.
There are 50 campsites in this campground all of which are equipped with full hookup options (electric, water, and sewer hookups). Other amenities available include fire pits, covered picnic tables, flush toilets, showers, and a playground. RV length limit is 35 feet.
Boating, hunting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching are some of the fun things to do in this campground.
There are several hiking trails available at and around Grandmother Mountain WSA. You could choose to hike along the Delaney Creek Trail that descends to the northwestern areas and follows the hillside contours that are aligned parallel to Delaney Creek.
On the other hand, the Lookout Mountain Trails keeps hikers on the ridgetop for miles, unlike the Delaney Creek, so that guests get to enjoy vantage point views of the surrounding areas for longer periods on it. The trail descends just above Fish Lake.
Fishing is a great activity around Grandmother Mountain WSA, owing to the presence of Fish Lake which is the headwaters of the Little North Fork Clearwater River. These water bodies are rich in cutthroat trout, so anglers can enjoy good catches in them. Lost Lake is also a good place to catch some cutthroat trout.
When you’re fishing in this area, be careful and look out for bull trout, because they are an endangered species that live in the waters.
Good flora and fauna viewing opportunities are offered to visitors and campers at Grandmother Mountains WSA. On the east side of the wilderness, there are sub-alpine forests intermixed with old-growth hemlock stands. The other areas of the wilderness, however, consist mostly of mixed conifers. Don’t be surprised to come across marshes, sphagnum bogs and wet meadows in the smaller drainages.
Wildlife in the park area includes elk, black bear, mule deer, white-tailed deer, wolverine, among others.
Dworshak Reservoir lies south of Grandmother Mountain WSA along the North Fork of Clearwater River in a scenic mountainous and forested setting. The reservoir is a recreation hub where activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, hunting, and water-skiing are enjoyed by visitors and campers.
The reservoir also features a dam that stands at over 700 feet, making it the highest dam of its kind in North America. It’s a structure worthy of photography, so carry your camera along.
If you fancy hunting game and possess the appropriate hunting licenses, you will be able to enjoy some of the best and most varied hunting opportunities on offer at Grandmother Mountain WSA and Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
Hunting opportunities range from big game hunting to game bird/waterfowl, small game hunting, and trapping. Huntable game includes elk, deer, moose, bear and mountain lions. Upland game, turkey, and waterfowl are available too. The Idaho Fish and Game website has information on regulations, licenses and hunting seasons.
There are plenty of beautiful sceneries and landscapes to watch within Grandmother Mountain WSA and the surrounding National Forests. The mountains that surround the park give those that hike to its top good vantage point views of areas miles away.
The peaks, waterways, and ridgelines in Idaho Panhandle National Forest also present different scenic vistas to nature-loving enthusiasts. Seeing these beautiful areas and keeping mementos of them is the best way to enjoy them, so ensure your camera is handy.