Looking to explore the oldest state park in the Northwest? Founded in 1908, the gigantic 5,744 acre Heyburn State Park is a great RV destination that is not only the oldest state park in the area but also is home to three beautiful lakes and fantastic year-round recreational opportunities. The Coeur d'Alene were the first inhabitants in the area and they found an abundance of fish to survive off in the three lakes as well as in the Saint Joe River. Construction of many of the park's facilities began during the Great Depression and was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Infrastructure such as a lodge, roads, bridges and trails were built with some still being in use today!
The scenery in Heyburn State Park is divine. Boating, sailing, canoeing, swimming, fishing, bird watching and waterskiing are some of the most popular things to do in the park. Want to learn more about the area and see what events are happening? Check out the visitors center near the entrance to Hawley's Landing Campground. There is also a full service marina that offers access to a public dock, boat launch, boat rentals and fuel.
There are three campgrounds at the park and two of them are suitable for RV camping. You will find 71 non-powered sites, 41 electric sites with water and 15 full service sites. Camping is open all year round and peak season is during the summer months.
RV Rentals in Heyburn State Park
Transportation in Heyburn State Park
Heyburn State Park is located between the towns of Plummer and St. Maries. The park can be accessed from ID- 5 and the closest major cities are Spokane in Washington and Missoula in Montana. There aren't many small towns around the park so make sure you stock up on supplies at Plummer if you are coming from the west, St. Maries from the east or Post Falls from the north.
Taking ID- 5 is the most direct way to get to the park but the roads once you turn off the highway can be quite challenging. As you make your way up Heyburn Road and onto Catcolet Road there will be many twists and turns. Make sure you are sticking to your side of the road and approach all corners with caution, especially if you have a big rig.
All vehicles that enter Heyburn State Park must pay a Motor Vehicle Entrance Fee (MVEF) including if you are coming to the park to go camping.
The most common directions are as follows: Take ID- 5 until you reach Chatcolet Road. Continue for around six miles and at the bottom of a steep winding grade take a left to continue on Chatcolet Road. Keep driving and you will be able to find the Visitor's Center.
The parking facilities are quite small so during the busier summer months you may be asked to park outside the park boundaries if you are just doing a day trip.
Campgrounds and parking in Heyburn State Park
Campsites in Heyburn State Park
Hawleys Landing Campground
Heyburn State Park has three different campgrounds but only two of them can accomodate RV campers. Hawleys Landing Campground has 52 different sites available that are a mixture between non-electric, electric with 30 amp hookups and full service sites. Most of the sites at Hawleys Landing are pet friendly and some of the sites can hold RV's that are up to 98 feet in length. Some of the roads are quite skinny so if you do have a large rig you may find it difficult to get set up. The interior roads in the campground are paved and the individual sites are packed with dirt.
Some of the other amenities in Hawleys Landing Campground include a shower block, two areas with toilets, a dump station and easy access to the lake. You should be able to get phone reception at this campground and there is plenty of shade. You are able to reserve a spot at Hawleys Landing up to the end of the peak season at the end of October.
Located to the right of Hawleys Landing, Benewah is a smaller campground that has a total of 39 sites. Non powered sites are the most common, but there are seven sites that offer 50 amp electric hookup and eight full hookup sites. All of the sites at Benewah Campground are pet friendly and the maximum length you can fit is 45 feet. There is a sign at the entrance to the campground that recommends rigs over 45 feet shouldn't enter.
There is no dump station at Benewah Campground but there is a nice remodelled shower block with toilets. You can get phone reception on all major networks and a lot of the RV sites in this campground are spacious and not close to the next site. Benewah Campground is a first-come first-served campground and there are no reservations available online. This campground would be a good choice if you are looking to get away from the other two more busier ones during the peak season.
Seasonal activities in Heyburn State Park
Along with offering swimming and fishing, Rocky Point on Chatcolet Lake also has some great facilities for boating. There is a permanent marina that has seasonal rentals of kayaks, canoes or paddle boats and a life jacket loaner station so you can be safe and protected if any accidents happen on the water. If you want to launch a boat there is a huge concrete boat launch site along with additional parking. There is also an additional boat launch and mooring sites available near the Chatcolet Trailhead.
Fishing is a very popular activity at Heyburn State Park and there are many different spots to cast a line all year round. If you want to fish you have the choice of Hidden Bay, Chatcole Lake, Benewah Lake and all sections of the larger Lake Coeur d'Alene. Common fish that are caught in these waters include pike, bass and pan fish. During the winter time you can also ice fish on the lakes if they are properly frozen over.
There is a gem of a beach in Heyburn State Park. Located at Chatcolet Bridge, the beach is large and has a crescent shape. There are plenty of other facilities at the beach, including a dock, treed picnic area, restrooms, and a nearby marina that sells concessions such as ice cream and other snacks. No lifeguards are situated at the beach so swim at your own risk. It is recommended that you drive to the beach if you are staying at the campground or pack your walking shoes.
Due to the varying terrain of Heyburn State Park there will be many opportunities to spot some birds during your stay. One of the highlights is a Great Blue Heron rookery that can contain 35-50 pairs of breeding herons can be found within the park. Osprey, Canada geese and wood ducks also have been known to call the park home and use artificial nest structures which have been monitored for 10-25 years. Between 5,000-10,000 waterfowl love to hang out on the lake too!
Heyburn State Park will be a very happy place to be if you are a biking fan. The park features the beginning of the Coeur d'alenes Trail. This trail is 72 miles long and spans the Idaho panhandle between Mullan and Plummer. It was created through a unique partnership between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, U. S. Government, Union Pacific Railroad and the State of Idaho. It is completely paved, which is a rarity for state park bike trails and a huge plus for those who like to bike but don't love mountain biking.
State parks often have amazing hiking opportunities and Heyburn State Park is no different. There are three dedicated hiking trails that range from an easy to difficult in skill level. Check out the two and a half mile Indian Cliffs Trail. It is quite an easy hike that has some great nature views. You'll be able to see Mt. Baldy to the east and the St. Joe River. This is the river that divides two of the four lakes that make up the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Hiking can be done in the winter time but there might be some snow on the trails depending on the weather conditions.