Are you 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 is also 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 that were built back then are still 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 Visitor Center near the entrance to Hawleys Landing Campground. There is also a full-service marina that offers access to a public dock, boat launch, boat rentals, and fuel. You will have plenty of choice for camping options as there are three campgrounds within the park, two of which are suitable for RV camping. You will also have the choice between 71 non-powered sites, 41 electric sites with water, and 15 full-service sites. Camping is open all year round, and peak season at Heyburn State Park is during the summer months.
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, Washington, and Missoula, Montana. There aren't many small towns around the park, so make sure you stock up on supplies in Plummer if you are coming from the west, St. Maries from the east, or Post Falls from the north.
The most direct way to get to the park is by taking ID-5, but you should be aware that 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 stick to your side of the road and approach all corners with caution, especially if you have a big rig.
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 making a day trip. All vehicles that enter Heyburn State Park must pay a Motor Vehicle Entrance Fee (MVEF); this fee applies to campers as well.
Heyburn State Park has three different campgrounds, but only two of them can accommodate RV campers. Hawleys Landing Campground has 52 various 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 RVs that are up to 98 feet in length, which is a rarity for state parks in the United States. 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.
Some of the roads are quite skinny, so if you do have a large rig, you may find it challenging to get set up. The interior roads in the campground are paved, and the individual sites are packed with dirt. You can reserve a spot at Hawleys Landing up to the end of the peak season, which is at the end of October, with the period afterward becoming only first-come, first-served camping.
Located to the right of Hawleys Landing is a smaller campground that has a total of 39 sites suitable for RV use. Non-powered sites are the most common in this campground, but seven sites offer 50-amp electric hookups, and eight sites have full-hookups. All of the sites at Benewah Campground are pet-friendly, and the maximum length you can fit here is 45 feet, so it is more suited to smaller rigs.
While there is no dump station at Benewah Campground, there is a nice remodeled shower block with toilets for your convenience if you don't have these facilities inside your camper. 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 one another.
Benewah Campground is the first-come-first-served campground, and there are no reservations available online. This campground is a great choice if you seek a more private camping experience away from the more crowded areas.
Are you looking to get out of your RV and experience some unique accommodations? Heyburn State Park is home to two cottages and two cabins that are open year-round for guests to call home during their visit. The cottages feature two bedrooms and can sleep up to eight people, while the cabins are a little smaller and can sleep five people. The cottages are the more luxurious choice as they have a dining area and living room, but both come equipped with outdoor cooking amenities and a picnic table to enjoy the views.
If you do plan on staying in either a cottage or cabin, you must bring your own linens and cooking utensils with you as the park doesn't provide any. The cottages also have a minimum three-night stay if you are booking over a weekend or holiday, so keep that in mind. Reservations for the cottages and cabins can be made online or by calling the park office.
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 between 35 to 50 pairs of breeding herons at any one time. 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 to 25 years. Between 5,000-10,000 waterfowl love to hang out on the lake too, so pack your binoculars, your checklist, and prepare for all the birding fun!
Heyburn State Park will be a very happy place for those that are biking fans. The park features the beginning of the Coeur d'Alene Trail, which is a 72-mile long trail that 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 thankfully, Heyburn State Park is no different. Three dedicated hiking trails range from an easy to difficult skill level for you to explore during your visit. Our pick of the bunch is the 2.5 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. The St. Joe River is the river that divides two of the four lakes that make up the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Officially known as the Heyburn State Park Welcome Center, this is the place to check out if you want to learn more about the history of the area and the park. Featuring interactive displays, Junior Ranger programs, and staff on hand to answer any questions you may have, this visitor center is a must-see if you want to maximize your experience. If you are interested in any events or activities happening at the park, you will also be able to find out all of the information here.
Along with offering swimming and fishing, Rocky Point on Chatcolet Lake also has some excellent 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 large concrete boat launch site along with additional parking near the water. There is also an additional boat launch and mooring sites available near the Chatcolet Trailhead that you can use to get out on the lake.
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 caught in these waters include pike, bass, and panfish. If you need any extra fishing supplies, they may be available at the marina on the lake. Don't forget your fishing license before you head to the water.
There is a gem of a beach in Heyburn State Park. Located at Chatcolet Bridge, the beach is large and has a crescent shape perfect for sunbathing or relaxing on when you aren't splashing about in the water. 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 so that you protect your precious feet.
If you are planning a picnic, it would be a shame not to enjoy the fantastic picnic facilities that are on offer during your visit to Heyburn State Park. The park is great for just throwing out a picnic blanket, but it also caters explicitly to those who are wanting to picnic in a group environment. There are four designated shelters available to be reserved, with three of these on the shore of the lake and one more in a forested area. Suitable for between 30 and 84 people, all of the shelters have water connections, and three have BBQs and picnic tables. To book one of the shelters, contact the park office, or reserve one online before your arrival.