The Lucile Recreation Site is located at Lucile, Idaho, and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The site at Lucile, on the Salmon River, is situated on the east bank on a bend of the river, where a wide gravel/sand landing area protrudes into the river, making a perfect landing and launch site for watercraft. The area is popular as a take-out spot for rafting and floating down the river from Riggins. Visitors can enjoy floating on inflatables or tubes, or kayaking or canoeing, from Riggins, Idaho, down the Lower Salmon River, to the day-use site and parking area here.
Various watercraft can use the Recreation Area as a launch site for traveling up or down the river by powerboat as well. There are outfitters and shuttle services in the settlements along the river to support boating, rafting, and floating activities on the river.
You cannot camp overnight at the Lucille Recreation Site; however, nearby campgrounds are available a short distance to the north and south at other BLM recreation sites. Recreation Sites along the river in the vicinity include Island Bary, Shorts Bar, Old Lucile, Slate Creek, Skookumchuck, White Bird, Pine Bar, and Hammer Creek. Facilities at the day-use area at Lucile Recreation Site include a potable water supply and restrooms, and these amenities are ADA accessible.
Everywhere you turn in this Idaho region you will find spectacular wilderness areas, state parks, or national forests to explore. Parks within easy driving distance include Ponderosa State Park, Wallowa Lake State Park, Nez Perce National Historical Park, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Payette National Forest, Lake Cascade State Park, and Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests.
The Lucille Recreation Site is located in the town of Lucile and can be easily accessed at milepost 203.8, on Highway 95. There are some services and amenities in Lucile and the larger town of Riggins, Idaho, has more amenities and services to accommodate travelers, campers, and recreational users in the region. Riggins is just nine miles south of the Lucile Recreation Site.
Highway 95 is a paved, two-lane highway that parallels the Salmon River and is appropriate for RV units and tow trailers. The Lucille Recreation Site has been improved and has a parking lot to accommodate more vehicles. However, on weekends, holidays, and warm summer days, the recreation site is packed with water sport enthusiasts accessing the river. The parking lot can quickly reach capacity, and visitors end up parking along the highway. If you have a large RV unit or tow trailer, parking in the parking lot which is limited in size may not be possible, and parking along the highway is not ideal. RVers may find it more convenient to set up base at one of the nearby campgrounds. There are recreation sites with overnight camping approximately 10 miles to the north and 10 miles to the south that are accessible from Highway 95 and accommodate RVs.
This area of Idaho experiences sub-freezing temperatures and snowfall during the winter. Icy conditions can exist on highways and access roads. Winter tires provide more traction on icy highways and help vehicles plow through deep snow, and are recommended when traveling in the region during the winter months when cold fronts with inclement weather can change driving conditions abruptly.
Located 11.6 miles south of the Lucile Recreation Site, the Shorts Bar Recreation Site is also a Bureau of Land Management property, but with overnight camping available. To reach the campground, head south on Highway 95, then cross the Salmon Road Bridge to the east at Riggins and follow the BLM road a short distance to the recreation area on the north side of the road.
The campground is an informal, primitive, open camping area on the Salmon River. Campsites are on packed gravel, and accessible for larger RV units, but there are no hookups or dump station available here.
The campground is a popular site for launching rafts and tubes to float down the river. This BLM managed camping area is free of charge and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is some cell phone coverage depending on your carrier but no trash service here, so you must take your trash with you. You will find a well-maintained vault toilet for campers to use. The town of Riggins is just a few miles down the road and has numerous amenities including outfitters, shops, and restaurants.
The Slate Creek Recreation Site is located 10 miles north of the Lucille Recreation Site, on the west side of Highway 95, and very accessible for RVers visiting the Lucile Site. This small, open, rustic campground has paved access, and graveled parking spaces, with some pine trees to provide shade to campers. There are six campsites situated here, with one pull-through site. Sites have picnic tables on cement pads and fire rings.
The campground is located on the east bank of the Salmon River and has a boat launch which provides excellent access to the river for fun and recreation. Rafting, floating, powerboating, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are all popular activities at the campground. There is a small fee for overnight camping here.
Facilities include pressurized potable water, trash facilities, an RV dump station, and a vault toilet. There are ADA accessible facilities, and pets are permitted at the campground. Cell phone coverage is spotty and there is no firewood available at the campground.
The most frequent use of the Lucile Recreation Area is to facilitate floating on the Salmon River. Visitors can park a vehicle upstream and at the Lucille Recreation Site, or arrange for shuttle services in the area to transport them, then float down the river on inflatables, rafts, and tubes.
A popular route is to put in at Riggins and float downstream to the bend in the river at Lucile, where there is a large gravel beach protruding on the inside of the river bend to exit the river easily. Remember to wear lifejackets no matter what kind of watercraft you use. Whitewater rafting tours are also available for hire in the area.
If you have a powerboat, boat launches in the area allow you to put into the river and enjoy the sights and sounds along the watercourse, and you can motor back to your starting point! Powerboats can only be accommodated when water levels are high enough, and riverboats with shallow keels are often used on rivers, which have unseen hazards below the surface and can be shallow in spots.
Kayakers and canoeists also frequent the river, but remember if you paddle downstream, which is easily done, you will have to paddle back up, unless you exit downstream and arrange for transport. Watch out for slow-moving floating craft on the water.
There are plenty of mining claims and activities in this central Idaho region, which means minerals, geological finds, and great rock collecting opportunities.
Browse along the shores of the river, especially later in the year when water levels are low and reveal small specimens that have washed down the watercourse and been left exposed on gravel and sandy shores. Or explore the ridges and hills where erosion periodically exposes new finds. Rock collection is limited on public lands to hobbyists only, who should limit their specimen gathering for personal use only.
Salmon River is an excellent resource for fishing. Salmon and steelhead trout are available to catch in the river as they make their way to their annual spawning grounds, and year-round populations can also be found in the river. You can fish from the bank or launch out on the water by boat to fish the river.
Be sure to have a valid State of Idaho fishing license when angling or jigging in the river. You may find fishing activities are more successful in the transition seasons, before or after freeze-up when there are fewer recreation users on the waterway to disturb local fish populations.
Enjoy a hike in the cooler weather of early spring, winter, or late fall and avoid the summer heat which can make hiking strenuous. The wilderness regions along the Salmon River in the Lucille region have excellent hiking trails and backpacking areas. Enjoy the lakes and rivers, treed areas, canyons, hills, ridges, and wilderness areas while trekking in the area.
The Patrick Creek Trail is short but has fantastic views, and the Seven Devil Trail system is a network of several interconnecting routes to explore. More experienced hikers can check out the Wind River Trail and those looking for an easier time will enjoy the Manning Crevice Trail.
Ski resorts and snow tubing areas abound in the region. There are several ski resorts, including one with a tubing area, located a short distance from Lucile that are easily accessible when visiting the area.
Carve up some powder in the winter months on downhill skis or snowboards, or for more informal winter fun, pile on a tube and go flying down a snow-covered hill! Groomed runs, lifts, equipment rentals, accommodations, and ski lessons are available at the area's many resorts, so there is no excuse not to get out and enjoy the wilderness area even when snow blankets the terrain.