The Morgan Creek Recreation Site is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management's Challis Field Office. The recreation site is located in central Idaho, near the town of Challis. The elevation of the recreation site is 5559 feet, and there are open areas along the creek with rich vegetation surrounded by foothills, which are covered by sagebrush, rough rocky wilderness terrain, and native plants. The nearby mountains are covered in dense forests.
The creek and rocky terrain in the wilderness areas surrounding Morgan Creek Recreation Site provides habitat for a variety of wildlife including songbirds that serenade visitors, plus large mammals that are exciting to spot such as bighorn sheep, antelope, and mule deer. The creek provides a generous riparian area supporting a wide variety of vegetation that provides food and shelter for area wildlife. There is a small free BLM campground along the creek for overnight campers with a restroom and water supply to support camping activities Hikers can venture further down the Morgan Creek Road to reach the trailhead which will take them west to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
Visitors to the area can access several fabulous natural wilderness areas and national parks, all within a few hour's drive. While staying in the area be sure to check out the Nez Perce -Clearwater National Forest and Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness to the north, Payette National Forest to the west, Salmon-Challis National Forest on the south, and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest to the east.
The Morgan Creek Recreation Site is about 10 miles north of the town of Challis, Idaho where services and amenities are available. To reach the recreation site and campground, head north on Highway 93 from Challis, for approximately eight miles, then turn west onto the Morgan Creek Road which is also marked as Forest Road 057. Proceed for five miles, and the campground is on the left.
Highway 93 is a well-paved, two-lane highway, with shoulders and clearances that are appropriate for RV travel. The access road is naturally surfaced and during inclement weather can be muddy and rutted, so may not be easily accessible for low clearance large RV units and tow trailers. Also, the Morgan Creek Campground is a primitive campground, with limited amenities, and sites may not be designed for large RV units to maneuver easily.
During the winter, this area of Idaho is subject to sub-freezing temperatures with snowy and icy weather conditions. While travelling in the winter you may encounter slippery roadways. Winter rated tires and chains are helpful for travelling in heavy snow or icy conditions. Remember to leave plenty of room to execute turns and braking, especially with a large RV or tow trailer which requires more room to maneuver.
The BLM-managed Morgan Creek Recreation site has a small primitive campground with four sites available. The campground is situated on the Morgan Creek on level ground along the willow covered banks of the creek. The surrounding hills are covered with sagebrush and the mountains behind the hills are densely forested, providing an ideal wilderness habitat for campers to enjoy. Campers should be prepared for mosquitos, which are heavy in the area around the creek, and at the campground.
Campsites have picnic tables and fire rings with attached grills. There is a potable water hand pump on site. Please note there are no trash removal services or RV hookups at the campground, but there is a vault toilet that is well maintained and handicap accessible.
You will need to pack out your own trash and bring your own firewood. Pets are permitted but must be kept on a leash at all times. The nearest RV dump site is at the Cottonwood Recreation Site which is located on Highway 93 just north of the turn off to the Morgan Creek Road. There is no fee for camping at this campground.
The creek supports lush vegetation along its banks, and the hills, forested areas, and rocky terrain surrounding the Morgan Creek Recreation Site provide diverse habitat for a variety of wildlife. Enjoy the sounds of local songbirds like sparrows, wrens, juncos, nutcrackers, and kinglets from the campsites here, and keep your eyes peeled for large mammals like pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and bighorn sheep in the area.
Take binoculars and a camera to capture your wildlife discoveries, or partake in hunting activities during designated hunting seasons. Hunting season occurs in the fall, and transition seasons can also be a good time to spot wildlife when local animals are more active with cool weather.
Several downhill ski resorts are within a short drive of the Morgan Creek Recreation Site. The Chipmunk Ski Hill Area is just a 30-minute drive south on Highway 93. This is a small downhill ski area with a tow rope, but other larger ski resorts with chair lifts are just a little further afield.
Resorts provide groomed runs for downhill skiing and snowboarding, lessons, equipment rentals, and accommodations on-site or nearby. Enjoy the views as you glide down snow-covered slopes in this central Idaho region.
Hiking trails in the Morgan Creek Recreation Site become snowshoeing and cross country ski trails when snow-covered in the winter months. The nearby Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness has excellent trails to do some cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Trails may not be groomed, and you may have to set your own tracks, especially after recent snowfalls. Dress in layers and pack plenty of water for your trip. You will need to bring your own skis and snowshoes as there are no rentals available on site.
Head a little further up the Morgan Creek Road, from the Morgan Creek Recreation site to reach the trailhead which will take you into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. There are plenty of other trails also located within the Challis Field Office managed areas nearby, with 250 miles of routes that meander through the forests, mountains, and along the creeks in the Mackay/Lost River Valley area.
These hikes take visitors to some of the highest peaks in this area of Idaho. Be sure to wear good hiking boots to cover rough rocky terrain and negotiate elevation changes. Take plenty of water, sunscreen, and bug spray to make your hike more comfortable!
Campers with valid, State of Idaho fishing licenses, can try their hand at a little fishing from the banks of the Morgan Creek. Anglers will find trout available to catch in the creek. Be prepared with lots of bug spray though; the mosquitos at the recreation site and along the creek are something fierce!
Use caution when fishing from creek banks as footing can be unreliable, and the creek has a significant current when the water is high. Keep a close eye especially on children or seniors, who may need assistance.
Challis is situated in a caldera, and Morgan Creek runs through the center of it where hard and agatized rocks can easily be found. The campground and creek area have plenty of quartz and agate just lying on the surface of the ground waiting to be discovered.
Nearby canyons have colored seams of varying rock, and an open pit in the BLM area nearby is loaded with great geological finds. Rockhounding on public lands for personal use only is permitted, and only a reasonable number of specimens should be collected.