In the Bannock and Caribou Counties, within a mile of the beautiful city of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, the BLM manages 11,298-acres of wilderness terrain that make up the Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area. With its highest point, Petticoat Peak, at 8,000 feet, the wilderness study area is situated within the Fish Creek Mountain Range and has a topography that is steep, rugged, and mountainous.
From any spot, one can look out to ridges, canyons, and mountain peaks protruding to the skies. While rocky and rugged, the wilderness study area isn’t barren or sandy. It’s covered with green vegetation of juniper, sagebrush, and mountain shrubs. The thick woodland of Douglas-fir mingled with limber pine and lodgepole makes the wilderness study area even more verdant in its east corner, while the west slopes are adorned with aspen groves.
Bannock County also holds a historic position for being the site of important Indian trails, overland trails, and trapper trails. Even today, it holds within its boundaries important state line routes, interstate highways, and railroads. This makes Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area a rare wilderness region that is still close to road networks and amenities yet offers the semblance of solitude and seclusion.
The trail that you might end up crossing at Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area could be the very same one that Northern Shoshone and Bannock tribal groups took hundreds of years ago!
Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area is situated within the Fish Creek Mountain Range and lies one mile from Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, in the counties of Caribou and Bannock. The Mount Naomi Wilderness Area is a mere 55 miles away from Petticoat Peak WSA.
From Lava Hot Springs, head east on Main Street toward 1st Avenue and then take a right onto US-30. Drive east and then turn left onto Blaster Road. Take the last right onto Hadley Canyon Road and your destination will lie before you.
There are four dead-end roads that extend into the wilderness area for about one or two miles. The rest of the wilderness region can be explored on foot, horseback, or ATVs.
If you wish for a more developed campsite, then the Lava Hot Springs KOA campground is just a six-minute drive away from the Wilderness Study Area and walking distance from the town. This KOA campground has over a hundred RV and tent campsites that come equipped with 30/50 amp electric hookups. Restrooms and potable water are also available for campers and picnickers. Picnic tables, fire rings, a gift shop, playground, horseshoe pits, laundry room and much more are offered at this luxurious and spacious campground.
Nestled cozily alongside the Portneuf River, campers can select from up to 22 RV campsites that are river facing. Walking distance from the picturesque town of Lava Hot Springs and a few minutes drive from the boundaries of the Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area, this KOA campground has everything you need for an enjoyable, adventurous, and comfortable camping holiday.
Max RV length here is 65' and campers can stay for 14 days at a stretch.
Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area has the same camping policies as all other BLM managed wildernesses. You can camp primitively and pick any spot you like, as long as that spot is not too close to a waterbody and another occupied campsite. There aren’t any camping amenities available so you would have to bring everything you need for survival and comfort.
Cutting live vegetation is prohibited; only pick dead and down wood for campfires. Maintain your distance from wildlife and abide by the seven leave-no-trace principles at all times. Camping is allowed for 14 days at a stretch.
Idaho is beautiful in general, but the city of Lava Hot Springs holds an entirely different kind of charm. It is naturally blessed with breathtaking landscapes and mountain ranges and highly developed as a resort city. This makes Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area the perfect hunting ground close to home.
The spectacular big game hunting here includes elk and moose. Diversity abounds in upland game hunting with the likes of river otter, muskrat, and mink. Make sure to study up on the hunting dos and don’ts mandated by the state of Idaho before planning your hunting trip.
The best thing about hiking at a wilderness study area is that you are not limited by developed, marked, and curated trails. You can trek freely, forging your own path to explore this rocky and wild region.
The lands here are so diverse, with such a huge variety of vegetation that sightseeing along the trails becomes a great leisure experience. You may also run into wildlife along the way and throughout your journey, gorgeous views will surround you on all sides.
Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area has numerous paved and unpaved roads, that might make it not-so-suitable for solitude seekers, but perfect for bikers and ATV riders. There is an abundance of unmapped and unmarked trails in Lava Hot Springs and the surrounding areas, including Petticoat Peak WSA.
The rules in Idaho dictate that any ATV or dirt bike you bring to the wilderness must be insured, registered and licensed and the rider must be at least 18 years old and wearing a helmet. The rugged and mountainous terrain also make for exciting and thrilling mountain biking routes.
While Petticoat Peak WSA is known for its close proximity to roads and populated areas, it still provides outstanding opportunities for solitude. Copious canyons, steep topography and thick vegetation offer all kinds of privacy to visitors and allows them to enjoy their picnicking experience with nature screening out the outside world.
Nighttime picnics allow visitors to appreciate the twinkling stars that come out in full force in the vast skies found in Idaho which are simply mesmerizing to look at.
Petticoat Peak Wilderness Study Area has only one named mountain and it is the Petticoat Peak. It is also the highest and most dominant peak in the wilderness at a height of 8,032 ft (2,418 meters).
The terrain that leads to the high point is rugged and devoid of any trails. The path to the top is covered with sagebrush and trees and you can choose to climb from anywhere up the face, however, the shortest route up is from the west.
Portneuf River attracts plenty of species of wildlife and Petticoat Peak WSA is located just minutes away from this all-important water source. Mink, coyotes, raccoons, great horned owls, cottontail rabbits, hawks, Golden eagles, rough-legged hawks and sharp-tailed grouse are but a few of the wildlife species that can be found hunting or drinking by the river banks or hiding amidst the dense flora.