Sawtooth National Forest | Outdoorsy

Sawtooth National Forest
Guide

Introduction

Head out to the heart of Idaho’s vast, beautiful wilderness and visit Sawtooth National Forest. Nestled among the Sun Valley in the south-central area of the state, this National Forest encompasses two million acres, just waiting for you to explore.

An excellent place for the kayak life, head out and paddle down the Boise, Payette, or Salmon Rivers during your RV camping trip. Catch rainbow trout in one of the many lakes or 3,000 miles of rivers. Grab your favorite hiking boots and sunscreen to cover the 61 different nature trails. If you want to see some breathtaking views of granite peaks and wildflower-covered meadows, check out the Sawtooth Wilderness Area. If you're traveling with kids during the summer months, you can park the rig at Redfish Lake Visitor Center to learn more about the area's natural history.

Sawtooth National Forest really is a hidden gem, so it's no wonder that one million people visit annually. Get drawn in by the snow-capped peaks or sunrise on a perfectly still lake. There are 15 RV campgrounds to choose from, and we have highlighted our top three picks for you below.

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Camping Accommodations

50'
Max RV length
50'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Sawtooth National Forest

Transportation

Driving

Travel to the old Wild West when visiting Sawtooth National Forest for a place to recharge your batteries and relax. Less than a four-hour drive from Boise and a three-hour drive from Twin Falls, Idaho, this place is a great RV getaway location. Once you arrive, it will be easy to see why so many visitors quickly fall in love with the endless ridges of the Boise Mountains. The mountain views in the background are truly breathtaking. A photographers dream, drive the Sawtooth Scenic Byway for some fantastic views of your next vacation destination. State Highway 75 is the main route through the forest. While most of this highway is flat, there are mountainous areas where the road can be narrow and winding. Use caution if you are driving a big rig, especially in the hilly areas. Check for road conditions before driving in the winter.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Sawtooth National Forest

Campsites in Sawtooth National Forest

Reservations camping

Alturas Inlet Campground

Alturas Inlet Campground is a prime spot for boaters, swimmers, and anglers with a central location near Alturas Lake and Perkins Lake. There are 28 campsites to choose from June to September, some of which feature gorgeous lake views. Each site features a picnic table and a fire ring, and most sites can hold a rig up to 40 feet long. Drinking water and vault toilets are available. Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash. While the sites are primitive, the views here are just to die for- you'll camp under the backdrop of gorgeous hillsides filled with pine forests.

Glacier View Campground

Travel to Redfish Lake for some fantastic camping. Family-friendly, Glacier View Campground offers 63 sites that you can reserve in advance. There are playgrounds, picnic tables, fire pits, toilets, and potable water within the campground. Enjoy the views of the Sawtooth Mountain Ranges as you sit back and relax in this great place. Check out the Redfish Visitor Center to learn more about the wildlife and geology of this region. Pets are welcome, but must be restrained when outside of the camper or trailer. RVs up to 50 feet long can be accommodated.

Point Campground

If you love getting out on the water, Point Campground is for you. This 16-site campground is popular due to its location to Redfish Lake and gorgeous mountain views. However, keep in mind that only tents, campervans, and trucks with campers are allowed here. RVs and trailers are not permitted at this campground. This campground offers potable water, picnic tables, restrooms, and a dump station. Plus, the sites are pet-friendly, so plan on bringing the dog along. Spend your time out in the sun while watching the sunrise over the lake to time out in your kayak.

Seasonal activities in Sawtooth National Forest

In-Season

Water Sports

Whether you are sitting along the lakeshore to take in the wild beauty the forest has to offer or you're out in your canoe, there is nothing like the water sports at Sawtooth National Forest. Take a dip in the Alpine Lakes or tube down the river. You can bring both motorized and non-motorized boats to this National Forest. Make plans to visit the Hot Pool that is located at Baumgartner Campground and open from dawn to dusk.

Hiking

Lose yourself among the shade of the forest while you hike the 61 hiking and running trails at Sawtooth National Forest. There are opportunities for both day hiking and backpacking. For a moderate day hike, try the five-mile Blue Ridge Trail, which offers a gorgeous view of the ridge between Lime Creek and South Fork Boise River. At 11.5 miles, Paradise Trail is a great option for a longer hike, which will take you through a serene mountain pass. If you are looking for a backpacking adventure try the Centennial Trail Route, which passes through the National Forest and runs the entire length of the state.

Outdoor Learning

There is so much to learn at Sawtooth National Forest! Park your campervan at the Visitor Center at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to learn about the forest's history, wildlife, and geology. The center offers audio tour tables, national history exhibits, and a variety of programs that are great for campers of all ages. An experience like no other, call ahead to see what new programs are available when planning your RV camping trip.

Off-Season

Picnicking

Sit down and relax among Idaho's wilderness and treat yourself to a meal outdoors. This is a great way to spend time with family, friends, or just yourself as you enjoy the nature that surrounds you. Many of the RV campgrounds provide picnic tables, making meals easy during your stay. Or have a picnic next to the water by Salmon or Payette Rivers.  Either way, make sure to pack in any trash you bring with you to keep Sawtooth National Forest looking beautiful.

Horseback Riding

Saddle up your horse and explore this magnificent National Forest. With so many miles to cover, riding a horse is one of the most majestic ways to see some beautiful lakes and fantastic mountain views. Ride deep into the rugged mountain peaks, pristine lakes or the calm, lush green meadows as you get out to see how spectacular Sawtooth National Forest is up close. The ride never gets old while being out in the Idaho wilderness.

Fishing

Head out from your motorhome camping site to get out in this beautiful place. The lakes, rivers, and streams are full of fish, and the surrounding landscape is incredible. From fishing to rainbow trout or Kokanee Salmon, you will never get tired of the challenge of catching your next meal. Grab your favorite fishing gear and make sure you have the right fishing license before you head out on your next fishing adventure at Sawtooth National Forest.