Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests welcome holiday visitors

Wild and scenic rivers, lush forests and mountain vistas make the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests a natural choice for July 4, visitors.


Dozens of campsites in several Forest Service campgrounds will be open for visitors. If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay. Use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.

Most campgrounds offer first-come, first-serve site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve. Reserveable campsite options are: O’Hara Campground, located seven miles east of Lowell along Selway River Road; Fish Creek Group Site, eight miles south of Grangeville past the Fish Creek Meadows Campground; South Fork Group Use Site #5 at the South Fork Campground located on Highway 14, east of Grangeville; Wilderness Gateway, 49 miles east of Kooskia along U.S. Highway 12; Powell, 12 miles west of the Idaho-Montana state line along Highway 12; and Elk Creek, one mile north of Elk River. Call toll free at (877) 444-6777, or reserve online at

Campgrounds with good access and sites for RV campers include O’Hara, Fish Creek, South Fork, Castle Creek, Spring Bar, Powell, Wendover and Whitehouse (a few miles west of Powell), Wilderness Gateway and Elk Creek. Powell and Elk Creek also have several electrical hookup sites.

A stay at Adams Ranger Cabin is a great alternative to camping. The fee is $50 per night with a minimum of two nights’ stay on weekends. To make reservations, visit the Adams Ranger Station information page at or call (877) 444-6777.

On the Powell Ranger District, Elk Summit Campground remains snow-covered in places, making the camp loops inaccessible. The Jerry Johnson Campground is closed for the season.

Along the North Fork Clearwater River, the popular Aquarius, Washington Creek, Noe Creek and Kelly Forks Campgrounds are up and running and waiting for Independence Day visitors.

Cedars Campground is also open and ready for happy, high-country campers. Hidden Creek Campground is inaccessible due to snowslide south of the campground, near Elizabeth Creek, and a large rockslide just north of Hidden Creek.

On the Palouse Ranger District, Giant White Pine, Laird Park and Little Boulder Campgrounds are great places to spend the long holiday weekend. If you’re planning a fun-filled 4th of July family get-together, the Palouse District also boasts three picnic sites that can be reserved.


On the Moose Creek Ranger District, Indian Hill Road 290 is closed to all motorized traffic due to a road failure. Falls Point Road 443 is open only to vehicles less than 50 inches. O’Hara/Hamby Road 651 is open to the snowline. All other roads on the district are open, with some snow at higher elevations.

The popular Magruder Corridor Road 468 is open to mile marker 10.5 on the west side and closed after that by snow. For updated information, call the Red River Ranger District at (208) 842-2245.

All roads on the Salmon River Ranger District are open except the Free Use Road 243, Nut Basin Road 441, Seven Devils Road 517, and Square Mountain/Gospel Road 444, are closed to the snowline.

All roads along the Highway 14 Corridor are open, except the historic Elk City Wagon Road 284.

On the North Fork Ranger District: Beaver Creek Road 247 is open from Headquarters to Bungalow. Forest Service Road 250, also called French Mountain Road, is open from Pierce to four miles north of the Kelly Forks Work Center. Deception Saddle Road 255 is open all the way to its northernmost junction with Road 250, three miles south of Cedars Campground. Toboggan Ridge Road 581 and Hoodoo Pass are still blocked by snow. Mush Saddle Road 711 and Cool Creek Road 5295 are closed because of logging activity in the area.

Lolo Motorway Road 500 and Elk Summit Road 360 remain closed due to snow. Call the Powell Ranger Station at (208) 942-3113 for updates.

Current road and trail conditions are located at:


Many Forest trails below 6000 feet in elevation are snow-free and accessible, although visitors should be prepared to encounter high creek crossings, downed trees and debris. Check with your local ranger districts for a complete listing of trails that have been cleared to date.

For safety’s sake, and to protect sensitive plant life, trail users are asked to stay on trails. Always yield to stock.

Check out the new “2014 Go-To Guide for Popular Hiking Trails on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests” at:

Forest Service offices and visitor centers

Most Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests offices, with a few exceptions, will close Friday, July 4, in observance of the holiday. If you’re thinking of buying a firewood cutting and/or mushroom permit, America the Beautiful Senior Pass (Golden Age Passport) or a national forest visitor map to use over the holiday weekend, please be sure to stop by your nearest forest office prior to the close of business on Thursday, July 3.

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center at the Idaho-Montana state line along Highway 12 is open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. The visitor center will be open the 4th of July.

The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located 48 miles east of Kooskia along Highway 12, is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Labor Day. The LHRS will be open to welcome visitors on July 4.

Fire information

Please be careful and responsible with your cigarettes and campfires. Use existing fire rings if available. Make sure your campfire is completely out when you leave a campsite.

Fireworks are not allowed on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The use of all fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices is prohibited on almost all national forests regardless of weather conditions or holidays.

For additional information, call the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor’s Office in Kamiah at (208) 935-2513, or your local Forest Service Office. Or check online at

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