Clearwater National Forest

Quick Facts

Clearwater National Forest


(208) 476-4541

Map Directions

Things To Do


Located in north-central Idaho, lies the Clearwater National Forest. The forest comprises 1.8 million acres that ranges in elevation from 1,600 to nearly 9,000 feet. The Forest is composed mainly of deep forested canyons interspersed with high, rugged ridges. The weather is characterized by distinct seasons. The North Fork of the Clearwater and the Lochsa rivers provide miles of tumbling white water interspersed with quiet pools for migratory and resident fish. The mountains provide habitat for elk, moose, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, gray wolf, cougar, mountain goats, and many smaller mammals. The ridges between the deep canyons have provided travel corridors across the mountains for centuries. These routes were used by the Nez Perce Indians and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Today the main travel route is U.S. Highway 12 following the dramatic canyon of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River and its tributary the Lochsa River.

Map of Clearwater Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 46.744949, -116.326894



  • Boating

    Boating is permitted, contact park for more information.

  • Bicycling

    Bicycling is permitted on certain trails.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A long winding scenic road is a perfect place for auto/ motorcycle touring.

  • Camping

    Developed campsites range from day use areas like beaches or picnic areas, to campgrounds with a range of amenities and variations in fees. Developed campgrounds are generally open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Some stay open 'til the snow flies. Camping is also available in a variety of other developed campgrounds across the Clearwater National Forest or in "dispersed" sites of your own choice. There are are generally no amenities such as water and toilets at dispersed campsites.

  • Fishing

    On the Clearwater National Forest there are over 5,000 miles of streams and over 230 high mountain lakes spread over six river drainages. These aquatic habitats support over 13 species of resident and anadromous fish as well as a multitude of other aquatic species including birds, amphibians and insects. Excellent opportunities for both bait and fly fishing abound.

  • Hiking

    There are many miles of wonderful trails on the Clearwater. It is recommended you call the ranger district and ask about current conditions if planning to hike one of the forest trails.

  • Historic Sites

    Trail routes in the area were used by the Nez Perce Indians and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

  • Horseback Riding

    White Sand Creek Trail is a great trails for horseback riding.

  • Hunting

    The Clearwater has deer, elk, moose, bear, cougar, grouse hunting and other hunting opportunities. There are many outfitters in the area to help you plan your hunting trip. See hunting outfitting guide link above.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Clearwater NF has several areas available for OHV use. Check with a ranger station for the best places to ride, or pick up a Travel Guide for the forest.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is encouraged and developed picnic areas are provided.

  • RVing

    Limited RV hookups, contact park for availibility.

  • Water Sports

    Fishing and boating are great activities to do on the water.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter season is quite busy, as the Lolo Pass area serves as a major trail head for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Snowshoeing is also quite popular.



From Orofino, State highways 8 and 11 will lead you to the north part of the forest. State highway 12 is a 200 mile long route to Missoula which accesses the southern part of the forest.

Phone Numbers


(208) 476-4541