Cottonwood Recreation Site

Quick Facts

Cottonwood Recreation Site


(208) 879-6200

Map Directions

Things To Do


This site sits among groves of cottonwoods along the scenic Salmon River and provides a beautiful setting for fishing and camping. It was renovated in 1998 to allow use of RVs and to provide accessible camp sites and includes a day use area with barbecues, tent sites, and group camp sites.

The Challis Field Office offers a diversity of recreational sites and facilities for central Idaho visitors. Developed fee sites include: Cottonwood Campground, East Fork Campground, Little Boulder Creek Campground, Mackay Reservoir Recreation Site and Bayhorse Campground. The newly renovated Mackay Reservoir Recreation Area/Joe T. Fallini Campground provides the most amenities to visitors.

An abundance of recreational activities are available in the Challis Field Office for people of all interests and age levels. Most recreation activity is concentrated in three areas: the East Fork Salmon River, the Main Salmon River and the Big Lost River System. The Salmon River Canyon offers outstanding recreational opportunities such as Class I and II water floating, fishing for steelhead and trout, big game hunting and nature viewing. Other popular activities in the area include: camping, hiking, nature study, photography, picnicking, wildlife viewing, backpacking, rockhounding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and OHV use.

Once proper precautions are taken, visitors can explore the expansive Idaho scenery without borders or restrictions. Visitors are also encouraged to explore off the beaten path and camping is allowed in non-designated areas on BLM land. But if you choose to do this, please remember to stay on established roads and trails, "leave no trace," and "pack out, what you pack in." Also, be prepared for wide temperature changes and dry conditions in this arid, high desert climate, and be alert for fire/fuels conditions and seasonal restrictions.

Map of Cottonwood Rec. Site

Latitude, Longitude: 44.733687, -114.265709



  • Boating

    On the shores of the Salmon River, this site has a boat launch and fishing access.

  • Camping

    13 sites with camping fees are available. The site allows use of RVs with a trailer dump station. The site has picnic tables, fire rings/grills, 2 sets of vault toilets, potable water, group campsites, and garbage collect. There are seasonal campground hosts, although the area is open all year. No horses allowed in camp area.

  • Fishing

    Located along the Salmon River, the site provides access to great fishing.

  • Picnicking

    Day use area with horse shoe pits and reservable covered group shelter.



Travel north from Challis, Idaho on highway 93 for approximately 14 miles. The recreation site will be on your left between the highway and the Salmon River.

Phone Numbers


(208) 879-6200

Campground reservations

(208) 879-6200