Payette National Forest

Quick Facts

Payette National Forest

Idaho

(208) 634-0700

Map

Things To Do

Overview

The Payette National Forest covers much of west-central Idaho, and is virtually surrounded by other national forests and BLM-managed lands. It is bordered on the north by the Salmon River, on the west by the Snake River, on the east by the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and on the south by the Boise National Forest. The Payette includes a large portion of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Pristine high mountain lakes lie along the ridge between the South Fork Salmon River and the North Fork Payette River drainages. Elevations on the forest range from 1,500 feet in Hells Canyon to over 9,500 feet in parts of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The forest offers many recreation opportunities from ATV riding to fishing to hiking to rock climbing.

Map of Payette Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 44.910602, -116.103001

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Activities

  • Boating

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Bicycling

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Camping

    The Payette's five Ranger Districts offer a variety of camping opportunities. Deep, low-elevation canyons and high peaks can keep the more adventurous camping almost year round. Campground information is divided by ranger district.

  • Climbing

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Fishing

    The Payette National Forest contains about 400 lakes and reservoirs and 4000 miles of fish-bearing streams. About forty-six different species of fish inhabit the waters. They vary from warm water bass, crappies, and catfish in Hell's Canyon Reservoir to native and introduced salmonids in colder waters. Native species, such as northern pikeminnow, mountain whitefish, and suckers, provide diversions from trout fishing. The Snake and Salmon Rivers contain white sturgeon that are regulated as a catch and release fishery.

  • Hiking

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Horseback Riding

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Hunting

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    OHV use is allowed on designated roads and trails. Stop by a ranger office and pick up a motor vehicle use map or call ahead to check on certain trails.

  • Picnicking

    Please contact the main number for more information.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Over 300 different species of wildlife make their home on the Payette National Forest. Some are common and easily spotted from roads and trails, while others are more reclusive and require perseverance to see. Some animals you might spot on your visit to the forest include: beaver and river otters,picas, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, red tailed hawks, pileated woodpeckers, merriam's turkey, boreal owls, pine martin, and the townsend's big-eared bat.

  • Winter Sports

    The Payette National Forest offers a wide range of winter recreation activities. Snowmobiling, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and nordic skiing are the most popular winter sports,but there are also many opportunities to snowshoe, ice fish and sled as well. The McCall area boasts 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and 19,000 acres of backcountry skiing. Snowmobiling has increased in popularity and the Payette NF has identified 245 miles of snowmobile trail available for grooming. The Payette hosts two ski resorts with some of the best skiing to be found in Idaho. The forest also maintains 25,000 groomed trails for Nordic skiing that range in skill level from leisurely to expert runs.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(208) 634-0700

Links