Flickr album link: Sawtooth National Recreation Area
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area covers over 750,000 acres of picturesque mountain wilderness in central Idaho, so as can be imagined, the opportunities for outdoor adventures abound in this destination. Several previous articles feature camping options in both the Sawtooth National Forest and the recreation area, which are basically one and the same, since the national forest service manages this entire region. There are a few small towns located nearby where a camper can stock up and going heavy on supplies is highly recommended, because this truly is a place where a visitor will not want to leave anytime soon. The wide open spaces, deep forest wilderness areas and the towering peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains certainly are captivating and the recreational opportunities are like a dream come true for those who wish to make the great escape happen.
The main touring route through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is Highway 75 and there are plenty of roadside campgrounds to choose from along the way. There are also dirt side roads that go to remote campgrounds and horse camps that are located next to wilderness trailheads. Dispersed camping is an option too and seasonal hunter's campsites are fairly easy to find where the Sawtooth Valley Meadows meet the pine woods. Water is available at many of the developed campgrounds and of course filtering creek water is an option too.
Because the mountain roads tend to follow rivers and streams, a visitor will not have to go far to find a sweet fishing spot of their own. The Salmon River headwaters are located in the Sawtooth Valley and dozens of small streams feed this waterway. The alpine hiking trails go to hidden lakes in the pine forests where even more angling opportunities abound. Basically the rule of thumb is to pack a fly rod for any trail you follow, since there will likely be a once in a lifetime fishing opportunity practically any direction one goes. The same can be said about carrying an artist palette or camera, because the wildlife is everywhere and the views of the majestic Sawtooth landscape are worth sharing back home.
When touring the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, it is best to be well aware of the surroundings since this is big bear country. For this reason, bear safe food storage is definitely required in this park. Mountain lions roam the hills too, so it is best to keep small children and pets nearby. The towering mountain peaks also tend to trap heavy clouds, so the morning dew can be extra wet in the mornings. Packing rain gear will be necessary, but there will still be plenty of sunshine to go around. The best part is the Sawtooth NRA is remote enough to cause the mainstream tourists to shy away, so overcrowding is rarely a problem. The Sawtooth Mountains offer a great escape like no other, so be sure to keep this deep wilderness destination in mind when planning a lengthy getaway!
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