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BIG ELK, ID

part ofCaribou-Targhee National Forest, US Forest Service
Photo: BIG ELK
Status: Closed through Thu May 22 2014   Season Dates
 

Overview

Big Elk Campground is situated along Big Elk Creek on a quiet arm of the beautiful Palisades Reservoir, just 55 miles east of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing and exploring the scenic Big Elk Creek Trail.

Natural Features:

The campgrounds lies on a hillside at an elevation of 5,700 feet, above Big Elk Creek among aspens and Douglas fir trees, which provide partial shade. Sagebrush and summer wildflowers dot the landscape.

Recreation:

Big Elk Creek has great fishing for cutthroat trout and the occasional Kokanee salmon. Canoeing and swimming are popular activities on the reservoir. A small boat ramp is located on-site. When the reservoir level is low, boats cannot be launched on Big Elk Creek.

Big Elk Creek Trail, for hiking, biking and horseback riding, begins at the campground and meanders up a beautiful canyon brimming with wildflowers, towering trees and scenic views.

Palisades Reservoir is across the highway, offering excellent boating, water skiing, swimming and canoeing. Lake and shore fishing are very popular there as well, with wild and stocked cutthroat trout as the predominate species. Kokanee salmon, brown and Mackinaw trout can also be found. A boat ramp is located at Calamity Campground less than 10 miles away.

Facilities:

This campground offers three group sites with picnic tables, campfire rings and grills. Site A-1 also has a picnic shelter and serving tables, and can accommodate up to 160 people. Sites B-1 and B-2 can accommodate up to 50 people each. Individual sites are available on a first come, first served basis only.

Vault toilets, drinking water and trash collection are provided, but there is no electricity. Firewood is available for purchase from the host. Roads and parking spurs are gravel.

Nearby Attractions:

The Palisades Creek Trail begins nearby, leading hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders to beautiful Upper Palisades Lake and expansive views of Swan Valley.

The Snake River and Swan Valley offer more great fishing and boating opportunities, as well as rafting, canoeing and numerous trails for hiking, biking, horseback and ATV riding. Fall Creek Falls is 20 miles away, and the Fall Creek area has hundreds of miles of such trails.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Campfire Rings
  • Canoeing
  • Drinking Water
  • Firewood
  • Fishing
  • Grills
  • Group Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Host
  • Mountain Biking
  • Swimming
  • Tables
  • Trash Collection
  • Vault Toilets
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Wildlife Caution
  • Idaho OHV Safety Message
  • It is recommended that only small fishing boats and canoes/kayaks be launched at Big Elk Creek; there is no access to Palisades Reservoir from this location
  • A fee will be collected for extra vehicles at the campground
  • ATVs/OHVs can be used only to enter and exit the campground
  • Click here for more information on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Help prevent the spread of tree-killing pests in our national forests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit don'tmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
43.3225, -111.11611
43°19'21"N, 111°6'58"W

From Idaho Falls, Idaho, travel approximately 56 miles on Highway 26 to Palisades Dam. Once at the dam, continue 6 miles east on Highway 26, then turn left onto Forest Road 262 (Big Elk Creek Road) and travel 2 miles to the campground.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

BIG ELK
TARGHEE
ID

Phone Number:

Information: (208)483-2434
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