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Attention: Loop D and the Pavilion are reserved by the Forest Service June 5-7 for National Trails Day.


part ofNez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Sun Nov 01 2015   Season Dates


Wilderness Gateway Campground provides direct access to the wild and scenic Lochsa River. Visitors enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities, including world famous whitewater rafting. Hiking and horseback riding trails abound in the nearby wilderness area, which is the 3rd-largest in the lower 48 United States.

The campground offers respite for a variety of campers, including those with horses. RVs are also welcome at the large and unique campground. It is not far from a variety of services that are offered along the river, including shopping, eating and lodging.

Natural Features:

The campground is located in heavily wooded forest in north-central Idaho at an elevation of 2,100 feet. It is adjacent to the Lochsa River. Lochsa is a Nez Perce word meaning "rough water." The 70-mile river and its tributaries have no dams and flow is unregulated from its headwaters near the Powell Ranger Station in the Bitterroots, to Lowell, where it joins the Selway River to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. The Lochsa is one of the world's best for continuous whitewater.


The Lochsa River is world famous for its exciting whitewater rafting opportunities. Visitors do not need a permit to float the Lochsa, but technical expertise is a must. The river is also a destination fly fishing experience for cutthroat and rainbow trout, chinook salmon and steelhead. There are a number of river access points near the campground, along Highway 12.

Highway 12, also known as the Lewis and Clark Highway, winds along the narrow river canyon through evergreen trees and large rock outcroppings. Visitors to the area enjoy the scenic drive and historic sites along the way. Elk, deer, moose, bear, cougar and mountain goats make the steep canyon country their home, as well as other wildlife. A variety of birds are also active in the area.

Boulder Creek cascades down into the campground on its descent from the neighboring 1.5-million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area. Several trails head into the wilderness from the campground, including the 15-mile Lochsa Peak Trail and the 27-mile Boulder Creek Trail. A 1-mile birding trail loops around the campground and the half-mile Downriver Trail leads to a scenic river overlook. All trails are open to hiking and the wilderness trails are also open to horseback riding. The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, a living history visitor center, is one mile from the campground.


The campground offers dozens of accessible, single-family campsites and a large-group site, available for tent and RV camping. Utility hookups are not available and parking surfaces are paved. The group campsite can accommodate up to 208 people and 52 vehicles. Equestrian sites are also available and provide access to hitching rails, a watering and feeding station and staging area.

All campsites are equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Accessible vault toilets and drinking water are provided throughout the campground. A campground host is available on-site. Firewood is not provided, nor is it always available at the campground. Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

An adjacent, accessible group shelter is also available and can accommodate up to 200 people. It is equipped with a stone fireplace and multiple tables. Electricity is available at the shelter with a generator. Accessible flush toilets and a parking area are adjacent to the pavilion.

Nearby Attractions:

Access to the National Historic Lolo Trail Corridor is just one hour away.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Picnic Shelters
  • Accessible Sites
  • Accessible Vault Toilets
  • Amphitheater
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Campfire Rings
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Equestrian Sites
  • Fishing
  • Group Camping
  • Hiking
  • Hitching Racks
  • Horse Staging Area
  • Horse Watering Station
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Host
  • Kayaking
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Area
  • Rafting
  • Self Pay Station
  • Tables
  • Trash Collection
  • Vault Toilets
  • Water
  • Waterfront Sites
  • Wildlife Viewing
Within 10 Miles
  • Historic Sites
  • Non-Motorized Boating
  • River Access
  • Scenic Drive
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Visitor Center
  • Whitewater Rafting
Know Before You Go
  • There is no cell phone service within the campground; nearest pay phone is 23 miles away, in Lowell
  • A $2 fee is charged per day, for extra vehicles
  • A minimum of 32 people is required to reserve the group campsite
  • Click here for more information on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests
  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit dontmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
46.34, -115.30667
46°20'24"N, 115°18'24"W

From Lowell, travel east on Highway 12 for about 25 miles to the campground.

The campground is located 120 miles east of Lewiston, Idaho; and 100 miles west of Missoula, Mont. It is located at milepost 122 on Highway 12.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:


Phone Number:

Project Office: (208)926-4274
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