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Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests welcome holiday visitors

   Wild and scenic rivers, lush forests and mountain vistas make the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests a natural choice for July 4 visitors. People come here to hike, camp, picnic, ride, and relax; your nearby national forests are first-rate, summer recreation destinations!

   Most campgrounds offer first-come, first-served site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve. If you’d like to pre-select a campsite, visit www.recreation.gov or call (877)444-6777 to locate campgrounds nationwide that accept reservations.  Many campgrounds have helpful hosts who can provide information about outdoor attractions in the local area. 

   Camping is allowed at sites outside developed campgrounds. If you camp at a dispersed site, leave no trace of your stay. Use existing fire rings if available, and pack out your trash.

   Current road and trail conditions are located on our website at:  http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.  Check with your local ranger districts for a complete listing of trails that have been cleared to date. 

   Remember - be careful and be responsible with your cigarettes and campfires. Use existing fire rings if available. Make sure your campfire is completely out when you leave a campsite.

   The use of all fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices is prohibited on national forests regardless of weather conditions or holidays.

   River users are asked to be extremely careful when recreating on or near rivers. Water levels for this time of year are much higher than usual.

Nez Perce National Forest

   Are you interested in reserving a campsite or cabin on the Nez Perce National Forest? Three campsite options are O’Hara Campground, located seven miles east of Lowell along Selway River Road;  Fish Creek Group Site, eight miles south of Grangeville past the Fish Creek Meadows Campground and South Fork Group Use Site #5 at the South Fork Campground located on Highway 14, east of Grangeville. 

   Campgrounds with good access and sites for RV campers include O’Hara, Fish Creek, South Fork, Castle Creek and Spring Bar.

   A stay at Adams Ranger Cabin is a great alternative to camping.  The fee is $50 per night with a minimum of two nights’ stay on weekends. To make reservations, visit the Adams Ranger Station information page at www.recreation.gov or call (877)444-6777.

   All vehicles over 50” in width, including ATVs and UTVs, are prohibited from travel on Indian Hill Road 290 on the Moose Creek Ranger District.  A road failure has narrowed the roadway, making it unsafe for vehicles over 50” wide.  All other roads on the district are open, with some snow at higher elevations.

   The Elk City side of the popular Magruder Corridor Road 468 is open and in pretty good shape to Dry Saddle.  For updated information, call the Red River Ranger District at (208)842-2245.

   Most roads on the Salmon River Ranger District are open.  Seven Devils Road 517 is open to the campground.  Visitors can travel about five miles up Square Mountain/Gospels Road 444, better to save that trip for a little later in July.

   All roads along the Highway 14 Corridor are open, including the historic Elk City Wagon Road 284.

Clearwater National Forest

   On the Clearwater National Forest, most campgrounds offer first-come, first-served site selection, but a few campgrounds have sites that you can reserve;  Wilderness Gateway, 49 miles east of Kooskia along U.S. Highway 12; Powell, 12 miles west of the Idaho-Montana state line along Highway 12; and Elk Creek, one mile north of Elk River.  Call toll free at (877) 444-6777, or reserve online at www.recreation.gov.

   Campgrounds with good access and sites for RV campers include Powell, Wendover and Whitehouse (a few miles west of Powell), Wilderness Gateway and Elk Creek. Powell and Elk Creek also have several electrical hookup sites.

   On the Powell Ranger District, Elk Summit Campground remains snow-covered in places, making the camp loops inaccessible. The Jerry Johnson Campground has closed for the season.

   Weitas Creek Campground is currently inaccessible due to the closure of the Weitas Creek Bridge.  Public safety concerns prompted closure of the eighty-year-old Weitas Bridge in June 2011 after an inspection revealed that the center pier’s concrete cap was deteriorating and prolonged high water caused scouring around the center pier. The damage has made the bridge structurally deficient, and its worsening condition poses a real hazard to Forest visitors.  Forest Service engineers are assessing options for repairing the existing bridge. 

   On the North Fork Ranger District, Forest Road 500, the Lolo Motorway, and Road 581, Toboggan Ridge, remain closed due to snow.  Fly Hill Road 720 is open to within one mile of Fly Hill; Road 715 (Pot Mountain Ridge) is still closed by snow.

   Elk Summit Road 360 is open to within one mile of Hoodoo Lake. Call the Powell Ranger Station at (208)942-3113 for updates.

   The popular Fish Lake Trail #419 is closed to motorized traffic due to wet conditions. Forest officials will reopen Trail #419 as soon as the waterlogged trail has dried out, firmed up and is once again suitable for recreational use.

Forest Service Offices and Visitor Centers

   Most Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests offices, with a few exceptions, will close Thursday, July 4 in observance of the 4th of July holiday.

   The Lolo Pass Visitor Center at the Idaho-Montana state line along Highway 12 is open 7 days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.  The Visitor Center will be open the 4th of July.

   The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, located 48 miles east of Kooskia along Highway 12, is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Labor Day. The LHRS will be open to welcome visitors on July 4.

Forest Visitor Maps

   Forest offices recently received the 2013 Nez Perce National Forest Visitor Maps.  The laminated maps sell for $10.  We anticipate the arrival of the 2013 Clearwater National Forest Visitor Maps in mid-July.  Please note that although the forests have officially combined administratively and are now the “Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests,” we will not be combining the Nez Perce and Clearwater Forest visitor maps into one.  The combined forests total over 4 million acres and it would be difficult to create one legible map to cover the entire area. 

   For additional information, call the Nez Perce National Forest Headquarters in Grangeville at (208)983-1950 or the Clearwater National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Orofino at (208)476-8267. Or check online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/nezperce-clearwater.