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With new changes to recreation sites and even more visitors expected to be arriving this summer, we are providing the latest information on camping in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

We encourage visitors to stay informed and up-to-date all season long by frequently visiting the links provided.


With two wildfires having already burned in the Sawtooths this last month, the Idaho Forest Service campaign theme this year is straightforward- It’s up to you.

  • Make sure your campfire coals are cool to the touch
  • Consider using gas stoves
  • If building a fire use only dead and downed wood
  • Campfires are prohibited within 200 yards of:
    • Sawtooth Lake
    • Goat Lake
    • Alpine Lake near Iron Creek
    • Alpin and Saddleback Lakes in the Redfish drainage
    • Scenic Lakes
    • Stanley Lake Campground

Stay limits

New this year – the SNRA’s 10-day stay limit requires campers to move a minimum of 30 miles after 10 days in a 30 day period. See Camping restriction order.

Many sites are first-come, first-served. Other sites can be reserved at or by phone at 1-877-444-6777. Also, check out Sawtooth National Forest to stay up to date on campground closures.

Bear aware

Black bears are common in the Idaho Sawtooths. Bears learn campers and campground garbage containers are food sources and this can result in a lethal outcome for the bear. To learn more visit Sawtooth National Forest – Home

A food storage order is also in effect this season to prevent human-bear interactions in the SNRA. This requires campers and day users to store food and toiletries in locked vehicles or bear-resistant containers. Violating the order can result in a $5,000 fine. See SNRA occupancy and use food storage order.


Rangers will be enforcing dog-leash and dog-waste pick-up regulations in the SNRA – particularly in campgrounds. Dogs must be leased at all campgrounds, picnic areas, and adjacent trailheads. Check regulations at

Keep it enviro-friendly

At designated dispersed campsites, which are marked with tent symbols on posts, showering and washing dishes is prohibited within 150 feet of lakes and streams. Human waste must be buried at least 100 feet from water sources in holes 6-8 inches deep and covered with soil. There are many lightweight shovels designed just for this purpose if you haven’t brought something to contain it.

Motor vehicle use

Snowpacks remain at higher elevations and several roads and trails will be closed. Driving or riding on muddy roads and trails leads to damage and erosion. The Forest Service encourages visitors to stop by your SNRA regional office and pick up the new Motor Vehicle Use Map which shows which roads and trails are open to motorized use. They can also be downloaded by going to the SNRA motor use map.

Anything Else?

Yes! Visitors to the Sawtooth National Forest are encouraged to bring drinking water and be prepared to haul their trash back home.

Want to make a difference? Learn about volunteer opportunities and how your donation dollars are put to use.

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