Named for an early fur trapper—Francois Payette—the Payette National Forest covers over 2.3 million acres of forests, rivers, and mountains. The forest is managed by the National Forest Service and is bordered by other federally protected areas. Though some of the lands were cultivated and settled early in its history, nearly all development projects failed. Attempts made at mining, homesteading, lumber production, and milling failed except for a few cattle grazing concerns that still use sections of the land as free-range. Within the forest are two Wilderness Areas—the Frank Church River to Nowhere Wilderness Area and the Hells Canyon Wilderness Area. While small communities like McCall, ID, and Baker City, OR, provide much of the service required to manage such a large area, Boise, ID, the nearest sizeable urban city, claims the forest as its recreation area.
How to get to Payette National Forest
Address: 500 North Mission Street, Building 2, McCall, ID 83638
Fee: Entry fee $0
Payette National Forest is easily explored in an RV. Though many of the trails are inaccessible to vehicles, their trailheads are generally available to RV traffic. Getting around the forest in an RV gives you the peace of mind of knowing there is a comfortable spot for you to recover after hiking for miles or climbing hillsides to reach pristine lakes in which to fish. Take an RV to the Payette National Forest and enjoy your stay.
Frequently Asked Questions About Payette National Forest
Is there a fee to get into Payette National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into Payette National Forest. However, there may be fees or permits required for various recreational activities or to use certain day-use areas and other parts of the forest.
Does Payette National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, there is free camping at Payette National Forest. Dispersed camping is allowed in many parts of the forest and does not cost. There are also developed campgrounds that are available to use for a small fee.
Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Payette National Forest?
Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp in Payette National Forest. Dispersed campers may stay in the same spot for up to 14 days before needing to move.
Can you kayak, canoe, or raft in Payette National Forest?
Yes, you can kayak, canoe, and raft in the Payette National Forest. The Payette River meanders through forest lands, and there are also mountain lakes and streams that are great for paddlers.
What type of wildlife lives in Payette National Forest?
Wildlife in the Payette National Forest includes deer, elk, mountain lions, bears, coyotes, moose, mountain goats, river otters, and marmots. Birds like osprey, grouse, and a variety of others also make the forest their home.