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Home  >  Must-See Attractions  >  National Forests

National Forests

US National Forests

National forests are America's great outdoors. They encompass millions of acres of land and provide opportunities for recreation in open spaces and natural environments. People enjoy a wide variety of activities, including backpacking in remote, un-roaded wilderness areas, enjoying the views along a scenic byway, or fishing in a great trout stream, to mention just a few. Learn more about Rocky Mountain national forests. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us.

Idaho

  • Nez Perce National Forest – 2.2 million acres of beautiful and diverse land. From the dry, rugged canyons of the Salmon River to the moist cedar forests of the Selway drainage, the forest offers something for everyone. This vast, diverse area is managed to provide a variety of goods and services, including breathtaking scenery, wilderness, wildlife, fisheries, timber harvest, livestock grazing, mining, pristine water quality, and a wide array of recreation opportunities. The Forest is best known for its wild character. Nearly half of the Forest is designated wilderness. It also sports two rivers popular with thrill-seeking floaters — the Selway and the Salmon. http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/nezperce/recreation/
  • Clearwater National Forest -- Covers 1.8 million acres from the jagged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains in the east to the river canyons and the rolling hills of the Palouse Prairie in the west. The North Fork of the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers provide miles of tumbling white water interspersed with quiet pools for migratory and resident fish. The mountains provide habitat for elk, moose, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, gray wolf, cougar, mountain goats, and many smaller mammals. http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/clearwater/VisitorInfo/visinfo.htm
  • Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness – Designated as a wilderness in 1980, it now has a total of 2.3 million acres. As the second largest wilderness area in Lower 48, it was named for Senator Frank Church, who played a key role in the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964. www.fs.fed.us/r4/sc/recreation/fcronr/fcronrindex.shtml
  • Idaho Panhandle National Forests -- From the shores of big lakes to the banks of winding rivers, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests create a tapestry of land and water in the handle of North Idaho. The Forest has been and continues to be the lifeline for local communities. Silver, gold and large timber drew settlers to the area. Remnant roads that once led to work now lead to play, and treasures sought are now recreational - water-based activities, winter uses and the traditional hiking, hunting, fishing and gathering. More than half the state’s surface water is on the Forest. These vast lakes and miles of rivers support a world class fishery. Rich in wildlife, the Forest is home to large game such as elk and deer, as well as species such as grizzly bears, wolves and caribou that add to the sense of "wildness". From lush evergreen mountains to the shores of big waters, the Idaho Panhandle National Forest has a rich history that continues to link families and forest. Historic cabins and lookouts dot the landscape, while significant places such as Hiawatha Trail and Marble Creek Historic District add depth to the heritage. Fire has played, and continues to play an important role in the landscape’s evolution. Forest roads and trails trace the past of American Indians, mining, logging, and Forest Service History. Read More
  • Payette National Forest- Covering over 2.3 million acres, visitors will experience a variety of landscapes and recreational opportunities everything from the deep recesses of Hell's Canyon to peaks reaching elevations of almost 9,500 feet. Dry desert grasslands compliment heavily forested acres. Gateways to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness lead the visitor to experience the solitude of seldom traveled trails.Stand on east rim of the Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area and gaze down to the Snake River 8,000 feet below into the the deepest river gorge in North America. Gaze across the ten mile wide chasm into the neighboring state of Oregon. http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/payette/recreation/
  • Salmon-Challis National Forest - The Salmon-Challis National Forest covers over 4.3 million acres. Included within the boundaries of the Forest is 1.3 million acres of the Frank Church-- River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest wilderness area in the Continental United States; Borah Peak, Idaho's tallest peak, and the Wild & Scenic Salmon River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Rugged and remote, this country offers adventure, solitude and breathtaking scenery. The area is a highly desired destination for hunting, fishing, white-water rafting and many other popular recreational pursuits. http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/sc/recreation/
  • Sawtooth National Forest - Over 1.9 million acres of a "working/producing" National Forest in the heart of Idaho. http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/sawtooth/
  • Boise National Forest - Over 2million acres, offers Year-Round Recreation. These recreation includes, over 70 recreation sites, 1300 miles of trails, unlimited hunting & fishing, water sports and winter recreation opportunities. www.fs.fed.us/r4/boise/recreation
  • Caribou-Targhee National Fores t- The Caribou-Targhee National Forest boasts rugged mountains, fertile valleys, rivers, varied wildlife, campgrounds, wilderness, adventure, solitude and scenery enough to saturate your aesthetic cravings. http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/caribou-targhee/recreation/

Montana

  • There are nine National Forests in Montana encompassing acres of wildlands, wild rivers, where there is unlimited opportunity to explore historic sites, camp in primitive campgrounds, or fish in alpine lakes. Much of the spectacular scenery along the Top 10 drives are protected within the National Forests of the Northern Rockies. To find out more about the National Forests in Montana, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/ and select one of the following Forests: Beaverhead-Deerlodage National Forest; Bitterroot National Forest, Custer National Forest; Flathead National Forest; Gallatin National Forest; Helena National Forest; Kootenai National Forest; Lewis and Clark National Forest; and the Lolo National Forest.

Oregon

  • Wallowa-Whitman National Forest -- The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest includes 2.3 million acres ranging in elevation from 875 feet in Hells Canyon, to 9845 feet in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The Forest extends from the Blue Mountains and rugged Wallowa Mountains down to the spectacular canyon country of the Snake River on the Idaho border. It is managed as sustainable ecosystems providing clean water, wildlife habitat, valuable forest products and for a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. Visit the website for more information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w/recreation/

Washington

  • Colville National Forest -- This 1.1 million acre forest was first shaped over 10,000 years ago by Ice Age glaciers that carved three major valleys of today's Columbia, San Poil-Curlew, and Pend Oreille River flowing north into Canada before entering the Columbia River. These million acres in the northeast corner roll like the high seas. Three waves of mountains run from north to south, separated by troughs of valleys. These ranges -- the Okanogan, Kettle River, and Selkirk -- are considered foothills of the Rocky Mountains. http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/colville/recreation/

Wyoming

  • Shoshone National Forest – America’s first national forest, set aside in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve. www.fs.fed.us/r2/shoshone/
  • Bridger-Teton National Forest - Located in Western Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton offers more than 3.4 million acres of public land for your outdoor recreation enjoyment. With its pristine watersheds, abundant wildlife and immense wildlands, the Bridger-Teton National Forest comprises a large part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem - the largest intact ecosystem in the lower 48 United States. Offering nearly 1.2 million acres of designated Wilderness, over 3,000 miles of road and trail and thousands of miles of unspoiled rivers and streams, the Bridger-Teton offers something for everyone. We encourage you to visit this beautiful landscape and experience this unique piece of American Heritage. http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf/