Clearwater National Forest - Lewiston, ID - Idaho - Clearwater National Forest
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Clearwater National Forest
GPS Coordinates: Unknown
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Hiking is allowedRV campingTent campingFishingToiletsPets must be kept on leash
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The Clearwater National Forest is nestled on the west side of the Bitterroot Mountains in north central Idaho. The forest stretches from the high mountains in the east to the fertile Palouse prairie to the west. Elevations here range from 1,600 to almost 9,000 feet. Much of the landscape is deep-forested canyons interspersed with high rugged ridges.
Several major tributaries to the Columbia River flow through the forest including the North Fork of the Clearwater, the Lochsa, the Potlatch and the Palouse rivers. The Clearwater River runs through deep canyons, dramatic "slashes" cut through the mountain. The North Fork of the Clearwater and the Lochsa rivers provide miles of tumbling whitewater interspersed with quiet pools for migratory and resident fish.
The wildlife habitat of these mountains provides for large herds of elk, moose, and other big game. The ridges between the deep canyons have provided travel corridors across the mountains for centuries of mankind, including Nezperce Indians and in 1805-1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition. Today the main travel route is US Highway 12 following the dramatic canyon of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River and its tributary, the Lochsa River.
An extensive summer trail system crisscrosses the Clearwater National Forest. There are approximately 1,600 miles of maintained trails on the forest. All of the trails are open to hikers and horseback riders. Many are available for mountain bikes and motorcycles though only a few are wide enough to permit ATV travel.
The Clearwater National Forest also has several trails that have been designated as National Recreation Trails. These trails provide access to popular attractions, like Elk Creek Falls. There are also two National Historic Trails within the Clearwater National Forest: The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Nee Me Poo (Nezperce) National Historic Trail.
In the winter, some 340 miles of roads and trails are marked and groomed for snowmobiles. An additional 40 miles of snow trails are marked but not groomed. For cross-country skiers, there are 92 miles of marked ski trails, some of which are periodically groomed.

Facilities: Clearwater National Forest provides campgrounds ranging from primitive to developed. Some of the campgrounds have restrooms.

Best Time To Visit: Clearwater National Forest is open year-round. Distinct seasons come and go, and much of the forest is snowbound December through May. A pleasant summer season extends from June through September although higher elevations generally remain inaccessible until July.

Fees: Parking, camping, and/or entrance fees may be charged at some of the recreation sites within Clearwater National Forest.

Accessibility: Unknown

Rules: Check the local fishing, hunting, and fire regulations. Do not leave campfires unattended. Fireworks and explosives are prohibited in the forests. Pets must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites. Obey all traffic signs. State traffic laws apply to the Boise National Forest unless otherwise specified.

Directions: The Clearwater National Forest is nestled on the west side of the Bitterroot Mountains in north central Idaho. It can be accessed from Nezperce, Elk City, and Lewiston, Idaho.

Map: Click here for a map to Clearwater National Forest

Reservations: Reservations are not needed or accepted to visit Clearwater National Forest. Reservations may be accepted or required for campgrounds and other recreation sites within the forest.

North Fork Ranger Station-Clearwater National Forest
12730 B Highway 12
Orofino, Idaho 83544
General: (208) 476-4541
Fax: (208) 476-5441
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