Have you ever wondered where you can travel to in Central Idaho to setup ‘Vacation Central’, where the RV Park is friendly and welcomes big rig Motor homes, Fifth Wheel RVs, Toy Haulers, Vintage Campers, and even tent campers, plus where the location is on the mighty Salmon River, but is quiet & has all the amenities that adventurers could ever want?
I want to share this secret with you, because its absolutely one of the BEST SPOTS in Idaho! You can park and get your base camp setup, feel that your personal property is safe and secure, so that you can go out and explore and utilize a network of fabulous roads and trails that can keep you occupied with new destinations for weeks, if you can spare the time.
Swiftwater RV Park in White Bird Idaho sits right on the Salmon River with convenient access off of Hwy 95 by way of ‘Old 95’ (exit just south of the Main White Bird Exit and south of Hoots Cafe).
This wonderful oasis sits right at the junction of Silver Bridge that crosses the Salmon River and will offer multiple directions for your adventures on wheels! Not only is Swiftwater RV Park owned and operated by a very hospitable, friendly couple – Anna and Duane Ousley – they live on site and keep the grounds and amenities very clean, tidy and guest-friendly. Bring your rod and reel for fishing right near the park or cross the bridge to fish the other side where the swirling eddies are perfect.
Swiftwater RV Park is a really fantastic location for views of the river, and there is a nice shelter for BBQs and enjoying a little shade while relaxing with a cup of java in the mornings, lunchtime gatherings or kicking back with a nice cold beverage after a day of fun trail riding adventures. And that’s what I really want to share with you about Swiftwater RV Park.
If you’ve been on the hunt for Hells Canyon Area Campgrounds, Swiftwater RV Park is the cats meow.
First, make sure your motorized fun toy is street legal in Idaho. You’ll need to make sure you’ve covered the following items:
Refer to resources available for adhering to state and local regulations:
For safe operation on roads the following equipment is recommended.
- Brake light.
- Headlight and taillight after dark/poor visibility.
- Horn audible at 200 feet.
- Mirror showing roadway 200 feet behind the OHV.
You’ll also need to adhere to these requirements:
- Valid driver’s license (except under the age of 16 when supervised by a licensed adult operator). (IC49-301 or IC 49-302)
- Valid IDPR OHV registration sticker. (IC 67-7122)
- Liability insurance or alternative insurance. (IC 49-1223 or IC 49-1232)
- A helmet under age 18. (IC 49-666)
- County roads are appropriate. Never ride on a State Hwy or you could get a ticket or worse.
- Make sure you always take extra gas and plenty of water to avoid dehydration in the hot dry summer season.
- Your vehicle should also have a muffler.
It’s your responsibility to be street legal and follow the regulations outlined.
Got the above covered?
Now you’re ready for fun and exploration in the area of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, even right down to the Snake River!
Two different directions will usher you into a network of trails into public lands. We’re focusing this blog article on heading west across the bridge for access to Hells Canyon area trails, wildlife sitings and beautiful vistas as far as the eye can see. Today, we’re going to focus on the the opportunities to explore trails West of the Salmon River.
Explore Hells Canyon Area on the Snake River
If you’re set on checking out Hells Canyon, exit Swiftwater RV Park and take a left across Silver Bridge and then another left at Deer Creek Road. Map
Deer Creek Road is maintained by a county road crew and is generally maintained in good condition all the way to Pittsburgh Landing Marina. You’ll drive around 17 miles from the Swiftwater RV Park up over the ridge and then on a stretch of hairpin turns. The landscapes are beautiful and as you’re heading west off the ridge, you’ll see the Wallowa Mountains in the distance which are across the Snake River in Oregon.
Remember, vehicles, big rigs, trucks hauling boats and other motorized vehicles are coming and going on Deer Creek Road, just like you, so use common sense and responsible safe driving, especially on blind curves and the hairpin turns.
Once you get the lay of the land, you can reference your maps and signs to take other fun tours both on your motorized fun toys and on foot.
Hikers regularly walk along a trail that bears south and will take you straight into Kirkwood Historical Ranch. There is a museum and the house and offers a beautiful grassy oasis where hikers, rafters and jet boat tours stop for guests to stretch their legs, use the restroom facilities, and enjoy the history of this remote location in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
Len Jordan, who occupied the site with his family in the 1930’s, later became Governor of Idaho and a U.S. Senator. The family’s matriarch, Grace Jordan, wrote a book titled Home Below Hell’s Canyon where she shares her pioneer experience of raising a family beyond civilization during the Great Depression. Read here for more historical details of this fabulous spot off the beaten path.
The Forest Service appoints volunteers seasonally, a month at a time, to stay at Kirkwood Ranch for the purpose of answering questions, tallying the different type of visitors and generally sharing the history and stories about this legendary ranch on the Snake River. Some adventurers like to ATV into Kirkwood ranch, and that access requires hauling your OHV’s to the town of Lucile Idaho, crossing the bridge and heading up the ridge and back down again on the designated trail..
Locals like to take a side trip on Forest Service Road #1805 over to Big Canyon. That side trip is 11.3 miles one-way. The #1805 road is rougher than the road to Pittsburg. If you go over to Big Canyon, be sure to open and close the gates in that area. The Forest Service keeps a number of pack stock animals in there during the winter, and at times, recreationists have neglected to close gates, and the animals have gotten loose. Thanks! There’s an old cabin where a lot of adventurers stop to eat lunch or just stretch the legs. The Idaho Pathfinders ATV group regularly visits the Big Canyon trail to remove debris and generally maintain the trail so that everyone can use it without trees and big rocks blocking the trail. Check out this article about the IPA Club and why it makes sense to support their good work.
Map of the trail for Big Canyon
For access to a network of trails and roads from Hells Canyon area campgrounds and RV Park, choosing Swiftwater RV Park as your base camp will offer a fantastic centralized location for heading over to the little town of White Bird for lunch or dinner at Red’s Eatery, the Silver Dollar Bar and the future re-opening of Mac’s Supper Club (date unknown). Or you may choose to head north to Grangeville Idaho or south to Riggins Idaho for breakfast, lunch or dinner options.
For adventure and exploring Hells Canyon, Pittsburgh Landing, hiking into Kirkwood Ranch or exploring Big Canyon, access is convenient and easy to head out for the day.
Anna and Duane of Swiftwater RV Park look forward to your inquiries and advanced reservations and welcoming you to the area.
Thanks for reading my blog! – Mary