The drive from Weiser to Lewiston along Hwy 95 is one of our favorite drives. From New Meadows to Whitebird the highway parallels the Little Salmon River and provides great views and wonderful rest areas (pull-offs) which are plentiful and spacious. These are great for a lunch break, a rest, or some boondocking. Depending on the season there can be a few other boondockers there fishing the river. We love these spots.
Continuing north through Grangeville and on to Lewiston are the Camas Prairies which are full of meadows and fields. In the spring the fields are a brilliant yellow from all the canola fields. They are visually stunning.
In Lewiston, in central Idaho, along the shores of the Snake River lies the beautiful Hells Gate State Park. This park is home to the tourist jet boat tours that take you into the deepest gorge in North America, Hells Canyon. A must visit!
The state park sits directly across the river from Clarkston, Washington and is only about a 5 minute drive from either Lewiston or Clarkston yet feels like you are out in the wilderness. The park offers a Discovery Center, a Heritage Center, a day use area with a swim beach, and a marina for easy access to the tourist boat tours through Hells Canyon.
Campground: Hells Gate State Park
Location: Lewiston, Idaho along the banks of the Snake River
Site: Birch (B) Loop – 54 back-in
Services: E, W (50 AMP)
Comments: A beautiful state park with dry camping in loop C, and water and electric sites or full hookup sites in both loops A and B. All 3 loops are along the Snake River. Sites can be reserved on-line and they are difficult to come by in the summer months. We were there in May and there were lots of available sites mid-week.
Most of the sites were spacious but some of the pull-thrus might have been a bit narrow for big rigs. There are also cabins available to rent which looked quaint and charming and were river front.
We had read a few park reviews with people complaining about the sprinklers and how they were not allowed to check-in to their campsite while the sprinklers were running. It sounded a bit strange but after witnessing the sprinklers running for over an hour one day we wondered how they water when the park is full! Our site area, the riverfront section, was not watered while we were there.
There are a number of hiking trails which originate in the state park of varying difficult levels and are fun to explore.
Lewiston is only a few minutes away by car or a nice walk from the park. It is a cute little town which borders both the Snake River and the Clearwater River.
North of Lewiston, after crossing the Lewiston Hill Summit, is the eastern edge of the Paulouse region, known for rolling hills of patchwork fields.