Our drive today took us from Stanley, Idaho north along Highway75 to just south of Salmon, Idaho. The highway follows the Salmon River through the Sawtooth Wilderness Area and the Salmon-Challis National Forest and is an absolutely beautiful drive. The landscape continues to change along the way and soon we were upon Sunbeam Hot Springs which is a pool of hot springs which cascade from the hills down to the Salmon River. Many people enjoy lounging in the river and enjoying the warmth of the the hot springs.
Indian Riffles Overlook
Indian Riffles is a rapid on the Salmon River located about 42 miles from Sun Valley. There is a nice turn off from Hwy 75 with plenty of parking for big rigs and a nice overlook, picnic tables, and viewing areas. It is a great place to watch fishermen, rafters, and kayakers.
We continued on for another 20 miles or so until we found a nice parking area along the river to have lunch. Again, another great spot for watching the fishermen go by. We even watched a guy catching a fish right in front of us. We sure know how to waste a day!!
After driving a bit longer we enter the small town of Elk Bend and before long we arrived at Elk Bend RV Park. It is a lovely, small RV park near the highway with large pull thru sites for big rigs and some nice grass sites for tenters. It also has a terrific, clean laundry room.
The sad part was that we arrived just after the Moose Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest had started. It was northwest of Salmon and 0% contained. It was spreading about 4,000 to 5,000 acres every day. We were getting wildfire smoke on and off just depending on how the wind blew. This meant we spent our time indoors most of the time trying to avoid the unhealthy air.
RV Park: Elk Bend RV Park
Location: Salmon, Idaho
Site: 28 (pull thru)
Services: FHU (50 AMP)
Comments: A lovely RV Park with nice views, great customer service, and a very peaceful, laid back atmosphere. Highway 75 doesn’t have much, if any, traffic at night. Our site was quite narrow which meant we didn’t have much of a picnic area which was OK since we were indoors most of the time due to the wildfire.
It wasn’t long after we arrived before some towns north of Salmon were evacuated. This included people living there and also anyone in the campgrounds and/or lodges. This means the RV park we were in soon became full due to evacuees needing a place to stay. Most came for one night and continued on driving south the next day to get away from the wildfire. Not us, we needed to head north, but when?
Below are a few pictures of around the RV park showing both RV sites and tent sites.
Elk Bend sits about 20 miles south of Salmon, Idaho along the Salmon River. The river is across the street from the RV Park and has boating access.
The Dusty Mule Bar & Grille is also across the street from the RV Park and next to the boating access area and serves local beef. We had dinner there one night as it is within walking distance and it was absolutely terrific!!
Hermits Rest, a pull off area off Highway 75, is about one mile north of the RV Park. There is a sign detailing the Idaho Hermits, specifically Dugout Dick (1916-2010), who lived in the area and built a cave and a cabin and soon became a local landmark with people traveling from all around to visit Dugout Dick and his caves.
So off we went to Dugout Dicks a bit further north. The smoke was getting thicker and the air was not feeling very healthy and the headaches were starting!
Waddington Creek is along the way to Dugout Dicks so we stopped quickly to check it out. There were a few tenters down by the river and we could see Dugout Dicks across the river.
We continued on to Dugout Dicks by crossing a bridge over the Salmon River and soon we were at his cabin. There are a few interpretive signs and you can walk up to the cabin but can’t go in. You cannot visit the caves anymore. There were some firemen camped there and there dog greeted us, an absolute sweetheart.
While there we saw a group of Bighorn Sheep and some Osprey.
Some locals near our RV Park had some turkeys and chickens in their yard and sunset brought about some hazy skies.
We stayed in Elk Bend for a few more days hoping the wildfire would get better but it was only getting worse with forecasts of the fire potentially jumping the Salmon River and Highway 75 which might put a crinkle in our plans of venturing further north!! What to do??? I hate wildfires for so many reasons!!