Meadow Lake Campground

Are you ready to take off for the weekend to enjoy a camping trip, explore the mountains of central Idaho or simply get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living? Meadow Lake Campground is definitely the place to be if getting away is the goal. Located well off the beaten path between the community of Salmon and the city of Island Park, Idaho sits a remarkable treasure waiting to amaze. Awe-inspiring at every angle this destination is sure to delight! Meadow Land Campground is located within the heart of all things Challis National Forest.

Venture up the steep and narrow climb of Forest Road 002 alongside Meadow Lake Creek ascending up the mountain and into camp, travelers will likely want to tour the area before settling in. Find camp and get settled in before heading towards the end of the campground towards the horseshoe parking area, as  spectacular views of the mountain peak come alive.

The elegant grandeur of Gilmore peak is ideally positioned alongside the pristine waters of the alpine meadow lake creating landscape views across a canvas only the most creative of artists might envision. There are plenty of awe-inspiring peaks within Idaho’s vast borders, Gilmore Peak rates highly on the list along with Caleb Peak and Borah Peak.

Locating a campsite just right, firing up a cozy campfire, and getting situated ready to experience this area to its fullest makes for a great start. Each of the campsites within the Meadow Lake Campground comes with a fire ring, picnic table, and tent pad. Most campsites boast views of the lake waters though not all campsites are positioned with views of gilmore peak. The campsites at the far end portion of the horseshoe inlet are going to provide better vantage points to check out the peak.

Winds have been known to pick up a bit at this location due to the altitude, though that doesn’t always mean it has to be unpleasant, it can be quite refreshing even when a little crisp. Now on the slightly rare occasion that there are aggressive wind gusts please keep in mind that the wind has the potential to become quite demanding on tents, tent covers, and of course don’t forget the stakes. When the wind gusts do pick up at this location the winds are strong enough to fold tents inward, a startling event to say the least and an experience for those who are not used to this occurrence or new to tent camping at higher altitudes. Having a backup plan if possible could come into handy if the right gear isn’t packed or get’s forgotten at home. Keep in mind that when the day comes to a close the gusts bring about a chill factor that could easily become an issue, most especially if the day was spent in the waters. Thoroughly drying off well before the sun sets could help keep everyone a bit more comfortable when temperatures drop quickly as evening arrives.

Camping at this location in the middle of the hottest months may be helpful in avoiding uncomfortable scenarios of colder weather while possibly fending off some of the heat experienced elsewhere. The warmer temperatures mixed with waterside enjoyment nearly always have the tendency to bring about little critters. Bringing a mosquito net or other deterrent might be a consideration if camping during the summer months. Due to the higher elevation, the lower temperatures are likely welcomed during the summer months. Bringing along multiple sources of lighting can help make for a more comfortable experience as natural lighting is the only source of lighting at the campground.

Settling into camp, organizing and preparing a meal, pulling out the water toys, or getting out the camping chairs in order to get comfortable is an excellent way to get started enjoying this delightful destination. The campground boasts a clean appearance as the open spaces lack ground cover and shrubs. The mature tree life is abundant and provides an excellent source of shade on a sunny day.

Considering what to bring? There’s always the chance of needing extra water and bringing along an umbrella could never hurt in the off chance it rains or the midday sun gets to be too much. The campsites offer grills and firepits if deciding to stick around and rent a campsite; these might add some additional items to the list of things to bring. Firewood, matches, marshmallows, chocolates, and graham crackers seem to be a favorite for many. The grill may need to be cleaned when you arrive. Bringing along some paper towels, soap and water might come in handy.

You’ve enjoyed a full day of activities and roasted up dinner. The Meadow Lake Campground provides idyllic scenery ideal for maximum relaxation come dusk. The moon dances atop the shapely silhouette of the mountain peak as the starry-filled night welcomes a restful night's sleep. The cool night breeze makes its way through camp and the night sings a song of wind fanning across the top of the lake water, then rustling through the trees, as it rushes up the mountainside as if late for its next destination. That’s no joke, the wind tends to hype into overdrive at this location so be sure to pack up before heading in for the evening or you’ll likely wake to scattered belongings.

There are no nearby services, come fully prepared. Due to the elevation, an unexpected or very random snowstorm may pass through sifting the area with a clean sprinkling of fresh white snow. Bringing all-season clothing and preparing for colder than expected weather would make for a great advisory. Check the temperature rating on sleeping bags especially if traveling or camping near the end of the season might also come in handy. Hats, gloves, and warm socks are a great place to start. From there a multi-layed coat/jacket may come into play especially early morning when the temperatures drop.

Bring the kayaks, canoe, or raft for a pleasant morning row across the lake as the steam slowly billows from the tops of the water into the clouds or pack up the mountain bikes for a short stroll. There is a trailhead accessible from the campground, though be advised it does post signage stating non-motorized traffic only.

The Meadow Lake Campground is an ideal location for photography, reading or listening to your favorite book, possibly completing weekly assignments that require focus with disruption, taking a much-needed nap, refocusing on what matters the most in life or perhaps disconnecting from a hectic schedule. The atmosphere is quite relaxing with a handful of generously sized campsites lining the lakeside which ultimately limits overcrowding. Visitors may park in the visitor's parking lot located at the entry to the campsite, as space is limited to designated campsites just past the entry to the horseshoe-shaped plateau.

Craggy rocky mountainsides create an open horseshoe-shaped fortress around the campgrounds, opening to the west, and shading the morning sun to the east with the soaring mountain peak. With the morning sun shaded sleeping in is made easy though brings about an unforgettable morning chill if not properly prepared. The morning shadows accent the soaring peak and transition beautifully into an array of accented colors as the sun makes its way over the crest of the mountainside. It takes a few hours of patiently waiting in admiration, though makes for quite the spectacular presentation if there’s extra time to enjoy mother nature.

The meadow campground area boasts at least four varying pine tree species including lodgepole pine. There are a few aspen groves nestled amid the sea of trees which add beautifully to the delightful array of colors. There isn’t much shrub life within the campground itself and the area boasts a generous amount of rocky terrain.

Allocating an extra few minutes to stop by and check out the old mining community of Gilmore makes for a great stopping point before heading up the mountain. Situated at the base of the mountain the ghost town is now spotted with rv's as well as homesteads waiting to be restored. The intriguing history of the town is quite interesting and tells the stories of a few folks who once lived here with the focus being the search for silver.

The community of Gilmore boasts quite a few original structures and welcomes visitors with a wealth of area information with various interpretive signs, the opportunity to check out historic structures by means of a self-guided tour, as well as hanging out in the mountains as well as nearby camping opportunities. Most of the structures remain standing and are privately owned. Area signage requests that visitors stay on designated pathways only, likely to maintain and retain the uniqueness of this fascinating destination.

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