Discover the Hidden Gem: Upper Priest Lake Camping Guide

Nesting in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, Upper Priest Lake Camping is a hidden gem waiting for adventurous campers like us to uncover its peaceful beauty. Secluded from the more frequented, adjacent Priest Lake by a narrow thoroughfare, the lake offers a sense of serenity and wilderness that’s rare to find. As we set out to camp in this untouched paradise, we’re greeted by a backdrop of forested hills and the gentle lapping of pristine waters against the shoreline—a perfect symphony of nature’s tranquility.

Sunset over Upper Priest Lake, with a campfire surrounded by towering pine trees and a serene, glassy lake reflecting the colorful sky

The journey to Upper Priest Lake is as much a part of the experience as the destination itself. With access limited to watercraft or trails, our preparation for this remote camping excursion involves packing supplies efficiently and planning for a truly rustic adventure. Upon arrival, the reward is immediate: campsites scattered along the shoreline, each offering a private oasis where we can connect with nature. The majestic views accompanied by the scent of cedar and pine remind us why we embrace the call of the wild.

At Upper Priest Lake, our days are spent basking in the sun-soaked scenery, embarking on hikes that promise stunning vistas of the Selkirk Crest, and enjoying watersport activities on the placid surface of the lake. As night falls and the stars begin to twinkle above, we gather around the crackling campfire, relishing the simple joy of storytelling and s’mores. This is camping in one of Idaho’s most idyllic settings, where every moment feels like our own slice of outdoor heaven.

Planning Your Adventure

As we gear up for an unforgettable trip to Upper Priest Lake, it’s essential to consider the best times for a visit, understand how to get there, and know precisely what to pack. Our adventure hinges on smart preparation, so let’s dive into the details and set ourselves up for a spectacular time in the wilderness.

Best Times to Visit

Upper Priest Lake blossoms with beauty throughout the year, but summer months are truly prime time for camping due to the warm weather and accessible trails. Before mid-June may require a check-in with the Priest Lake ranger district due to variable seasonal conditions.

Getting to Upper Priest Lake Camping

Heading there is quite straightforward. From Priest River, drive north on Highway 57, turning right onto Reeder Bay Road, which becomes Forest Road 2512, leading us straight to Beaver Creek Campground. This is our gateway to the lake, with trails beckoning from the parking area.

What to Bring

Preparing our gear is crucial for an optimal experience. Remember the Pack It In, Pack It Out policy to leave no trace, as highlighted by Idaho Panhandle National Forests. Essential items to bring include:

  • Navigation tools (map, compass)
  • Bear-proof storage for our safety and wildlife protection
  • Standard camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, stove)
  • Water filtration system

If we don’t own all the gear, local options for gear rental can equip us for our journey. We’re in for an enchanting escape to nature’s lap at Upper Priest Lake Camping, so let’s pack thoughtfully!

Remembering these specifics will ensure every step of our journey is well planned and that we’re ready to soak in the serene wilderness that awaits us at Upper Priest Lake.

Upper Priest Lake Camping: Campsites and Accommodations

The campsite is nestled among tall pine trees, with cozy cabins and tents scattered around a crackling campfire. The calm waters of Upper Priest Lake glisten in the background

Nestled in the embrace of Northern Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains, Upper Priest Lake invites us to explore its exceptional camping experience. Let’s find our perfect spot under the stars!

Choosing Your Campsite

When we’re planning our trip to Upper Priest Lake Camping, it’s essential that we select a campsite that meets our expectations for both adventure and tranquility. The area offers a variety of available campsites along the northwest shores. Whether it’s the proximity to the water or the desire for a secluded woodland retreat, there’s a spot just for us.

Amenities and Facilities

Each campsite typically provides us with the essentials:

  • Toilets: For convenience, restrooms are within a short walk from most campsite areas.
  • Picnic Tables: An opportunity for us to gather and enjoy meals amidst nature.
  • Fire Rings: Necessary for our evening campfire stories and essential s’mores making.
  • Bear-Proof Storage Boxes: These ensure our food and supplies are secure from curious wildlife.

It’s our responsibility to follow a “Pack It In, Pack It Out” policy, keeping the lake pristine.

Group and Family Options

Upper Priest Lake is an idyllic destination for group outings and family adventures. Many campsites cater to larger parties, ensuring there’s ample space for everyone. These areas are designed for us to share and create lasting memories. We’ll find the perfect meeting place for our whole gang, surrounded by the natural beauty of Idaho.

Lake Activities and Recreation

Upper Priest Lake opens up a pristine playground for us to enjoy a variety of water-based activities and outdoor adventures set against the backdrop of the Selkirk Mountains.

Water Sports

Boating and kayaking are favorite pastimes on Upper Priest Lake. The calm and clear waters make it perfect for a leisurely day out on a boat or a more adventurous kayak trip. With multiple campgrounds along the lake’s shore, accessing the water is convenient, offering us majestic views and the chance to explore secluded bays.

Fishing Opportunities

Anglers will find Upper Priest Lake to be a prime spot for fishing. Whether you’re casting from the shore or out on a boat, you’re likely to encounter a variety of fish. The lake is known for its Mackinaw trout, and with the right technique, you might reel in a memorable catch.

Trails and Hiking

Beyond the water’s edge, trails beckon hikers of all levels to explore. You can embark on a journey through lush forests and witness wildlife in its natural habitat. Hiking in the area provides us not only with bountiful opportunities for wildlife viewing but also allows us to navigate through some of Idaho’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Nature and Wildlife

Tall pine trees surround a tranquil lake, with a family of deer grazing on the grassy shore. A bald eagle soars overhead, while a beaver swims near its lodge

Upper Priest Lake is an untamed sanctuary where we’re greeted by the splendor of the Selkirk Mountains and a vibrant ecosystem teeming with life. It’s where we connect with nature and watch wildlife thriving in their native habitat.

Flora and Fauna Highlights

Selkirk Mountains: These mountains provide a lush backdrop with an array of coniferous trees, including cedars, firs, and hemlocks, offering shade and sanctuary to the area’s wildlife.

  • Beaver Creek Campground Flora: Here, you’ll find dense forestation that is ideal for hikes and encountering the surrounding flora.
  • Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for diverse fauna. From majestic moose wandering through the forest to the busy beavers in the creeks.
  • Tree-Killing Pests: We must stay vigilant against pests that threaten our forests, as they impact the delicate balance of this ecosystem.

Quick Facts:

  • The Selkirk Mountains are ancient and home to old-growth forests.
  • Beavers are often spotted by Beaver Creek, shaping the local environment.
  • Moose are among the larger mammals that call these woods home.

Respecting Wildlife

We share our camping experience with many wild animals, and it’s critical to respect their space and minimize our impact.

  • Observe from a Distance: Always keep a safe and respectful distance from wild animals to avoid disturbing their natural behaviors.
  • Minimize Impact: Use established trails and campgrounds like Beaver Creek Campground to lessen our footprint in their home.

By staying mindful of our surroundings and the wildlife sharing the space with us, we ensure that Upper Priest Lake Camping remains a pristine getaway for generations to come.

Rules and Safety

Campers follow posted rules at Upper Priest Lake. Safety signs warn of wildlife and fire hazards

We’re excited to share essential rules and safety measures for an incredible camping experience at Upper Priest Lake! Here’s what we all need to keep in mind to ensure our adventure is as carefree and enjoyable as possible.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

This pristine natural spot operates on a strict Pack It In, Pack It Out policy. Remember, any garbage you bring in, you must also take out. Not only does this keep the area clean for other visitors, but it also preserves the habitat for local wildlife.

Fire Safety

  • Be cautious with open flames – always use the provided fire rings.
  • Never leave fires unattended.
  • Fully extinguish campfires before leaving or going to sleep.

Stay Limit

  • Each campsite has a 14-day stay limit to allow everyone a chance to experience this destination.

Bear Awareness

Bears are locals here, so store food and scented items in bear-proof storage boxes to avoid unwelcome encounters.

Booking a Site

Interested in securing your spot? Head to to review their policies on campsite reservations.

By following these rules, we contribute to a safe and sustainable culture at Upper Priest Lake Camping. Let’s keep it wild and wonderful for all of us!

Frequently Asked Questions

A serene lakeside campground with towering trees, a crackling campfire, and a sign featuring "Frequently Asked Questions" about the area

If you’re planning for an adventure in the great outdoors, we’ve got you covered with the most crucial info for camping at Upper Priest Lake. Let’s dive into those questions that campers like us are buzzing about!

What are the top recommended campgrounds around Upper Priest Lake?

The area boasts several scenic campgrounds, but Navigation Campground is particularly noteworthy with its incredible views and pristine environment. It’s equipped with essential amenities like fire rings, picnic tables, and bear-proof storage boxes.

Where can I find a map of the campsites at Upper Priest Lake?

To set up your perfect campsite away from it all, a map is essential. You can locate detailed maps of the campsites through the U.S. Forest Service website or visit local ranger stations for printed versions.

How can I make a reservation for camping at Upper Priest Lake?

For an unforgettable nature experience, it’s best to book in advance. While some sites operate on a first-come, first-served basis, you can secure your spot at certain campgrounds by calling Idaho State Parks & Recreation at (208) 443-2200 or checking their official website.

Are there any designated swimming areas at Upper Priest Lake?

Yes, Upper Priest Lake offers designated swimming areas where you can enjoy the refreshing waters amidst stunning scenery. Find out the best spots on the Visit Idaho website for a relaxing dip or a fun-filled aquatic day with the family.

What activities are available for campers in the Upper Priest Lake area?

Campers at Upper Priest Lake have a range of activities to choose from, such as hiking, mountain biking, and boating. The Geisinger Campground, is one starting point for hiking trails that offer captivating views and the chance to explore local wildlife and nature’s tranquility.

If you liked this blog post about Upper Priest Lake Camping, don’t forget to leave us a comment down below to tell us about your experience with it.

Feel free to check out the rest of our blog as well if you are looking for more Camping and hiking spots or inspiration!

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