ISLAND PARK (Idaho Statesman) — An Idaho campsite is among the most difficult sites to reserve in the nation, according to a data analysis from The Dyrt, a website that helps people find and book camping spots.
The Dyrt CEO Kevin Long said the company analyzed “federal and state agency data, as well as The Dyrt’s extensive campground information” to compile a list of the top 10 hardest-to-book campgrounds in the U.S. Upper Coffee Pot, a campsite in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest near Island Park, was the sole Idaho campground to make the list at No. 7.
Two nearby campsites — Slough Creek and Mammoth — in Yellowstone National Park topped the list.
Sites at Seven Points Campground in Tennessee; Fruita Campground in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park; South Campground at Utah’s Zion National Park; Piñon Flats Campground at Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park; Cages Bend Campground in Tennessee; and Twin Lakes Campground at California’s Inyo National Forest rounded out the list.
The Dyrt said Upper Coffee Pot’s 14 campsites were fully booked 97.6% of the season, which typically runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In contrast, the Yellowstone campgrounds were fully booked 100% of the season.
Idahoans in recent years have lamented how difficult it is to snag a spot at some popular campgrounds, many of them in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area near Redfish Lake.
Upper Coffee Pot has ample attractions. It sits along the Henrys Fork, a Snake River tributary known for its fly fishing opportunities and trophy trout. The stretch of river by the campground is calm enough to float, and campers can enjoy nearby attractions like Mesa Falls, Yellowstone and Harriman and Henrys Lake state parks.
Reviewers say the birdwatching at the campground is excellent, and it’s a short hike to Coffee Pot Rapids.
The Dyrt recently launched an alert function to let users know when space opens up at a booked campground, but that may no longer be useful at Upper Coffee Pot. According to Recreation.gov, the Forest Service’s online reservation site, Upper Coffee Pot will be first-come first-served from now on. The Caribou-Targhee National Forest’s website confirms that reservations are no longer accepted at the site.
Internet archives show the campground operating under reservations as recently as August.
IDAHO’S HARDEST-TO-BOOK CAMPGROUNDS
Upper Coffee Pot is, of course, the most difficult campground to book in Idaho based on The Dyrt’s measure. That may be in part because, with just 14 campsites, it’s quite small.
In contrast, Glacier View Campground — one of the coveted sites at Redfish Lake — has 64 sites. According to The Dyrt, Glacier View is fully booked 85.7% of the season, making it Idaho’s second-hardest campground to book.
- No. 3, Buffalo Campground near Island Park, is booked 84.3% of the season. It has 122 sites.
- The 67 campsites at Riley Creek Campground at Lake Pend Oreille are also booked 84.3% of the season.
- Point Campground, another Redfish spot with just 17 sites, is booked 84.1% of the season.
- Macks Creek Park is next on the list and the campground closest to Boise at Lucky Peak. It’s booked 79.9% of the season.
- Huckleberry Campground near Coeur d’Alene has 33 campsites that are booked 77.9% of the season.
- Another Island Park site, McCrea Bridge Campground, is booked 71.7% of the year. It has 23 campsites.
- Beaver Creek Campground in the Panhandle National Forest has 42 sites and is booked 63.9% of the year.
- Sage Hen Creek has just nine campsites. The campground, which is part of the Boise National Forest, is booked 60.3% of the year.
In December, officials with Idaho State Parks and Recreation and Recreation.gov encouraged booking campsites early. They also urged Idaho residents to try new campgrounds and be open to weekday trips when sites are less likely to be booked.