Helende Campground is on flat land next to the North Fork of the Payette River. It is roomy and forested with lodgepole pines making a nice camp setting. The elevation is about 4100 feet so the summer days can be very warm. The nights will not cool down as the high alpine campgrounds do.
Campsites: There are 12 tent / RV camping sites. Each have a picnic table, barbecue grill and fire ring with grill. The road and driveways are paved.
Host on Site: There is no host on site.
Water: Potable water is available from a hand-pump equipped well. I did not taste it.
Garbage Services: Yes.
Restroom: There is a very clean well stocked vault style outhouse here.
Handicap Accessible: Yes, this is a handicap accessible campground.
Firewood: You will need to provide your own firewood.
Pets: Pet are allowed on a leash.
Picnic Area: Recreation.gov says there is a picnic area but we did not see one.
Recreation: Helende Campground is located next to the North Fork of the Payette River so one could fish, raft, or wade in the river. The mountains surrounding the campground offer many trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Of course, maybe you just want to get away and play games at camp if that is your idea of recreation.
Fishing: Fishing in the Payette River and other small streams in the area is primarily trout fishing. You may want to check out the "Family Fishing" at the Lowman Fishing Ponds. It is east on Hwy 21, just under 4 miles on the right. Check out our Lowman Fishing Ponds Day Use Area review.
Boating: There is rafting in the river.
Swimming: The Payette River is nearby, but swim at your own risk.
Wildlife: Deer would be the most common large wildlife. This is bear country so they will come into the campground if campers are not careful with their food and garbage. There are signs at the Lowman Fishing Ponds with info about wolves so they must be present.
Fee Schedule: The site fees are $12.00 per campsite and $5.00 day use.
Campground Reservations: 10 of the 12 sites are reservable through recreation.gov.
Phone service: There is no phone service at the campground, but Sourdough Lodge has a pay phone.
Nearby Services: I prefer Sourdough Lodge for those common supplies we tend to forget or run out of such as gas, propane, ice, pop, candy or even a burger. The lodge is only 2.2 miles east on Hwy 21.
RV Dumping Site: No nearby dumping stations.
Location/Driving instructions: From Boise, Idaho, take Hwy 55 north to Banks, Idaho. Just across the bridge at Banks, turn right onto the Banks Lowman Road. Follow it to Lowman, Idaho, where you will turn left onto Hwy 21. Helende Campground is 9.2 miles east and will be on your right side. This entire drive is 85.7 miles from Boise according to Google maps. If you are not afraid of a steep pitch you may like to take Hwy 21 through Idaho City to Lowman. This route is only slightly shorter, 83.1 miles.
Elevation: 4198 Feet
Reviewed: July 2010
This information is accurate as of the date of the review.
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