National Forest Foundation

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Nez Perce National Forest

From the dry, rugged canyons of the Salmon River to the moist cedar forests of the Selway drainage, the Nez Perce National Forest offers something for everyone.

This vast, diverse area is managed to provide a variety of goods and services including breathtaking scenery, wilderness, wildlife, fisheries, timber harvest, livestock grazing, mining, pristine water quality and a wide array of recreation opportunities.

The Forest is best known for its wild character. Nearly half of the Forest is designated wilderness and is part of the Gospel Hump and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Areas.. It also sports two rivers popular with thrill-seeking floaters—the Selway and the Salmon.

The Nez Perce National Forest (NPNF) was created by Executive Order No. 854 signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. That Order, which became effective July 1, 1908, established the Forest from lands given up by the Bitter Root and Weiser National Forests.

The Forest was the traditional home of the Ni Mii Pu (The People). The Ni Mii Pu were later named the Nez Perce Indians by the Lewis and Clark expeditions.

To learn more about recreational opportunities, take a look at the "Clearwater and Nez Perce Country Travel Planner," which is a guide to recreational opportunities on public lands in the north central Idaho area.

You can view/download the planner in sections or in its entirety.

First-timer’s Adventure

See history from your car.

If you have some time to spare, you can view traces of the region's colorful history and visit the Elk City Wagon Road. This follows the narrow, unpaved road that lead miners and freighters 53 miles from Harpster to the gold fields of Elk City.

Another auto tour runs along the Gold Rush loop, which begins at the junction of highway 14 and Country Road 233 to Orogrande. This 62-mile route is mostly gravel road.

Both trips take about 4 hours and are not recommended for RVs.




Nearest Large Urban Area:

Coeur d'Alene

Notes & Conditions:

Be sure to check forest conditions before heading out.

If you're an off-highway vehicle rider, please read this information page.

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.


Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.

The Visit Idaho Playgrounds (VIP) Pass is valid at more than 100 sites throughout Idaho that currently charge day-use or entry fees. These include sites managed by state and federal agencies. Passes currently may be purchased via the web at or by phone at 1-800-VISIT-ID