Camping for groups is a bit challenging and not the type of gathering embraced by everyone, but yurts offer a type of lodging that is somewhere between a cabin and tent. Usually round, approximately 20 feet in diameter, waterproof and semipermanent, a yurt typically features a wooden floor, skylight, hardwood walls and canvas for weather protection.
In Idaho, stay at the top of Idaho’s panhandle at Twin Rivers Canyon Resort or head down to Castle Rock State Park. Some of the most popular yurts are situated between Idaho City and Lowman. For yurts and group options in Winchester, Harriman, Lake Cascade and Castle Rock state parks, go to parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.
Here are some highlights for three of the six Idaho City backcountry yurts listed on the website.
Stargaze Backcountry Yurt: This is the newest yurt in the Idaho City system and boasts spectacular views of the Sawtooth Mountains and South Fork of the Payette River Canyon. Hike just a half-mile to Stargaze Point to have a 360-degree view of Boise National Forest.
Elkhorn Yurt: With a massive deck that provides the perfect setting for an outdoor picnic, Elkhorn Yurt is the most remote of the Idaho City system and offers views of the Trinity Mountains, Wolf Mountain, Jackson Peak, Steele Mountain, Pilot Peak and Sunset Peak, just to name a few.
Whispering Pines: Nestled beneath tall Ponderosa Pines, this skifriendly yurt provides access to an 8-mile groomed Nordic ski loop and has many backcountry trails that zigzag their way through the forest.