Some people might ask if you’re really camping when you’re sitting on a deck with a cool drink in your hand and staring at sparkling blue waters while a gentle breeze wafts across you on a long summer day.
Some might ask, but you probably won’t. You will be basking in the moment like a wet Labrador retriever under a shady tree on an August afternoon.
The point of camping is getting away from home and relaxing, and the hassles of packing, unloading, setting up and taking down can be a little taxing and stressful, so why not splurge on a little luxury while still enjoying Idaho’s great outdoors?
Idaho Parks and Recreation gives you that option with its yurts and cabins. They’re cozy, no-hassle ways to camp in comfort.
If you’re unfamiliar with yurts, they’re basically a big, round tent. You show up with your sleeping bags and food, maybe a cookstove depending on the yurt, and you’re ready to camp. Idaho Parks and Recreation offers two styles of yurts for camping: park yurts and backcountry yurts.
Park yurts are located within Idaho state parks, and each is about 20 feet in diameter with a plywood floor, canvas and hardwood sidewalls and a skylight. With lockable wood doors, windows with screens and storm flaps, the yurts are weatherproof, peaceful and secure. Prices start around $60 per night, not including reservation fees.
Because park yurts and cabins are in state parks, recreation options abound—whether hiking, biking, boating or a myriad of other activities, and they’re nestled in some of Idaho’s most iconic and scenic places.
Backcountry yurts are located in the Idaho City area on national forest land. They are secluded and more off the beaten path. These yurts are located to be base camps for backcountry snow sports, but they’re also good for summer camping. Some require you to hike a short way to get to them, which means you will be carrying your gear and food with you, but wheelbarrows are available at the yurts for convenience.
Twelve state parks offer cabins for rent ranging from simple to extravagant. Basic cabins are small, one-room structures with bunks, a small table and covered decks. They have power, heat and air conditioning, but no kitchens or bathrooms (they’re located nearby). They sleep up to five people, depending on the cabin. Prices start around $50 per night, not including reservation fees.
If you want to go full luxury, some offer cabins that are basically fully furnished vacation rentals. Whatever you choose, remember these are popular rentals, so you might have a hard time reserving one for a summer weekend, but you can probably find one midweek.
When selecting a yurt or cabin, spend some time on Idaho Parks and Recreation’s website at ParksAndRecreation.Idaho.gov to find out exact details of the yurts/cabins. Some parks allow pets in yurts, but check before you reserve.
Reservations for backcountry yurts can be made online or by calling 1.888.922.6743 up to nine months in advance of your stay and no later than 48 hours prior to your intended arrival. For reservations less than 48 hours prior to arrival, call 208.514.2418.
The demand tends to lighten up in September and even more in October, which is still a great month for camping. Don’t hesitate to go even further into fall, because the so-called offseason is still a nice time to visit cabins and yurts. You’re totally protected from the weather, so if a fall storm rolls through, go inside and curl up by the wood stove or heater with a good book and relax.
After all, you’re camping.