Day 5 – Idaho Off Pavement

Toboggan Ridge, Kelly Creek, Missoula Lake, St. Joe River, Wallace

Toboggan Ridge (FR 581) looks great on a map but in reality it is very overgrown with low visibility. There are some great viewpoints along the way though. I would not recommend taking any type of trailer or even a full width vehicle on this road. There are some stretches where it would have been extremely difficult to find room to pass by an on coming vehicle. Luckily I didn’t encounter anyone else while on this road. After passing the Cayuse airfoils the road opens up and drops down to Kelly Creek. There is some great camping here along FR 255 which I took North. That brought me to FR 250 and the North Fork of the Clearwater River. FR 250 is paved for stretches and heads into Montana where I turned back West on FR 320. This route took me past Missoula Lake and then down to the St. Joe Wild and Scenic River. This river is pretty spectacular. FR 218 and then highway 50 follow right along side it. There are a ton of good camping spots along the way, many which can handle a travel trailer. At the town of Avery I turned north on FR 456 towards Wallace. This was an interesting road due to the 4-5 tunnels along the way. These look to be old railway tunnels. They are not lit and are only wide enough for a single vehicle so you need to have your lights on and be cautious heading through them. I stopped for dinner in Wallace and then kept driving up FR 456 to FR 412 where I finally stopped to camp as it was getting dark. The Belin Flats National Forest Campground was close so it was tough to find a campsite along the road on a Friday night!

Toboggan Ridge Road overgrown
The overgrowth along Toboggan Ridge Road
Toboggan Ridge view to the South.
Toboggan Ridge view to the South.
St. Joe River along Forest Road 218.

After coming down to the Selway River I got to US Highway 12 and the Lochsa River. I took 12 East for about 60 miles to jump on to the Eastern end of the Lolo Motorway or FR 500. The Lolo Motorway follows the path of Lewis & Clark. It’s very interesting as there are signs posted along the way letting you know where the party camped and what occurred at specific spots. On this trip I did not remain on FR 500 long. I turned North on FR 581 at Cayuse Junction to head up Toboggan Ridge which would be tons of fun the next morning. I camped just North of the junction beside Cayuse Creek.

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tunnel FR 456
Tunnel on FR 456 heading to Wallace, ID
road sunset
Sunset on FR 208. Looking for a campsite.
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