Palouse River Road

Scout Route
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The Palouse River Road is an easy gravel road varying from one to two lanes wide and can be driven by any vehicle. Like many mountain roads, there are sections that are heavily wooded with restricted views and areas that are more open to the panoramic scenery. In the late spring and early summer some of the fields are tinted purple from the abundance of camas flowers! The biggest hazards along this road are blind curves, dust, and washboard. There is active logging in the area thus users should be prepared to encounter and avoid logging trucks. Along the drive, you will encounter long sections of road that wind along the Palouse River, providing a varying and exciting scenic nature for the drive. There are ample areas for dispersed camping, mainly along the river, and two campgrounds: Laird County Park on the west end and Emerald Creek Campground on the east end. Both of these campgrounds are developed campgrounds with tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Laird Park also has a day-use area and a swimming beach.

Parts of the Palouse River Road pass through land owned by the Potlatch forest products company. They have their own rules for camping (mostly, they lease campsites to individuals), so camping on Potlatch property should be avoided. Potlatch also has a “recreational fee” for exploring off of the main road on their land, and they often check users for permits. So, be aware of land ownership and enjoy the nice drive through Potlatch property.

There are numerous signs along the road describing where you can and can’t dig for garnets. The Garnet is the State Gem of Idaho and can be “mined” by individuals in the northern part of the state. The Palouse River Road goes right through the heart of garnet mining country, and opportunities are abundant for digging for the little black gems. More information for digging for garnets in Idaho can be found via a simple internet search.