Regulations and Information for Boating on the South Fork of the Snake River

Regulations | Overnight Camping Requirements | Waste | Firepan Requirements | Bald Eagle Habitat Area | Idaho Invasive Species Law | Guided Trips | Other Information

Regulations

Due to the pristine nature of the river cooridor, camping only allowed in designated camp areas identified by a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or U.S. Forest Service (USFS) map or sign. Sixteen designated camp areas between Conant Boat Ramp and Byington Boat Access, with most containing multiple designated camps sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Visitors must launch a boat in designated boat launches that are identified by a BLM/USFS sign or map and must comply with parking regulations at BLM/USFS designated recreation sites. The list of designated launches is available on the Access page.

Overnight Camping Requirements

A free self-issue overnight camping permit is required for all non-commercial overnight camping on the South Fork of the Snake River. This self-issue permit is available at boat ramps or can be downloaded here. One copy is placed in the self-registry box, and the other must be carried with the trip leader for the duration of the trip. If printing off ahead of time, please print two copies; one to bring with you, and the other to drop in the registry box.

All parties overnight camping on the South Fork must camp in a designated camp site that is identified on a BLM/USFS map and/or signed as a designated camp site. There are 16 camp areas between Conant Boat Access and Byington Boat Access, with most containing multiple designated camp sites available on a first-come first-served basis. See the following Designated Camping map for more information. All camping is subject to a 5-day limit.

Designated Camping map

Designated Camping Map - Black Canyon to Byington

Portable Human Waste Disposal Systems Requirements

All solid human waste must be carried out using an approved carry-out system. An approved portable toilet system must be reusable, washable, water tight, and SCAT machine® or RV-dump compatible. Portable toilets with snap-on lids (such as ammo cans or plastic buckets) are required to have a rubber gasket in the lid. Plastic bag liners are not acceptable with the exception of solid human waste pouches, such as WAG BAG® and RESTOP® bag systems, which are biodegradable and approved for landfill disposal. For more information click here or view our Respect Your River: Leave No Trace video on the South Fork.

Local Dump Stations for solid waste disposal:

  • Palisades Dam (located in campground)
  • Byington Boat Access
  • Beeches Corner (Junction of Highway 26 and Ammon Road)

Firepan Requirements

Visitors must use a fire pan and carry out all ash every time a fire is created. An approved fire pan is a durable, metal fire pan at least 12-inches long by 12-inches wide, with at least a  3-inch lip around its outer edge and sufficient to contain fire and remains. Visitors must elevate fire pans off the ground to prevent scorching. All ash must be removed and carried out of the river corridor. For more information, click here.

Bald Eagle Habitat Area

Camping and entering the river bank with 1/4 mile of Bald Eagle habitat is prohibited from February 1 through July 31. Signs and BLM maps show the locations of restricted wildlife habitat.

Idaho Invasive Species Law

Under this law, any motorized boat that is registered in another state, and any non-motorized vessel (canoe, kayak, raft, driftboat, etc.) is required to purchase and display Idaho Invasive Species Fund (IISF) stickers in order to legally launch and operate in Idaho. Inflatable, non-motorized vessels under 10 feet in length are exempted from this requirement. Motorized boats that are legally registered in Idaho pay the invasive species fee as part of their registration, so no separate sticker is required. For more information or to purchase a sticker, visit http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/.

Guided Trips

All outfitters and guides must be licensed by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board, and approved to operate on the South Fork. Here is a list of approved Outfitters:

  • World Cast Anglers
  • Natural Retreats: South Fork
  • Three Rivers Ranch
  • The Lodge at Palisades Creek
  • Teton Valley Lodge
  • Heise
  • Henry’s Fork Outfitters

If you see illegal outfitting activity, please call the local BLM office at (208) 524-7500.

Other Information

There is no cutting of trees allowed, including live or standing dead trees, for any reason along the river corridor.

State law requires one Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for each person on your boat.

The Dry Beds Canal Diversion, 1.5 miles downstream from Byington access is extremely hazardous. The head gate is located on the south bank and nearly half of the river is funneled into it. Carefully float the north bank to safely avoid the diversion. Several water diversion structures are located 1/2 mile above the Byington Boat Access to the confluence with the Henrys Fork. Do not attempt to boat near them. Diversions are shown on the maps. A boater’s guide is also available for purchase. Please call (208) 523-1012 for more information.

Swift water produces strong currents, standing waves, and frequent whirlpools that may overturn small boats and canoes. Boaters should avoid rocks, overhanging brush, fallen trees, log piles, bridge support piers, and irrigation canal diversions.

For more information on proper camping practices and safe boating practices, please visit the River Activities portion of this website, or visit www.lnt.org


More Information

Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center in Idaho Falls, (208) 523-1012 or toll-free, (800) 634-3246.

All boats and non-motorized vessels (canoe, kayak, raft, drift boat, etc.) are required to purchase and display Idaho Invasive Species Law and Boat Registration stickers in order to legally launch and operate in Idaho.