Camping at Camas Lake

A Photo Journal

Tuesday, we backpacked back up to Camas Lake for an overnight camping trip. Since we already told you aaaaallll about Camas Lake in this post, I thought maybe it would be overkill to add another post about it, but we had so many beautiful pictures! So instead of me rambling on and on about things we’ve already told you, this will be more of an “Our Trip in Pictures” kind of post. Look for a new post all about our camping/backpacking gear later this week.

a map of the hike up camas lake trail


Backpacking In & Setting Up Camp


Meal Times


Day 1

There is one new thing about the trail I feel might be helpful to point out. A notable guide book to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness informed us that there was a spur trail up to the hidden Kidney Lake, and noted that it was well worth the 500 foot climb to see it. One of our goals when we backpacked up here was to hike up and check it out after we’d had time to rest. We were not able to locate this trail ANYWHERE. We combed the last quarter mile of the trail looking for this little offshoot to Spur Lake, but to no avail. Maybe others have been luckier than we were, but we spoke to another pair of hikers early the next day who had also been unable to locate it. Methinks the book might be a little out of date.

Additionally, the tome mentions that there are several lakes with campgrounds above Camas. It does mention that these are difficult to reach. Frankly, I think they would be near impossible to reach. There was so much deadfall that the path we had been following basically blinked out of existence less than a quarter of the way around the lake. Maybe more experienced mountain persons than we (who aren’t hiking with a medium/large size dog) would have less trouble, but we found the terrain to be nearly impassable, and gave up once it became clear that there was no way Diesel would be able to make the scramble.


The sun setting over the waters of camas lake bitterroot national forest


campfire credit to my husband, lyric credit to eisley


Day 2


Altogether, this was a peaceful and beautiful trip. The basin is absolutely lovely, and we didn’t have any issues with the local wildlife. In fact, the only wildlife we actually encountered were squirrels, mice, and chipmunks, plus the odd bird here and there. I’ve seen pictures of moose and elk up there as well, but to our dismay, we didn’t observe any ourselves.

The climb is a little rough, and requires far more effort and frequent breaks when hauling 30-40 pounds of gear on your back. If your pooch carries a pack, be sure to bear them in mind as well, and water them frequently at stops. And for the love of God, please watch your footing on the way down. Your balance is completely different with a fully loaded pack. Never take for granted that your footing is stable. Just ask the nasty scrape down the side of my ankle.  😉

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