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Adventure Guide: Stanley, Idaho


If you’re looking for insane mountain views in a remote wilderness, Stanley, Idaho, should be on your list. This place looks like a postcard. Jagged peaks are the backdrop, with peaceful lakes, rivers, and streams everywhere you look. To experience this area to the fullest, come visit in your campervan! This region provides several places to camp, and outdoor attractions are found all over.

In this blog, you’ll learn more about Stanley, including why it’s considered a top outdoor destination. We’ll discuss the best activities and attractions in the area, including where you can park your campervan. Keep reading to learn more!

About Stanley, Idaho

Not many people know about Stanley, Idaho, and the locals want it to stay that way. Stanley is extremely remote. In fact, less than 100 people live in this quaint mountain town year-round. It’s more of a traveling destination for those living near Boise, but people flock here from all over the world. If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway where you won’t hear another soul, Stanley is the place for you.

Where to Stop Along the Way

Stanley is found in central Idaho, and not many cities or towns are close. That said, if you want a remote wilderness, you found it in Stanley. But no matter where you’re driving from, you’re sure to find some cool stops along the way.

Be sure to check out the following areas on the drive over:

Driving North

If you’re headed north into Stanley, stop by the Snake River. It’s a couple of hours away from town, and it’s a great spot for fishing, swimming, or soaking in the view. Further south in Utah, there’s tons of outdoor adventure. From epic skiing to white water rafting, outdoor activities are in abundance. If you’re in southern Utah, check out Zion or Bryce Canyon.


Heading West

If you’re coming from the east, Yellowstone tops the list of places to stop. You can spend several incredible days in this area, so try to plan accordingly. While you can’t beat seeing the geysers, there are also several amazing hiking trails to enjoy. Also, you can’t pass up Grand Teton National Park. The peaks in this region rival those of Stanley.

Driving South

Directly to the north of Stanley, you’ll find mountains, mountains, and more mountains. But eventually, you’ll get to Missoula, Montana, which is a cool place to check out. Also, Flathead Lake is just north, featuring beautiful beaches, clear water, and mountain views everywhere. However, in our opinion, the best place to see in Montana is Glacier National Park. With dramatic mountain views, waterfalls, and insane landscapes, it’s worth staying for a few days.

Heading East

If you’re driving east, make a stop in Portland, Oregon. They have many amazing food options, and several hiking trails are nearby. You can also see tons of different bridges, which are quite beautiful. Bend, Oregon, is another must-see destination. This place is an outdoor-lovers dream, so be sure to go hiking, float the river, or ride a bike.

Several Outdoor Activities in a Pristine Mountain Wilderness

Stanley is the perfect place to find some peace and quiet. Also, it’s an awesome destination for camping. With creeks, mountains, and lakes nearby, camping in the area puts you close to the action.

Here are the leading outdoor activities and attractions in the area:


Stanley is a hiker’s dream. With majestic mountains, challenging trails, and crystal-clear lakes, it doesn’t get much better. Also, Stanley offers hiking trails for all ability levels.

Here are some of our favorite hikes in the area:

  • Tin Cup Hiker
  • Bench Lakes Trail
  • Fishhook Creek Trail
  • Fourth of July Lake Trail
  • Lady Face falls
  • White Cloud Peaks Loop

No matter what hike you choose, you’re sure to find views that’ll blow you away! Keep in mind this area receives several feet of snow every year, so hiking is best from July through September.


Seeing the incredible sights is pretty easy in Stanley—all you have to do is look out the window. However, there are epic scenic drives and more fantastic sightseeing opportunities. Luckily, Stanley is located at the intersection of three Scenic Byways; Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, Salmon River Scenic Byway, and Sawtooth Scenic Byway. No matter which road you take, breathtaking views will accompany your ride.


Idaho has some of the best fishing around. With the Salmon River cutting through Stanley, it’s a top fly fishing destination. If you’re new to the area, we recommend hiring a fishing guide. Redfish Lake, which is just 10 minutes from town, is also a great fishing area. Trout and salmon are the most popular fish species in the region. This is the perfect opportunity to catch your dinner!


Stanley is also ideal for getting out the paddles. Stanley Lake and Redfish Lake are some top areas to set sail for a peaceful ride. As you’re floating your way across the water, the views don’t get much better. Also, these lakes are very close to the town of Stanley. If you’re planning on renting some kayaks, there are a few different providers in the area.

Skiing & Snowboarding

If you’re ready to get out the skis and shred down the hill, Stanley has some pretty amazing options. While the town itself doesn’t have a ski resort, several are close by. Sun Valley Resort may be the best option, featuring two mountains, a 3,400 ft vertical drop, and 2,400 acres of diverse terrain. This incredible skiing destination is only an hour from Stanley! In town, you can find endless backcountry trails.


Camping is one of the top reasons why people visit the area. Whether you have your campervan or a simple tent, there are several areas to set up shop. And best of all—they’re all in the heart of nature!

Check out some of the leading campgrounds in the area:

  • Chinook Bay Campground
  • Stanley Lake Campground
  • Sunny Gulch Campground
  • Glacier View Campground
  • Point Campground
  • Mountain View Campground

While some campgrounds in Stanley only allow tents, several others let you bring an RV or campervan. Whatever the case may be, this area provides some of the best camping in the nation!

Travel Tips

Looking to have the time of your life in Stanley, Idaho? If so, check out the following travel tips to make the most of your trip:

  • Pack warm clothes: Stanley gets downright chilly, so make sure to bring your layers.
  • Food is limited: There aren’t too many places in town to grab food, so plan accordingly.
  • Be cautious of wildlife: Be sure to respect wildlife and never approach wild animals.
  • Have the right vehicle: The area sees tons of snow, so make sure you have 4WD or AWD.
  • It’s very remote: Emergency services and grocery stores are several miles away, so keep that in mind.
  • Go stargazing: The stars are breathtaking out here!

Follow these tips to have a stress-free trip with no surprises!


Need some more information about the local attractions and activities? Check out these details below:

Hiking Trails
Kayaking Spots

Hidden Gems

Stanley is its own hidden gem, but the area also offers some off-the-beaten-path attractions, which include:

  • Hot springs at Mountain Village Resort
  • Stanley Historical Museum
  • Yankee Fork Dredge and Custer Ghost Town
  • Sawtooth Fish Hatchery
  • Dark Sky Reserve

These ideas are perfect for finding some peace and quiet in this relaxing town.

Rec Van is Here to Help!

If you’re thinking about taking a road trip to Stanley, Idaho, Rec Van is here to make this dream a reality! While we’re one of the leading adventure van providers in the country, we have several campervans to give you the trip of a lifetime! From simple vans to fully decked-out adventure mobiles, we can find you the perfect vehicle for any excursion. We even offer tons of 4WD models!

Feel free to browse through our available campervans today, and contact us with any questions!