Ever wanted to try camping, but didn't want to buy the gear for fear of wasting money on something you might not enjoy? Well worry no more, because the Idaho Parks and Recreation department will loan you free camping equipment that will let you check it out before you spend money loading up on camp gear. They'll even show you how to set up your gear and start a campfire.....


Idaho Parks and Recreation calls it the First Time Adventure program. It’s a program that lets first time campers and campers who may have been away for a while try it out to see if they enjoy it. A state park’s staff even will show you how to set up the gear and start a campfire.

The program is designed to bring families and the great outdoors together and has expanded to even include hiking, snowshoeing, fishing, paddle sports, outdoor cooking and

Eight state parks participate in at least one activity. Idaho State Park staff will provide you with gear, show you the ropes and make sure you have fun in the process.

Here are some of the activities available:

  • Camping fundamentals (what to bring, setting up a tent, cooking, safety tips, etc.)
  • Hiking
  • Snowshoeing
  • Interpretive programs - wildlife, history, culture
  • Fishing
  • Paddle sports (canoeing, kayaking)
  • Outdoor cooking instruction

And Great news, a there are a couple parks within driving distance to the Treasure Valley take part in the program.

Lucky Peak State Park offers programs for fishing, camping and Dutch-oven cooking. Lake Cascade State Park offers camping and paddling programs. The other parks that participate are located throughout Idaho and a little farther away, but still well worth the drive.

The only cost is for the campsite, reservation fee and park admission.

Here are the Participating Idaho State Parks

Castle Rocks State Park
Hells Gate State Park
Lake Cascade State Park
Lucky Peak State Park
Lake Walcott State Park
Massacre Rocks State Park
Priest Lake State Park
Winchester Lake State Park


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