Remote is clearly a KEY descriptor of this amazing region! From the moment I left Soda Springs, Idaho, a community of about 3000 souls, I headed north and east towards the Wyoming border. My 60 mile (or so) journey took me over the Webster Range, which barely rises above the landscape to 7000 ft. The valley itself where Soda Springs and a few other smaller towns sit is about 6000 ft. As a result, climbs and descents through this remote region were relatively gentle.
Traveling from Soda Springs to the Star Valley…
As soon as I left “Soda” (known for a center of town geyser, I was effectively in wilderness and remained so until I crossed into Wyoming near the town of Etna (population under 200.)
My route from Soda Springs took me primarily along Idaho state route 34, a two lane road during which much of the time, I was the only traveler. As I’m always on the “lookout” for good camping sites, I did see a few, especially as I crossed through the “mountains” on my way to the “Star Valley” (note on the above map, the green circles represent NFS (national forest service) campgrounds.) I used Allstays to locate these campgrounds and within Allstays, you can get much more info. Allstays is not a free service, BUT, its one of my main tools for searching for campgrounds and campground info.
As I traveled this region, I also noted a complete lack of cell service for much of the drive – with service returning only shortly (about 3 miles) before entering Wyoming. Be aware that these NFS campgrounds are likely to have no phone service.
My short term destination – for 3 nights – was the Star Valley RV Resort – about 3 miles south of Etna. Star Valley RV Resort is an RV community with about 1000 sites (yep, 1000 sites!) Most were “abandoned” for the winter. I was one of just a handful of folks there from Oct 20 – 22. During the summer, I’m sure this is a vibrant community with a golf course, pool and several eateries. Most of the residents are seasonal.
Star Valley Wyoming
The Star Valley is sandwiched between the Webster Range in eastern Idaho and the Salt River mountains (which rise to 10,800 ft. or so) to the east. It is the next valley over, the New Fork River Valley, in which Pinedale is situated. This is where I’m spending the winter (and possibly longer.) “Prominent” towns in the Star Valley include Alpine, Thayne, and Afton (all in Wyoming.) I will have much more to say about the region I’m wintering in.
Interestingly, if you head north to Alpine, you reach a junction where you’ll choose between the Snake River Valley (see above map), which allows you to head towards Jackson and Yellowstone, and the Palisade Reservoir to the west which is the gateway to Idaho’s Swan Valley.
I can state at this point, I have traveled in this region extensively and really like this part of our amazing nation. And… coming from New Jersey, I suspect that says something as there’s a lot more open land here than anywhere in Jersey! (Though the NJ Pine Barrens and Sussex/Warren/Hunterdon Counties – at least used to be – quite sparsely populated!)
If you visit Alpine, be sure to hit the Yankee Doodle Cafe (comfort food) and beware of ALL the private rv parks due to rate gouging. There is a NFS campground called “Blowout Campground” just a few miles west along the Palisade Reservoir. My only admonition is if you’re in a 40ft+ behemoth camper, you’ll likely NOT fit in there!
About Pinedale in the winter – coming soon…
As I write this, I’m settling into Pinedale for the winter (at least) and as its getting colder here, I’m VERY glad I have a skirt that I still stand behind. Here’s my “skirt story” (including whom I trust to do outstanding work.) ALSO – I recently discovered THE heated water hose I plan to use this winter – I firmly believe the “no freeze water hose” is a cut above! (Use coupon code ‘rvacrossamerica’ to save a few bucks when ordering HERE.)
Like my content? Lets keep in touch! Want to be notified of articles as they are posted? Please join my newsletter below (and if you visit my youtube site, I encourage you to “like and subscribe”