The village of Yellow Pine is high in the Idaho mountains (alt. 4,765 ft), 150 miles north of Boise, surrounded by national forests… and is known as the “Gateway to the Central Idaho Wilderness Area.” You’ll see critters, dirt streets, a real live “little red schoolhouse (fondly known as The University of Yellow Pine), a wooded RV park, rustic cabins and lovingly tended homes, a country store, an old hotel, two tavern/cafes, and the Community Hall and Fire Hall. The Pioneer Cemetery is in the forest near the “Yellow Pine” campground, about 1/4 mile from town.
The “Golden Gate” campground is about one mile from town; there is also free camping in the forest around the town (with portable toilets), and other free stream-side camping further away. …This is Idaho tourism at its best! COME PREPARED TO CAMP OUT, USE TRAILERS OR MOTOR HOMES, AND PROVIDE SOME OF YOUR OWN MEALS. Breakfast is available Saturday and Sunday. Water is available.
(We do not have a dump station for self-contained RVs.)
(If you’d like to peruse our fun, informational, and idiosyncratic town newspaper, published by local residents… View “Railroad” Sue’s “Yellow Pine Times” back issues – and other fun stuff – online at: http://www.ruralnetwork.net/~yptimes for your reading pleasure.)
(And if it’s information about the old days and old ways you’re hankering after, Emma Cox’s book Idaho Mountains
Our Home is a wonderful story of this area. Lafe and Emma Cox owned and operated the dude ranch near Yellow Pine (known as Wapiti Meadows Guest Ranch in its present incarnation) on scenic Johnson Creek for decades, and their life stories – and anecdotes about the folks of Yellow Pine and Big Creek – make for fine reading no matter where you live.)
Open mike jam sessions are held at the outdoor stage in the center of town Friday & Saturday (and mike-less in serendipitous other spots,
as and when the mood strikes!). All entertainers – from cowboy poets to musical groups – are invited to register for the “Crowd
Pleaser” contest held Friday evening and Saturday afternoon/night on the outdoor stage. …The audience selects the winner by buying tickets they use as votes. (See the “EVENTS” page, left, for times for these and other performances, and for breakfast times.)
We have free campsites close to town (water available at central points; no open fires allowed; ample portables nearby) within walking distance to events.
Johnson Creek Backcountry Airstrip is five miles from Yellow Pine – pilots camp free and transportation to and from town is available (for information, call the Idaho Div. of Aeronautics at (208) 334-8775). Other campers are encouraged to camp (free) in the area behind the school so you can walk to all events. Our small tavern/cafes cannot serve everyone. Popular Saturday and Sunday breakfasts are
put on by the town. There will also be several food vendors set up on the main street to provide meals as well as snacks. We have gas, groceries, RV spaces, propane, and some lodging. Rooms must be reserved well in advance (RV spaces may be available on shorter notice)…
Yellow Pine General Store – (208) 633-3300; Hotel – (208) 633-3377.
Alpine Village and RV Park – (208) 385-0271; Murph’s RV Park (includes
some rustic cabins) – (208) 633-2233; + housekeeping cabins 25 miles
west of town – (208) 382-4336 (call Arnold Aviation, (208) 382-4336 – ask for Zena Creek Ranch; may have shorter-notice accommodations).
FOR FESTIVAL INFORMATION, see the other pages on the website, or use the “Contact” form if you need other help – or if you’re in more immediate need, phone the store at (208) 633-3300, or (208) 633-4635.
FROM BOISE TO YELLOW PINE, we normally tell people to ALLOW 4 1/2 HOURS. (All routes involve travel on dirt roads.)
THESE ARE THE DIRECTIONS:
North from Boise/Eagle, travel Highway 55 to Cascade. Fill your gas tank in Cascade or McCall and prepare for another two hours of travel. Just north of Cascade’s downtown, across the bridge, note the yellow Harmonica Contest sign!… Turn east here for routes 1 and 2 below (or head to McCall – north of Cascade – for route 3). (Traveling from the north? – just focus on Route #3.)
(1) South Fork Road – A paved, scenic route along the South Fork of the Salmon River. The best route for motor homes, but it is narrow and winding; takes about
half an hour longer than route 2, which parallels it farther east. Turn left shortly after passing the tourist information sign before you get to the Warm Lake Lodge. Travel 32 miles, then turn right onto the 17 miles of dirt/gravel road to Yellow Pine. This is the broad highway of dirt roads! – comparatively flat and wide, and just a little curvy.
(2) Johnson Creek/Landmark route – follow above directions, pass the South Fork turnoff on this nicely paved road. Keep going
up past Warm Lake Lodge to Warm Lake summit (3 miles of slow/curvy grade). (You’ll note the 2007 fire damage… It is greening up!) About two miles past the summit, turn left onto the 25 miles of dirt/gravel road that follows Johnson Creek to Yellow Pine (a good unpaved road, but there are a few narrow and steep sections with occasional pull-outs – USE LOW GEARS, and be careful on any washboarding).
(3) Lick Creek Road – a 50-mile mostly-dirt road: McCall to Yellow Pine is 2 hours. Ask in McCall for directions to the golf course in the northwest part of town, go past the golf course to the Lick Creek Road sign. Much of this is fairly rough, twisty, and steep and is not advised for trailers, motor homes or low-slung cars, but it is very beautiful (if fire-touched).
Idaho tourism indeed… All routes have campgrounds for overnight stays – and are worth the trip just for the scenery!
*** Be sure to gas up your vehicle either in Cascade or McCall! ***
WHO’S BEHIND THE SCENES?
The Music & Harmonica Festival is put on each year by the Village of Yellow Pine Association…and friends! (With only 40 or fewer year-round residents, we sure do make good use of friends!) We’re grateful to a number of businesses that support us with donations and/or great deals (we’re all volunteers). All of the proceeds from the Harmonica weekend go toward improvements to our community. We’re upgrading our Community Hall, we support our volunteer fire department, we pay for dust abatement on the streets – thanks largely to the festival. When the first weekend of August rolls around, many of the year-round and summer residents of this community are busy folks! But that’s okay… this is our once-a-year musical treat too.
Many, many thanks to all the exceptional volunteers who make this festival possible!
people are a dynamite combination… Hope you’ll join us!