Camas County is one of the most quietly stunning spots in Southern Idaho. In the spring and early summer, the valley floor erupts with riots of wildflowers; in the winter, you can ski through deep powder at Soldier Mountain. No matter the season, there’s always something intriguing going on in historic Camas County.

What Is a Camas, Anyway?


Camas County is named after the blue vistas of camas lilies that cover the valley’s floor every year — and, for thousands of years, these same plants sustained Native Americans living in this area. The Shoshone-Bannock and Paiute peoples used camas as a food source, roasting the bulbs and drying and saving them for later use. The best time to see camas in bloom is in early June.

The War In Camas County

The Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868 gave the bigger Camas Prairie to Native American tribes in perpetuity. But when the treaty was filed — whether by human error, ignorance, or design — the spelling of “Camas” was changed to “Kansas,” and the Shoshone, Bannock, and Paiute tribes lost their traditional summer gathering place to white settlers. After the U.S. government consistently refused to comply with its intended obligations, the Bannocks went to war on May 30, 1878. The war was fought all the way to central Oregon, but the Native Americans lost in the end. Historical marker 277 marks one of the sites of the war.

This Marsh Has Gone to the Birds


The Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh Wildlife Management Area is one of the most stunning early-summer sights in Idaho. In late May through mid-June, this swampy area is adorned with colorful flower blooms and thousands of birds and their tiny offspring, including ruddy ducks, northern pintails, American wigeons, mallads, gadwalls, lesser scaup, canvasbacks, and blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon teals. Access roads allow you to get up close to the birds, and the scenic backdrop is a favorite of birders and photographers alike.

Hometown Parties

Camas County was an ancient summer gathering place for the Shoshone-Bannocks, and every first weekend in June Camas County celebrates this heritage with the Camas Lily Days and Sho-Ban Homecoming. Festivities include a fishing derby for kids, live music, food and drink, and traditional dances by members of the Sho-Ban tribe. Most events are free and open to the public.

The Family Ski Resort


Soldier Mountain was developed by two friends, Bob Frostenson and Harry Durall, in 1947 after they watched Olympic team tryouts in Sun Valley. The entire operation was built by hand and included two rope tows, which were replaced by chairlifts in 1971 and 1974. Soldier Mountain bills itself as “Idaho’s Best-Kept Secret,” and ski aficionados agree. With ticket prices at $38 for adults and $22 for kids, it’s some of the most affordable, family-friendly skiing in the state. When you’re ready to warm up, Soldier Mountain’s lodge serves up homemade food in the lodge and drinks on the slope-side pub.