Camas Lily Days
Family friendly event features lots of activities for kids plus views of the beautiful purple Camas Lilies!
When the time is right, the camas lily blooms in Southern Idaho’s Camas Prairie are an amazing sight to behold. A sea of purple lilies punctuates an emerald-green landscape in the Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh Wildlife Management Area while songbirds and ducks sound off in the ponds and waterways.
It’s truly a magical place to experience. The lilies are coming into full bloom very soon and should be peaking in time for the Camas Lily Festival on the first Saturday in June. For a list of birds that frequent the marsh, see an online list provided by Idaho Fish and Game.
Where to see the blooms and festival
The blooms are generally prevalent on the western and southern side of Centennial Marsh, depending on the year. There is a loop road (dirt and gravel surface) that tours the outlines of the marsh to see different species of songbirds and ducks, camas lilies in bloom and other wildflowers.
“We’ve very excited about the Camas Lily Festival because of the lily blooms and the Native American dancing in the evening,” says Kathy Mennenga, a member of the Camas County Chamber of Commerce and an organizer for the Camas Lily Festival.
Several hundred people come to the Camas Lily Festival every year to enjoy a wide range of family friendly activities. There’s a popular trout fishing derby with prizes at the “Kid Pond” near Fairfield. Shoshone-Bannock tribal members are expected to perform on Saturday evening every year.
“It’s really moving to see the Native Americans singing and dancing,” Mennenga says. “This is an important historical place for them.“
The tribes used to dig for camas bulbs as an important food source when they lived freely in the southern Idaho area. Some tribal members still come to the prairie to dig for camas bulbs today. When visiting in early June and even late May you can see this practice happening.
“If people like history, the festival is a great place to be, but it’s also a great family outing,” Mennenga says. “It’s family fun, it’s spiritual, it’s natural and it’s everything about what Camas County is and should be.“
Visiting The Camas Lily Marsh
Throughout the event, folks are encouraged to drive out to the nearby Centennial Marsh to view the camas lilies on their own. Dirt roads on the west and east sides of the marsh provide excellent access for viewing the lilies and photographing wildflowers, songbirds and waterfowl. Be sure to bring your wildflower guide, camera and binoculars.
If you’re looking to stay the night in Fairfield, please see the lodging and RV park options recommended by the Camas Chamber.