Hike,  Places

Cataldo, ID

Cataldo Mission
Cataldo Mission (Cataldo, ID)

In the late summer of 2016 on the drive back from Yellowstone I wanted to camp near the Washington border. I was several hours behind schedule and the goal was to get somewhere around Cataldo, ID. I had to visit the town with the same name as me.

The driving hours rolled by and I got near the goal and started looking for campsites. It was Memorial Day weekend so I knew spots would be at a premium but I hoped to find some backcountry spot to pitch the tent. Every campsite that we encountered was full. I decided to continue westward towards the Washington/Idaho border to try to find a parking lot or some other place to sleep. On the way, I saw the sign for Cataldo, ID and decided to try to find a campsite.

Mission Inn (Cataldo, ID)
Mission Inn (Cataldo, ID)

The very small town of Cataldo had only one restaurant, the Mission Inn. It was past 9 pm and they were closed but the door was still open. The staff was super friendly and I told the owner that we were in a bit of a pickle and were looking for a campground for the night. I then showed him my driver license (Tony Cataldo now in Cataldo, ID). He asked if I was related to Father Joseph Cataldo. I said that I was not sure but I need to do some genealogy research after the trip. He invited us to camp in the picnic area adjacent to the restaurant. He said that they open at 11am but would be there early and he would cook us something for breakfast. His hospitality was extremely appreciated. After a good night’s sleep I spent part of the morning taking photos around the area. After breaking camp we explored the Old Cataldo Mission which is the oldest mission in the state of Idaho. We returned to the Mission Inn and had a hearty breakfast. They specialize in ribs with homemade BBQ sauce. I asked if I could sample the BBQ sauce and it was pretty amazing. The restaurant changed ownership and in 2019 it was called Timbers Roadhouse.


In 2019 we drove to Cataldo, ID on the way to the Banff area in Alberta, Canada. As we looked for a place to camp we found the Kahnderosa RV Park and Campground. They were renovating the camping area and did not have any campsites available. While inquiring about a campsite I saw that they had a tremendous number of hummingbirds buzzing about. They did not seem to be frightened of us and I was able to get some pretty remarkable photos. We returned in 2021 but did not see any hummingbirds. I told the caretaker about the hummingbirds and she said that they might try to add some feeders.

In 2019 we camped at the secluded Lost Moose Campground located about 9 miles from Cataldo, ID. The first two miles were on paved road and then it was about 7 miles of gravel road. The road was mostly smooth and very easy to drive. The camp is a good distance from the main roads and it is bordered by fast flowing stream. Fun things around the campground include large Sasquatch plywood cutouts, various old machines and farm equipment, carved benches, etc. The small store offers Lost Moose T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and other items. In 2021 they installed a large covered area for group activities. I highly recommend this campground if you are in the area.

A large wetlands area outside of the Old Cataldo Mission hosts a variety of wildlife. In 2021 we saw a small flock of white pelicans