Island Park is home to some of the most incredible outdoor experiences in the country. Known for it’ world-class fly-fishing and snowmobiling, Island Park is also home to some unique landmarks that must be experienced:
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is an AZA Accredited, not-for-profit Wildlife Park and Educational Facility. The Center is dedicated to providing visitors to the Yellowstone area the unique opportunity to learn about, view and ultimately appreciate the grizzly bear and gray wolf. Photograph, video and view these magnificent animals in natural settings.
Grizzley and Wolf Discovery Center website
Connecting with the Teton Scenic Byway at Ashton, the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway takes you to two of the last undisturbed waterfalls of consequence in the West. Main attractions, the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls are the last major falls in Idaho that have not been used for irrigation or hydroelectric projects. At 110 feet and 85 feet, respectively, they offer equally spectacular views in a beautiful forest setting. The upper waterfall has been developed with paths and viewing areas and is easily accessible to all. At Lower Mesa Falls, the Snake River is squeezed into a gorge that drops 65 feet. The best view is from Grandview Campground and Overlook. The glassy waters froth to mist in an even higher 11-story, 114-foot plunge. Simply awesome!
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway
Harriman State Park is in the heart of a 16,000-acre wildlife reserve in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This sanctuary protects a diversity of birds and mammals similar to those living in nearby Yellowstone National Park.
The 11,700 acres of forests, meadows, lakes and streams belong to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and protect a wide variety of birds and mammals similar to those in Yellowstone National Park.
Activities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature observation, cross-country skiing and picnicking.
Resident wildlife includes trumpeter swans, among the world’s heaviest flying bird, and bald eagles, elk, moose and beaver.
Meandering nine miles through park meadows and forests is the gentle Henrys Fork of the Snake River.
Twenty-seven of the park’s original Railroad Ranch buildings, once the private retreat of wealthy railroad families, have been restored and four are open to the public for tours.
Cabins, a group facility and two yurts are available for overnight rental.
Herriman State Park
Big Springs, it’s a river’s birthplace.
One hundred and twenty million gallons of pure water a day — enough to meet the water needs of a million people — surge out of the ground here. A short distance from the glassy pool is a bridge. Toss bread crumbs into the water from it, and you’ll see that constant flow (at a year-round temperature of 52 degrees) and the clean gravel bottom make for perfect trout habitat. Big Springs’ trout get BIG. Leave your fishing pole in the car, though: No fishing is allowed until below the outlet to Henry’s Lake, several miles away.
Take the short walking trail around the pond to reach Johnny Sack’s cabin. Johnny was a German immigrant who built his cozy cabin and its furnishings by hand out of local trees. He also built a water wheel turned by spring water tumbling out of the hillside. The wheel provided electricity and brought water uphill to the cabin. Johnny’s old place is now a visitor center and an attraction in its own right.
Your other Big Springs alternative is to rent a boat from Mack’s Inn and float the gentle Henry’s Fork’s 5-mile-long National Water Trail.
The recreation area of Hebgen Lake is one of spectacular scenery, camping, boating, fishing and other water-based activities as well as snowmobiling and ice-fishing in winter. Located in Montana, it is a short 10 miles northwest of West Yellowstone and draws the bulk of its visitors during summer months. Full- and part-time residents are located around the lake’s edges and hillsides who all enjoy its recreational opportunities. Concentrated along its eastern and northern shores, you’ll find commercial services like camping, boat rentals, marinas, eating establishments, RV parks, lodging and some local watering holes.