Adventures Near Island Park, Idaho
Island Park, Idaho and its close neighbor, Ashton, Idaho are entry points to some of the best Outdoor Recreation this side of the state. Adventure abounds wherever you look in Island Park, but some adventures are certainly more time worthy than others. In this post we will provide you with, what in our opinion, are some of the top adventures in Island Park. We will start on the Ashton end and work our way up through the caldera and get you ready to Adventure Better.
Warm River Float
Gear Needed: Kayak, Paddleboard, Float Tube, Lifejacket
Nearest Outdoor Gear Rentals: InstaGear Outdoor rentals (Delivery available)
Typical Duration: 2-3 Hours
Just prior to heading up the Ashton Hill and into Island Park you cross over the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. It might not look particularly picturesque from the bridge, but if you hang a right onto Fisherman’s Drive, immediately after crossing the bridge, you’ll be headed to one of the best river floats and Outdoor Adventures in Idaho. This float is perfect for families and couples who are looking for a good time but want to avoid any crazy rapids. From put in to take out this river float takes around 2 -3 hours. To get to the put in, you will drive a couple of miles up Fisherman’s Drive to the Fisherman’s River access (right before a bridge that crosses back over the river). We recommend floating from here down to the Ashton Reservoir boat ramp which is just past the Highway 20 Bridge. Along the way you will encounter some classic Idaho scenery and maybe even spot some of the local animal life. To this day one of our favorite memories was coming up on the little racoon family drinking out of the river.
Upper and Lower Mesa Falls
Gear Needed: Walking Shoes, Camera
Typical Duration: 1-2 hours
A little further into Island ark you can find both Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. Located on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway this is a can’t miss, easy, roadside adventure. With paved paths all the way down to a viewing point for each falls, you can easily capture some of the most stunning views of the Snake River that Idaho has to offer. If you intend to go to the Upper Falls, make sure you bring your walking shoes as it is a bit of a walk with lots of stairs to get to the viewing point. The Upper Falls also has a fun educational center and gift shop with a nature trail just outside of it. If you choose to head down the nature trail keep your eyes peeled for some of the owls, grouse, bear, and other animals that like to call the area home!
Gear Needed: Child Carrier, Backpack, Water, Camera
Nearest Outdoor Rental Gear: InstaGear Outdoor Rentals ( www.instagearoutdoors.com)
Typical Duration: 2 Hours
Located on sheep falls road, for this adventure we highly suggest having four-wheel drive or higher clearance to get back to the trailhead. A beautiful and scenic water fall through some of the basalt chutes left behind from the days when Island Park was an active volcano. Upstream from Mesa Falls this roughly 1.1 mile out and back trail is an easy one for families as well as those looking for some backcountry adventure. While Mesa Falls pulls a big crowd, sheep falls is every bit as impressive and you rarely see people there.
Johnny Sacks cabin and the Big Springs Float
Gear Needed: Fish Food, Kayak, Paddleboard
Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals Nearby: InstaGear Outdoor Rentals (Delivery available)
Typical Duration: 3-4 hours
For one of our favorite sites in all of Idaho, stop by Johnny Sacks cabin to experience some history and then feed the fish before going on a float down the start of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. One of the most photographed sites in Island Park, Jonny Sacks built his cabin at Big Springs, the Headwaters of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, in 1929. The spring is one of the 40 largest natural springs in the world. Because of this it is not unusual to spot a variety of wildlife around, particularly moose. Due to it’s consistent temperature and abundance of food Big Springs also has a year round population of rainbow trout that have discovered they like being fed from above! Make sure to bring some fish food (or bread) to this location so you can feed the trout that range in size from 1-20 lbs.! Just downstream is the put in for another amazing Idaho float at big springs campground. We highly recommend kayaks or paddleboards which can be rented at InstaGear Outdoor Rentals, for this float as it can get deep, but people float it in a variety of watercraft. This float is slow and meandering with plenty of scenery and wildlife (we’ve seen plenty of moose and even a wolf along the river) and takes about 3 hours. Take out is on the South side of the river just prior to the Highway 20 bridge and cannot be missed.
Harriman State Park
Gear Needed: Backpack or child carrier, binoculars, bike rack, snowshoes
Nearest Outdoor Adventure Rentals: InstaGear Outdoor Rentals ( www.instagearoutdoors.com)
Duration: Your Choice!
Harriman State Park is a unique adventure in and of itself with 16,000 acres set aside as a wildlife refuge. Within that acreage the park provides over 22 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails that take you through beautiful meadows alongside untouched river banks and back into the backcountry of Idaho. At any given moment you could run into moose, elk, trumpeter swans, or any other of the wildlife that Idaho plays host to.
Harriman state park has rental facilities in the form of yurts and the ranch managers house. They also offer horseback rides and tours throughout the ranch. With so many trails Harriman State Park is the perfect place to recreate whether it is summer or winter.
These are only a few of the adventures that await you in Island Park, Idaho. Whatever you choose to do, we encourage you to get outdoors and adventure! We are always available for your adventure needs with out rental kayaks, paddleboards, and other outdoor adventure rentals. We are located near Island Park, Ashton, and St. Anthony and can deliver to your location.