Making Plans for Idaho Summer Vacations?
The sun is out, and the weather is warming up! The Spring Season in Idaho is a wonderful time of year for a number of reasons, and one of those being that is it an excellent time for mapping out summer vacation plans. A couple of Idaho destinations top the charts for most popular and with good reason. For many, avoiding the most popular destinations is the purpose for a vacation, this is where Idaho shines, as many of Idaho’s most popular destinations stretch across thousands of acres.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
The Sawtooth Range & the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is home to incredible razor-sharp peaks, abundant wildlife, fishing, various campgrounds, lakes, trails, hot springs, as well as countless additional outdoor activity opportunities. The Salmon River makes its way through this area and is a popular destination for its fishing opportunities.
The Sawtooth Range is among some of the favorites for many as it’s home to a host of trails ideal for backcountry adventures and exploration, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, meadows, campgrounds, and remote wilderness. Redfish Lake is one of the more commonly visited locations within the Sawtooth Range, as it boasts a lodge with cabins and water rentals. Redfish Lake offers plentiful water activity opportunities as well as the possibility to explore the Redfish Lake Trail. Additional lakes that call the Sawtooth Mountain Range home include Perkins Lake, Yellowbelly Lake, Petit Lake, Alturas Lake, Little Redfish Lake, and Stanley Lake to name a few. A few popular alpine lakes within the Sawtooth Range include Imogene Lake, Cramer Lake(s), Hell Roaring Lake, Alice Lake, Farley Lake, and Toxaway Lake.
For additional things to do in the region, the Boulder Mountains and the White Cloud Mountains are situated southeast of the Stanley area. Also, these delightful ranges offer a mix of trails, lakes, and incredible scenic overlooks. Popular lakes in the White Cloud Mountain Range include Fourth of July Lake, Champion Lakes, and Boulder Chain Lakes.
Henry’s Fork near Island Park, Idaho
A central stopping point, the city of Island Park, lies near numerous surrounding attractions to keep the schedule full of things to do. A few popular destinations surrounding the Island Park area include Big Springs, Henry’s Fork a tributary of the Snake River, Harriman State Park and Island Park Reservoir, Upper & Lower Mesa Falls, and the ever so famous Yellowstone National Park - West Entrance which sits around 29 miles give or take from Island Park. The city of Island Park is a neat smaller community as it boasts the largest “main street” in the world, running a total length of 33 miles. Island Park is well known as a popular vacationing destination among many who enjoy peaceful surroundings, nature, and outdoor activity opportunities.
A significant contributor to the overall draw to the Island Park area is the world-class fishing that may be found in the largest spring creek of Henry’s Fork. Famous for large Rainbow Trout, enjoy a relaxing evening on the water and its peaceful surroundings, the makings for a day well spent. Island Park also attracts adventurers year-round as there are many area trails ideal for exploration and enjoyment in the warmer months, which is popular for hiking and biking as well as great snowmobiling opportunities in the colder months.
Imagine a place of utter tranquility met with some of the most beautifully pristine spring waters. This destination is Big Springs in Island Park, Idaho. Big Springs produces over 120 million gallons of fresh water each day. The springs are believed to be a result of rain and snowmelt from the Yellowstone Plateau that filters through basalt and sediment, resulting in crystal clear waters. This location is also popular due to the large rainbow fish that gather to be fed by visitors, though no fishing is allowed. Bring quarters if you’d like to feed the birds as well as the fish from the food dispensers located near the bridge. While visiting this location, you may choose to explore the Big Springs Nature Trail. There is also a historic cabin on-site by the name of Johhny Sacks cabin, which originated back in the early 1930s and is available to tour from July 4th through Labor Day.
Many travelers enjoy adding Upper Mesa Falls as an attraction to stop at while making way to Yellowstone National Park. Upper Mesa Falls is a compliment by Lower Mesa Falls, and this incredible destination generally goes unknown to many. Often it comes as a surprise that these fascinating falls are nestled within the Grand Targhee Forest about 14 more or less off the main thoroughfare US-20 along Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. Upper Mesa Falls is accompanied by the Upper Mesa Falls Interpretive Center, an excellent resource for interesting information about the falls and the surrounding forest. There are also area pathways ideal for exploration, as well as viewing platforms that boast scenic views of the breathtaking beauty of Upper Mesa Falls, all while surrounded by nature and area wildlife.
Harriman State Park and Island Park Reservoir are a fantastic way to enjoy a day outdoors. These two beautiful locations sit about 11 or so miles from each other and boast similar activity opportunities. Harriman State Park is popular for outdoor activity opportunities, including horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, biking, trails (mostly moderate), historic railroad ranch tours, nordic, snowshoeing, fat bike trails and wildlife viewing. Silver Lake is located adjacent to Harriman State Park. Discover Silver Lake and Snake River Walk at Harriman State Park for fun adventures among nature alongside the scenic waters of the lake or river, depending on the route taken. Wildlife in the area has been known to include moose, trumpeter swans, and elk. Island Park Reservoir offers boating and fishing opportunities as well as a chance to check out the Island Park Dam. For those interested in camping at this location, there are a host of campgrounds to choose from in and around the city of Island Park. The city of Island Park is also home to various lodging options ideal for an extended stay in a remarkable location.