Johnny Sack Cabin
Side X Side in the Fall
Some of the same natural forces that once made Yellowstone National Park so scenic also made Island Park similarly beautiful. Island Park sits in the world’s largest caldera, 23 miles in diameter, created from a volcano that collapsed in prehistoric times. Now covered in a dense forest of pine and wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife.
Island Park offers a wide scope of activities. In the summer there is fishing, recreational boating, ATV, UTV trail riding, hiking, biking or just being amazed by the scenic beauty. The winter offers hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails, cross country/Nordic skiing and ice fishing.
Island Park has become a destination for tourists and vacation home owners. It is no longer a stop on the way to Yellowstone Park, it offers many of the services provided in the city, yet an escape from the crowds.
The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River is world famous for fly fishing and is curtailed here to form the 7,000 acre Island Park Reservoir, popular to both anglers and boaters. The Henry’s Fork then winds through the meadows of one of Idaho’s most premiere state parks, Harriman State Park, also known as the Railroad Ranch.
Don’t forget to travel the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. Mesa Falls is 65′ high and can be viewed from an observation point high above the falls. Upper Mesa Falls is 112′ and has a network of viewing platforms, as well?as a visitors center.
Just before the Montana border, you will find Henrys Lake and Henrys Lake State Park. Located only 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park, this high mountain lake is the kind of place fisherman dream about, boasting record trout. The state park is open in summer and fall for anglers to fish for cutthroat, brook and rainbow-cutthroat hybrid trout, referred cut-bow.
Another source for the Henry’s Fork comes from Big Springs, where 120 million gallons of water bubble up into the water each day. You can tour the historical Johnny Sack Cabin and view the amazing water wheel, both of which are a historic legacy of Island Park. The Big Spring Nature Trail has about a half-mile, handicap-accessible trail that provides great viewing of osprey, bald eagles, waterfowl and an occasional moose, deer or muskrat.