Eastern Idaho's Yellowstone Teton Territory
About the Area
Only the American Indians knew the land better than the early fur trappers. So when it came time for the fur trappers' annual get-together, the Rendezvous, they sought a special place. They could have chosen from among hundreds of great places in the west.
Among the hundreds of great places in the West, they chose Eastern Idaho. Also known as Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone-Teton Territory, this place boasts the snow-capped peaks of The Grand Tetons, thundering waterfalls,glistening lakes and free-flowing rivers. This is the place where elk and moose graze in the grasslands and where deer and antelope play. This is where you can watch wild swans fly and eagles soar. The trappers choose this place because its easy to get to, yet, to this day, remains pristine and uncompromised.
Eastern Idaho has always been a magnet for adventurers. A neighbor to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, it shares much of the same spectacular beauty and awesome adventure ... but without the crowds.
The same natural forces that made Yellowstone so scenic have made Island Park similarly beautiful. Upon leaving the the agricultural Upper Snake River Valley outside of Ashton, you'll actually drive up the edge of an ancient collapsed volcano. The heart of Island Park is Harriman State Park.
4,330 acres of pristine forest land and high-country meadows. Located in the center of a 16,000 acre wildlife refuge. The park is a haven to rare trumpeter swans, numerous waterfowl, elk, deer and other wildlife. The world famous fly fishing stream, Henry's Fork of the Snake River, winds through the meadows of the refuge.
A short side trip from Island Park brings you to Upper and Lower Mesa Falls on the Henry's Fork, accessible from State Highway 47. These are the last undisturbed waterfalls of consequence in the western United States.
At Lower Mesa Falls, the Snake River is squeezed into a gorge that drops 65 feet. The best view is from the Grandview Campground and overlook. Up-river from the campground is the more accessible Upper Mesa Falls, complete with boardwalks and viewing platforms. Here, the glassy waters froth to a rainbowed mist in an 11 story, 114 foot plunge.
Starting about eight miles west of St. Anthony are the living sand dunes - 41,000 acres of exciting potential playground just being discovered by dune buggy and snowmobile enthusiasts.
The towns of Swan Valley and Irwin and the unincorporated area of Palisades comprise the scenic communities that nestle along the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River, one of the premier dry-fly fisheries in North America. With the Big Hole Range to the north, the Caribou Mountains to the south and the Palisades Range to the east, splendid panoramas abound and year-round outdoor activities are a magnet for sportsmen and adventurers.
This pristine valley is part of the Yellowstone ecosystem which is home to the largest elk and Rocky Mountain big horn sheep herds in the country. Numerous white tail and mule deer, moose, bear, mountain lions and some mountain goats also populate the region. Trumpeter swans, sand hill cranes, bald eagles, osprey and many other species of birds also provide exciting viewing for ornithologists.
Swan Valley truly is a valley for all seasons and opportunities to fly fish, float, camp, hunt, hike, trail ride, bird watch, snow mobile, cross country ski, snow shoe and just play in the great outdoors can appeal to the desires of any outdoor recreation enthusiast, regardless of age. Resort-style accommodations and a variety of restaurants, eateries and shops also are available year-round to meet the needs of tourists, trailriders and outdoor recreationists.
For travelers who wish to venture beyond the valley to explore other nuggets in the region, Jackson Hole, home of the Grand Teton National Park and the world-famous Grand Teton Mountain Range, and adjoining Yellowstone National Park are a short drive away through majestic mountain passes.
The area around Rexburg claimed a piece of Idaho history in 1976 when the newly built Teton Dam collapsed sending roaring flood waters onto the unsuspecting valley below.
Visit the Teton Flood Museum in Rexburg to relive the event. If you're visiting in August, don't miss the Idaho International Folk Dance Festival, a week-long event featuring the best dance groups from Europe, Asia, South America and the South Pacific. Rexburg is home to BYU-Idaho, a quiet private college with tree-lined campus streets and an ambiance going back to 1888.
South of Rexburg, visit Yellowstone Bear World, Greater Yellowstone's only drive-through wildlife preserve. Enjoy seeing grizzly bear, black bear, gray wolves and many other North American wildlife all in their natural habitat. Experience Yellowstone's past with close-up views of these magnificent animals. Guided tours are available. An adventure you won't want to miss.
Idaho Falls, originally called Eagle Rock, is the hub of Eastern Idaho and the region's largest city with over 50,000 residents. Like many Idaho towns, it's lifeblood is the river running though it. The Snake River in Idaho Falls is lined with a fourteen mile greenbelt.
The Museum of Idaho hosts varied and exciting exhibits and you can't miss the city's Tautphaus Park Zoo. Idaho Falls has 39 parks throughout the city and is home to the Idaho Vietnam Memorial. Challenging golf courses with reasonable greens fees beckons golfers. And the city is the regional shopping center for the entire region, from West Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, WY.
Pierre's Hole was a site where fur trappers would meet for a mountain man rendevous. Today, the area is called Teton Valley and it is a thriving winter and summer recreation area. Driggs makes an excellent base for your Teton Valley adventure whether it is fishing, hiking, or skiing at nearby Grand Targhee.
Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory offers a lot more than fun and adventure. Besides being one of the most geologically active locations in the world, it is also a large producer of the World Famous Idaho Potato. Another world famous gem found in this region is the Idaho Opal mined near Spencer. So come for a visit… and take home memories that will last a lifetime.