Mountain Trails, Riverside Paths, Pristine Lakes,...
Pristine lakes, noble mountains, abundant wildlife, and picturesque rivers are the heart of Idaho parks and trails. Combine all that with superior camping, hiking, boating, fishing, and hunting and you have world-class adventure that you can't get enough of.
Eastern Idaho has enough parks and trails to satisfy even the heartiest outdoorsman. Climb the Tetons. Watch Old Faithful erupt. Navigate a dune buggy. Meander the riverside paths along the Idaho Falls Greenbelt. Explore our parks and trails and discover the beauty of Eastern Idaho.
More than 300 miles of groomed trails set a course for snowmobilers of all abilities to tour spectacular mountain terrain. Warming huts provide winter enthusiasts with a cozy place to rest and plenty of parking is available for all to enjoy this scenic area.
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.
This hike along the Henry's fork of the Snake River samples the birds and wildlife of the river in a tranquil stretch. The river flows so gently here that algae make the water green. Because the trail is shaded, the hike is pleasant on a hot day. The destination, Coffee Pot Rapids, sprays white water in a dark, narrow section of the canyon. The rapids came by their name many years ago when fur trapper, rancher, and scout George Rea was canoeing along the Henry's Fork. After several miles of calm water, he came to a end in the river and set of nasty rapids boulders rushed out ahead of him. His canoe overturned and all he managed to salvage was his coffee pot. Rea first came to the Henry's Fork in 1865, and was the first to file for a homestead in the Island Park area.
The Cress Creek Nature Trail has been used by schools for years for field trips for grade school children. Yet the gentile hike provides a wonderful panorama of the South Fork of the Snake River during the summer and an explosion of color in the fall that all age groups will enjoy. During the hot summer months, the part of the trial by the creek is refreshingly cool. The trail was repaired and upgraded in 2003, by the Bureau of Land Management to make it handicap accessible. Along with the improvement of the trail, many interpretive signs have been added that replace the previous pamphlet that was available.
To reach the trail turn left after crossing the bridge over the South Fork of the Snake River as you head towards Heise. This is just north of the Mountain River Ranch. The gravel road will head north west along the river. The parking lot, rest rooms, and trail head will be obvious on the east side of the road.
The hike to Golden Lake in Harriman State Park is an easy hike leads through the wildflower meadows beside crystal ponds, creeks, and lakes that reflect the sky and clouds. Golden Lake nestles in lodgepole pine-covered hills, marsh grass and meadows with a view of the blue crags of the Tetons in the distance, like mountains in a dream. It is just a sample of the 21 miles of trails in this state park.
Packsaddle Lake is located in the Big Hole Mountains on the western side of Teton Valley. The drive to the Packsaddle Lakes trail head and the hike itself provides unparalleled panoramic views of the Teton mountain range. Do not be in such a hurry to start the hike that you forget to look east to the Teton mountain range.
Both lakes were formed ages ago when giant landslides came down the canyon and blocked the creek. The canyon is thickly forested with fir, as well as some aspen and willow. If you scan the mountain walls you may see mountain goats. It is 4 miles to the lower end of the lower lake.
The upper lake at 6.2 miles, .5 mile form the Palisades Creek Trail, has better camping because sites at the lower lake fill up sooner.
If you're looking for a longer trip, the trail to Upper Palisades lake continues up Waterfall Canyon and connects with the trail down Little Elk Creek. You can also continue up Palisades Creek past the turnoff for the upper lake. There aren't any bridges beyond this turnoff, so the several crossings of Palisades Creek make this part of the trail tedious. It's best to tackle this stretch after midsummer. Although, few people continue beyond the lakes, so it is a great way to lose the crowds. By continuing up Palisades Creek, you will reach the Mosquito Creek trail, which leads into the Jackson Hole valley.
Hike Length Roundtrip: 5.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,800 feet
Highest Point Elevation: 8,940 feet
Trailhead GPS Ref: Long 44.4 Lat. -111.1
Level of Difficulty: Medium
An interesting cave by Darby Canyon is the major draw to this popular west slope hike, closely followed by intermittent waterfalls splashing down the canyon rim along with impressive displays of wildflowers. The Wind Cave snakes through the Darby Formation, a thick layer of 350 million year-old dolomite. The trailhead is located about 20 minutes just outside the town of Driggs. It is very easy to miss the turnoff from Highway 33. The turn off is south of the Spud Theater. One of the pictures below shows the sign visible from Highway 33. As you drive up Darby Canyon, you must continue past the Girls Camp.
Beautiful scenery, a pleasant hike and a rewarding cave all describe the short hike to the Wind Cave in Darby Canyon. With a hike of about 3.5 miles each way and only a thousand foot elevation gain, the Wind Cave can be done in just a little over two hours. But once you arrive, you may spend hours crawling through the wind cave, which goes from hundreds of feet high at the entrance to merely a crawlspace farther in. For the more adventurous, an ice cave is only another mile away, but to enter this you must have technical ice climbing knowledge. Also around this area are many cliffs and boulders for the rock climber. If you go on this hike, a flashlight for the cave is a definite must.