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Eastern Idaho's Yellowstone Teton Territory
The saying goes, you came for the winter but you stayed for the summer. Endless hours of daylight and bluebird skies make the high desert of east Idaho incomparable to anywhere else. With abundant options for recreation, your trip to the Yellowstone Teton Territory will take some planning or perhaps many visits to get everything into your itinerary.
From backpacking to mountain biking to dirt biking to horseback riding, there are so many ways to enjoy the regional trail systems of the Snake River Range, the Big Hole Mountains and the Tetons. Explore the Sand Dunes or head out onto Palisades and Ashton reservoirs to beat the heat with stand up paddle boarding or wake boarding. Or follow the many who have claimed that this area of the country is home to best fly fishing available, it’s blue ribbon conditions.
The area’s local events are hard to choose from. Regular farmers and artist markets happen weekly. Live music is abundant with the Grand Targhee Music Festivals, the free Music on Main concert series and of course Teton Valley’s historic Fourth of July celebration. Summer months are also host to the Plein Art Festival, the Idaho International Dance Festival, Art in the Park and the Teton County Fair.
The spring creek sections of the river provide some of the greatest variety of insect hatches of any river in the world. The Henry's Fork is like several different rivers in one.
~ Mike Lawson
There is no comparing. Once you have gotten a taste for the small inlets and endless curves of the Snake River Basin, you may never to fish anywhere else. Caddis, green and brown drakes, olives, trincos and speckled spinners are only a handful of the hatches that happen on the Henry's Fork thirty mile stretch. Check out the Henry's Fork, Harriman State Park, the Teton and Snake River options in the YTT Fly Fishing Directory.
With rides available on all sides of the Big Holes and scattered at the base of Tetons, some consider east Idaho a biking mecca. Without the crowds of Teton Pass and Pocatello, bike trails offer both downhill and cross country experiences. The rolling fields of the dry farms and rural route also make east Idaho a road bike destination. Recently, gear heads are pushing the mark even further with explorations of bike packing trips on the west side of the Big Holes and out to Rigby and even as far as the Idaho National Labratory. There is so much to explore that the best bet for the newcomber is to check in with the local bike shops and bike organizations like Mountain Bike the Tetons. There are regularly scheduled group rides through out the week. Check the local calendar for meeting locations. Visit the maps page to see trails and trailhead information.
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. A few of our favorites are listed here:
Palisades Lake Trails: See how 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.
Wind Caves in Driggs: 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.
Golden Lake: 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.
Big Springs: 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.
Packsaddle Lake Hiking Trail: 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.
Cress Creek Trail: 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.
Coffee Pot Rapids: 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.
Eastern Idaho's lakes and rivers let you escape the dry heat and the trail dust. Find yourself with options for fishing, swimming, camping, or enjoying the wildlife. There are fifteen swimming holes within fifty miles of Idaho Falls including the The Ashton Reservoir, Palisades Reservoir, Ririre Reservoir, South Fork, Blacktail Lake, Twin Bridges, Fall River Bridge, Hog Hollow Bridge, Packsaddle Lake, Egin Lake and Fall Creek Falls are easy destinations to reach when you just need to cool off. Island Park Reservoir and Earthquake Lake are more than fifty but so worth the extra mileage if you're looking to beat the heat or combine with some trail time as well.
A favorite thing to do in Eastern Idaho is to swim at the area's two hot springs, Heise and Green Canyon Hot Springs. The pools are a therapeutic hot mineral bath. Green Canyone has a super hot smaller pool. Heise has a great a water slide and pizza parlor. Hours vary by the season.
There are also several traditional indoor swimming pools in Eastern Idaho. These sparkling clean swimming pools are managed by their respective cities with convenient hours. For information and hours about Porter Park, Heise Hot Springs, Green Canyon, Idaho Falls Aquatic Center and Smith Park, head to the directory listings for swimming pools.
Water Sports, Paddling & Boating
Whether you are floating, paddling, fishing or water skiing, east Idaho has a number of options for enjoying the water. Floating the Teton, wakeboarding on the Ashton Reservoir, paddleboaring on Palisades--the options are bountifl. Be sure to check with local outfitters for rentals and conditions.
Drift Lodge & Fly Shop, World Cast Anglers, The Lodge at Palisades Creek, Mad River Boats, Fishing with J, Heise Expeditions, Hyde Drift Boats, South Fork Outfitters, and High Mountain Outfitters will have current river reports and permit information. At convenient drift boat rental company for all areas of the Yellowstone to Teton Territory, Miller Drift Boat Rentals, a full service fly shop, is located in Ashton, Idaho near the Henry's Fork of the Snake River specializing in Hyde Drift Boat rentals, an ideal match for fishing on the Henry's Fork, South Fork, Fall River, Teton, and Madison rivers.
A float down the Teton River is unique way to experience Teton Valley. The river flows North and is suitable for inexperienced boaters. Breathtaking views of the Teton Mountains and ample wildlife, including the sandhill crane. Canoes, inflatable kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and drift boats are excellent options. Most of the shorelines are private property.
Guides & Outfitters
There are a number of regional guides and outfitters who can make your visit to Yellowstone to Teton Territory extraordinary. No matter the route you are traveling or your home base accommodations for your upcoming trip, there is a guide to help meet you there and get you on your way. Check out the guide and outfitter listings page.
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 white rolling hills of sand range in height from 200 to 300 feet above the 4,900 foot valley floor. They stretch about 35 miles in length and from one to five miles in width. In mid-summer, although the sand gets hot, the temperature rarely tops 90 degrees. The dunes gain in size to a certain point, depending on the intensity of the prevailing winds as they creep slowly north.
For more info visit U.S. Bureau of Land Mangement website.
Horse Back Riding
There's no better way to see the beauty of Idaho's back country than from the back of a horse. It's a pace that is perfect for friends and family while enjoying the magnificent serenity of Idaho's wild lands. You don't have to be an expert horseman to experience either a trail ride or cattle drive. Enjoy some of Idaho's most beautiful views on horseback. Trail rides are offered by the hour or day by various outfitters. The horses are well-trained and the wranglers are safety conscious and knowledgeable about their areas. Pack trips are available throughout Eastern Idaho's Yellowstone Teton Territory from some outfitters. Horseback Guides and Outfitters include Granite Creek Ranch and Cabins, Diamond P Ranch, Teton Mountain Ranch, Leigh Creek Outfitters, Dry Ridge Outfitters, Grand Targhee Resort, Linn Canyon Ranch and Moose Creek Ranch. If you have your own horses, there are some great parks and recreation areas to consider. See Parks and Recreation Areas. Rodeos are held throughout the summer in various areas of the Yellowstone Teton Territory. For those see Special Events.
There are several climbs in close proximity including Darby Canyon, a large canyon draining out the West slope of the Tetons famous for its wind tunnel. There is a crag has been developed with 20 routes.
Heise (Elephant) Rock is a large volcanic plug of basalt rock located near Kelly Canyon. Heise Rock is one of the hardest climbs in Eastern Idaho. There are also gyms in Driggs, the Teton Rock Gym and the Regional Rock Wall at the Madison Gymnastics Center.
There are eleven golf courses in Eastern Idaho. Area courses include: Aspen Acres Golf Course & RV Resort (Squirrel), Cedar Park Golf Course(Rigby), Fremont County Golf Course (St. Anthony), Heise Hills Golf Club (Ririe), Huntsman Springs (Driggs), Island Park Village Golf Course (Island Park), Jefferson Hills Golf Course (Rigby), Pinecrest Golf Course (Idaho Falls), Rexburg Golf Course (Rexburg), Sage Lakes Municipal Golf Course (Idaho Falls), Sand Creek Municipal Golf Club (Idaho Falls), Teton Lakes Golf Course (Rexburg), Teton Reserve Golf Course (Victor), Teton Springs Resort Golf Course (Victor) and Timberline Golf Club (Ashton)
There's no substitute for hunting in Idaho. With deer, elk, antelope, black bear, mountain lion, quail, pheasant, and more to pursue, hunting in Eastern Idaho is an unrivaled experience.The game here is healthy and plentiful. And with thousands of acres of wilderness, hunter congestion is not a problem. Two-thirds of Idaho is public land with more being made available every year for hunting access. Licenses for most species are available over the counter. Here are some links to help you learn more. Here are some links to help you learn more: Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho Fish N Hunt, Idaho Bird Hunting Society, Idaho Hunting Trai, Hunting Map and Shoot Sporting Clays.