First, there's great fishing.Second, you can visit Harriman State Park and learn how the wealthy vacationed in the early 20th century.Third, it is just west of Yellowstone National Park so you can add it to a Yellowstone vacation.Fourth, if you like waterfalls, you can drive the Mesa Falls Scenic Loop to see Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. Be forewarned, if you like a little more adventure and don't mind an extremely bumpy, sometimes muddy, five-mile drive on a sketchy dirt road, you could also visit picturesque Warm River Springs (Falls).Fifth, there's a chance you could see moose.
Sixth, ride bike paths in the area (Harriman State Park).
Seventh, go bird watching in spring, summer, fall.
Eighth, aside from Yellowstone itself, Henry's Fork Caldera is the second largest in the world.
Ninth, you can go to the southwestern portion of Yellowstone National Park which is very lightly visited. It is a bit of a drive, but there are some pretty hikes and waterfalls. The Bechler Ranger Station is one of the smallest I've ever seen!
This morning, Bob did a bike ride at Harriman State Park. He's used to riding on paved bike paths. The bike trails at Harriman include dirt, gravel, and rocks. When he came home, his knees, arms, and hip were scraped up after taking a spill. Nothing is broken and he is fit to ride another day.
Our main purpose for being in Island Park was to drive Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. After Bob came back to the RV and got cleaned up, we headed out in the pick-up to do the loop drive with a side trip to Warm River Springs (Falls).
From Buffalo Run RV Park, we traveled south on U.S. 20 to Ashton, Idaho. From there, we took ID 47 east to Forest Service Route 294 north. (From U.S. 20 in Ashton, Idaho, back to U.S. 20 to the north is 28.7 miles--allow one hour for this portion of the trip, fuel up before you go, and take water and food). The forest service road is paved, but it's bumpy and loaded with potholes. (In other words, repaving it isn't high on their budget list!)
Ashton, Idaho, is known for growing seed potatoes (small sprouting potatoes). You will drive past miles of potato farms before coming to the Warm River. (Along the way, you will have views of the back side of the Grand Teton Range.) Here the road turns north onto the Forest Service road.
Travel about seven miles through Grand Targhee Forest. You will come to Lower Mesa Falls about 0.7 mi. before Upper Mesa Falls. Lower Mesa Falls is a parking lot and viewpoint from way above the river. It's definitely worth seeing and, at the viewpoint, has interpretive signs about the calderas in the area and how the falls were formed.
Upper Mesa Falls is a 10-story waterfall (114' high, 200' wide) on Henry's Fork of the Snake River. From the Visitor Center is Mesa Falls Nature Trail, a 2.2-mile-long paved hiking path with lots of stairs, though there is a handicapped-accessible route as well. This is our second time visiting because it is so grand. At certain times of the day or year, you can see a rainbow in the mist from the waterfall.
Because of coronavirus, the Visitor Center was closed, but there were two Park Rangers on the porch with interesting displays. We described to them a waterfall that comes out of the rock at a spring and joins a river, but we couldn't remember the name of it or how to get there. They were quick to answer our question about Warm River Springs (Falls).
After we finished our hike, we took off for Warm River Springs (Falls). I would recommend if you plan to do this five-mile, one-way road, use a Jeep; otherwise, plan to drive real slow and avoid potholes, rocks, deep ruts, cattle, and sometimes mud pits.
The reward is a peaceful setting where the falls rush out of the ground from a spring.
|View of Tetons from route to Warm River.|
|Arrowleaf balsamroot |
|Here it is! Warm River Springs (Falls).|
There is a cabin right next to the falls that can be rented by the public. Can you imagine hearing the falls all day and all night? It would be music to my ears!
|Looking upriver from the falls.|
|The cabin that you can rent.|
|Looking downriver from the cabin.|
|Right next to the falls!|
After spending about a half-hour here, we made our way out over the extremely bumpy road.
The thing we couldn't understand was all the RVs we saw back in the trees. It was the week before the 4th of July and I think people were staking out their spots for the week. We were amazed people would bring their 5th wheels, trailers, and motorhomes out here. They did look a little beat up. We found families out on their motorbikes and ATVs on a rails-to-trails path along a fenceline. Apparently, this is a well-kept secret. But you also really have to want to come here. In many places, the road is a single lane, so you have to watch out for the RVs coming in or out!
We returned to the main Scenic Byway and headed back to the RV park.
It was a normal evening of reading, spending time on Facebook, and blogging or working on pictures for the blog. But then, doo doo, doo doo, it was Twilight Zone! time for me. Bob considered it slapstick comedy or chaotic antics.
We had an invasion of mosquitoes in the RV. No idea whatsoever where they came from. Both of us were killing mosquitoes on the walls, on the drapes, as they flew through the air, as they landed on us, etc. Sometimes, we would each kill two at once. We figure we killed over 50 mosquitoes in the course of about 20 minutes. Bob looked like he was doing the Schuhplattler Polka, slapping his ankles, knees, and thighs in a rhythmic motion! Sometimes, we slapped each other!
Finally, the idea came to us that our door was not closed tightly. I sprayed Off Deep Woods around the door. After we killed a few more mosquitoes, they tapered off and we had some peace. Bob got a couple of bites, but I didn't get any. What a weird experience.
It was a fun day, but our evening "sucked," so to speak. Nasty mosquitoes.