Island Park’s Nearby Attractions
The Island Park, Idaho area is overflowing with activities for both summer and winter. Famous for world renown fly-fishing on the Henrys Fork of the Snake River in the summer to deep powder riding and over 500 groomed snowmobile trails in the winter. Island Park’s summers are popular with Idaho fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking and scenic trail for hiking or walking. Winter offers snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and Island Park’s Winter Festival.
Grandma’s Cabin vacation rental in Island Park, Idaho is your perfect base for all the area activities and nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Be sure to book early as our Island Park Vacation Rental is in high demand due to Island Park’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park.
This spring produces over 120 million gallons of water each day. Big Springs a Natural National Landmark, is one of the 40 largest natural springs in the world. The springs create the headwaters of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River creating the spectacular scenery at Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. Big Springs maintains a constant temperature of 52 degrees, protected from fishing the spring supports enormous rainbow trout, a resident muskrat, ducks, moose and deer. It is not unusual to see osprey and eagles dive for a meal of fresh fish from the springs. Downstream is the Big Springs National Water Trail, a four-hour float trip that offers scenic forest, mountain views and wildlife viewing and a .5 mile handicap accessible trail that offers a mild & casual walk along the river.
Johnny Sack Cabin at Big Springs:
The Johnny Sack Cabin, located at Big Springs, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Due to its unique location and picturesque setting, Johnny’s cabin and nearby water-wheel have long been one of the most photographed sites in Island Park. The cabin attracts thousands of visitors each summer. One of Johnny’s trademarks is the split bark decoration used in the cabin’s furniture and interior. Today many of the individually crafted pieces of wood furniture Johnny created for his home remain in their original location. The cabin took approximately three years to complete, as he worked primarily with hand tools. The cabin is open mid-June through mid-September. Come visit and see firsthand the unique craftsmanship of one of Island Park’s early settlers.
Island Park Reservoir:
This large reservoir with five boat launch sites is popular for boating, fishing and water-skiing. The reservoir is situated above Box Canyon, which provides excellent fly-fishing opportunities and scenic float trips. Visitors may drive on the top of the Island Park Dam for scenic views of the Centennial Mountains and Box Canyon.
Henry’s Fork of the Snake River:
Named for Andrew Henry, a fur trader who first saw it in 1810. Acclaimed by fly fishing enthusiasts as the best trout fishing stream in the United States!. It begins at Big Springs and winds through Harriman State Park, all the way to Ashton, where it joins the Snake River. Local outfitters are available to guide you on the Henry’s Fork. And if you’r new to Fly Fishing they will be eager to get you started.
Earthquake Lake Geologic Area “Quake Lake”:
It was a beautiful moonlit night, August 17, 1959, when one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains struck the Madison River Canyon. The earthquake, which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, triggered a massive landslide which sent over 80 million tons of rock crashing down into the canyon, blocking the Madison River. The water backed up behind the slide, forming he new Earthquake Lake. Take the self guided Auto Tour and learn about this earthquake, take a short walk to the Memorial Boulder and upper overlook and visitor center. Along highway 287 you will find interpretive exhibits with stories about the 1959 landslide. For more information call (406) 682-7620
Nature Conservancy’s Flat Ranch & Visitors Center:
This preserve of grasslands and wetlands along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River peacefully coexists with Flat Ranch, a working cattle ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. It is a great place to view wildlife and learn about the Conservancy before entering Yellowstone National Park. Moose, pronghorns and sandhill cranes can frequently be seen from the visitor center and a spotting scope is available. Migratory birds such as long-billed curlews and trumpeter swans also depend on this lush and fertile basin. A visitor center is open during the summer with a great view from the deck. For more information call (208) 558-7629.
Island Park Volcanic Caldera:
Island Park is actually the world’s largest crater, 23 miles in diameter, created from a volcano which collapsed in prehistoric times. Now covered in a dense forest of pine and wildflowers, it is a Mecca for hiking & fishing in summer and cross-country skiing & snowmobiling in winter. Use the Island Park driving tour located in Grandma’s book case and explore this wonderful area.
Island Park Dam & Reservoir:
This 7000-acre reservoir is formed by the Island Park Dam. With 64 miles of shoreline it is popular for fishing – summer and winter. The Island Park Reservoir, has excellent fishing year-round for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, coho salmon, yellow perch, and bluegill. The reservoir also provides recreational opportunities such as water skiing, jet ski’s, canoeing and stand-up paddle boards and swimming. There are five boat launch sites for easy access to the reservoir.
Two Top Mountain:
Dubbed the “Cascade Corner” for the many waterfalls. At 250 feet wide, this is the widest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. If you’r feeling adventurous, you can check out the cave just below Cave Falls for which the feature is names. It’s about 20 feet tall and 100 feet wide, but be prepared to get your feet wet as you explore the cave. Entrance to this area of Yellowstone is through Idaho and a great addition to the Mesa Falls Scenic By-way.
In 1863 gold was discovered in Alder Creek and the towns of Virginia City and Nevada City sprang up virtually overnight. At least $90 million in gold was extracted there, making it the richest placer gold strike in history. Visit the authentically restored buildings in Virginia City is considered to be the most complete, original town of its kind in the United States. Nevada City represents a busy mining town the way they used to be. Pan for Gold, ride the Alder Gulch Shortline Railroad and experience costumed interpreters Living History programs bringing the past to life through hands on demonstrations of historic objects and accurate stories.
National & State Attractions
Yellowstone National Park
It’s a Wonderland! Old Faithful and the majority of the world’s geysers are preserved here. The world’s first national park is only 30 miles away from Grandma’s Cabin. America’s first national park—an idea that spread worldwide. A mountain wild land, home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, the park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone. Here, you can see the natural wonders of geysers, waterfalls, lakes and streams, and don’t forget to see Old Faithful geyser and the historic Old Faithful Inn.
Grand Teton National Park
Drive the Mesa Falls & Teton Scenic Byways on your way to Teton National Park. Neighboring Yellowstone, the Teton Mountains, rising 7,000 feet above the valley floor, are one of the most dramatic skylines of the Rocky Mountains. Be sure to visit the National Elk Refuge while you are there. (307) 739-3300
The site of the old Railroad Ranch. This state park, a gift to Idaho’s Citizens from the Harriman family, is also a wildlife reserve, home to trumpeter swans, moose, sand hill cranes and more. The Henry’s Fork of the Snake River meanders through the park, and is world famous for its catch and release fly-fishing. Enjoy hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing at the park. Just 15 minutes away.
Henry’s Lake State Park
Henry’s Lake lies in a high mountain bowl along the Continental Divide. The fishing is almost too good to be true. (208) 558-7532
Red Rock National Wildlife Refuge
The Refuge was established in 1935 to protect the rare trumpeter swan. Today the Refuge continues to be one of the most important habitats in North America for these majestic birds. This is a great place for wildlife observation, hiking, and photography. (406) 276-3536
Other Notable Sites
This forty-six mile scenic byway, follows Highway 296, between Cooke City Montana and Cody, Wyoming. Closely following the path taken by the Nez Perce as they fled the US Calvary in 1877. Several historical and interpretative signs along the road provide more informatio about the flight of the Nez Perce. The Byway passes through a series of open, scenic valleys surrounded by tall, forested mountains and includes excellent views of the North Absaroka Mountains, distant views of the Beartooth Mountains and Beartooth Plateau, and Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River.
One of only 5 designated “All-American Roads” the Beartooth Higway is sixty-nine miles, running between Red Lodge Montana and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park outside of Cook City, Montana. Opened in 1936 with the sole purpose to be a scenic drive. The All-American Beartooth Highway is open seasonally, Memorial Day through late-October. Check locally for conditions and opening & closing dates.
Sawtelle Peak Scenic Drive: This scenic drive that is a twelve-mile route that climbs to the top of the 9878-foot summit of Sawtelle Peak. The route follows a well-conditioned gravel road. From the summit, the views of the surrounding area are magnificent. You will have views of Yellowstone National Park, Henry’s Lake, the Madison Centennial Valleys in Montana and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. The FAA maintains the road and operates a flight traffic control radar station from the summit. The road is accessible June 1st through October 31st.
Sawtelle Peak Scenic Drive:
This scenic drive that is a twelve-mile route that climbs to the top of the 9878-foot summit of Sawtelle Peak. The route follows a well-conditioned gravel road. From the summit, the views of the surrounding area are magnificent. You will have views of Yellowstone National Park, Henry’s Lake, the Madison Centennial Valleys in Montana and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. The FAA maintains the road and operates a flight traffic control radar station from the summit. The road is accessible June 1st through October 31st.
Upper and Lower Mesa Falls Scenic Byway
Hear the thunder of both Lower and Upper Mesa Falls along the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway on highway 47. The Mesa Falls are the only major falls in Idaho not used for irrigation or hydroelectric projects, and as such maintain a look and feel of nature undisturbed. At 110 feet and 85 feet, respectively, the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls offer equally spectacular views in a beautiful forest setting. Both falls can be viewed in full, with the area surrounding the upper waterfall enhanced with paths and viewing areas that make it easily accessible to all. Though only about an hour’s driving time, the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is often a half-day’s journey, with travelers mesmerized by the spectacular display in the midst of a truly back-country setting. In addition, the historic Mesa Falls Lodge has been restored to its original splendor and is now open seasonally for visitor information.
Quake Lake & Madison River Canyon
On August 17, 1959 several faults in the Madison River area moved at the same time causing and earthquake that triggered a massive landslide. Auto Tour Route visit the many stops along the way. The Visitor Center is located on Highway 87. (406) 646-7369