Because Island Park is close to Yellowstone, some will simply drive on by or just sleep there and spend all their time in the national park. Those people are missing out on so much! Here are to top 8 things to do in Island Park (in summer and winter)!
Island Park, Idaho is a very special place to Steve. Every year growing up, he and his family would spend a whole week enjoying the area during their family reunions.
So it wasn’t any surprise that early on in our dating he took me to this incredible place so I could see for myself how truly spectacular it really is. Since then, we try and make it back at least once a year either for family reunions or just a day trip together.
Things To Do In Island Park, Idaho
Rent a RZR with Polaris Adventures at High Mountain Adventures:
This was our first time renting a RZR and we are hands down are going to rent every time we go back now! There is so much of Island Park that we were able to see that previously had been left unnoticed due to our lack of 4WD. Do yourself a favor a rent a RZR for the day.
What we loved about our ride was that it was so safe, anybody can feel comfortable riding one, and it created a lasting memory that we will have forever. Polaris Adventures have so many different locations scattered through the U.S. but the location in Island Park is called High Mountain Adventures.
Drive To The Top Of Sawtell Peak
“The Sawtell Peak Scenic Drive is a short, twelve-mile route that climbs to the top of the 9875-foot summit of Sawtell Peak. The route follows a well-conditioned gravel road, called Sawtell Peak Road, between the town of Island Park, Idaho, and Sawtell Summit.” -Bigskyfishing.com
You can either drive up your personal vehicle or take rented ATV to the top. We opted for the later and rode to the top in our open-air ATV. The road (during the summer months) is really well maintained and we saw trucks and cars alike handle the road just fine.
Motorcycle face masks would be a great item to bring with you on this trip if you plan on dirt biking, renting an ATV or even if you plan on bringing up your own motorcycle! The company Hoo-rags offers qualities face masks that you can even wear as neck gaiters, headwraps, scarves, beanies, hat liners, helmet liners in addition to it being a face mask!
Visit Mesa Falls [One of Eastern Idaho’s Best Waterfalls]
Don’t miss this incredible waterfall! What I recommend is parking at Upper Mesa Falls and then taking the short trail on the boardwalk to marvel at this incredible sight. After you’re done there, take the 1 mile trail that leads to lower falls. Trust me, you’ll want to see both of them.
Additional Reading- Check out my favorite waterfall in Eastern Idaho!
Feed the Fish at Big Springs:
My very first time visiting Big Springs I learned that fish love…canned corn! I have no idea. So every time we visit we make sure to grab a couple of cans from the local grocery store and have a good time throwing the kernels in the water and watching the fish go crazy.
These have got to be some of the largest fish that I have ever seen (probably due to the no fishing, swimming rules). This is a place that the whole family would enjoy.
Take a short hike to Sheep Falls:
This hike is relatively unknown and consequently very quiet. You’ll most likely have the trail along with the falls all to yourself when you visit. Follow the instructions below very closely or you’ll get lost like we almost did!
Turn onto Sheep Falls Road from US-20 (you’ll be on sheep falls road for 2.4 miles.) You’ll then arrive at a four way intersection. Park your car to the side of the road and start walking to the left. The trail is about a mile long and for the last 3/4 of the trail you’ll be walking downhill with the sound on the waterfall in the background.
Drive over to Yellowstone National Park:
Obviously, if you are in the area you have to take the short drive over to Yellowstone National Park. In my opinion, one of the best views in the park is at Artist Point.
This spot is known as the Grand Canyon of the West. Our favorite part of the park though has got to be driving around looking for animals!
We’ve been lucky to see many bison, antelopes, different types of birds, and even a wolf once. Here’s a complete 2-Day Guide to this amazing park!
Enjoy a campfire!
If you decide to camp, most RV & Tent campsites include a fire ring or fire pit. You can easily gather fallen limbs and branches or purchase wood for the local gas stations.
If you are staying at a hotel, then you may not have the luxury of having a personal fire pit next to your lodging. However, thanks to the friendless of one of the park rangers, they suggested that people use the Howard Springs Picnic Area if they would like enjoy a bonfire in the evening.
Remember to observe all posted signage and learn about the current fire conditions and restrictions before starting a fire in Island Park.
Drink from the “Fountain of Youth”
Technically not the “fountain of youth”, but it should be with how amazing the water tastes! Located right off the highway, Howard Springs provides fresh, delicious water to all visitors. Park in the small parking lot and fill up all the empty water bottles you can find!
Things To Do In Island Park in the Winter
Soak In A Hot Tub
Although there is not a hot spring near Island Park, you can rent a cabin that has an outdoor hot tub!
Go Snowmobiling in Island Park
You can rent a snowmobile with High Mountain Adventures and enjoy a snowy, snowmobile ride in Island Park. Be safe while driving during the winter because trail and road conditions in Island Park can be dangerous.
Take A Winter Drive
While Steve and I were in Island Park during the winter, we took an afternoon drive one Sunday afternoon along the main roads and it was beautiful! Nothing like frosted trees, frozen lakes, and blue skies.
Where To Stay in Island Park
Island Park Idaho Cabin Rentals & Hotels
When looking for where to stay in Island Park, you have are several options! What I recommend doing is renting a cabin during your trip. These cabins can hold anywhere from 4 people all the way to 20+ guests. Best place to book your cabin is through booking.com to get the best rate.
There are also plenty of options on airbnb! Never stayed in an airbnb before? Here’s a $55 dollar coupon for your booking!
We want to thank Polaris Adventures for the complimentary ride. All opinions remain our own.
Want free travel guides like this one delivered straight to your inbox each week? Then subscribe below to receive our weekly email and get travel tips, tricks, hacks and access to our Freebie Library!