Warm Weather Activities
The Island Park area is perfect for any outdoors-man, especially during the warm weather months. Open terrain and scenic surroundings provide a memorable experience. From beautiful lakes and rivers to vast forests and mountains, Island Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities for those looking for extreme adventure or family fun. Here are a few suggestions of things to do in the area while staying at the Southview Lodge.
Boating, Canoeing, Kayaking, Floating
With several boat rental facilities nearby, you may find yourself doing anything from paddle boating on Henry’s Lake to wake-boarding and water-skiing on the Island Park reservoir or even canoeing and rafting down the Snake River. There are ample opportunities to enjoy water sports in the Island Park area. The water is cool and refreshing due to Island Park’s elevation and best boating conditions can be found between early June and early September.
Producing 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. It clear, cool water is home to many animals including moose, muskrat, rainbow trout, ducks, and more. Come view this picturesque spot where you can feed the large rainbow trout and visit Johnny Sack’s cabin. Johnny Sack’s cabin and nearby water-wheel located in Big Springs, Island Park have long been one of the most photographed sites in Island Park. The cabin attracts thousands of visitors each summer interested in the log and stone structure as well as the building’s colorful creator. The cabin is open to the public from mid-June through mid-September, and visitors are invited to visit and see firsthand the unique craftsmanship of one of Island Park’s early settlers.
Camping & Hiking
The Island Park flatland provides wonderful opportunities for those who enjoy camping out underneath the stars. For those who love hiking, trails can found throughout the valley and exploration through much of the territory is welcome. Some areas we recommend for the beginner and experienced hiker are Harriman State Park, River at Bear Gulch, Targhee Creek, Upper Mesa Falls, Aldous and Hancock Lakes, Sheep Falls and Sawtell Peak.
Dirt Biking & Four Wheeling
What better way to enjoy the majestic scenery of Island Park, Idaho than riding a recreational vehicle on designated trails that wind through forests and natural animal habitat. Island Park has hundreds of miles of old logging roads that are perfect for ATV and ORV riders. Near the Southview Lodge, there are several trails to enjoy. Rentals are available for those who do not own ATVs or are unable to bring their own machines.
Fishing & Hunting
Island Park’s preserved wilderness provides world class opportunities for hunters and fisherman alike. The Snake River and Henry’s Fork receive thousands of visitors each year looking to go fly-fishing in this beautiful region. Equipment rentals and guided fishing trips are available for any level of fisherman. Other nearby streams, lakes and the Island Park Reservoir offer wonderful fishing and beautiful scenery.
What better place to go horseback riding but in the wide open spaces of Island Park, Idaho? As many of the other activities available in and around Island Park, Horseback riding will provide you with the opportunity to view beautiful scenery while enjoying the solitude of nature. Evening rides, half-day rides and full-day rides are offered at several nearby locations. If you are looking for a romantic night out for two or a fun family activity, horse riding is a great choice during your stay at the Southview Lodge.
The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is one of the most popular and beautiful sites in Island Park, Idaho. Surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pine trees and wildlife, you don’t want to miss this memorable experience that will take you through the wild of Idaho. In the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the Upper Mesa Falls is a beautiful stop where you can walk along a wood path to get a closer look at the beautiful water as it is cascading down. It is roughly 114 feet high and 200 feet wide. On your way to view the Lower Mesa Falls you can see other beautiful spots perfect for a picnic or just to get out and stretch your legs.
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
If you are into dirt bike riding, dune buggies, four-wheelers, or any other ATV with wheels and an engine, the St. Anthony Sand Dunes is the place to be. These world famous white quartz sand dunes were created by the winds in Idaho carrying sand from nearby river beds. With sand dunes up to 400 feet high and spanning about 11,000 acres, this is the ultimate playground for any off-roader.
White Water Rafting
Island Park offers excellent white water rafting experiences hosted by professionals and are perfect for the beginner or advanced rafter. Individuals looking for scenic sailing or intense rapids will be pleased by Island Park waters. Outfits offering guided trips give you the option of half day or full day excursions.
The road up Sawtell Mountain provides an opportunity for many people to enjoy a drive up from valley sagebrush meadows to an alpine peak with a view of the Island Park caldera, Island Park Reservoir, and Henrys Lake. The peak is dominated by cushion plants, but the best wildflower viewing throughout the growing season tends to be the subalpine meadows along the way that are full of showy, flowering forbs. July and August provide visitors the best opportunities for wildflower viewing. The Sawtell Peak Trailhead is one mile down from the peak and is one of the best trails in the area for wildflower and landscape viewing, for those that would like to leave the car and do some hiking.
Directions: From Idaho Falls, Idaho head north on Highway 20 approximately 85 miles (about 1.5 miles north of Mack’s Inn) to a turn to the west on to Sawtell Peak Road. The road is approximately 13 miles to the top of the mountain and climbs 3,440 feet in elevation.
Safety First: The road is well maintained, but receives a lot of traffic and is a climb. Be sure that you safely park when stopping to view wildflowers along the way and stay mindful that other drivers are on the road. The Peak is at an elevation of 9,866 feet so be prepared for sudden changes in the weather and chilly, windy weather even during the summer months.