Home Page
Home Page

In the summer, Island Park is a destination city for anglers looking to catch trophy trout or families vacationing at resort ranches.  Others may come to ride horses, hike or bike in the mountains or camp next to a stream or lake.  Many come to see the Bald Eagles, grouse, Sandhill Cranes, songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, large and small mammals and wildflowers.

In the winter, the area is a wonderland.  The forest has over 500 miles of snowmobile trails and groomed trails for snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. 

Thousands of travelers from all over the world come every year to enjoy this picturesque land.  Many have second homes and come more frequently.

Numerous hospitality businesses—including lodges, restaurants, resorts, motels, lounges, ATV and snowmobile rental and other retail businesses—line the city’s 36.8-mile Main Street.  However, just outside of Main Street’s narrow commercial corridor is a broad expanse of beautiful scenery and open spaces.

The 11,000-acre Harriman State Park and Wildlife Refuge is a haven for a variety of waterfowl, elk, deer and moose.  Eight miles of the famous fly-fishing stream, Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, flows through the park.  The park also has over 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.  Some of the historic Railroad Ranch buildings are available for tours and lodging.

Henry’s Lake State Park offers campfire and Junior Ranger programs.  There are 44 sites for camping and several camping cabins next to the 6,000-acre lake.  Anglers fish for cutthroat, brook and rainbow trout.

Mesa Falls Scenic Byway starts six miles south on State Highway 47.  The Mesa Falls Recreation Area has a visitor’s center in the historic lodge near Upper Mesa Falls.  Both Upper and Lower Mesa Falls have trails and picnic areas.   

The north end of the city is 14 miles from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Island Park Caldera, in which the city is located, is 18 by 23 miles in diameter. Perhaps half a million years ago the roof of the volcano’s magma chamber collapsed to form the caldera. Centuries of erosion have obscured much of the caldera rim. However, the south and west rim of a 1,200-foot scarp is still visible at Big Bend Ridge.

The Island Park Dam is located a mile west of the city.  The dam, built in 1937 at the head of Box Canyon, forms the 8,400-acre Island Park Reservoir.   The dam provides hydroelectricity and irrigation water for the lower Snake River Plain.  The reservoir is a popular place for camping, fishing and water skiing.

The St. Anthony Sand Dunes are 50 miles southwest.  These dunes cover an area 35 miles long and up to five miles wide.  The height of the dunes themselves range from 70 to 365 feet—a height greater than the dunes in Death Valley, California.

Other locations with unique natural features include Big Springs located northeast of the city.  Big Springs has a continuous flow of 92,000 gallons of water a minute and is the primary water source for the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. The flow of spring water from Big Springs to Mack’s Inn is on the National Water Trail. Big Springs is also home to the Johnny Sack Cabin and Waterwheel.  This 1935 vintage home is on the National Register of Historic Places with examples of Johnny Sack’s artful methods of using bark in the construction of furniture.   

Four historic byways are near the city—Fort Henry Historic Byway, Lost Gold Trails Loop, Nez Perce Historic Trail and Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owns the 1,600-acre Flat Ranch.  The ranch has a visitor center where TNC hosts educational programs about the area’s natural resources.  In addition, several ranches near Henry’s Lake are under conservation easements that prohibit development.

Economy and Major Employers

The hospitality and real estate industries underpin the city’s economy.   Several resorts and lodges, with fewer than two dozen employees each, provide a variety of accommodations for tourists including restaurants, cabin and condominium rentals and RV parking. They provide supervised float and horseback riding trips and fly-fishing guide services. In the winter, they rent snowmobiles and winter gear and conduct guided tours. 

There are working cattle ranches nearby that have accommodations for tourists.  Patrons of these ranches can watch the cowboys do their jobs, participate in cattle drives, ride horses, fish or just relax.

Many visitors are fly-fishing enthusiasts who come to fish on the famous Henry’s Fork of the Snake River or many of the other nearby streams and lakes.  For the skilled fly-fishing man or woman, the city has specialized fishing equipment shops and expert guides.

The real estate market primarily involves part-time residents acquiring second homes.


Home | Meeting Information and Agendas | Planning & Zoning Current Meeting Agenda | City Council Meeting Minutes | Planning & Zoning Meeting Minutes | Applications/Forms | Elections | Tourism | Local Business Listings | Important Information | Contact Us | Disclaimer | City Officials | City Departments | Public Hearing Notices | Comprehensive Plan-2014 | Development Code 2023 | City of Island Park Cemetery
Government Websites by Catalis