8 Adventures You Need To Do This Winter

in East Idaho

East Idaho is known as the Gateway to Yellowstone with breathtaking natural attractions, action-packed ski resorts, and sweeping snow-packed valleys for snowshoeing, fat tire biking and some of the best snowmobiling in the country. To get your winter vacation planning started, here’s eight adventures you can do with the kids in 72-hours.

What to Do

Day 1

Snowmobiling in Island Park

Serious snow-covered, family adventure awaits in Island Park. This recreation area sits just 30 miles from Yellowstone’s west entrance, and is touted as, “one of the best-groomed snowmobile trail systems in the world.” Explore over 950 miles of groomed trails and give your kids the chance to see a variety of Idaho wildlife and terrain.

Island Park is one of the most versatile snowmobiling destinations in the state, with terrain suitable for all snowmobiling styles including boondocking, hill banging, and steep and deep. Make sure that if you are planning on riding in this area that your snowmobile is registered with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation on or before November 1 of each year.

You can also plan trip with one of the outfitters in the area. Check out the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association or the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board to find the right outfitter for your trip.

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Day 2

Fat Tire Biking and Snowshoeing in East Idaho

Fat bikers and snowshoers rejoice, East Idaho is your personal paradises! Hundreds of miles of groomed trails, easy accessibility, a wide variety of terrain, and plenty of snow make this area of the best places to fat bike and snowshoe in the Gem State.

For those of you new to fat biking or snowshoeing, just keep these tips in mind when packing for you and the kiddos: Dress warmly, but dress in layers so you can peel them off once you get moving. Carry a pack with a pump, basic bike tools, snacks, and water. Pack a ski helmet for warmth and safety, and wear warm gloves, hiking boots, and ski pants to make sure no one gets too cold. You can find bike rentals for you and the kids at Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in Victor and snowshoe and Nordic ski rentals at Peaked Sports in Driggs.

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Snowshoeing and Fat Biking in Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park is a premier Nordic skiing, fat biking and snowshoe area with over 25 miles of groomed trails. The diversity of Harriman offers a little something for every skill level and every age. The park is one of Idaho’s most popular summer destinations and is much quieter in winter. But those who journey here know, the views are even more inspiring topped with a blanket of snow. This prime winter playground is accessible with a vehicle entry fee and a winter access fee. For details click here.

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Day 3

Memory Lanes on the Scenic Byway

Eastern Idaho is in no short supply of natural beauty. This beautiful chunk of the state has it all: waterfalls, jagged mountains, scenic byways and massive amounts of wildlife. Take a drive along the Teton Scenic Byway and take a family photo in front of the staggering Tetons, a quick snapshot of you and your loved ones bundled up in a winter wonderland is sure to spark conversation at your next family get-together.

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A Howling Good Time

Journey to Ashton to see the longest running dog sled race in the lower 48. The American Dog Derby began in 1917 and has transformed over the years into a two-day event that takes over Ashton’s Main Street. Teams from Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and even Canada travel to compete here. The kids will get to see third generation mushers, former Iditarod racers, and even junior mushers whip through the snow. It’s all serious business, served up with a smile and a side of friendly competition.

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Additional East Idaho Adventures

If you’re looking to stay in East Idaho for a few more days, check out this list of other winter activities:

Option 1: Ski and Snowboard at Grand Targhee Ski Resort

Stop by Grand Targhee right outside of Victor for a powder-filled adventure. This ski area receives over 500 inches of annual snowfall guaranteeing incredible powder skiing, backcountry cat-skiing, and Nordic options. Taking the kids here will be a breeze - enjoy short lift lines and views of the Grand Teton Mountains. Lessons are available for all ages, as well as ski, snowboard, and helmet rentals.

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Option 2: Ski and Snowboard at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort

Kelly Canyon Ski Resort lies between the Teton Valley and the Snake River and is a quick 30-minute drive northeast of Idaho Falls. Locals describe Kelly Canyon as an ideal place to learn how to ski and snowboard. The mountain has four double chairs and one surface lift that leads to over 50 snow-packed runs. Lessons are available for all ages, as well as ski, snowboard, and helmet rentals.

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Option 3: Glide Over the Snow in Victor

Experience something wild this winter at Linn Canyon Ranch. Be sure to fuel up with a warm cup of hot chocolate or cider before you head out, then grab a blanket and bundle up for your front-row seat in this winter landscape. As your sleigh glides through snow-covered fields set against the Teton mountain range, you might come across some of the local wildlife who call this canyon home. Back at the lodge, it's appetizers and drinks as you warm yourself by the fire in anticipation of a splendid gourmet dinner to come. You can request a reservation at Linn Canyon Ranch by clicking here.

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How to Get Here

By Air

Choose to fly into Pocatello Regional Airport (PIH) or Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA), the latter will drop you right into the middle of all the action and will be your hub for winter adventure. There are several airline options for trip planning: Allegiant, Delta and United.

By Car

Families driving to Eastern Idaho from the south will pass through the Oregon Trail - Bear Lake Scenic Byway, or head straight through from Salt Lake City on Interstate 15. Those coming from the north, in Montana, can head down Interstate 15 or Highway 20, through Henrys Lake State Park to Island Park. From Island Park, you’ll have the option of driving through the Fort Henry Historic Byway or Lost Gold Trails Loop.

What to Pack

  • Bring lots of layers!
  • Comfy Footwear (and extra socks).
  • Eyewear (sunglasses or goggles).
  • Camera to capture family fun.
  • Binoculars to spy on Idaho wildlife.
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm.
  • Safety gear if you don’t plan on renting.
  • Lots of snacks for the kiddos!
  • A small first-aid kit catered to your personal needs.
  • Download the 511 app or call 5-1-1 while traveling for the latest information on Idaho winter road conditions.

Where to Stay

Looking for a place to stay in Eastern Idaho? Whether you prefer boutique lodging, hotels or upscale suites, our guide for places to stay will help you find the perfect place to rest your head.

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