Your health and safety are our top priority, and we are committed to providing timely and accurate information to assist you with safe travel decisions for Idaho. Find updates here.
Melynda Harrison worked in partnership with Visit Idaho to create this Travel Tip.

Many people are drawn to Island Park in Eastern Idaho because of its proximity to Yellowstone National Park. While Yellowstone is fascinating, the Idaho area around the park is beautiful and rich with recreational opportunities.

aerial photo of person paddle boarding on river
Ready for an adventure? Photo credit: Melynda Harrison. .

From auto touring to fishing, mountain biking to off-road driving and more, there is no shortage of adventures in Island Park.

  • When looking to camp in Island Park, be sure to set aside a day or two (or a week or two), to fish the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and Henry’s Lake. It’s some of the best trout fishing in the world.
  • At Macks Inn, sign up for the river shuttle and then kayak, canoe, or raft from Big Springs back to Mack’s Inn, spying moose, ospreys, eagles, and other wildlife as you float.
  • Island Park Reservoir and Henry’s Lake offer boating, water skiing, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and wildlife watching. There are trails for hiking and biking.
  • ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and UTVs (Utility Terrain Vehicles) are popular for riding the dirt roads and trails that lace through Island Park.
  • Upper and Lower Mesa Falls crash over ancient volcanic ash and create a spectacle worth seeing.
  • Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are within a 30 min – 2 hour drive, depending where you are in Island Park.
  • After a day outdoors (or perhaps in lieu of one) kick back on the deck of a restaurant, sip a cocktail or craft beer, and watch ospreys catch fish in the Henry’s Fork.
people fly-fishing in a river
Find great fishing access at Riverside Campground. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Most campgrounds in this guide sit on or near the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River or on a lake. Fishing, floating, and ATV/UTV riding is possible from almost every campground.

Check campground websites before going as opening and closing dates can change from year to year. And if at all possible, make a reservation to ensure your spot. The campgrounds noted below can be reserved unless otherwise noted.

camper in amongst trees at big springs campground
Big Springs Campground. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Idaho State Parks

Henry’s Lake State Park

Henry’s Lake is considered one of the best fisheries in the West and is thus popular with anglers. There are also hiking and biking trails, kayak rentals, a Junior Ranger program, and great stargazing opportunities at this site.
Location: 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance off Highway 20.
Sites: 83 serviced sites, 3 cabins (one ADA), 3 designated ADA campsites.
Amenities: Boat ramp, accessible, dump station, electric and full hookups, picnic tables, vault and flush toilets, showers, drinking water.
Open Dates: Thursday before Memorial Day – October 31st, weather permitting.

Private RV Campgrounds

Valley View RV Park and Campground

This is the closest RV park to Yellowstone’s West Entrance in Idaho. It’s also close to Henry’s Lake State Park and has a gas station and convenience store on the premises.
Location: 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance.
Sites: 78
Amenities
: Laundromat, rec room, wifi, big-rig friendly, 30 and 50 amp at every site.
Open Dates: Mid-May – September.

Red Rock RV Park

If you are looking for a little quiet, this RV park fits the bill. It’s off the main highway and at the edge of a forest. It’s close to Henry’s Lake and Yellowstone National Park.
Location: South of Henry’s Lake State Park.
Sites: 90
Amenities: Laundry, playground, full hookups (20/30/50 amp), large pull-through sites, wifi, games, ATV/UTV trails.
Open Dates: Mid-May – September.

Yellowstone RV Park at Mack’s Inn ​​​​​​​

A forest of pine trees makes Yellowstone RV Park feel woodsy, but it’s conveniently located near Highway 20 and Mack’s Inn (hotel, restaurants, raft/kayak rental). As a bonus, the sites are roomy.
Location: At Mack’s Inn.
Sites: 70
Amenities: Laundry, showers, full hookups (20/30/50 amp), wifi, playground, outdoor games, ATV/UTV trails.
Open Dates: Late May – September

rv campground with camp trailers
Yellowstone RV Park at Mack’s Inn. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

National Forest Campgrounds

Big Springs Campground

The campground is surrounded by trees near Big Springs National Natural Landmark — the headwaters of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River — and the Johnny Sacks Cabin. Campers can feed huge trout in Big Springs (no fishing allowed), walk a nature trail, access a boat launch, and explore the Johnny Sacks cabin (when open).
Location: From Mack’s Inn, turn east on the Big Springs Loop Rd. Travel 4.5 miles to the campground.
Sites: 15 single campsites, group site for up to 40 people
Amenities: Accessible vault toilets, drinking water, trash collection. 30-amp electricity is available for a fee.
Reservations note: First-come, first-served for single sites.
Open dates: Around Memorial Day – Labor Day.​​​​​​​

family in front of big springs
Big Springs has incredibly clear water. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Flat Rock Campground

The Flat Rock Campground is close to the highway but feels farther away as it is tucked into the trees. Loop A is closer to the Henry’s Fork where there is great fishing. This is a good campground for people who are more interested in being centrally located to activities and restaurants than those looking for a wilderness experience.
Location: 100 yards off Hwy 20 across from Mack’s Inn.
Sites: 37 single units and 1 double unit.
Amenities: Drinking water, vault toilets, and picnic tables.
Reservations note: Some sites are first-come, first-served.
Open dates: Late May – mid-September.

picnic table with river view at developed camp site
Upper Coffee Pot Campground. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Upper Coffee Pot Campground

Moving down the Henry’s Fork, Upper Coffee Pot is a quiet campground along the river. All sites have a river view and some are adjacent to the river.
Location: US 20 to Forest Road #130. Turn west for two miles to the campground.
Sites: 13 single units and 1 double unit.
Amenities: Picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water.
Open dates: Late May – September.

McCrea Bridge Campground

Situated on the north end of the Island Park Reservoir, McCrea’s Bridge Campground had good fishing and a boat ramp to access Island Park Reservoir.
Location: From Highway 20 south, turn right (west) at the Elk Creek Service Station, travel two miles to the campground entrance.
Sites: 19 single units and 4 double units.
Amenities: Boat ramp, picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water.
Open dates: Late May – September.

mom and child in hammock with river in background
McCrea Bridge Campground. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Buttermilk Campground

The campground sits on the shore of Island Park Reservoir and offers good access to the reservoir and all the activities there. The five boat docks and concrete landing ramp look across at an island with large houses. Diving and waterskiing from the docks are prohibited.
Location: Turn right on to the Yale – Kilgore Road across from the Elk Creek Gas Station on Highway 20. Either drive about 1/2 mile and turn left or go 2 miles and turn left onto the Buttermilk Loop Road. Buttermilk Campground is at the bottom of the loop.
Sites: 47 single sites, 6 double sites, and 1 group site.
Amenities: Accessible, boat ramp, fee for some activities, picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water.
Reservations note: Some sites are first-come, first-served.
Open dates: Late May – September.

Buffalo Campground

Buffalo is a popular campground on the flat, shallow Buffalo River. Floating and fishing are both good here. It’s close to the Island Park Reservoir, Pond’s Lodge, and Elk Creek.
Location: On the east side of Highway 20 across from Ponds Lodge.
Sites: 117 single units, 4 double units, and 1 group site. Some sites have power hookups.
Amenities: Picnic tables, vault and flush toilets, drinking water.
Reservations note: Some sites are first-come, first-served.
Open dates: Late May – September.

Box Canyon Campground

The Box Canyon section of the Henry’s Fork is known for big trout (catch and release only in this section) and Class II rapids. The small campground sits on a ridge above the river. There is a three-mile trail that leaves from the campground and follows the canyon ridge.
Location: On the west side of Highway 20, one mile south of the Island Park Ranger Station.
Sites: 16 single and 2 double units.
Amenities: Picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water.
Reservations note: First-come, first-served.
Open dates: Late May – September.

small tent and picnic site at developed camp site
Box Canyon Campground. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Grandview Campground

This tiny campground sits on the ridge overlooking a canyon and adjacent to the overlook for Lower Mesa Falls.
Location: Adjacent to Lower Mesa Falls viewing area and one mile south of Upper Mesa Falls.
Tent sites: 7 single and 1 double site.
Amenities: Accessible, picnic tables, vault toilet, drinking water.
Open dates: Late May – September.

Riverside Campground

As its name implies, this campground sits on the banks of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. There is a boat ramp and great fishing.
Location: Three miles south of Harriman State Park. Turn right on Riverside Campground Road and go 1.2 miles.
Sites: 55 single units, 1 double site and 1 group site.
Amenities: Boat ramp, picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water.
Open dates: Late May – September.

small tent at campsite in the trees
Riverside Campground. Photo credit: Melynda Harrison.

Warm River Campground

Warm River Campground is located on the banks of the Warm River, a slow-moving river popular for tubing and fishing. It is at a lower elevation than most of the other Island Park campgrounds and can be warmer and drier. There are many hiking and biking trails in the area, including the 30-mile Warm River Rail-Trail.
Location: From Ashton, Idaho, drive northeast on Highway 47 to Warm River. Turn right on Fish Creek Road and continue 0.25 miles to the campground.
Sites: 13 single sites, 2 double sites, 1 group site and 13 tent sites.
Amenities: Picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water.
Reservations note: Some sites are first-come, first-served. Others can be reserved.
Open dates: Early May – September.

There are a lot of options for where to lay your head on the west side of Yellowstone. Whether gazing at the stars through the mesh of a tent or a skylight in an RV, camping in and around Island Park is sure to be a vacation you won’t soon forget.

Feature image credited to Melynda Harrison.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Melynda Harrison writes about travel and outdoor family adventure at TravelingMel.comYellowstoneTrips.com, and many local and regional publications. When she’s not behind a laptop, you can find her cross-country skiing, hiking, or floating a river.

Published on June 22, 2021