What to do in Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park lies in the heart of a 16,000-acre wildlife reserve in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This sanctuary protects a diversity of birds and mammals similar to those living in nearby Yellowstone National Park.
In 1902, several officials of the Oregon Shortline Railroad and other investors purchased what is now Harriman State Park. Called the “Railroad Ranch,” the property was the private retreat of the Harrimans of Union Pacific Railroad fame and the Guggenheims, then prominent in copper.
The rich wildlife habitat has been preserved since the turn of the century when the owners established a private hunting reserve and working cattle ranch. For 75 years, the ranch maintained healthy game, waterfowl and fish populations, allowing today's park visitors to observe a rare concentration of wildlife in its scenic, natural surrounding.
Twenty-seven of the original Railroad Ranch buildings, from the cookhouse to the horse barn, are still intact, furnished and carefully maintained.
Although camping is not available, the group facility is open year-round. It is perfect for overnight church outings, family reunions and ski weekends with friends.
If you're looking for a little more privacy for your small group, how about renting the original Ranch Manager's House or the Cattle Foreman's House?
For those who want to be close to the action, summer or winter Harriman now has yurts available.
Meandering nine miles through park meadows and forests, the Henrys Fork of the Snake River flows gently year-round, because of warm springs in the area. One third of the Rocky Mountain trumpeter swan population winters here. Trumpeter swans are the largest of North American waterfowl and the world's heaviest flying bird. The fly fishing on this stream is world famous.
During the summer there are regular tours of the Railroad Ranch buildings. Fishing, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking are other ways to experience the beauty of the area. Don't forget to bring your camera. There are breath-taking wildflower displays in the sage meadows and pastureland which dominate the landscape. Visitors often see elk, deer and moose, particularly in the morning and evening. The views of the Tetons are spectacular.
When winter comes, grab your cross-country skis. You can ski to the warming house—open on weekends—and look out over the Henrys Fork to watch bald eagles and trumpeter swans.
Eighteen miles north of Ashton on US 20/191
The climate in Idaho varies with the elevation. The bottom of Hell's Canyon, Boise and other locations at low elevations receive hot summer weather. Temperatures at these elevations often reach 90 degrees or more during the summer months. At the same time the mountains will get mild temperatures with cool nights. Winters are just as extreme with the mountains experiencing extreme conditions and temperatures. An average of 500 inches of snow falls on the Idaho highlands. Temperatures are known to dip below zero degrees F on many winter nights. The lower elevations enjoy a more mild winter season with less precipitation than the mountains. The sun is a constant throughout the year. Be sure to wear sunscreen and layered clothing in Idaho's unpredictable weather.
3489 Green Canyon Road
Island Park, ID 83429
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Harriman State Park Travel Q&A