The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway in Eastern Idaho

 

The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is a short drive down Hwy 20, just west of Yellowstone National Park in Idaho,  It begins in Ashton, Idaho and is approximately 16 miles through the Targhee National Forest to reach the Upper Mesa Falls. An impressive drive with stunning waterfalls and beautiful surroundings along the Henry Fork.

As you begin your drive on a very winding road the first thing you will pass is the Warm River Bridge area.  Stop and take a walk to see otters, bald eagles and other birds or maybe try a little trout fishing.  The drive continues through two canyons, the Warm River Canyon and the Henrys Fork Canyon. I saw a few deer passing through here and the wildflowers were colorful blankets on each side of the road for miles.  After approximately 14 scenic miles you will finally reach the Lower Mesa Falls, which drops about 65 feet. There are several overlooks for viewing and to get a few great camera shots of the falls. 

 

From here, a one mile trail leads you to the Upper Mesa Falls.  Once you reach the falls you have several platform areas for close up viewing and to take more great photographs. The falls are 114 feet tall and 200 feet wide. The average water volume is 387 million to 967 million gallons a day.  The falls may not be as big as others you may have seen but it has a beauty all its own and is still very splendid.  In the second picture below to the right, you can see the platform area and  how close you actually get to the falls.

This is a peaceful place to take a hike or have a picnic and just enjoy the scenery and watch the birds. Plenty of wide open spaces for the kids to roam too.  The Mesa Falls visitor center shows exhibits on area geology and fauna.  You can continue north on the Byway back to Hwy 20, this will be about 30 miles total. So if you’re visiting Yellowstone take a few hours and don’t miss this picturesque location.

TIP: You will need to bring your own snacks and drinks.

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45 comments

  1. There was no mis-leading us with the heading, this really is a scenic byway! Stunning, and as for the rainbow and waterfall photo, now I’m just too jealous! Great post, will definitely be doing this when I visit Yellowstone so thanks for sharing.

  2. When I ever get to Yellowstone, I will make sure to check this out! These photos are gorgeous! I would be an awesome drive with some hiking and a picnic as a reward. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow that’s stunning! We are planning a road trip through the US for next summer and will definitely include this stop on our way to Yellowstone, thanks a lot for sharing Lisa!

  4. I was surprised how beautiful the area is! Definitely of the beaten track and definitely worth visiting. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Lovely place to hike! Your pictures are gorgeous and I’m so glad you caught the rainbow in a few. Idaho (and Iowa) are HIGH on my USA bucket list so hoping to see this terrain in person very soon.

  6. Looks like you found a little treasure here, such a chilled out spot! I won’t be in Idaho anytime soon but I’m always bookmarking picnic spots for when I eventually travel to various places – there’s nothing I like more than lunching outdoors! 🙂

  7. Just off Highway 20, quite accessible then. Thanks for the tip! We go to Idaho often because one of our children lives there.

  8. I have to be honest – Idaho was never a place I had thought for a visit to the States. That natural scenery is beautiful though. I guess Mesa Falls gets overshadowed by Yellowstone a bit, right?

    1. Hi David, I think your right about being overshadowed by Yellowstone. Idaho has some beautiful areas, this one really surprised me.

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