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.