The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (ID 47) is a 29 mile road that runs east of US 20 and connects with US 20 at both ends, Ashton, ID on the south end and 9 miles south of Island Park, ID on the north end. The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway also intersects the Teton Scenic Byway just east of Ashton and both are great roads to ride.
The Henrys Fork River runs through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and is a tributary to the Snake River. The river cuts through the basalt rock and surrounding landscape to create two eye-popping waterfalls.
We took US 20 from West Yellowstone to Island Park where we stopped for breakfast at Pond's Lodge in Island Park. The restaurant/gas station is a nice establishment with friendly service. The log siding building is charming and it has sportsman decor. More importantly they served a great breakfast.
The trophies on the wall watch over the customers
My son and I enjoyed huckleberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. These were our first huckleberry pancakes and they were delicious. The eggs and hash browns were great. All the others in the group left with full stomachs, so I guess you can say we were satisfied.
Heading south away from Island Park we turned east on ID 47 a.k.a. Mesa Falls Scenic Byway and rode 13 miles to the entrance of the Mesa Falls area. The road and parking lot are well paved. There are restrooms, a visitor center, a gift shop, boardwalks and a viewing platforms. The park is well maintained. Fees are $1/ motorcycle $5/car. Access to view the Lower Mesa Falls is from the Grandview Campground.and Overlook.
Upper Falls in the morning sunlightThe Upper Falls is 114 feet high and 300 feet wide (the Upper Yellowstone Falls is 109 feet). The roar of the falls can be heard long before it is seen. The morning sunlight and spray from the falls create an impressive rainbow. The spray creates a lush ecosystem on the side of the canyon below the forest. The secluded area was peaceful and crowd free. We saw various birds including an osprey and wildflowers.
We thought this rock at the base of the Upper Falls looked like a bear.The falls are the last two major undisturbed waterfalls in Idaho. Most have been used for irrigation or hydroelectric projects. The pristine wilderness around the falls is a hikers paradise, although grizzly bear are in the area. There is a one mile hiking trailing from Upper Falls to Lower Falls. The trailhead is located at Upper Falls between the two parking lots on the east side.
The river heading toward Lower Falls.
Lower Falls is not as high, but it sure is beautiful. Notice the hiking trail on the edge of the canyon.
When you are visiting Yellowstone taking some time to visit the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls well be very rewarding not to mention you will encounter a lot less congestion.