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Mesa Falls – Upper and Lower – Idaho
1
Overview
Location

Ashton, Idaho

Sights

2 large waterfalls

Distance

Short walk on a paved trail with stairs.

Parking Lot Elevation

5729 ft

Summit Elevation

N/A

Elevation Gain/Loss

Not much

Time Required

<1 hour

Pets

Allowed

Fees

5$ per car. $1 motorcycle or bike, $25 tour bus.

Water Info

Bring a water bottle if needed. There are stairs but it is very manageable

Best Season

Late spring, summer, early fall

Hours

Open year round

Sun Exposure

Lots of shade

Trail Condition

Paved trail

Restrooms

At Visitor Center

Visitor Center

Yes

Camping

Yes

Food

Bring snacks if needed.

Equipment

Bring camera

GPS Coordinates

Trailhead: 44°11’15.89″N, 111°19’40.40″W


The Trail:

You access the falls from Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. This is a beautiful drive and the whole road take about an hour. You can access it from Ashton or Island Park, Idaho. I usually go from the Island Park side to add some scenic views to my ride home from Yellowstone. This is about a ten minute walk on a paved trail with stairs. It is pretty easy and a fun little nature trail. It is suitable for most kids and most anyone not in a wheelchair. My guess would be that you will lose and regain less than 100 feet of elevation. There are two large waterfalls here and you will park in different signed areas. You will have to pay a small National Forest use fee. The river here begins near Island Park at Big Springs. The first fall if coming from Island Park will be Upper Mesa Falls. Upper is 110 feet high and 200 feet wide. Due to the constant nature of Henry’s Fork the water here flows pretty constant year round making it popular in every season. Even in winter it is a popular stop for snowmobiles. This waterfall is spectacular. Its one of the best you can find anywhere and its located in gorgeous lush narrow canyon with amazing views.

Hike back to your car and about a half mile down the road is the parking for Lower Mesa Falls. This is about a 2 minute walk to the lookout. This waterfall is 85 ft. tall. This one is very popular with kayakers and isn’t as big as the first but still very worth the walk.

As you continue on toward Ashton keep an eye out for wildlife. There are often deer and moose visible from the road.

Toward the end of the road you will be awarded with pretty distant views of the Tetons! It was smoky the day we visited so good photos were hard to come by but you can clearly see Grand Teton, and Mount Moran.

Here is short video of the falls:

Personal Thoughts: 

This is a great 1 hour side trip if you are in the Island Park or Yellowstone area. Its very pretty and very green. The crowds even in July weren’t overwhelming at all and the shade and mist from the falls make it a fairly cool walk. I recommend it to anyone in the area.

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Ratings (out of 10)
Trek Planner Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Difficulty
2.0
2.2
Technicality
2.0
1.9
Enjoyment
7.0
9.9
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek.  If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

7.0
Trek Planner Rating
4.7
User Rating
2 ratings
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About The Author
Josh1990
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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[…] Natural Landmark. It is the headwaters for the Henrys Fork River, which downstream produces Mesa Falls. Big Springs is one of the 40 biggest springs on earth. The springs maintain a 52 degree […]

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