Southeast Idaho: Road Trip on the Water

Technically I drove my way through Southeast Idaho, but I connected all points of interest following the allure of the state’s fresh, natural waters. I found turquoise blue water, naturally carbonated water, and even natural hot springs that seemed to cure every ail imaginable. With a swimsuit and a pair of water-ready sandals, I hit the road.

This article was created in partnership with Southeast Idaho High Country Tourism, Idaho.

Bear Lake

On the lake

I was so excited to explore this bear of a lake by kayak (pun intended!). Seriously, the lake is massive, measuring in at 109 square miles! The water shimmers a turquoise blue thanks to the refraction of limestone deposits in the lake. Bear Lake is commonly referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for the color. Back to kayaking, I was determined! It was a bit windy the afternoon I chose, but that didn’t stop the kind folks at Epic Rentals from outfitting me for the afternoon. They warned about staying close to shore, and I quickly understood why. Even with the breeze, I loved floating over the crystal blue water, mesmerized by the snowy mountains in the distance.

Kayaking on Bear Lake, Utah, near the Idaho Border

Off the lake

Be sure to grab a raspberry shake in Garden City, then head north to visit the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge. In the evening, the birds were quite active. I was lucky enough to see baby geese swimming alongside their mothers, caught glimpses of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, and I even spotted an owl! Detouring to this wildlife refuge was a bit spur-of-the-moment, but I’d highly recommend a visit.

Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Idaho

Soda Springs & Hooper Springs

The world’s only “captive geyser” (Guinness Book of World Records, legit) is in the middle of town in Soda Springs. Geyser eruptions take place every hour, on the hour, shooting carbonated water 100 feet into the sky! Just up the road from downtown is Hooper Springs, another fascinating water stop. There, naturally carbonated water bubbles up from a spring. You could actually mix your own soda if you want! Visiting these sights are a super easy stop on a road trip through southeast Idaho, and totally worth it.

Soda Springs Geyser, Idaho just before eruptionSampling naturally carbonated water at Hooper Springs, Idaho

The Snake River

Wow, this river is simply one of the most scenic rivers that I have been to. Fish, float, or just get near the water to appreciate it. Massacre Rocks State Park near Pocatello is a great place to take in the views of the river, and you can even rent a stand up paddle board (SUP) to take out from there!

Snake River at Massacre Rocks State Park - Near Pocatello, Idaho

Lava Hot Springs

The picturesque downtown of Lava (locals pronounce it LAH-va, as in “LAVender”) has been welcoming visitors for years. On one end of town, super-soakers can indulge in the variety of hot pools. Temperatures in the hot pools range from 104° to 112°F. A few blocks away, Lava claims the only facility of its kind in the Intermountain West, the Olympic Swimming Complex. Swimming lanes, a diving tower, and slides galore will bring enjoyment for the whole family.

Lava Hot Springs, Idaho - Hot Pools Lava Hot Springs, Idaho - Olympic Swimming Complex

While there are several boutique hotels in Lava, I opted for a stay in a yurt down the road at Downata Hot Springs (pronounced “down-at-a”). There are also hot and cool pools there to enjoy, and I loved the down-home, family atmosphere. New in 2019, the resort will be offering covered wagons that you can sleep in. With tipis and a variety of other lodging, Downata is bringing “glamping” to a whole new level!

Downata Hot Springs, Idaho - Glamping, TipiDownata Hot Springs Resort, Idaho - Hot Pools

At the end of my trip I felt rejuvenated, yet still wishing I had more time to explore southeast Idaho. Beyond the dreamy waters I encountered, there were so many other points of interest I couldn’t see. Until next time!

All photos by Emily Sierra Photography.

Southeast Idaho

3 Adventurous Days in Yellowstone

Exploring Yellowstone by car is just fine, but it’s even more enjoyable from the saddle of a horse, front of a raft, or the end of a fly rod! Better yet, combine all activities into the perfect three day vacation. Add in some hot springs, a cowboy cookout, and perhaps a famous huckleberry shake for a truly memorable adventure in northern Yellowstone. Before you pass through the famous Roosevelt Arch into Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, swing by the Flying Pig Adventure Company and gear up for the perfect three days in northern Yellowstone.

This article was created in partnership with Flying Pig Adventure Company, Montana. All photos provided by Flying Pig Adventure Company.

Day 1

Get acquainted with northern Yellowstone from the saddle of a horse. Flying Pig Adventure Company offers rides for all skill and comfort levels, from novice riders to expert horsemen. Meandering through Yellowstone National Park on horseback is a special experience and really encourages riders to slow down and take in the surrounding beauty. Kids and adults alike will love being a Montana cowboy or cowgirl for the day!
After the ride, gather for a true Cowboy Cookout under a mountain pavilion and soak in the gorgeous views over the valley and Yellowstone National Park below. As the sun dips in the distance, dinner aroma wafts from the grill. This extravagant dinner spread provided by the Johnson Family (since the 1930’s!) includes tasty grilled meats and delicious homemade sides. The intimate dinner is a wonderful experience to share with family and new friends. Finally, gather around the campfire and share trail tales of the day over a few s’mores.

Day 2

Your second day of adventure is all about water! First, choose a scenic whitewater rafting trip that fits your adventure agenda. Float eight to eighteen miles on the Yellowstone River, encountering exciting rapids and maybe even spotting wildlife such as bald eagles, osprey, elk and bison! Adventure junkies should sign up for river trips through the end of July as the rapids are much larger. After July, the water is a bit more tame, offering more relaxing rides down the Yellowstone River. Both styles of rafting are wonderful, you just have to decide which style best fits you!
Regroup after your rafting adventure and make way to a nearby hot spring. The best hot springs in the area include the natural Boiling River, Yellowstone Hot Springs (the newest hot spring in the area), and the historic Chico Hot Springs. Soak in the natural mineral waters and recount the day on the river!
Finish the evening with a local bison burger at The Corral, the best burger joint in town–where traditional shakes, malts, fresh cut fries and local meat is the name of the game.

Day 3

Fuel up in the morning with espresso and fresh baked goodies at the Wonderland Cafe–a Gardiner favorite!
Perhaps the best way to explore Yellowstone off-the-road, is with a fly rod in hand. Fly fishing guides cater to all skill levels at Flying Pig Adventure Company. New to the sport of fly fishing? Guides can help you read water and understand crucial techniques as you walk and wade into Yellowstone National Park. Oh, you’re a pro?! Guides can take you to the honey holes where your arms will be sore from pulling in fish all day.
Kick back with a famous huckleberry shake after a day of fishing, and grab a some pizza at Yellowstone Pizza Company. Their upper deck is the ideal place to watch the sun fade in the distance.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8XSXiJd8WA

Idaho Falls, A Welcoming Community

Having just arrived in Idaho Falls I stepped out and looked at the water then down the path. I couldn’t hear her, but I could see her coming towards me.

She was rocking a hot pink helmet and carving back and forth on a skate board of the same color. Directly behind her were two friends pushing along on scooters. The falls in the background provided a gentle hum to the surroundings. Children cruised back and forth while couples strolled hand in hand with the falls acting as the pulse of the city.

This article was created in partnership with Visit Idaho Falls.

Idaho Falls River Walk

Locking my car, I made my way across the street for a bite and drink at Snow Eagle Brewery. With a nice malty brew in hand, it was the perfect place to people watch and take in the surroundings.

The River Walk

Idaho Falls

People of all sorts were enjoying the beautiful views of the River Walk. Wanting to do the same, I finished my beer and followed the flow of water to a free and community-supported Japanese Garden just past the bridge.

This Japanese Friendship Garden is host to the first bridge to span the Snake River in Eastern Idaho.  Organized and maintained by volunteers, the garden provided a peaceful and picturesque view adjacent to the river and the city of Idaho Falls.

Japanese Friendship Garden

With the sun setting, I made my way to the other side of the river. Part of the charm of the town are the activities that surround it.

Walking towards a local watering hole, I spotted a group of dancers exiting a performance hall still halfway in their dress. Past them surrounding the entrance of a bar were dozens of travelers discussing the beer festival that had taken place.

Meeting Friendly Locals

“Yo, Colorado!”

I happened to be wearing a hoodie representing a Colorado brewery when a stranger from the festival noticed.

“Hey! I like your hoodie, I’ve been there!” the new friend exclaimed.

Glad to encounter some familiarity, I engaged him in some brief chit chat: “Right on! How did you find yourself in northern Colorado?”

Taking a swig, he responded, “I’m actually from Idaho Falls, but I’ve traveled working from brewery to brewery. I used to live in Colorado for a bit and tried out all the popular spots.”

“Where are you now, what brought you back?”

“I’m in Utah brewing, but I still call Idaho Falls home. I come back multiple times a year, especially for the brew fest.”

We continued the conversation over beer discussing travel and Idaho Falls. He clearly had an appreciation for the town. It was only my first day here, but I could understand why.

Exploring the Surroundings

Hell's Half Acre

The next morning, I decided to venture out a bit and explore some of the volcanic fields in the area. The place was called Hell’s Half Acre Lava Field.

Don’t be confused by the name; the area encompasses a fair portion of Eastern Idaho. There just happen to be designated points where lava fields are easily accessible for visitors.

After a brief stroll and pictures, I found myself back in Idaho Falls enjoying the breakfast staples at Smitty’s Pancake House. Filled with a mixture of old regulars enjoying coffee and a younger demographic of what seemed like out of town beer-fest attendees, the restaurant was near capacity.

Satisfied, I continued my curious stroll throughout the town. The Riverwalk again acted as a sort of center to my bearing. The morning called to runners and photographers out catching the morning light. As I was making my way towards the museum, a photographer directed a couple to position in front of the falls with proper sunlight illuminating their attire and joy.

Museum of Idaho

A few blocks later I arrived at the Museum of Idaho. The museum was a sort of time machine. Scenes from Idaho’s past had been rearranged to be on display for onlookers. Old relics and stories built up a solid foundation for the roots of the state. Predating Idaho itself, the museum held a special Archimedes interactive exhibit. Two floors of interactive inventions led visitors to learn about old technology and how it has influenced our current state.

Mentally satisfied, I left seeking lunch.

Visitors Becoming Locals

Back towards the river I made my way to Smokin Fins, a popular local eatery.

It was here that things sort of continued to build on themselves.

While looking at the brunch menu a local engaged me in conversation, “You can’t go wrong with the crab eggs benedict.”

“I was looking at that, not too bad eh?” I responded.

“It’s all pretty good, but that’s what I usually get,” he remarked.

After ordering I asked him, “So are you an Idaho Falls local?”

“I am now. I travel from place to place for work, but after I came here I told them I wasn’t going anywhere else.”

Smiling, I nodded.

Idaho Falls seemed to be one of those places. Difficult to leave and when you find it, you never want to be anywhere else.

Idaho Falls Pin

Discover the Magic of Cache Valley, Utah

Oh boy, I definitely remember the first time I descended Logan Canyon and popped out in Cache Valley. I was mesmerized by the geologic stripes running along the canyon walls. When the canyon finally opened, I was looking down on a lush valley. Spires from the Logan Utah LDS Temple reached high, and were set magnificently against the steep Wellsville Mountains to the west. The low-angle sun stretched through the valley, and as I entered Logan I felt a sense of ease. I was very excited to explore the valley with a bit more time this spring: from the outdoors to the cultural heritage of the region.

This article was created in partnership with Explore Logan and the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau, Utah. All photos by Emily Sierra Photography.

Logan Canyon from Wind Caves Hiking Trail - Cache Valley, Utah

Utah? And it doesn’t look like Mars?

Cache Valley is a world away from the red rock desert in the south. The mountain oasis does offer incredible geologic formations, but without the oppressing heat. There are plenty of rivers and lakes to dip in during the summer and eateries and cultural happenings year-round.Cache Valley Visitors Center - Logan, Utah

Get outside

Numerous hiking opportunities, wildlife viewpoints and scenic drives abound.

Take the scenic route

The road through Logan Canyon winds along the river, while trees softly dance overhead. Limestone cliffs tower over the canyon, offering habitat to a wide range of plant and animal species. Caves and other formations are visible along the drive, especially that of Logan Cave which releases a lovely cascade of water reaching for the Logan River. Along the way, there are several pull outs, trailheads, picnic areas and campgrounds. Keep your eyes peeled for informational markers as well, recalling early pioneers and filling you in on details about the scenery around you.

Logan Canyon Scenic Byway - Cache Valley, Utah

Hike to a cave

Wind and water eroded the striking arches that formed the Wind Caves. It’s only a two-mile hike, but it climbs the canyon steeply. Fortunately, dramatic views of the surrounding canyon encourage hikers all along the way. I found myself taking a photo early on, only to catch a better glimpse a short bit higher. This continued until I finally reached the cave! It’s a quick hike, and totally worth the effort for this geologic wonder.

Sunlight and hiking at Wind Caves in Logan Canyon - Cache Valley, Utah

Bike along the river

From my hotel at the University Inn, I could ride my bike down to the scenic River Trail. A new sidewalk along the highway ensured that I never had to pedal alongside cars, and once on the dirt/gravel river trail, I rolled swiftly along. I passed several other groups of trail runners and families enjoying the outdoor air. Getting on the trail was easy, and at less than 10 miles roundtrip, it was an approachable morning bike ride.

Views along the River Trail in Logan Canyon - Cache Valley, Utah Biking on the River Trail - Cache Valley, Utah

Art, culture, history

American West Heritage Center

Step back into the 1800s at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville. Through stationary and interactive exhibits, I came to better understand early pioneer life in Logan and Cache Valley. The center also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year to further engage with visitors. During my visit, I was lucky enough to see baby bison romping around with their herd, as well as a full-blown peacock mating display!

American West Heritage Center Wellsville Peacock Feathers - Cache Valley, Utah

Theatre lovers, unite!

Thespians in Logan joke that if there’s a stage in the area they’ll perform on it, and if there’s not… they’ll perform on it. With more than 10 different performance venues in Cache Valley, there are hundreds of touring and locally produced productions every year. You can catch live music, Broadway shows, concerts and even magic shows. There are three historic theaters in a one block radius of Logan, each with distinctive charm.

Downtown Logan Theatre - Cache Valley, Utah Downtown Ellen Eccles Logan Theatre - Cache Valley, Utah

Modern and contemporary visual art

The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art sits on the hill of the Utah State University Campus. The well-curated exhibits emphasize modern art in the American West, spanning over 5,000 different works of art. While I visited, I particularly fell in love with the musical installation of Klompen. The sculptural installation consists of 96 Dutch wooden clogs that play a different rhythmic pattern each time the sculpture is activated.

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art Logan - University of Utah - Cache Valley

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The inside scoop on Aspen—one of Colorado’s most famous towns

This article was written in partnership with the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Colorado. All photos by Emily Sierra Photography.

Somewhere in the digital age, we lost touch with our ability to connect with locals. My vacation to Aspen reminded me why it’s important to share a smile and maybe even a beer. Local Aspenites were eager to welcome me to their town, and happy to let me in on some secrets—perhaps the biggest being the “secret season”.

Whoa, when is this “secret season”?

Aspen snow is almost as famous as some of the celebrities who frequent the area. Summers teem with wildflowers, but also flocks of people. As you can imagine, autumn in Aspen is spectacular when the namesake trees dance with golden leaves. Spring though, is completely underrated. High peaks glow under a blanket of snow that is slowly melting away, exposing contours on the rugged mountains. So many activities are readily available from skiing (the 2019 season extended into June!) to hiking and paddling on the river. Arts remain vibrant throughout the town, and best of all: no crowds.


The can’t miss outdoor experience from downtown Aspen

Well, I can’t pick one, so I’ll share two. Anytime you can jet into the outdoors sans car, do it!

Hike the Hunter Creek Trail

Begin at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and learn a bit about local plant and wildlife species. Follow Hunter Creek into the hills, and witness the change in flora as you gain altitude. At the very least, remain on the trail until you reach the historic mining cabins. Coupled with history are epic views of the Elk Mountains.


Bike the Rio Grande Trail to Woody Creek

Hands down, one of my favorite activities in the area was renting a bike from downtown and cruising the mellow eight miles down-valley to Woody Creek. For a little extra oomph, rent a pedal-powered, electric bicycle and forget about sweating. Once you get to Woody Creek, belly up for a meal and a margarita at the famous Woody Creek Tavern, complete with funky décor and a million Polaroids plastered to the walls. Oh, and leave the plastic behind—this place is cash only.

emily-sierra-2019-aspen-colorado-aspen-biking-rio-grande-trail-to-woody-creek-5 emily-sierra-2019-aspen-colorado-aspen-woody-creek-tavern-1

Do this in Aspen, for free!

It’s no secret that Aspen is teeming with amazing art. Thanks to Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke’s progressive, art-forward attitude in the 1940’s, Aspen remains a cultural utopia. Beyond the downtown galleries and performing art spaces, the town boasts two completely free-to-visit art centers.

The Aspen Institute

Year-round art and cultural exhibits offer the perfect harmony between art and the outdoors—a wonderful representation of the real Aspen. Purposefully built grass mounds and open spaces encourage visitors to reflect on their surrounding environment. A “permanent” exhibit, Stone River (Andy Goldsworthy), snakes through one of the campus buildings leading to the Roaring Fork River. The Aspen Institute is closed to the public only a handful of days in the year and is the perfect way to enjoy both art and the encompassing scenery.

emily-sierra-2019-aspen-colorado-aspen-institute-1 emily-sierra-2019-aspen-colorado-aspen-institute-andy-goldsworthy-stone-river-1

Aspen Art Museum

Right downtown, you can’t miss the woven facade of the Aspen Art Museum. Galleries of this caliber typically welcome dollars from eager art enthusiasts, though this museum remains a non-collecting institution. Rotating contemporary works decorate the three floors of this museum, and the views from the roof are some of the best in town.

emily-sierra-2019-aspen-colorado-aspen-art-museum-1 emily-sierra-2019-aspen-colorado-aspen-art-museum-3

It all started with a walking tour…

Wandering the streets of Aspen with Dean, a local in the area since 1999, I felt that I was just being shown around by an old friend. There was history here, culture there, and mountain vistas behind everything. Suddenly on our walk, we were surrounded by rock boulders with John Denver lyrics scrolled on them. It felt like we had accidentally stumbled into a lush, peaceful garden where no one else was. Had I never met Dean, I may have completely missed this local wonder, the John Denver Sanctuary. People like Dean and places like this offered me a wonderful perspective on this charming mountain town and the community that thrives there.


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3 Days Exploring Southeast Idaho

Seeking a laid-back road trip? A journey that takes you through the heart of American history while also appreciating natural wonders? Whisk yourself away to Southeast Idaho, where the crowds are few and the attractions are plentiful! Three days is never enough on any vacation, but this itinerary will offer a sampling of the region and leave you yearning for more.

This article was created in partnership with Southeast Idaho High Country. All photos provided by Southeast Idaho High Country.


Throughout your journey in southeast Idaho, you’ll find a range of accommodations, from camping to historic hotels. Vacation rentals are aplenty around Bear Lake, while Lava Hot Springs features cute boutique hotels. Pocatello is the largest town in the area, and certainly has the widest range of accommodations and other traveler amenities.

Day One | Bear Lake, Idaho

Bear Lake is simply enchanting. Known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” the turquoise blue waters of this massive natural lake beckon travelers from around the world. The lake is very family-friendly and offers something for everyone, from adventure-seekers to those looking for a laid back afternoon. Explore the waters on a sailboat, personal watercraft, stand-up paddleboard, rent a kayak, or just simply hang out on the beach.

Bear Lake tourism photos

Off the lake, there are plenty of trails to explore on foot, bicycle, horse and ATV. The golf course offers vistas over the lake and features a fully stocked pro shop and all of the gear you may need. History buffs will appreciate a visit to the Paris Tabernacle Historical Site, offering visitors a glimpse into lives of homesteaders in the Bear Lake region.

Bear Lake tourism photos

Day Two | Soda Springs & Lava Hot Springs

Soda Springs

Unlike Yellowstone, you can actually play in the natural water features and geyser erupting at Soda Springs. A quirky claim, Soda Springs holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s only captive geyser! Barely north of Soda Springs is Hooper Springs, a unique place where naturally carbonated water bubbles from the ground and you can blend your own cola.


The area surrounding Soda Springs has multiple points of interest along the famous Oregon Trail. Those curious, should consider exploring prominent features such as the wagon ruts at the Oregon Trail Golf Club, and Thomas Corrigan Park which is teeming with Oregon Trail sites.


Lava Hot Springs

Travelers adore the cute downtown in Lava Hot Springs. The real reason you’ll want to spend time in this small town is the relaxation at their world famous hot springs. Notably, the waters are free of odors, sulfur and chlorine. Additionally, for those who just can’t get enough, several of the hotels in Lava Hot Springs feature their own pools.


Floating down the Portneuf River through Lava Hot Springs on a raft or tube is popular, and certainly fun for the whole family. More adventurous kayakers should explore the rapids on the Bear River. Note: the whitewater on the Bear River is highly technical and only recommended for expert boaters.

Day Three | Pocatello, Idaho

Adventure seekers will relish the mountain biking possibilities near Pocatello. Over 52 miles of singletrack trails span the hills outside of town, perfect for all riding levels. Within the city, there are several unique attractions and hidden gems such as the Museum of Clean. Just up the road from Pocatello is the renown Idaho Potato Museum. You might also be delighted to try one of the breweries in Old Town Pocatello, or even the world-class sushi restaurant.

Southeast Idaho, Idaho roadtrip itinerary, Pinterest

3 Summery Days in Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory

There is no better place to vacation this summer than Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory. Truly, this place is a paradise for any and all outdoor adventures! Singletrack trails weave through stunning scenery, and in the evening you can curl up next to the campfire. Not to mention killer live music lineups and Friday night rodeos! If you crave water, there’s no better place to play than Palisades Reservoir. With at least a few days, you can begin to enjoy the best of eastern Idaho’s summertime.

This article was created in partnership with Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory. All photos provided by Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory.yellowstone-teton-territory-idaho-island-park-fishing-spring

Lodging in the area

There is a range of accommodation options in the towns scattered throughout Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory. In the summer, you can still enjoy the luxuries of the adorable bed and breakfasts and warmth of the cozy lodges and cabins. Camping throughout the region abounds, and there are too many options to count! Towing an RV? There are multiple RV parks in the area with hookups and extra amenities as well. For a unique stay, consider checking out Teton Valley Resort where you can camp, glamp, stay in a cabin, or even book a tipi!


There are oodles of restaurants throughout Eastern Idaho, but certainly a few notable locations that you can’t miss this summer. In Victor, delight in outdoor seating and finger-licking specialties from Big Hole BBQ. Also in Victor, sip craft beers on the patio at Grand Teton Brewing or devour a famous huckleberry shake from the Victor Emporium downtown. When you swing through Swan Valley, get a scoop of square ice cream from the Rainey Creek Store (yes it’s square, and yes it’s really good!).

Activities – First Day

Boat, float and fish at Palisades Reservoir

Palisades Reservoir claims 70 miles of shoreline. It is picturesquely set in a valley under towering trees and mountains. Summer is an ideal time to recreate on the lake with boating and paddling opportunities. Anglers will love the fishing on this reservoir with bounds of large cutthroat and brown trout, kokanee and mackinaw. Rent boats and other equipment near the lake, and of course take advantage of the numerous camping opportunities around the lake as well.

Activities – Second Day

Flying fishing and bison viewing in Yellowstone Teton

Swan Valley is simply stunning. Flowing through the valley is the south fork of the Snake River, where anglers catch trophy-sized trout. A stay at Hansen Guest Ranch is a great way to explore the valley, providing a wonderful mix of relaxation and adventure. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a bison herd that roams near Hansen Guest Ranch, offering visitors a safe and uncrowded environment to view wildlife.

Stay at a campground that has it all

The Mike Harris Campground lies only 5 miles from Victor. Tucked in the trees and along the Trail Creek, the campsites are perfect for families. Multiple trails are accessible from the campground, granting hikers and mountain bikers hours of fun! Definitely keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as moose and elk in the area, and don’t forget to stop and smell the summer wildflowers.


Catch live music for FREE

Music on Main in downtown Victor boasts diverse music genres on Thursday evenings from late June through the beginning of August. In addition to music, there are several food vendors and a “kids zone” with fun geared toward the youngsters.

Activities – Third Day

Paddle, float and fish the Teton River

The Teton River between Tetonia and Driggs offers a little something for everyone. Kayakers will love the whitewater in the “narrows” section of the river. On the other hand, there is sufficient flat water for those with a paddleboard or an inner tube. There are plenty of river access points, so you can float for an hour or go well beyond.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Idaho without a river… with excellent fishing! Throw some casts on your own, or consider hiring a guide to take you out for the day.

Summer in Driggs

Driggs offers heaps of summer activities for the outdoorsy-minded travelers, and also hosts events throughout summer. Every Friday in the summertime, catch the Teton Valley Rodeo downtown with inexpensive tickets priced at $10 adults/$5 children. Rodeo is a classic example of western culture, and Driggs is definitely a great place to enjoy it!

Photographers and families will relish the Teton Valley Balloon Rally that takes place during the first weekend of July. Rising early each morning and witnessing lift-off of balloon groups is a colorful and breathtaking sight to behold. Tethered balloon rides are also available and participants can even walk inside inflated balloons. The balloon rally will surely inspire visitors for years to come!


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Two Days of Yellowstone Adventures at the Lodges of East Yellowstone

You know you want to finally go on that Yellowstone National Park vacation this summer, but you haven’t set all the logistical details in stone. If you stay at one of the Lodges of East Yellowstone, everything will fall into place and your vacation will actually feel like time off for adventure and exploration. The Lodges of East Yellowstone  are a group of destination lodges between Cody, Wyoming, and Yellowstone with fun and food included.

This story was created in partnership with the East Yellowstone Valley Chamber of Commerce

Day 1: The Ultimate Sunday Drive

Buffalo Bill Cody, Scenic Byway, drive to Yellowstone, Lodges of East Yellowstone

Photo by Emily Taylor

As you drive from Cody toward Yellowstone National Park, you will find the journey to your lodge truly is the destination. Your lodge will be on this route—the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, so your home base will be in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem just off one of the most beautiful highways in the country.

Because Wyoming has so much public land, you can park the car for a break just about anywhere and really soak up the journey. Take a quick hike and soak up the fresh air to start your vacation now. There are plenty of trails right off the road in the Yellowstone area, and it’s a great way to really settle into your Yellowstone vacation. Keep an eye out for wildlife on the trail (or the road)!

Home, Sweet Home

Photos by Emily Taylor

When you arrive at your chosen lodge, check in and get settled. The warm and cozy atmosphere will make you feel right at home. The fresh mountain air, peaceful forest, and clear skies will energize you to start your adventures.

After a day on the road, stretch your legs and to get to know your home base. It’s time for a little Western history lesson, and each lodge has its own unique history. For example, Buffalo Bill’s niece built the one of these lodges in 1910. The first sheriff of Park County, Henry Dahlem, built another. Buffalo Bill himself has a connection to the lodges. What other stories live in these log-sided walls? The Lodges of East Yellowstone aren’t just comfortable accommodations in a beautiful setting; they’re living history. Explore the area and learn about what Yellowstone was like before it became the nation’s first national park.


Photo by Emily Taylor

Planning tip: When you book your home away from home, staff will help you customize your trip to make it the Yellowstone vacation you’ve been picturing. Plan for a night away from the cabin on an overnight horsepacking trip or just an afternoon riding the trails. Book a guide for some world-class, blue-ribbon fishing. Get ideas for the best trails to take with family or for wildlife sightings. Get ideas on the things that can’t be missed in Yellowstone. When you arrive at your lodge, they’ll have everything in order for your complete Yellowstone experience.

Day 2: Full Day of Adventure

Wake up early your first morning in East Yellowstone Valley to take advantage of everything the area has to offer. Guided fly fishing on gorgeous rivers, pack trips, zip-lining through the trees, hiking trails, and guided horseback rides are all right at your fingertips. Commit to one adventure per half day, so you have time to grab a meal between them and maybe take a well-deserved nap in your private cabin.

horse back riding, ziplining, fly fishing, hiking, yellowstone

Photos by Emily Taylor

An appetite for adventure leads to an appetite for good food, so after your morning of fly fishing or hiking, head to one of the lodge restaurants. Classic American cuisine paired with a beautiful, rustic environment will have you lingering over your relaxed lunch. You can also ask your lodge staff for a sack lunch so you can squeeze that much more of the great outdoors out of your Yellowstone vacation.

After lunch, it’s back to enjoying any kind of outdoor adventure you could possibly want. These activities are what make any trip memorable: quality time with friends and family in a beautiful location. Many guests say that horseback riding trips are their favorite memory, and it’s no surprise. The various lodges provide a number of horseback activities to meet your interest and skill level.  You can go for a short afternoon ride after lunch, or maybe this is when you kick off that overnight guided pack trip into the wilderness.

horseback riding, cowboys, river

Photo courtesy of Lodges of East Yellowstone

fly fishing, fishing, river, wyoming, Yellowstone

Photo courtesy of Lodges of East Yellowstone

Wind Down in Comfort and Style

lodge, camping, where to stay in Yellowstone

Photo courtesy of Lodges of East Yellowstone

Cap of your first day of vacation with a hearty meal. With the choice of anything from burgers and steaks to salad and seafood, the only question will be what adventure you’ll burn it all off doing the next day!You can dine inside your lodge restaurant or head outside for one of the best BBQs you’ve ever had. Most lodges offer cookouts, so you can enjoy your meal outside and settle into the evening around a campfire.

Lodges of East Yellowstone - cowboy campfire

Photo by Emily Taylor

Whether you find yourself telling stories around the fire or enjoying the peaceful evening on your porch, be sure to take in the sunset and do some stargazing. After the scenic drive, activities, and incredible meals, you won’t have any trouble sleeping … unless you’re too excited for what the next day of your Yellowstone vacation will bring!

Day 3: Yellowstone National Park

Now that you’ve gotten a personal taste of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the state of Wyoming, it’s time to check Yellowstone off your bucket list. Enjoy breakfast at the lodge, then load up the car—don’t forget that sack lunch your lodge offers—and head into the park.

There are so many magical things to see and do in the Yellowstone National Park, so make a full day of it. When you get back to your lodge, you can put your feet up and reminisce around the campfire, belly full from another great meal prepared by your hosts.

Why stay at the Lodges of East Yellowstone?

where to stay, cabins, glamping

You can’t really beat the location of the Lodges of East Yellowstone. Their proximity to one of the best national parks in the country and access to awesome outdoor activities make them the obvious choice. Stay in the beautiful Yellowstone region you came to see and enjoy authentic experiences of Wyoming all in from one place. Take advantage of having all your amenities in one place (three meals a day, guides, rentals, indoor and outdoor activities, and more) so you can make the most of your Yellowstone vacation.

If you want to connect to the west in a real, authentic way, stay at the lodges of East Yellowstone. With historic roots and Wyoming charm, these lodges are the perfect Yellowstone getaway.

Photo courtesy of Lodges of East Yellowstone


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3 Scenic Spring Days in Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory

Plan to take the scenic route this spring through Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory. The valley comes to life during the spring months, yet it’s still a quiet time to enjoy the national parks. During the spring, a few notable events take place in Eastern Idaho, from the Fisherman’s Breakfast to the Mountain Brewer Beer Festival. With this sample itinerary, enjoy spectacular scenery while still finding a way to play outside.

This article was created in partnership with Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory. All photos provided by Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory.


There is a range of accommodation options in the towns scattered throughout Eastern Idaho’s Yellowstone Teton Territory. From quaint bed and breakfasts and inns, to luxurious lodges and chain hotels–there are offerings for every budget and taste. The Sawtelle Mountain Resort in Island Park offers guests the most bang for their buck. Also in Island Park, stay at the Lakeside Lodge, where sunsets from the water’s edge will take your breath away. For time spent closer to Driggs, scope out the numerous vacation rental options.


The restaurants throughout Eastern Idaho really showcase their local flair. Anglers in Island Park congregate at the Last Chance Bar & Grill in the TroutHunter Lodge. When you make your way to the quaint town of Tetonia, be sure to check out the new Badger Creek Cafe and the revitalized Tetonia Club bar. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth with a root beer float at Frostop in Ashton–you can’t miss the place with their massive mug sign off the highway!


Activities – First Day

Put your toes in the sand

The St. Anthony Sand Dunes offers a playground for kids and adults alike. Fly up and down the dunes on an ATV, or consider renting sand boards for the day. Springtime is a great time to play at the dunes since it’s not too hot yet. Idaho Sand Dunes RV offers a convenient campground for travelers in the area with RV hookups in addition to dry camping. Equipment can be conveniently rented at the dunes from PMS Dune Rentals.


View wildlife…safely

A visit to Yellowstone Bear World is a must-do attraction when visiting eastern Idaho. This unique facility offers visitors an up close encounter with North American wildlife. The mission of Yellowstone Bear World is to “motivate and increase public awareness in the management of natural resources for conservation, education, scientific and recreational purposes”. Visiting and participating in some of the different experiences at Yellowstone Bear World provides meaningful and lasting encounters for the whole family.

Activities – Second Day

Take the scenic route

Idaho is full of scenic drives, but the one that winds to Upper Mesa Falls is lovely, finishing at a roaring plunge that is well worth the journey. If you prefer, take the scenery in from the saddle of your bicycle! Once you reach the falls, feel the rush and beauty at the Upper Mesa Falls viewpoint, but also tackle the short hike to the Lower Mesa Falls viewpoint–it’s worth the walk!


Photo by Steve Smede

…and/or throw some casts!

Spring can be a tricky time for fishing as mountain rivers are raging with snowmelt. Fortunately, the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in Island Park is notoriously one of the earliest rivers to fish! Make the most out of your time fishing in eastern Idaho with the help of guides and outfitters in the Island Park region.


Activities – Third Day

Mosey down a historic rail line

Explore the historic 30 mile Ashton-Tetonia Rail Trail by foot or bicycle. Following the trail from Ashton to Tetonia offers dramatic views of the Tetons the whole way, but may challenge users with an 800 ft. elevation gain. Along the dirt and gravel trail, take in all the historic tidbits including a granary and several bridges and trestles.

Downtown Driggs

Explore the charming downtown of Driggs. Especially if you’re planning to retreat to Driggs for the night, make a little extra time for the shops and businesses downtown.

With spare time, explore Idaho Falls!

Especially if your travels bring you through Idaho Falls, visit two of the state’s quintessential museums: The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho and the Museum of Idaho. The art museum features ongoing and rotating exhibits throughout the year. On the other hand, the Museum of Idaho is a science and natural history museum. The exhibits (many are interactive!) showcase the harmony between science and nature, and are fun and educational for the whole family.


Photo by Steve Smede

Why we love winter in southwest Utah (and you should too!)

“Powder Alert!” In the days leading up to our trip, I am obsessively watching the Visit Cedar City Instagram account, and grinning every time I see this post. Snow has graced southwest Utah beautifully this year and in just a few days we’ll be shredding the pow (please, excuse this overused phrase). Finally it’s Friday, and we’re boarding our flight to St. George for a long weekend of Utah winter adventures.

This article was created in partnership with the Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

Wow, this is just beautiful.

We hop in our rental car and cruise north from St. George, Utah into the tall mountains of southwest Utah. My husband mocks me for not coming up with more synonyms for “beautiful”, as I have declared the scenery to be just that for the entire drive. Red rock sits strikingly amidst white mountains, and it’s hard keep my jaw up.


First stop, Cedar City.

Before we travel too far, we grab lunch at a great sandwich spot downtown–Pastry Pub–which is conveniently around the block from The Grind Coffeehouse. Once we’re properly caffeinated, we mosey across the street to Cedar Sports and fit into some cross-country ski gear.

We twist our way up the mountains, and land in the gorgeous snowscape that is Brian Head. A little further we stop at a gate leading to Cedar Breaks National Monument. While this gate is normally open to traffic en route to Panguitch, it’s closed currently due to too much snow. No problem though, we strap on our skis and glide along, gazing out toward the red rock formations in the monument, giving space to the cliff’s edge as the winds howl in a really-pretty-sort-of-way.

Exhausted, we retreat to our cozy quarters for the weekend at Cedar Breaks Lodge… but only after an authentic indulgence at Sook Jai Thai at the base of the ski mountain. We kick back at the table in our room and play a few hands of cards before finally calling it a night.



Punch it, cookie!

I’m on the back of the snowmobile, urging my husband to go faster! We’re following our guide from Thunder Mountain Motorsports through the trees, kicking powder at every turn. I had no idea snowmobiling could be so fun! Finally we reach a view over Black Bear Canyon at the edge of Cedar Breaks National Monument, and I am awestruck at this snowy Utah winter wonderland.


Seeking a more relaxing afternoon, we roll down the hill back to Cedar City. We scarf down wood-fired pizzas in the hip Centro Pizzeria downtown, then walk off our full bellies by visiting the array of shops and art galleries downtown. Finally we land at the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), currently featuring works of the University’s alum. The mix of art is captivating, and we leave giddy with the new souvenirs from the gift shop. Before the evening sets in, we sample wines at IG Winery and belly up to ribeye steaks at the historic Depot Grill.

The stars guide us back to Brian Head. We finally lay our heads down as the snow falls quietly outside.

cedar-city-utah-downtown-ig-wintery-tasting cedar-city-utah-southern-utah-museum-art-suma

It’s not first chair, but it doesn’t matter.

Many others have already whizzed down the trails at Brian Head Resort, but there is more than enough powder to go around! We mostly stick to the runs at Giant Steps, zipping through chutes, around trees and on wide open terrain. Even for a holiday weekend, we are amazed at how quiet this resort feels. Until last chair at 4:30pm, we find powder and ski until our legs scream for mercy.


The hot tub at Cedar Breaks Lodge rejuvenates our bodies and our spirits, but we are just too tired to venture out for dinner. The restaurant in the Lodge is exactly what we need; a beet salad, fish and chips, and a couple of cocktails. I may have lost at pool that night, but I definitely won overall on the weekend. Brian Head and Cedar City, Utah offer a perfect winter retreat for anyone seeking snow, solitude, and great outdoor action.


With more time, we could have explored the area’s nearby national parks, Zion and Bryce Canyon, though there was still more to explore just in the Cedar City and Brian Head areas. Sigh, until next time, Utah!