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Morning sunrise over the foggy Henry Fork River at Harriman State Park

Picturesque Harriman State Park lies nestled amidst the 16,000 acres of a wildlife refuge within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in eastern Idaho. This serene public recreation area features 22 miles of trails, lodging, a popular fly fishing pond, picnic areas, and more 3 miles south of Island Park.

This beautiful area was once owned by the Union Pacific Railroad and used as a private retreat and cattle ranch for the Harriman and Guggenheim families. Today guests love to visit this Idaho state park for a chance to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, fish, boat, bird watch, and spend a few nights inside one of the Railroad Ranch lodgings.

Activities

Harriman State Park offers guests of all ages a unique fun-filled escape from their daily lives. Here you may choose to spend the night in a yurt or inside one of the park’s unique buildings that were once a part of the Railroad Ranch retreat.

And explore miles of trails across wildflower meadows and through the pines for a chance to see moose, elk, and Trumpeter Swans. Summer offers tours of the historic Railroad Ranch buildings and winter a chance to snowshoe, cross-country ski, and more.

Traveling with youngsters? The park features a special Jr Ranger program. Just check in with the Rangers and ask about their Experience Idaho Loaner Backpack program. Each backpack has binoculars, magnifiers, guides and more to educate and entertain.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Harriman State Park:

Boating at Harriman State Park

Enjoy a leisurely day boating on Harriman Pond or paddling along Henry’s Fork. A small boat ramp lies along the pond for guests to put their small craft in. Bring your own or rent one nearby but be aware that motorized boats ae not allowed on the pond.

family of elk grazing at Harriman State Park in Idaho

Hiking at Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park features 22 miles of trails that extend throughout wildflower meadows, marshland, pine forests, and along the river. Some of these trails are maintained during the winter for guests to enjoy.

Here are a few of the trails at Harriman State Park:

  • Ranch Loop – An easy 1.7 mile trail that winds through the park’s historic buildings and then along the shoreline of Silver Lake.
  • Ridge Trail – Moderate to difficult 6 mile trail through the woodlands and up to an overlook with spectacular views of the lakes.
  • John Muir Interpretive Loop – Easy 0.8 mile trail that highlights local fauna, flora, and some history of Railroad Ranch. A wooden bench lies above halfway and offers guests a picturesque view of the river.

Biking at Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park features single track mountain biking trails along the rolling hills, meadows, and pines. The Silver Lake loop offers a moderate ride and a chance to see moose, elk, and many different species of birds.

Horseback Riding at Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park provides access to miles of bridle trails inside the park and in the surrounding open meadows and pine forest. Their concessionaire, Dry Ridge Outfitters, offers horseback riding packages and excursions from Memorial Day through the end of October.

Fishing at Harriman State Park

Don’t forget to pack your fishing gear and pick up an Idaho Fishing License! Harriman State Park, known as “the Ranch” because it boasts some of the best fly fishing around, offers guests opportunities to catch trout, salmon, steelhead, or chinook. Anglers may fish along the bank of the Henrys Fork or from a boat on Harriman Fish Pond. The river may be easily accessed along the River Trail.

Winter Activities at Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park is a fun place to visit during the winter. Here guests may enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat-tire biking, and more across the park’s 24 miles of groomed trails.

Birding at Harriman State Park

Grab your binoculars and follow the Idaho Birding Trail as it leads into Harriman State Park. This serene park follows the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River through pine forests, meadows, marshland, and near Silver Lake. Here you may see eagles, ducks, ibis, osprey, Trumpeter Swans, Amber White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Heron, Common Loons, and the Mountain Bluebird, Idaho’s state bird.

Nature and Wildlife at Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park is not only a wildlife refuge. The park shares a border with the expansive Caribou Targhee National Forest and is near the western edge of Yellowstone. Because of this it is not uncommon to see moose, elk, black bears, Trumpeter Swans, snakes, deer, and many other wild creatures.

Protect yourself by learning more about bear safety, check with the park for current Bear information.

Pets

Because Harriman State Park is a waterfowl and wildlife refuge, pets are only allowed within designated areas. Pets must be leashed and are not permitted on the main trails or inside any buildings, including the yurts.

The Harriman Hounds Trail, a separate trail dedicated for dog owners, leads out into the National Forest.

Camping

Harriman State Park features a variety of overnight accommodations including cabins, bunkhouses, and yurts. Many of the buildings are part of the original Railroad Ranch, once the home to Roland and Gladys Harriman and their ranch managers, cattles foremen, and cowboys.

For larger groups consider:

  • The Railroad Ranch Dormitory & Dining Hall – rustic dormitory style building for groups of 15 to 36 people.
  • Bunkhouse & Cookhouse sleeps up to 13 guests.
  • Laura Clarke Scovel Education Center – 10 cabins for groups of up to 20 guests, plus a conference center and kitchen surrounded by a picturesque courtyard.
  • The Boys House – ideal for groups of up to 75 people and has beautiful views of the river.

And for smaller parties or single families:

  • The Ranch Manager’s House – a fully furnished 4 bedroom log home with a kitchen and living room with stone fireplace.
  • The Cattle Foreman’s House – a rustic 3 bedroom cabin that sleeps 6 and has a kitchen and living room area.

The park’s circular, Mongolian style yurts are available seasonally. Guests may choose between staying lakeside or backcountry (nestled within the woods). Each yurt has beds (sleeps up to 5 guests), tables and benches, and access to vault toilets.

While spending the night inside the park, especially if you are staying in a yurt, be aware of bears and keep your food locked inside a bear proof box or in your car. Rangers live onsite if you should have any problems.

Park Location

Harriman State Park
3489 Green Canyon Rd
Island Park, ID 83429
Phone: 208.558.7368

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Harriman State Park: