Updated: May 28, 2020
I recently had the opportunity to shoot some photos of the Sawtelle Mountain Resort in Island Park, Idaho. The resort is situated off the main road which bisects Island Park, about 20 minutes away from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The area is a year-round playground, ideal for adventure seeking families or solo travelers alike.
The Sawtelle Mountain Resort serves as an ideal basecamp to explore Idaho’s backcountry. After an exceptional breakfast at the resort, your options are limitless. During the warm months, you can rent an ATV from neighboring High Mountain Adventures and covers miles of mountain trails, enjoying the fresh air. Eagle Ridge Ranch offers horseback riding and fishing in their stocked pond. Henry’s Lake and the Henry’s Fork both offer unforgettable trout fishing, either with a spinning rod or a fly rod. As the weather cools, Island Park becomes alive with the sounds of elk bugling, which you can hear at Harriman State Park or atop many of the mountain ridges in the area. If you are lucky, you may even spot a grizzly or black bear.
Even though the cold freezes all the water and drops several feet of snow, activity in Island Park doesn’t stop. High Mountain Adventures swaps the ATVs out for snowmobiles, allowing riders to explore those same trails or just play in the deep powder covering meadows. Snowshoe and cross country ski trails in Harriman State Park provide easy access for explorers to enter the backcountry on foot. With ice covering both Henry’s Lake and Island Park Reservoir, ice fishermen can catch the large trout which swim beneath the ice. Be sure to check the fishing regulations as Henry’s Lake closes to fishing on January 1st. It’s not uncommon to head out onto the ice early in the morning and find coyote or even wolf tracks near the areas where fishermen had been cleaning fish the day before.
After a long day of recreating in the mountains, you can unwind in your cabin or suite’s hot tub back at the Sawtelle Mountain Resort. The kids can get their wiggles out in the large swimming pool or even make s’mores at one of the many fire pits on the property. And if the weather decides not to cooperate with you, there is nothing wrong with relaxing by the fireplace and reading that book you’ve been meaning to read.