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jumping trout
The temple at the falls in Idaho Falls Idaho, autumn,
Nearby Towns - RexburgBlackfootRigbySt. Anthony

On the banks of the Snake River at the foot of west slope of the northern Rockies lies Idaho Falls Idaho a beautiful farming, ranching, and high tech community. As a gateway community to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks and a hub for the best wild trout fishing in the lower 48 states Idaho Falls is also a great recreational community.

Idaho Falls is the county seat and largest city of Bonneville County, Idaho, United States. As of the 2000 Census the population of Idaho Falls was 50,730, with a metro population of 119,396. (2006 estimate: 52,786).

The Temple at Idaho Falls
The Temple at Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls is the second largest city in the Eastern Idaho region. Its estimated 2006 population falls short of Pocatello by only 1,146 persons. Idaho Falls is the principal city of and is included in the Idaho Falls, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Idaho Falls-Blackfoot, Idaho Combined Statistical Area. Idaho Falls is the third largest metropolitan area in the state behind the Boise City-Nampa and Coeur d'Alene metropolitan areas. It is the largest metropolitan area of the Eastern Idaho region. The city is served by the Idaho Falls Regional Airport and is home to the Idaho Falls Chukars minor league baseball team.

What became Idaho Falls was originally the site of Taylor’s Crossing, a timber frame bridge built across the Snake River. The bridge was built by Matt Taylor, a freighter, who, in 1865, built a toll bridge across a narrow black basaltic gorge of the river that succeeded a ferry nine miles upstream by a few years. Taylor’s bridge served the new tide of westward migration and travel in the region that followed the military suppression of Shoshone resistance at the Bear River Massacre near Preston, Idaho in 1863.

The bridge-improved travel for settlers moving for miners, freighters, and others seeking riches in the gold fields of central Idaho and western Montana. A private bank a hotel, a livery stable, and a roadhouse also sprang up at the bridge in 1865. By 1866, the emerging town had a stage station and mail service postmarked “Eagle Rock” as the area was already known by the name of the earlier ferry crossing upstream and to the north called Eagle Rock. The town changed its name to Eagle Rock in 1872 after the rock island in the river that was the nesting site for numerous eagles seven miles north.

Idaho Falls Farm
Idaho Falls Farm

There had been a few cattle and sheep ranchers in the area for years. In 1874, water rights were established on nearby Willow Creek and the first grain harvested but settlement was sparse consisting of only a couple of families and small ditches for irrigation. The first child of European decent was born at Eagle Rock in 1874 also.

The winds of change blew in the form of the Utah and Northern Railroad that came north from Utah through Eagle Rock to cross the Snake River at the same narrow gorge as the wooden bridge. The U&NR was building its road to the large copper mines at Butte, Montana with the backing of robber baron Jay Gould as Union Pacific Railroad had purchased the U&NR only a few years prior. Grading crews reached Eagle Rock in late 1878 and by early 1879 a wild camp-town with dozens of tents and shanties moved to Eagle Rock with the usual collection of saloons, dancehalls, and gambling holes. The railroad company had 16 locomotives and 300 train cars working between Logan, Utah and the once quiet stage stop. A new iron railroad bridge was fabricated in Athens, Pennsylvania at a cost of $30,000 and shipped, by rail, to the site and erected in April and May of 1879. The bridge was 800 feet long and in two spans with an island in the center. The camp-town moved on but Eagle Rock, the little town at the wooden bridge, now had regular train service and was the site for several of the railroad’s buildings, shops, and facilities expanding and completely transforming the town.

Potatos are big business in Idaho Falls
Potatos are big business in Idaho Falls

Settlers began homesteading the Upper Snake River Valley as soon as the railroad came through. The first of the new settlers carved out homesteads to the north at Egin (near present day Parker) and at Poole’s Island (near present day Menan) and were almost entirely Mormon. Reports of their success reached Mormon Church officials in Utah and, in 1883; the Church organized Mormon colonization of the Upper Snake River Valley. Large scale settlement ensued and in a decade, the pious, industrious, and somewhat communal Mormons built roads, bridges, dams, and irrigation canals that brought most of the Upper Snake River Valley under cultivation. In 1887, following the construction of the Oregon Short Line, most of the railroad facilities were removed to Pocatello but Eagle Rock was fast becoming the commercial center of an agricultural empire.

In 1891, the town voted to rename itself to Idaho Falls, after the rapids that existed below the bridge. In 1895, only 12 years after the onset of Mormon colonization, the largest irrigation canal in the world, named the Great Feeder, began diverting water from the Snake River and aided in converting tens of thousands of acres of desert into green farmland in the vicinity of Idaho Falls. The area grew sugar beets, potatoes, peas, grains, and alfalfa and became one of the most productive regions of the United States.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints completed construction and dedicated their Idaho Falls Temple on September 23, 1945 to serve the large LDS population in the area.

Four golf courses are located within minutes of Idaho Falls. Southeast of the city is 18-hole Sandcreek Golf Course, one of three maintained by the city of Idaho Falls. Sandcreek opened for business in 1980 and has become very popular with local golfers. Pinecrest Golf Course, and the brand new Sage Lakes Golf Course round out the three public 18-hole courses in the area. A private course, Idaho Falls Country Club, is also an 18-hole course, just south of the city in the foothills. Six other courses can be found within a 50-mile drive of Idaho Falls.

Camping, always fun
Camping, always fun

Should you desire to get closer to nature, camping opportunities abound in eastern Idaho. Whether you select campsites located in the Palisades Reservoir region, Island Park, or choose to head west to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Also, for the not so nature bound, commercial campsites are located within minutes of downtown Idaho Falls.

Hiking and backpacking

An extensive trail system is available through out the region for hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding.


Eastern Idaho has plenty of room for hunters and permits are easily available. Varieties range for trophy elk, mule deer, and antelope to bear, moose, upland game birds, and waterfowl. Hunter congestion is rare.


Eastern Idaho's fly-fishing is incomparable. "The Henry's Fork is the premier dry fly fishing stream in the entire world," says John Randolph, editor of Fly Fishing Magazine. Both Henry's Fork and the South Fork of the Snake River offer unparalleled opportunities for fishing and the tributaries and reservoirs produce excellent rainbow, eastern brook, brown and cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon and whitefish. Eastern Idaho is quickly becoming a central destination for western fly-fishing and fly-fishing enthusiasts. It has become a perfect location for the person that enjoys getting out of the big city.

Fly-fishing the South Fork
Fly-fishing the South Fork

Idaho Falls is a hub to some of the finest blue ribbon trout waters in the world. The Henry's Fork, the South Fork of the Snake, the Madison, the Silver Creek, the Beaverhead, the Big Hole, Henry's Lake, and Yellowstone are all within a two-hour drive or less from our city. Many other small streams, rivers and lakes offer excellent fishing without the crowds.

Wildlife Viewing and Photography throughout the region. Fly-fishing is only part of the fun. You'll also view abundant wildlife such a moose, deer, grizzly bear, black bear, otter, elk, and an occasional mountain goat. The largest population of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states can also be seen on the banks of the South Fork. You can witness the country's top trout fishing experts at work, the ospreys, as well as ducks, geese, great blue herons, and more that 80 species of non-game birds.

Whitewater Rafting

If you’re visiting eastern Idaho, be sure to take time out to enjoy our spectacular river system. You can choose 1/2 day, full day, or longer trips. You can make your selection form rafts, kayaks, canoes, drift boats, or even jet boats.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River remains Idaho's most famous stretch of river. This river is now federally protected as a "wild and scenic" river. The Snake River below the Palisades Reservoir, as well as just outside of Jackson, Wyoming, offers excitement and splendor. For a more relaxed, leisurely float, the Big Springs National Water Trail near Island Park take four hours and offers wildlife viewing opportunities.


Skiing Grand Targhee
Skiing Grand Targhee
Skiing and Snowboarding

The upper elevations of Eastern Idaho are buried deep in snow in the winter months. For the Nordic skier, groomed trails are located within the national forest boundaries and on private ground. The Trail system will provide a challenge for skiers at all skill levels. Close by Alpine Ski areas include: Kelly Canyon, Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole. Pictured here, the Idaho Side of the Grand Teton Mountain rises to almost 14,000 feet above sea level and receives an average 500 inches of snowfall each winter. Grand Targhee Ski Resort is located near this mountain.


An extensive network of groomed snowmobile trail is maintained throughout Eastern Idaho. This playground includes both public and private lands. Trail maps are available detailing major routes as well as areas that are closed to snowmobiling. Several shops and resorts rent snowmobiles and the necessary gear and offer guide service for day trips.

Idaho National Laboratory

The INL ensures the nation's energy security by performing unique science and technology research in the following areas. Nuclear Energy, They develop advanced nuclear technologies that provide clean, abundant, affordable and reliable energy to the United States and the world. National and Homeland Security, The INL delivers critical technology solutions to identify and defeat threats to the security of the nation. Energy and Environment The INL integrates advanced energy and carbon management systems and processes to deliver the right form of clean, safe and secure energy at the right time, the right cost, with the slightest environmental footprint.

fly fishing outside of Idaho Falls IdahoIdaho Falls; the place to be • The city of Idaho Falls, originally known as Eagle Rock, found its beginnings with the influx of miners, fur trades, trappers, travelers, pioneers, and early settlers. That, along with the development of the railroad, ferries, and bridges which spanned the Snake River, solidified the existence of Idaho Falls. Idaho Falls is situated on the valley floor astride the Snake River at an elevation of 4,744 feet and is the county seat of Bonneville County. Idaho Falls lies 50 miles north of Pocatello and 100 miles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.........

Intrepid Receives Alternative Energy Grant • IDAHO FALLS, ID -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 15, 2006 -- Intrepid Technology and Resources, Inc. a renewable alternate energy company, announces the award of a 50,000 dollar State of Idaho Department of Water Resources grant for the installation of anaerobic digestion technology to produce useable energy.

Caribou Targhee national forest east of Idaho Falls has countless riding trails

Dignitaries inaugurate energy studies center • By Dan Boyd • IDAHO FALLS - On his first trip to the Gem State as the nation's energy secretary, Samuel Bodman didn't sugarcoat the realities of creating a high-profile nuclear energy think tank in Idaho Falls." The truth is this is a major project with major ambitions that extend far beyond this state," he said. "This endeavor would be very easy to fail at."

Idaho Falls, Idaho Gets Backward Compliment from USA Today • By Paul MenserOur fair city by the Snake has made the big time -- sort of -- making it onto the top 10 "emerging cities" list of "Cities Ranked and Rated," a book that looks the quality of life in 400 North American communities.

ATV enthusiasts love the Idaho Falls region

Idaho Falls, Idaho • By Mike Steere • Outside magazine, July 1995 - A town where you can have a real job, a real life, and still get to move in with the scenery. Several reasons to split the city and head for the Big Outdoors.

Ridgeline Energy, LLC Announces Interconnection Agreement for Idaho Wind Project
Ridgeline Energy, LLC announced today the completion of a large-generator interconnection agreement with PacifiCorp to support Goshen II, a proposed 90-megawatt wind project near Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Idaho Falls ranks high on safest cities in America list
This year's list is in of the safest cities in America, and several Idaho towns are included.
Idaho Falls ranks high on the list, and city officials say that could have an impact on its future.
Nightside reporter Andrew Del Greco has more.This is just another reason why the city will continue to grow, and why businesses will keep coming in. Among 138 small cities throughout the country, Idaho Falls ranks 10th as the most secure and safe town in America.


Idaho Landscape Photography by Daryl L. Hunter
Greater Yellowstone News

Will This Law Eliminate NPS Film Permits?

Attention videographers;

Those who would like to send a message to their elected representatives in the House and the Senate can now visit the Democracy IO link below, which provides a quick, painless method by which you can find and message your reps in a matter of seconds. Just go to the link below, as well as the Google Doc linked below that, copy the FLREA Letter to Reps in Google Docs, then paste that into the comment section in the Democracy IO link. This takes less than two minutes, and you'll rest well, knowing that you took action to affect change for the benefit of future generations of our people.!/

Googel Doc - FLREA - Letter to Reps:


Camping in YellowstoneLightning Flashes over Yellowstone Lake Campsite

Backpacking The Thorofare in Yellowstone – The Most Remote Place in the US Lower 48 ~

The logistics of planning a backpacking trip in Yellowstone are a bit tricky but manageable. The biggest challenge is the lack of commercial airline service in Wyoming. Cody, West Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole airports are all extremely expensive, offer few options, and almost always require a connection. Rental car availability and price can also be a challenge in those markets. I have opted for Salt Lake City for all my Yellowstone trips as the logistics, aside from a long drive, are easier to manage at a fraction of the price. ........ Rest of the story

Fire is good;

Yellowstone has long been shaped by fire and not just the cool, creeping ground fires often described as "good" for grass production. The natural history of fire in the park includes large-scale conflagrations sweeping across the park's vast volcanic plateaus.  Most Americans steeped in Smokey the Bear's "Only you can prevent forest fires!" mantra, the very thought that forest fires might have a positive side seemed preposterous. We all learned this as children and it is damned hard to change, as our indoctrination to this policy was total. ...... Learn More

Wildflowers growing after forest fireA forest reborn

Old faithful and friends


The Greater Yellowstone Bald Eagle:

Bald Eagles are again a common site along the rivers and lakes of the Greater Yellowstone Region, and they always bring a thrill to Yellowstone visitors when they set their eyes on one of these magnificent birds. The thrill of seeing our national bird soar above never fails to awe a spectator........ read more

Is social media ruining our nature excursions?

Social media, the curse and blessing of the twenty-first century. A focus on the evolution of the problem inflicted on nature, ways of to mitigate how it affects our beautiful places, our wildlife, our experience. Dichotomies and conundrums to ponder.  Since the advent of the digital photography and its ease of use and economy after initial investment, America and the world have hit the road and the road comes back to us on our social media. .................... rest of article Addendum, this is getting worse than ever.

Charging Mountain Lion
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Study: More elk killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho: More elk are being killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho, a study by the state Department of Fish and Game has found.The study found that wolves accounted for 32% of adult female elk deaths and 28% of elk calf deaths, while cougars accounted for 35% of adult female elk deaths and 45% of elk calf deaths. The study also found ............ rest of story

Return of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout by Kelsey Dayton

The water in Atlantic Creek in the remote Thorofare region of Yellowstone National Park was clear. So clear that Dave Sweet could see the fish before he even cast. They were everywhere: dozens of beautiful trout with distinctive red slashes under their jaws. Sweet had journeyed for two days on horseback to the major spawning tributaries of Yellowstone Lake for those fish. Over the next few days he and his daughter would see thousands of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and catch some as long as 25 inches. But just as exciting were the younger, smaller fish. They, Sweet realized, mark a turning point in a battle to save a species..................... Rest Of Story

Huge Yellowstone Cutthroat trout
Huge Yellowstone Cutthroat trout


Livingston Montana

The Resort Town Curse
by Daryl L. Hunter

In 1962 as a child my family went through Carmel California, and after my exclaimation how beautiful the place was, my mother explained to me that it was against the law to cut down a tree in the town and it was so beautiful. I wondered why every town didn't do that. A few years later my hometown, San Luis Obispo, did enact all kinds of restricted zoning like Carmel's as a part of an urban renewal plan, and now I couldn't afford to move back there if I wanted to. This town is now populated with what they call "Grey Gold", rich retired people that ran up the property values so high that native born could no longer afford to live there. I have lived in many resort towns since, and I have noticed a trend. I am attracted to them when they are still little, quaint and undiscovered, but it usually isn't long before word spreads about the next great place. ..............   Rest of story

A Protective Firewall For Grizzlies
By Daryl L. Hunter

The delisting of the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is imminent and this we should celebrate (''''dancing''''). Now that our happy dance is complete, we must ensure the grizzlies' recovery is permanent. To ensure "continuity of achievement," the grizzlies need a firewall to protect the success of this achievement from human foible.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee was formed in 1983 to help ensure recovery of viable grizzly bear populations and their habitat in the lower 48 states through interagency coordination of policy, planning, management, and research. Many people have been working on this recovery for decades, for some; it has been most of their career. I can understand why the delisting of the grizzly before their retirement is their goal. A metaphorical gold watch if you will.

Many will argue differently,................. Rest of Article

Grizzly 399 and her quadruplets

Grizzly 399 and her quadruplets doing their part in Grizzly Recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Click on photo to see larger or to purchase.

Helpful ebook for photographers

The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.

In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.

As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. I provide maps of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. I also touch on trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations.  

Huge Bull Moose unter the towering peaks of the Grand Tetons

Huge Bull Moose, dwarfed by the giant peaks of hte Grand Tetons.

Click on photo to see larger or purchase

The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas are profiled as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision.  The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.

In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.

If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five our blitz.  But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park................. More Info

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