Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

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karenandbill
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by karenandbill »

Since we can't get in the parks, we have looked for alternatives in Eastern Idaho. We have hiked in Harriman State Park three times and driven around Henry's Lake numerous times. Although it is certainly not Yellowstone, we have seen a surprising amount of wildlife and some beautiful scenery in the few weeks we have been here.

Grizzlies have been spotted in Harriman which is about 40 miles southwest of Yellowstone. We haven't seen any, but did see their diggings on a hillside during a hike. We also spotted fresh black bear tracks, but no bear. Each hike we have seen lots of ducks, including ring-necked, hooded and common mergansers, western, clarks, pied-billed, and red-necked grebes, cinnamon and green teals, trumpeter swans, white pelicans, bald eagles, and more.

ImageDSCF9055 by William Reinke, on Flickr[/img]

Our last hike was the best, however. We hiked a six+ mile loop up the back ridge that crosses into Targhee National Forest. As we began climbing, we spotted 2 elk grazing in a meadow. Unlike the park elk, these were very wary and headed back in the trees as soon as they saw us. I know we see thousands of elk, but it is still neat to see them on a trail. As we were nearing the top of the ridge we scared up a young bighorn ram and just caught a glimpse as he bounded away. This was a surprise as we didn't know bighorn were in the area.

At the top of the ridge there is a gorgeous view with a nice bench to just sit and take it all in. There were some clouds so we only got a partial view of the Tetons. Still beautiful. A chipmunk waited patiently for us to leave to pick up any crumbs from our trail mix.


Heading down we came across our fourth ruffed grouse of the day, but this one was in full display. We only had Karen's small 10X zoom Fugi, but she was able to maneuver close enough to get a decent shot.

ImageDSCF9076 by William Reinke, on Flickr[/img]

Continuing down a bit further, we came to a spot where a group of animals (probably elk) had crossed the trail and gone up and over a small ridge. I decided to climb to see if I could spot anything. When I got to the top I scared up a very large bird which I was able to see with the binocs was a great-grey owl. He landed in a tree that we were able to still see him. I motioned Karen up and we were able to get a distant photo.

ImageDSCF9081 by William Reinke, on Flickr[/img]

To finish it off as we were driving by a pond on the way out we spotted a common loon (not so common in these parts). It was too far away to get a shot with her small camera but we had a good view through the binoculars.

We had seen about a dozen loons on an inlet driving around Henry's Lake a week earlier but they were gone the next day, obviously migrating through.

It has been the year of the eagles for us. We would typically see an occasional bald eagle flying over or near the lake, but this year we are seeing at least an average of six per day, sometimes all at the same time. Apparently there are some trout spawning in the small streams that feed the lake and the eagles are just waiting to pick them off. We have also seen pronghorn, many herds of elk, and finally a moose! We had seen plenty of evidence including poop in our yard, but no moose until just before dusk we spotted this male in the trees on our drive around the lake.

ImageDSCF9066 by William Reinke, on Flickr[/img]

We will report on the parks reopening as we get a chance



Dorothy
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by Dorothy »

Wow, those are some great sightings (and photos). Sounds like so much fun. Is Idaho allowing people to come in and visit? We are trying to figure out what to do if the Montana entrances don't open in time -- you've mentioned Henry's Lake before and it sounds like fun to perhaps try there.

Anyway, sure glad you were able to get out and enjoy nature and wildlife. There are times in the past couple of months I've felt a bit claustrophobic, but being about to get out and just drive in the mountains or in a state park or bird refuge has really helped. Glad you were able to get out and enjoy, and thanks for sharing.



mdtrot
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by mdtrot »

Dorothy wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:06 pm
Wow, those are some great sightings (and photos). Sounds like so much fun. Is Idaho allowing people to come in and visit? We are trying to figure out what to do if the Montana entrances don't open in time -- you've mentioned Henry's Lake before and it sounds like fun to perhaps try there.

Anyway, sure glad you were able to get out and enjoy nature and wildlife. There are times in the past couple of months I've felt a bit claustrophobic, but being about to get out and just drive in the mountains or in a state park or bird refuge has really helped. Glad you were able to get out and enjoy, and thanks for sharing.
I called hotels in Driggs, Rexburg, and Idaho Falls yesterday. They all said that Idaho was open to visitors and that some restaurants were opening up, but I imagine it may be patchy. Montana is out of the question until they drop their 14 day quarantine requirement for visitors.



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HatchAdventures
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:31 pm
Location: Bozeman, MT
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Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by HatchAdventures »

mdtrot wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:36 am

I called hotels in Driggs, Rexburg, and Idaho Falls yesterday. They all said that Idaho was open to visitors and that some restaurants were opening up, but I imagine it may be patchy. Montana is out of the question until they drop their 14 day quarantine requirement for visitors.
Montana is lifting the 14 day quarantine June 1st. All Montana Yellowstone Park gates will open also. Our restaurants will be bumped to 75% capacity also.



Dorothy
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by Dorothy »

WooHoo! Both are good news, as we have plans to stay in Gardiner starting on June 1 and then figured to drive up to Market Lake for a quick drive-through on our way home later in the week. It will likely be VERY crowded, but good news that we'll be able to get in and out of the park. Thanks for the info, mdtrot and HatchAdventures. Now just can't wait to get there!



karenandbill
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by karenandbill »

Idaho currently "strongly encourages" anyone coming in state from a community with substantial community spread to self quarantine for 14 days. That leaves a lot of wiggle room. Also any "vulnerable" individuals as defined by the CDC are strongly encouraged to stay at home. Again that leaves some room for interpretation.



karenandbill
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by karenandbill »

Dorothy wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:06 pm
you've mentioned Henry's Lake before and it sounds like fun to perhaps try there.
Dorothy, If you need to delay or want to come by earlier, we would be happy to social distance and lead you around Henry's Lake and/or to some nearby spots.



mdtrot
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by mdtrot »

It's great to hear that Montana will open before I would be able to get to the area. I've been checking out Harriman SP online. Looks interesting, and I've always wanted to check out the nearby Fish Creek Road.



karenandbill
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by karenandbill »

mdtrot wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:26 am
I've always wanted to check out the nearby Fish Creek Road.
Fish Creek road is a neat drive but I very much doubt you can get all the way through because of snow. The first time we drove it, it was early June. We came in from the south which is paved. I remarked what a nice road and no traffic! As we climbed, started seeing more and more snow and finally had to turn around and go all the way back. Couple days later came in from the North which is dirt and rough in a few spots. Same issue and could not make it through. If you want to try it, it is a pretty drive. But be prepared to turn around at some point for at least another week or two.



mdtrot
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: Harriman and Henry's Lake Idaho

Post by mdtrot »

karenandbill wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 5:31 pm
mdtrot wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:26 am
I've always wanted to check out the nearby Fish Creek Road.
Fish Creek road is a neat drive but I very much doubt you can get all the way through because of snow. The first time we drove it, it was early June. We came in from the south which is paved. I remarked what a nice road and no traffic! As we climbed, started seeing more and more snow and finally had to turn around and go all the way back. Couple days later came in from the North which is dirt and rough in a few spots. Same issue and could not make it through. If you want to try it, it is a pretty drive. But be prepared to turn around at some point for at least another week or two.
Thanks, I did see on google maps that only the southern stretch of Fish Creek Road is paved. I wasn't really even thinking of trying to drive the whole thing. I thought I would drive up to the end of the pavement. Did you see any wildlife while on that road? That would be my goal.



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