Heceta Light House, Oregon 2018

Monday, July 20, 2015

Harriman State Park

On Sunday we avoided the crowds at Yellowstone and took a 23 mile drive south to Harriman State Park. I had read about it in TripAdvisor's list of things to do in Island Park, Idaho.

In the early 1900s several rich New York tycoons bought shares in the property that became know as Railroad Ranch, and used it as a recreational retreat where they could go to hunt and fish in the summer.

View of the Henry's Fork river from the Harriman cottage.

It was also a working cattle ranch. Eventually the Harriman family bought out the other owners, enjoyed it for years, and ultimately donated it to Idaho for use as a State Park.

The ranch buildings and Harriman cottages have been preserved, and some of them are open on weekends, for the public to wander through and see the things they used in their daily life on vacation on the Ranch, in the 1930s - 50s. 

Inside the Harriman cottage

Bathroom with bearskin rug

In addition to the ranch buildings we were able to go down and look into the barns. By this point we were both smiling about the fact that we were practically the only ones there that day. After Yellowstone this was a special treat.

The hiking trail was wonderful. Fairly level with scattered shade. We could tell it was used as a bridle path. But the horses have Sundays off so we didn't run into any, and nimble footwork kept our hiking boots clean.

Our hike took us past Silver Lake. The water was still as glass, and the trees on the opposite banks were perfectly reflected. Craig kept hoping to see a moose or two, but I thought they would not be around at mid-day. Moose seem like dawn and dusk creatures.

We were looking for swans, and thought we saw some far on the other side of the lake, when this group of white pelicans came swimming by. They stuck very close together and all went diving down for something at the same time. We guessed the smaller black birds were using them as spotters, since they would dive whenever the pelicans did. When we were in Florida we saw groups of white pelicans that came there for the winter. This might be one of the places they spend the summer, but it's an awfully long diagonal from here to Florida.

All in all it was a very nice day. We may go back next weekend because a very nice ranger told us they were having a big celebration in honor of the park's 50th anniversary. We shall see. If we do, I hope it is not very crowded.


  1. We saw white pelicans in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Maybe the Texas ones go to Idaho. We also have them on Beaver Dam Lake here in Wisconsin every summer. Those might be the Florida ones. Wherever they come from, I sure do enjoy watching them glide through the sky.


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