The 5 Best Burgers in Island Park, ID—Ranked
Here in the American West, we enjoy big adventures that bring out big appetites. There are
many fun things to do in Island Park, Idaho. After hiking, camping or fishing in Yellowstone or
the Henry’s Fork Caldera, it’s time to rustle up a beefy burger from one of the nearby
restaurants. There’s nothing like the classic beef sandwich with a side of fries in the heart of the
But which one should you pick? Burgers come in so many flavors and varieties. Ranging from
smoky to spicy and everything in between. And what’s more, restaurants in this neck of the
woods come with a scenic element.
We did the research so that you don’t have to. Dig right in to any one of these excellent burger
choices complete with a side of radiant scenery.
5. Lakeside Lodge; Resort’s Mushroom Bison Burger
The lean alternative to beef, bison makes for an equally tasty burger. Get this with a slather of
juicy mushrooms to round out the smoky flavor of the patty. The bun holds the whole thing
together as you sink your teeth into this savory sandwich.
The restaurant looks out over the Island Park Reservoir. As the sun sets over the lake, you can
sit out on the patio and enjoy the log cabin feel of the resort or cozy up to the fireplace in the
4. Rustic Smokehouse at Angler's Lodge
Taking the bison burger to a new level, the Deluxe Bison Burger comes with grilled onions,
lettuce, tomato, and little sauce on top. It’s a delectable slice of the classic West where the
buffalo once roamed. The Rustic Smokehouse at Angler's Lodge has its own piece of Henrys Fork to embed on
your memory as it washes past.
3. Connie’s Sawtelle Burger
Embodying the breathtaking nature of its namesake, Sawtelle Peak, this burger can be
customized to fit your taste with classic lettuce and tomato toppings. It’s a local favorite with all
the attention to detail that Connie herself oversees. There really is something about the homely
dedication of the staff that makes it into final product.
2. Pond’s Lodge: The Doc Holliday
A half-pound patty with bacon, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and onion strings, this burger
delivers on everything you’d want in a smoky-flavored burger. It’s a taste that really harmonizes
with its forest surroundings in a hefty size any frontiersman would want to get his hands on.
With a history as deep into American blood as the Union Pacific Railroad, Ponds Lodge was
founded in 1923. The spirit of the slickest gunslinger in the West still lives on through their Doc
1. Trouthunter Last Chance Bar & Grill; Grill’s Jalapeno Popper Burger
Our top burger on this list has the unique blend of hot jalapenos set against mild cream cheese
to take the edge off. It’s a match that works very well as neither side overpowers the other.
Your mouth with water as it longs for the punctuation of heat smothered in the juiciness of the
6 Reasons Why Locals Know Island Park, ID is Best During the Winter
One principle appeal of going out into the wild is the seclusion. We turn to the scenic landscapes of nature when we want to escape crowded modern life with its notifications every other minute and ever-connected, synthetic downsides.
It is quite understandable then, that you might prefer Idaho’s nearby Island Park over Yellowstone National Park. With less traffic than America’s oldest national park, Island Park has many fun things to do.
But the time of year can also be vitally important. Yellowstone National Park gets 95.93% of its over 4 million annual visitors in the 6 months between May and October. That’s why locals know that Island Park is best during the winter. Here are 6 reasons why:
- It’s Easier to See Wildlife in the Snow
Nature has given wildlife camouflage coats to aid in their survival. While this is an excellent strategy for them, it makes them a bit hard to spot for innocent tourists wishing to snap a nice picture.
However, with a blanket of snow on the ground, many of the wildlife that can be hard to find in the summer become easier to see in the winter. Have your camera on hand to capture herds of elk that can be seen from miles away.
- You Can’t Ride A Snowmobile Without the Snow
Snowmobiling is a thrilling way to dash through the countryside. The vroom of your engine as you fly through the woods gives you a rush of enjoyment. But this exciting sport can only be enjoyed with snow on the ground. Covering up the debris of the forest floor, the snow gives a clean surface to glide along. That’s why every local knows that when the flurries start to fly, it’s time to get out the snowmobile and get riding.
- Ice Fishing is a Blast
Imagine walking on water into the middle of a lake to start fishing without the use of a boat. Thanks to the freezing of Henry’s Lake in the winter, it makes for an excellent ice-fishing spot that you can get to without owning a boat. Island Park locals wait all year for the opportunity to get out on the lake and let down a line.
- Cross-Country Skiing, Fat Biking, and Snowshoeing
There are a great many fitness activities for the wintertime. And what’s more, they all involve spending time in the middle of a fabulously scenic winter wonderland. Enjoy your surroundings at your own pace with any of these fun options.
- Sleigh Rides Make Great Memories
As a more romantic alternative to snowmobiling, you can take a sleigh ride through the snow in the wintertime. Many of the locals know the best places to find a good sleigh ride. Classy and scenic, the season’s best heartwarming memories can be made to the tune of the sleigh bells.
- Snuggle Up in the Coziness of a Fireplace
After all of the activities that you do throughout the day in the wintertime, there really is nothing like sitting in front of the cozy lick of a fireplace and warm your hands. The close quarters of a cabin and the snuggling of a blanket give you a unique feeling of happiness and contentment.
Those who live in Island Park year-round know this attribute of winter and look forward to tales of snowy adventure by the fireplace.
5 Surprising Reasons Why Island Park, Idaho is the best part of Yellowstone Country
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most important national monuments our country has to offer. Its no wonder between four and six million people visit every year. However, what most of them don’t know, is that Island Park, Idaho, located just next door, offers some of the exact same exquisite experiences as Yellowstone National Park. Island Park also has a few extra perks up its sleeve, making it one of the Mountain West’s best-kept secrets.
All the Wildlife, None of the Tourists
Just like Yellowstone National Park, Island Park is full of wildlife you can experience in its natural habitat. Bald eagles, moose, deer, elk, and more move majestically across the landscape. In spring and summer, keep your eyes peeled: most animals natural camouflage helps them blend seamlessly into their surroundings. But, during the winter, their dark coats pop against the white snow, making them easy to spot from miles away.
And the best part? No crowds. While people from all over the world flock to Yellowstone to view its world-class vistas and experience world-renowned wildlife, many don’t know that Island Park is located right in the heart of Targhee Natural Forest and is home to the very same animal populations that call Yellowstone home.
Dinner and a Show
Island Park is home to some of the most unique (and hilarious) theatre around. The Playmill Theater has entertained residents and tourists for almost half a century. It’s known for its interactive experiences and family-friendly renditions of famous Broadway shows. If you’re looking for something even more comedic, don’t miss out on the experience at Mack’s Inn Playhouse. Customers argue over which is better: the chicken, the prime rib, or the entertainment. Though one thing is for sure, you’ll leave with your belly full from dinner and aching from laughter.
The Best Boating Around
There are many ways to enjoy the abundant waterways in Yellowstone Country: rafting, kayaking, fishing, and rowing. But if you’re into watersports like boating, skiing, wakeboarding, or jet skiing, the best place to go is Island Park Reservoir. You’ll enjoy scenic views: forests of pine, mountains, and more as you skim across the reservoir’s crystal-clear waters. Boating like this isn’t allowed within Yellowstone National Park, but on Island Park Reservoir, it's celebrated.
Don’t have a boat? No problem. There are plenty of outfitters nearby ready and eager to provide one for you. Renting is easy; they’ll give you all the equipment necessary to have a safe and enjoyable day on skis, tubes, boards or however you and your family prefer.
Close to the City
While wild to its core, Island Park also benefits from being close to the comforts of home. From wherever you stay in Island Park, the downtown city-center is never far away. And don’t worry, this is no sprawling metropolis. Main Street in Island Park is quaint and has everything you need to enjoy your stay. Local businesses include The Grind, a coffee and espresso bar, the Last Chance General Store, for any odds and ends you forgot to bring, and Elk Creek Station, an auto shop ready to repair almost anything you bring their way.
Island Park is a winter sports Mecca. With six to ten feet of snow every year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to enjoy the coldest months of the year. Miles of cross-country and Nordic ski trails will let you tour to your heart's content. Outfitters are ready to hook you up with fat wheel mountain bikes, one of the latest, and greatest, ways to enjoy the winter. And snowmobiling is more fun than ever – especially because you won’t be fighting to get a permit like you would in Yellowstone Park proper.
Fishing doesn’t stop during winter in Island Park, either. Once the lake freezes over, residents are ready to walk out over the water, set up camp, and enjoy some of the best ice fishing around.
Don’t let the snow stop you, Island Park is the best part of Yellowstone year-round. Recreational adventure, beautiful vistas, and friendly residents are ready to make your stay unforgettable. And plus, if you want to head over to Yellowstone National Park, the west entrance is only 15 miles away.
Horse People Love Island Park, Idaho—Here's Why
Riding through the breathtaking vistas of Yellowstone Country, on the back of a beautiful horse sounds like a dream come true for horse enthusiasts. But, what many horse-riders don’t know is that Island Park offers many of the exact same horse-riding benefits as Yellowstone National Park, without all of the regulations that come with being a recognized National Park. There are so many things to do here! With thousands of acres of land, a variety of terrain, horse-friendly laws, and an unbeatable horseback riding culture, Island Park is a premier destination for horse lovers around the country.
Thousands of Acres of Public Land
Island Park is home to thousands of acres of public land and over 950 miles of groomed trails. Many trails are designed specifically for horse-back riding, with camping spots and rest areas dotting the landscape. Horseback riders couldn’t ask for better terrain. Wind your way through thick forests, climb up hills of wildflowers, and find your way to the top of a majestic mountain ridge. If you’re looking for the perfect place to enjoy your next horseback riding adventure, this is it.
A Wide Variety of Terrain
Looking for the perfect trail? Use the All Trails website or app to find the trail that’s right for you and yours. AllTrails lets you set custom filters like trail traffic, travel type, what you’ll see, and more. With all the trail systems Island Park has to offer, you won’t have any trouble at all finding the perfect route for your adventure.
Horse-friendly Laws and Covenants
To travel by horse in Yellowstone National Park, riders must first obtain a permit. Overnight permits are also not allowed before July 1. This is to be expected in a national park, especially one as renowned as Yellowstone. But Island Park offers the same terrain, wildlife, and experiences without all the regulations.
The city of Island Park was built, from almost the ground up, around the concept of enjoying the wonders of the natural environment that surrounds it. This means the laws and ordinances that govern the city are inherently very horse-friendly.
Horse Riding Culture
Island Park is home to a wonderful population of horseback riding enthusiasts. Ranches like Eagle Ridge Ranch and the Diamond P Ranch make it easy and fun to take the family on a guided horseback adventure. Or, if you’re bringing your own stock, head over to Hell’s A Roarin’ Outfitters to find everything you need to start your trip.
Ranches like Eagle Ridge and Diamond P mean individuals don’t need to be expert horseback riders to experience the joy of hitting the trails in Island Park. Whether it’s a quick, hour-long ride around the ranch, or a three-day excursion through Targhee Natural Forest experienced guides are ready to lead groups on adventures that are sure to fulfill their horseback riding dreams.
Island Park is one of horse culture’s best-kept secrets. There’s no beating the incredible horse-friendly culture, freedom, and beautiful terrain. If you’re looking to enjoy everything Yellowstone Country has to offer in the best way possible, look no further -- Island Park is waiting.