BEST Waterfalls in the West TETONS
We were really pleasantly surprised on this trip. Blowing your expectations away when they were already high to begin with is a great feeling! If you are planning a trip to the west side of the Tetons, make sure you add these three waterfalls to your list because you won’t want to miss them! Fall Creek Falls, Lower Mesa Falls, and Upper Mesa Falls should all be on your list of sites to see in and around Teton Valley!
Fall Creek Falls, Idaho
At approximately 60 feet tall, what’s really impressive about this one is how wide it is. In fact, from the viewing area you really only see about half of it! It is so wide that it actually resembles an irrigated garden.
This waterfall dumps right into the Snake River. To experience the entire thing, you’d have to view it by boat, or via drone (like we did). There is a boat launch nearby, but you really can’t beat the ease of access right off of NF-058. This really makes for a perfect stop on your way east on Highway 26.
The Victor Emporium
Obviously this isn’t a waterfall, but we couldn’t talk about driving through the Teton Valley without mentioning this place! Established in 1950, the Victor Emporium is famous for their Huckleberry Milkshakes. You would be missing out if you don’t stop here on your way!
Even if, for some reason, Huckleberries aren’t your thing, don’t worry. They have lots of other flavors to choose from. As well as ice cream cones, root beer floats, drinks, and souvenirs!
Lower Mesa Falls
This will be the first of the two Mesa Falls you will come to if you are driving in from Ashton. If you happen to be staying in Island Park and are coming down the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway from the north, you will see the Upper Mesa Falls first. Fortunately, there’s really no wrong way to do it! The parking area for both falls are also only a couple of miles apart from each other.
At 65 feet tall, this is definitely the smaller of the two falls. However, what makes it so impressive is the shear amount of water flowing through it! From the Lower Mesa Falls Observation Site, you are still about a quarter of a mile away from the falls itself. The 2.5 mile round trip hike that takes you to the top of it actually begins over by the parking area for Upper Mesa Falls.
Upper Mesa Falls
We saved the best for last! This one really takes the cake for the best waterfall we have seen in a while! At 114 feet tall and 201 feet wide, Upper Mesa Falls is a monster of a waterfall. A beautiful monster, if there is such a thing. Because there is a sharp bend in the river right at the bottom of it, there is a cliff immediately opposite that falls that sends a plume of mist towering into the air. The plume is so tall that you can see it from miles away, rising out of the surrounding forest.
We hadn’t actually heard of either Mesa Falls until we came to the area to explore the west side of the Tetons. It was a very pleasant surprise to find such a grand waterfall so close to where we were. Upper Mesa Falls is a must see if you are anywhere near Teton Valley!
Where to Stay
There are surprisingly few options for a large RV in Teton Valley. Campendium shows quite a few National Forest Campgrounds and two private RV Parks. Rainey Bridge is probably the best free camping option. It also offers fantastic views of Grand Teton. However, it isn’t the sort of boondocking where you will have a lot of space to yourself. It’s BUSY.
By far the best camping in the area is in Teton Canyon. This is down Teton Canyon Road, past the New Sheep Bridge Trailhead. We would not consider taking our 40ft 5th wheel down here though. This area would be much better suited to smaller RVs or tent camping.
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If you’d like to read about our RV and other RV adventures, then check out some of our other posts :
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