Henrys Lake State Park#PNW . Hiking . Idaho . Outdoor Recreation . Trailer Camping . Travel
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The Best Place to Camp Near Yellowstone – Henrys Lake State Park
Idaho’s Henrys Lake State Park sits just 15 miles from the West Gate to Yellowstone National Park. The name of the lake comes from a trapper who arrived a little more than 100 years ago, but there’s no apostrophe in “Henrys”. The Continental Divide surrounds the 6,000-acre lake on three sides. Clean and modern state park facilities are the perfect place for your base camp to explore Yellowstone and the surrounding region.
What to do at Henrys Lake State Park – Our Recommendations
Hike trails around the lake and the surrounding mountains. Kayak and fish along the marshy inlet or out into the lake. Camp in any of the park’s reservable spots for RVs, trailers, and tents. Click any link in our table of contents above to find information, resources, and recommendations for the best place to camp near Yellowstone, Henrys Lake State Park!
Information About Henrys Lake State Park
Fees & Amenities
Day Use Fees & Passes
- Motor Vehicle Entry Fee: $5 per vehicle.
- Annual Idaho State Parks Pass (in-state): $10.
- Annual Idaho State Parks Pass (out-of-state): $40.
- Visit the Idaho State Parks Website for information about the annual pass and benefits of the unlimited entry passes:
- Unlimited day use access and entry into all Idaho State Parks.
- Boat launch fees included within the State Parks.
- Access to all hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and Nordic ski trials in the State Park system.
- Non-transferable and connected to your vehicle registration.
- Available for purchase from the Idaho DMV.
Serviced Camp Site and Cabin Information and Fees
|Serviced camp site||$20-$31 per night|
|Cabins||$50-$55 per night|
- 83 Serviced camp sites and 3 cabins can be reserved online through the Idaho State Parks Reserve America website or by calling 1-888-922-6743
- Reserve online 24/7
- Call the reservation center 7 days a week: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday through Friday or 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday and Sunday
- 3 camp sites and 1 of the 3 cabins are ADA accessible.
- Check in at 2:00 pm (camp sites) and 3:00 pm (other facilities).
- Check out at 12:00 pm (camp sites) and 1:00 pm (other facilities).
- Limits to Length of Stay: 15 days in a 30-day period.
This park was established in 1967. It has a campground with modern restrooms and hot showers, a day-use area, nature trail, and boat ramps and docks. It is usually easier to find a camp site here than at Yellowstone National Park, just 15 miles to the east.”– Descriptive Sign at Henrys Lake State Park, Idaho State Parks and Recreation
Booking Camping Sites and Cabins in Advance – Recommended Timeline
- Plan ahead: federal and state campgrounds fill up FAST. Figure out when you plan to travel and then set a calendar reminder either:
- If you don’t get a site in one of the state or federal campgrounds, call the specific campground or look online to see if they have walk-up sites available.
- If no sites are available online or as walk-up sites, look on Reserve America for nearby private campgrounds and RV Parks, like the numerous campgrounds just outside of West Yellowstone and the West Gate.
Camping Amenities and Services at Henrys Lake State Park
- New shower and bathroom facilities, RV dump station, and fish cleaning station available in the park.
- Spacious camp spots in two sections of the park:
- One paved and leveled full hook-up section for large RVs and campers overlooking the marsh. The newer Caddis Loop is mostly paved sites for bus-sized Class A RVs.
- Gravel loops with spacious camping spots for RVs, travel trailers, and tents near the lake.
- Look for spots in the second loop, Adam’s Loop, or the first, Dun’s Loop.
- Tents and smaller trailers will be much more comfortable in spots 5-11 near the water or 29-34 on the first loop.
- Site 9 (above) is our pick for the best views and most protection from the wind with a stand of trees just behind the site.
- Firewood vending machine, available 24/7 in the lower Adam’s Loop.
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Getting to Henrys Lake State Park
Driving from Boise
- Boise to Henrys Lake State Park: 374 miles (602 km).
- Twin Falls to Henrys Lake State Park: 254 miles (409 km).
- Pocatello to Henrys Lake State Park: 146 miles (235 km).
- Idaho Falls to Henrys Lake State Park: 95 miles (153 km).
Driving from Salt Lake City
- Salt Lake City to Henrys Lake State Park: 307 miles (494 km).
- Distance via I-80E through Rexburg: 380 miles (612 km).
- Distance via US 189N through Jackson: 405 miles (652 km).
Hike at Henrys Lake State Park
Explore the Park’s Hiking Trails
Hike Glacial Valleys
Hiking around Henrys Lake State Park provides changing views of an interesting landscape. A vast glacial valley surrounds Henrys Lake, the result of the last two ice ages. The ridge surrounding the lake is made up of glacial rocks that do not retain water like other types of soil. As a result, very few trees establish roots in the highly porous material, giving the area a stark and dramatic look at the base of the Targhee Mountains in the distance.
Henrys Lake State Park Trail System
The State Park spreads out along the shore of Henrys Lake, and a series of hiking, walking, and biking trails encircle the park and extend even further along the lake. A shorter loop leads past a marshy inlet and interpretive signs about Trumpeter swans nesting below (back to their native habitat for the first time in years), local wildlife, and the geological origins of Henry’s Lake.
Watch for Bears on Your Hike!
We found out later from one of the park rangers that a large bear camped out under the small walking bridge at the mouth of the lake. And since our visit, a Gizzly Bear attacked a hiker in this area (the hiker survived).
Kayak at Henrys Lake State Park
Prepare for Strong Winds
Henrys Lake is known for its world-class fishing and native Cutthroat Trout. It’s also a fantastic lake for boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding, as long as you time it right. Three mountain ranges converge on the lake, so strong winds can – and do – suddenly blow across the lake, turning the calm waters into choppy, menacing waves.
Kayaking Henrys Lake – Pro Tips
Be careful on the water at Henrys Lake, though. Frequent strong winds can quickly turn a peaceful paddle into a scary ordeal! The glacial valley at Henrys Lake is the meeting point for three mountain ranges, so strong winds are common.
Kayak Rentals at Henrys Lake State Park
- Bring your own kayak, canoe, or paddle board, or reserve one of the many kayaks and canoes available at Henrys Lake State Park.
- Forget to bring your own raft, kayak, or canoe? Don’t worry; you can reserve one at the park, down by the launch ramp or online.
- There are also loaner life jackets if you forget to throw those in, too.
“Fabulous Fishing, Powerful Gales: Although Henrys Lake is famous for its great fishing, it is also known for its infamous, unpredictable strong winds that can capsize even large boats. The geology and topography of the area cause storms to develop suddenly and without warning. Storms are directed at the lake by three mountain passes – Targhee, Raynolds and Red Rock – and the Continental Divide which can make recreating on Henrys Lake very dangerous.”– Descriptive Sign at Henrys Lake State Park, Idaho State Parks and Recreation
Relaxation and Recreation at Henrys Lake
Sunsets and Campfires at Henrys Lake State Park
Sunsets and campfires are two of the best things about Henrys Lake State Park. The natural landscape and confluence of the towering mountain ranges at the Continental Divide make for dramatic light and color at dusk. And as long as the wind isn’t howling across the lake, you can build a cozy campfire at your camp spot near the lake. Henrys Lake State Park is one of Idaho’s incredible state parks, and this is a great way to unwind and enjoy every last minute of your stay.