Caribou-Targhee National Forest covers close to 3 million acres of land across three states and is part of the Greater Yellowstone Area. The unique forest is home to 16 ecological subsections, making it one of the most diverse in the country, and it's known as a wildlife hotspot due to its location. Visitors can expect a wide variety of trail terrains that feature treks through the Teton Range and five different mountain systems, in addition to wildflower-filled meadows, vast valleys, and high plateaus. There are also several notable caves to explore, and for the adventurer, a backpacking trip through the Jedediah Smith Wilderness is a great opportunity to delve further into the forest. Park information that includes the cultural and natural history of the area can be found at the Mesa Falls Visitor Center located inside the historic Big Falls Inn in Ashton, Idaho.
The Robinson Creek Trail is a breezy out-and-back, scenic hike that starts in Wyoming and crosses into Idaho. On this trail, you'll see an abundance of forest flora that includes wildflowers and towering Engleman spruce trees. Due to its close proximity to Yellowstone National Park, closures may occur if there's an increase in wildlife and bear activity.
Length: 10.2 miles
The Boundary Creek Trail takes you on an out-and-back trek through heavily wooded areas with gradual elevation gains. Along the path, you'll find Mr. Bubbles, a crystal-clear pool of water that's perfect for a warm soak in the middle of the wilderness, and a picturesque lake. Expect to see plenty of wildlife, such as moose and pika. If you want to extend your time on this trail, you can continue to Bechler Meadows. Boundary Creek is also subject to wildlife closures.
Length: 17.6 miles
On the Aspen Trail, you'll trek through aspen forests and wildflower meadows while enjoying magnificent views of the Teton Valley. Expect slight fluctuations in elevation along with plenty of shaded areas and some small river crossings. Dogs, horses, and mountain bikes are also welcome on this trail.
Length: 4.9 miles
For excellent wildlife viewing and a challenging hike, check out the Alaska Basin Trail. The trek to Alaska Basin is about 9 miles, and you can head up either side of the loop to reach the area. Along the way, you'll encounter Devils Staircase, a unique feature that ascends 1,500 feet in just 1.5 miles.
Length: 15.0 miles
The Darby Canyon Wind Cave Trail is a popular out-and-back hike that rewards you with spectacular waterfall views and a chance to explore a few ice caves. The trail takes you from lush meadows up through a mountain forest and onto a steep climb along Darby Canyon Ridge. The last part of the trail takes you to the waterfall and ice caves. Note that if you want to explore deeper into the ice caves, you'll need climbing gear.
Length: 6.3 miles
Caribou-Targhee National Forest invites you to enjoy the beauty of its diverse flora on over 1,600 miles of hiking trails that are also perfect for birdwatching and viewing wildlife such as moose, deer, and elk.
Geocaching is another fantastic way to explore the forest. Contact National Park Services for information about where to start.
If you're looking for a great place to fish, check out Palisades Reservoir for a chance to hook trout and salmon. The Salt and Snake Rivers are also excellent places to cast a line in Caribou-Targhee.
At night, head to Alaska Basin to stargaze under some of the darkest skies in America.
Address: 1405 Hollipark Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83401
Fee: Annual Interagency Pass (1-4 people) $80
Fee: Entry fee (ages 15 and under) $0
Caribou-Targhee National Forest has it all. From dozens of pristine hiking trails and excellent campgrounds to choose from to its close proximity to two major national parks, you'll experience some of Wyoming's most beautiful and wild country. Whether you choose to visit in the summer, spring, fall, or winter, an RV is a fabulous way to get the most out your time in the forest and the surrounding areas as you explore this breathtaking forest at your own pace.