How to float Henry's Fork in Island Park

A family on kayaks and SUPs

Suitable for kids of all ages, Henry's Fork at Big Springs is Island Park's best and safest family river adventure.

Also known as the North Fork of the Snake River, Henry's Fork is well known for its blue-ribbon fishing, but it’s also the perfect river activity with friends and family. The river between Big Springs and Mack’s Inn is calm and ideal for kids and beginners who’ve never floated a river before. It also provides fun opportunities to safely swim and spot wildlife such as trout, bald eagles, moose, and more. 

To get started, you'll need the right equipment. Some people float on rafts, but we don’t recommend it—this isn’t a stretch of the river with any rapids. Instead, take something that’s light and easily cruises in calm water like a sit-on-top kayak, stand-up paddle board (SUP), or canoe. Tubes are fun too if it’s a hot day and you want to get wet. If you don't have the gear, High Mountain Adventures is less than two miles away from the take-out at Mack's Inn and rents kayaks, tubes, and paddle boards.

Start your float at Big Springs Boating Launch. The water is crystal clear and very shallow at the boat ramp, but it gradually deepens as more and more streams fork into the river. The kids (and adults) will love spotting the huge trout as they dart back and forth beneath you. Keep an eye out for moose in the meadows that line both sides of the river.

The total distance is five miles and about two hours in duration, so bring water, snacks, and sunscreen. As you approach the Highway 20 bridge, you'll see the take-out on the left in front of Mack’s Inn.

Most people park a shuttle car on the north side of the river down the road from Cafe Sabor. If you don’t want to deal with shuttling your own vehicle, you can hire a driver at Mack’s Inn to drive you back to your car at the boat ramp, just be sure to get there before they close at 5pm.

We love that there are two restaurants at the take-out spot for those who've worked up an appetite. When you're fed and ready to head back to the cabin, there's no better way to end a day on the river than in the sauna or hot tub. Book your stay now and get ready for your family's best summer trip ever!

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