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Big Springs

Big Springs is one of the headwaters of the Snake River. Located in Island Park, Idaho, this large springs gushes forth large volumes of crystal clear water. Big Springs is known for two things. First, the large trout that are visible from the bridge. Visitor love to feed the fish. Second, for Johnny Sacks cabin.

It’s a River’s Birthplace

One hundred and twenty million gallons of pure water a day — enough to meet the water needs of a million people — surge out of the ground here. A short distance from the glassy pool is a bridge. Toss bread crumbs into the water from it, and you’ll see that constant flow (at a year-round temperature of 52 degrees) and the clean gravel bottom make for perfect trout habitat. Big Springs’ trout get BIG. Leave your fishing pole in the car, though: No fishing is allowed until below the outlet to Henry’s Lake, several miles away. The spring supports enormous rainbow trout which are protected from fishing. A .5 mile handicap accessible trail offers wildlife viewing of osprey, bald eagles, waterfowl and the occasional moose, white-tailed deer, and muskrat. Wildlife can be seen year-round although winter access is restricted by snow. Go east on Big Springs road in the Macks Inn area and it will take you right to this site.

Forest Service Campground

VISIT DATE: 08/08/2000
STATE: Idaho
REGION: Intermountain
RANGER DISTRICT: Ashton-Island Park

RESERVATIONS: 1-877-444-6777


In Island Park, ID, from intersection of Koeger/A2 and US Rt. 20, take Rt. 20 north 3 miles to campground sign and S. Big Springs Ave./Forest Rt. 059. Turn right at sign onto Big Springs Ave. and go 4.7 miles to another campground sign. Turn right at sign into campground.


  • The elevation is 6,400 ft.
  • The campground, near the crystal clear Big Springs, is a single loop running through a stand of young Lodgepole pine.
  • All the camping sites have pull-through aprons with limited shade and privacy between sites is fair.
  • Nature walks are held Saturday evenings; check fee board for locations, time and subject.
  • Boat rentals, showers and laundry available at intersection of S. Big Spring Ave. and US Rt. 20 in Island Park, ID.
  • Although the campground is not adjacent to Big Springs, it is well worth the short walk (0.1 miles) to see.
  • Water pours (120 million gallons a day) through the lava stones like a well designed fountain, into a pool that is crystal clear. The bottom of the pool is speckled with black pebbles of black absidian.
  • Big Springs is one of the 40 largest springs in the country and is a major source for Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, the water originates from the Yellowstone Plateau and maintains a year-round temperature of 52 degrees.
  • The kids (and adults) will enjoy watching the huge Brook and Rainbow trout swimming at the bridge.
  • Unfortunately for anglers, fishing is not permitted in the vicinity. This is bear country; practice safe food storage techniques.