While highway 191 directly connects the two parks, the beauty and calm of Mesa Falls makes it a lovely side trip to tuck into your Yellowstone/Grand Tetons vacation.
On our visit, we spent the morning in Yellowstone and then made our way to Mesa Falls. After just a couple hours at the park, we spent the rest of the day and the night in Idaho Falls. Both places were peaceful and picturesque and just what we needed after the hub-bub of Yellowstone.
The main attraction at Mesa Falls is, of course, the falls. At 10 stories tall, they are simply stunning! We were mesmerized by them.
You can see the upper falls near the Visitor's Center and then later drive down to a lookout where you can view the lower falls.
The Visitor's Center was welcoming and very kid-friendly so make sure to leave time to look around. Even though it's a state park, they had their own version of a Jr. Ranger booklet. Pop in first thing so the kids can work on their badges while you explore the park. In addition, an activity book is available for download before the trip to break up the monotony of the long drive.
There are several hands-on activities for kids. The skulls and skins room was a big hit with everyone, with a large variety of pelts for viewing and touching. When we were there, there were some large birds nesting in trees across the falls. A telescope was available to view the birds. Also, a children's area was set up with color pages for little ones. Something for everyone!
We also really enjoyed the walk along the falls. The local flora was abundant and so pretty!
What you need to know:
Visitor's Center hours are from 9:30-5:30 in the Summer. A $5 entry fee per vehicle is charged.
Restrooms and water are available, but there are no restaurants in the park or near the park so be sure to plan accordingly.
This park made for a great stop that can be done in 2 hours - or less if you just want to stretch your legs for a bit.
A large portion of the trail is accessible so it would be fine for strollers. If you want to get closer to the falls, you'll have to be able to navigate some steps.