Big Springs Series  LbNA # 3693

Placed DateMay 10 2003
LocationIsland Park, ID
Found By buckblackhoof
Last Found Aug 31 2010
Hike Distance?

Big Springs is located in the Island Park area. It is one of the largest fresh water springs in the United States and provides the major source of Henry's Fork which later becomes part of the Snake River. There is a huge variety of wildlife in the area and if you come during the right time of year, you can even see the salmon run. On the day we were there we saw trumpeter swans, eagles, osprey, peregrine falcons, blue heron, pelicans, geese, marmuts, beavers, a variety of trout, and evidence everywhere of moose (see the name of box 2 in the series). It is also worth your time to drive out to Mesa Falls. We went out past Warm River and actually picked some fresh watercress that was growing wild in the river too. Of course, it goes without saying that if this is a one time trip, you have to stay on the highway and head up to Yellowstone. It is just up the road from here.

Series Difficulty: Easy. The hike itself and box three are also wheelchair accessible. Boxes one and three are also easily accessible with a friend's help. The full trail probably takes about 30 minutes. You don't have to do the full trail to get the letterboxes.

Head up Highway 20, just before you get to Mack's Inn you will turn on S. Big Springs Loop Road (there's a sign that will direct you). The springs themselves are 4.5 miles up the road.

Box 1: Johnny Sack Letterbox
(named after the German settler that built a historic cabin here)

I stopped to check this box in the fall and found that the Johnny Sack one was missing. I will recarve and hide it this spring.

Follow the short path going up from the parking lot. It goes up to the spring outlet. Then go down the path by the short wooden stairs. Cross the smaller rocks. If you take a moment to listen you will hear some of the spring gurgling up under you (a kind of strange feeling). You will come to a large rock that covers the span of the path. Climb over it onto the dirt below it. Turn around. The box is hidden in one of the spaces under that large rock that you just climbed over. There should be a smaller rock hiding it's location. Please replace it when you rehide the box.

Box 2: Moose Droppings Letterbox
(my friend Dawn who came boxing with me joked that we should call this box moose droppings because of all the "surprises" that the moose had left everywhere. She had no idea I would take her joke seriously in her honor! I hope that isn't a dubious honor!)

NOTE: new stamp, new location! Original dragged off by wildlife!

In order to find this letterbox, you will go back to the road, cross it and start out on the nature trail the forest service has built along the far side of the river and across the street from the parking area.

Find the Competition For Homes sign. Start counting steps where you would turn to go look at that sign, not at the sign itself. After 18 steps you will see a tall tree post at your left. Stand behind this tree post and take 7 steps at 198 degrees. Behind the cut log this takes you to, under branches and a board, you will find more pleasant moose droppings.

Box 3: Big Springs Letterbox

This is by far the simplest of the finds, but it will also be difficult to remain discreet as it is right on the trail. Please watch carefully for onlookers. It is in such a clear spot, but I felt it was important to have some finds that were easily accessible to disabled letterboxers.

From the "Furry Friends" trail marker, there is a large tree stump directly across the path at 120 degrees. The box is under that stump with some wood covering it from sight. Please replace the box and the wood carefully.