HIKING, PICNICKING, VISITOR CENTER
The Mesa Falls Visitor Center occupies the historic Big Falls Inn, built around 1915 by the Snake River Electric Light and Power Company. With its spectacular setting, the Inn was a popular spot for social gatherings in its past lives. It had its day as a hotel, a cafe, and a dance hall. Later it became a way station on the Yellowstone Highway for ranchers, sportsmen, and tourists. After acquiring the inn from Montana Power in 1986, the Forest Service partnered with Harriman State Park and other generous groups to renovate the facilities and keep the site open. Big Falls Inn is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the area can be enjoyed inside the visitor center.
From the Visitor Center, an accessible trail and boardwalk provide spectacular views of Mesa Falls. A rainbow often decorates the canyon on summer mornings when sunlight passes through the mist, and interpretive panels share the natural and cultural history of the area. As you take in the power and beauty of the falls, keep your eyes open for the osprey and eagles that frequent the area.
Also in the area, the Mesa Falls Nature Trail meanders for about one mile through a quiet forest, ending at an overlook of the Lower Mesa Falls – an equally spectacular and powerful waterfall.