The hike to Golden Lake in Harriman State Park is a moderate hike that leads you through the wildflower meadows beside crystal ponds, creeks, and lakes that reflect the sky and clouds. It is 4 miles each way. Golden Lake nestles in lodgepole pine-covered hills, marsh grass, and meadows with a view of the blue crags of the Tetons in the distance, like mountains in a dream. It is just a sample of the 21 miles of trails in this state park.
- Semi-wilderness experience
- Look for wildflowers in the large meadows
- Trumpeter Swans and grazing elk may be seen
- Take Highway 20 northeast out of Rexburg to Ashton, Idaho.
- Continue on Highway 20 for 19 more miles until to come to the sign indicating Harriman State Park, turn off.
- Follow the signs for another 1.5 miles to the park visitors center.
- You can pay your fees either at the visitors center or the kiosk at the park entrance.
- In the summer you can drive to a parking lot closer to the center of the park. In the winter, you start skiing from the visitors center.
- From the parking lot take the trail along the river towards the group of ranch buildings.
- After passing alongside the buildings you will come to a fork in the trail. You can go either to the left or the right. To the left goes through the trees. The right across the meadow. Follow the signs.
- At the visitors center, you can obtain a pamphlet of the all the trails at Harriman. The trails within the park are well marked at each intersection.
History of the Park
The park was formerly the property of the Railroad Ranch. It was called that because it was started by owners of the Oregon Shortline Railroad. When Union Pacific bought the railroad, the early owners sold the ranch to E. H. Harriman, a major stockholder in Union Pacific. Harriman added to the ranch by buying others around it. At the same time, they used it as a hunting preserve as well as a working cattle ranch. In the Sixties, Harriman donated the ranch to the state of Idaho and the state changed the ranch into a park in the early eighties.