The towns of Swan Valley and Irwin and the unincorporated area of Palisades comprise the scenic communities that nestle the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River, one of the premier dry-fly fisheries in all of North America. The native Yellowstone cutthroat, the fine-spotted cutthroat, German brown tout and rainbow trout abound in this 66-mile stretch of pristine water. With the Big Hole range to the north, the Caribou Mountains to the south and the Palisades range to the east, splendid panoramas abound and year-round outdoor activities are a magnet for sportsmen and adventurers.
The Hansen Guest Ranch on Rainey Creek Road is centrally located and provides the amenities to enjoy your outdoor recreation adventure. This magnificent valley is part of the Yellowstone ecosystem that is home to the largest elk and Rocky Mountain big horn sheep herds in the country. Numerous white tail and mule deer, moose, bear, mountain lions and some mountain goats also populate the region. Trumpeter swans, sand hill cranes, bald eagles, blue herons, osprey and many other species of birds also provide exciting viewing and photography for ornithologists. Swan Valley truly is a valley for all seasons and opportunities to fly fish, float, water ski, camp, hunt, hike, trail ride, bird watch, snow mobile, cross country ski, snow shoe, ice fish and just play in the great outdoors can appeal to the desires of any outdoor recreation enthusiast, regardless of age. Palisades Reservoir’s 64,000 acres of water surface additionally provide a scenic venue for sailing, boating, water skiing, jet skis, fishing for lake trout as well as ice fishing in the winter months.
The changing of the colors of the Quaking Aspen and Maple trees in the fall brings a splendid array of colors to the valley and the surrounding palisades. Artists frequently are seen with brushes in hand and easels placed throughout the region as they capture the breathtaking panoramas. Over 400 miles of groomed snow mobile trails along the Snake River Road provide access to the winter wonderland of the Swan Valley region. Also available are areas up Pine Creek Pass for those sledders who want to venture off-trail and thrill for extreme snowmobiling in the back country.
For travelers who wish to venture beyond the valley to explore other nuggets in the region, Jackson Hole, home of the Grand Teton National Park and the world-famous Grand Teton Mountain Range, and adjoining Yellowstone National Park are a short drive away through majestic mountain passes.