Intermountain Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Forest: Caribou-Targhee National Forest
District: Ashton/Island Park Ranger District
Description: The Keg Springs road begins at about 6,600 feet in elevation and ends on the continental divide between Idaho and Montana at about 9,000 feet. A two-mile hike can also be taken along the continental divide trail to Blair Lake in Montana. The best time to access this area for wildflower viewing is mid-July though early August.
Viewing Information: In the Keg Springs area, you’ll find yourself in one of the best areas on the Forest to experience subalpine meadows dominated by an abundance of wildflowers. These tall forb plant communities are known for having a plethora of colors and form, often with not one species dominating. Well over a 100 different species can be found as you trek through the meadow. Giant red Indian paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus), white mariposa lily (Calochortus eurycarpus), small sunflower (Helianthella uniflora), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) and many plants in the sunflower family (e.g. asters, fleabane, goldenrod, and groundsel) are just a few of the common forbs that contribute to showiness of the wildflowers.
In 2008, a wildfire burned in the area and an amazing thing happened – an abundance of wild hollyhocks (Iliamna rivularis) germinated and grew amongst the blacked trees. The seed of wild hollyhocks can stay viable for long periods (over a hundred years) buried in the soil, requiring a heat treatment for germination. As other vegetation increases in the burned forested areas, the wild hollyhocks will fade away, until the next fire. The photo included here was taken on August 6, 2011. Large game including bears are occasionally seen in the area.
Safety: For your safety and the safety of your vehicle only high clearance vehicles are recommended for use on this road. Road is steep and rocky in places so make sure you have good tires and allow plenty of time for slower travel times. ATVs are permitted on this road with parking available at the Yale Kilgore Junction. Please beware that this is a multiple use road and you may encounter ATV’s and full size vehicles. This is grizzly country so be bear aware and store your food properly.
Directions: The site can be best accessed by taking the Yale-Kilgore road off Highway 20 in Island Park. The turnoff from the Yale-Kilgore road to the Keg Springs road (#042) is approximately 13.5 miles from Highway 20. After the turnoff to Keg Springs, the Yale-Kilgore road turns to gravel. Therefore, if you make it to the graveled portion you have missed the turnoff. The Keg Springs road is a high clearance road only, sedans are not recommended.
For more Information about accessing the area, please contact the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District at 208-652-1233.
Closest Towns: Island Park, Idaho; Ashton, Idaho; Dubois, Idaho; and West Yellowstone, Montana.