Palisades Reservoir, Idaho & Wyoming, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Palisades Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Palisades Reservoir

Palisades Reservoir is set in southeast Idaho, east of Idaho Falls in a beautiful river valley. The southern end of the reservoir extends into Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park. Hillsides covered with forests and topped with majestic mountains, provide gorgeous scenic vistas surrounding the reservoir. Palisades Reservoir’s 70 miles of shoreline, followed by U.S. Highway 26, shows the excellent access for tourist’s recreational use. Its wealth of outdoor recreational offerings for both summer and winter include water sports, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing and game hunting. Palisades Reservoir’s relative close proximity to Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park environs make it an uncluttered ideal location to depart for a day’s sightseeing and play.

Palisades Dam impounds the south fork of the Snake River to form the over 16,000 surface acres of Palisades Reservoir. The earth filled dam is owned and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and was built for irrigation, hydroelectric power, flood control and recreation. Construction started in 1951 and was completed in 1957, with generating units online in 1958. Originally producing 176,600 kilowatts, power generation was upgraded in 1995 to produce a whopping 168 megawatts. Palisades Reservoir water is used for supplemental irrigation of 670,000 acres of Idaho farmland.

Palisades Reservoir provides a very diverse combination of outdoor recreation possibilities. A proliferation of campgrounds surround the reservoir including the Bureau of Reclamation’s day use and campground below the dam, providing boat launching and fishing on the Snake River outlet. Attesting to the fine boating, there are two private boat clubs on the reservoir. Also, under lease from the Forest Service, a number of private cabins have been built. The Targhee National Forest Service administers recreational use of Palisades Reservoir.

The most significant sport fishing species in Palisades Reservoir are the kokonee salmon, mackinaw, cutthroat and brown trout with a year-round season. Most productive seasons are, spring, fall and winter ice fishing. Numerous boat-launching ramps provide anglers excellent access to the reservoir’s fishing sites. For the geocachers among us, there are over 8 caches located in the area, all are very easy to find. Take that GPS receiver with you on your hikes, it certainly will add to your enjoyment!

All in all, Palisades Reservoir is truly a spectacular outdoor enthusiasts location, in a gorgeous scenic setting. A trip to Palisades Reservoir will add pages of treasured memories to your album.

Things to Do at Palisades Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • National Forest

Fish Species Found at Palisades Reservoir

  • Brown Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Palisades Reservoir

If you’re considering a Palisades Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Palisades Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Palisades Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Palisades Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 16,100 acres

Shoreline Length: 70 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,570 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 5,620 feet

Maximum Depth: 168 feet

Water Volume: 1,200,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1957

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