Thousand Springs State Park, Near Hagerman

Thousand Springs State Park is comprised of seven beautiful park units. The park’s diversity and uniqueness is a testament to why the area is called the Magic Valley.

The park’s headquarters are at Malad Gorge State Park. It is located just off I-84 near Tuttle. The parks are close to the Hagerman Valley and are great stops along the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway. Some of the parks will take you off HWY 30, but is a quick detour.

Malad Gorge

The Big and Little Wood Rivers combine to create the Malad River, which flows south to the Snake River. About 2.5 miles upstream from the Snake River, the water crashes down 250′ through Devil’s Washbowl. This impressive waterfall is a single shear drop and the viewing bridge gives visitors a bird’s eye view. The resulting canyon is beautiful to see and even more stunning at sunset. Wander through the park to see crystal clear springs and an additional canyon.

Kelton Trail

First used by wagons along the Oregon Trail, the Kelton Trail became an important trade route for mail, freight and passengers. From 1864 to 1863 the route connected Boise, Idaho to Kelton, Utah. The trail was so popular the wheels cut ruts into the rocks. The trail can be found on the east side of I-84 near Malad Gorge.

Billingsley Creek

There are big plans for Billingsley Creek. It will be the future home of the Thousand Springs State Park and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument Visitor Center. A new RV campground, floating and fishing access, amphitheater and arboretum are planned for the park. Currently the park welcomes day users to sit aside the creek, fish or float. Equestrian riders will find a riding facility as well as a local market on the weekends.

Ritter Island

Is an Island rich with pioneer history. Home to Minnie Miller, visitors can still see the state of the art dairy farm and homes. Minnie raised prized Guernsey Cattle on the island and became somewhat famous in her time. It was also the site of the Payne Lewis Ferry. It was a much safer crossing then most other crossings and would take wagons to the Kelton Trail.

Today, the island is a special place. Nestled next to an Idaho Power Park there is a lot to do and see. Take the trail around the lake to Bonnieview lookout (Minnie’s daughters favorite spot), paddle the crystal clear waters and around the island, view Lemmon Falls or take a hike south along the Snake River. Visit in the fall for the annual Thousand Springs Festival of the Arts.

Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon

Box Canyon is one of the largest springs in North America. It flows at a rate of 180,000 gallons per minute. The spring lies at the bottom of the canyon creating sapphire blue pools, cascading waterfalls and an oasis for visitors. There is a 4.3 mile loop trail that takes you along the canyon rim, dips down into the canyon along the rushing water and blue pools and back up again to the top. Stop for a swim or wildlife watching.

The preserve is a favorite of Thousand Springs State Park units and can be very busy during peak season. It is a great place to explore in any season. Come in the winter months, when temperatures drop below freezing to see Bald and Golden Eagles congregating there.

Niagara Springs

This waterfall gushes out of the canyon walls, cascading down into a beautiful blue pool below. Viewers will take a quick walk up to the viewing area from the road. The water comes out at 250 cubic feet per second at a constant 59 degree celsius. This is a perfect temperature for raising trout and is home to the Clear Springs Trout Hatchery. Buhl and Hagerman are one of the largest producers of trout in the world.

Just below is a grassy park with fishing access to the pool and stream. It is a great place to have a picnic, go for a walk or cast a line.

Crystal Springs & Lake

Crystal Springs is true to its name. Several small, but beautiful waterfalls emerge from the canyonside feeding the lake waters below. The lake has several developed fishing spots for recreators and is stocked regularly. There is also a small boat ramp leading to the Snake River.

Plan ahead and book a stay in the Rock House or Guest House on Ritter Island. Get the island all to yourself and enjoy a charming home along the river. The other parks currently only offer day use opportunities. Stay tuned for Billingsley Creek campgrounds and cabins.