Summer and floating go together like watermelon & BBQ’s. So, what do you do when your river is too dangerous to float? Try paddling the spectacular Mid-Snake region and enjoy the scenery.
The “Thousands of Falls” region on the Snake River between Burley and Hagerman offers many world-class paddling opportunities in a safe environment (little to no current) and highly scenic setting.
All of these trips are tailor-made for SUPs (stand up paddle boards), sit-on-top kayaks, canoes, inflatable kayaks and other human-powered craft.
Perhaps the most unique and scenic trip on the Snake – if not the whole state of Idaho – is to paddle from Centennial Park in Twin Falls upstream to Shoshone Falls in a deep canyon. You’ll pass 485 feet below the Perrine Bridge, where you may see base jumpers parachuting down to a landing next to the river. Then, you’ll portage around Pillar Falls.
The trip culminates with the opportunity to paddle almost directly underneath Shoshone Falls, a 212-foot waterfall – the Niagara of the West. This should be on everyone’s Idaho bucket list. It’s good to allow 5-6 hours for the round-trip adventure.
The trip can be shortened to visit Pillar Falls, a 2-miile journey that takes about three hours out and back. Rent your gear from AWOL Adventure Sports at Centennial Park. It’s very handy. Just show up, rent your gear, and go!
“A lot of people who came to see Shoshone Falls roaring with big flows this spring should come down and see the falls now from the river level,” says Paul Melni, co-owner of AWOL Adventure Sports. “It’s a totally unique experience! Plus, as part of your trip, you could see base-jumpers parachuting off the Perrine Bridge, waterfalls pouring into the canyon, birds of prey flying overhead, and more.”
If you’d like to go with a guide, Idaho Guide Service will meet you at Centennial Park with rental paddling gear, and they can take you on a guided paddling or whitewater adventure, including lunch.
In Burley, rent your gear at Idaho Water Sports and go paddling on the Snake River near Burley or Heyburn on the Snake River. The river widens up, slows down and provides vistas of Mount Harrison and the Albion Mountain Range. IWS has a river-side rental venue next to the Snake River in Heyburn. They’ve got all the watercraft available for reasonable cost.
In general, all the vendors charge rental fees in the range of $20 to $45 for kayaks, canoes or SUPs.
In Hagerman, you can rent kayaks SUPs or sit-on-top kayaks from Idaho Guide Service or Banbury Hot Springs and go paddling on the Snake River, do loops around Ritter Island at Thousand Springs State Park, directly below Minnie Miller Spring in gin-clear water, or paddle Billingsly Creek, another spring-fed stream that’s part of Thousand Springs State Park.
Enjoy your paddling adventure and remember to bring some extra layers or a windbreaker or rain coat in case the weather changes, plus plenty of water and snacks.