Can you kayak to Shoshone Falls? The answer is YES!

March 2024 Update: You cannot currently kayak past Pillar Falls. When kayaking at Centennial Waterfront Park, you will be required to get a (complimentary) hot wash from Idaho State Department of Agriculture. More information here:

Kayaking to Shoshone Falls is a wild adventure to embark on in Twin Falls, Idaho. How do you kayak to the bottom of Shoshone Falls? Rent kayaks from AWOL Adventure Sports at Centennial Waterfront Park and put in the Snake River from there. Then kayak under the Perrine Bridge and onto Pillar Falls. Once to Pillar Falls you must portage over the hiking area. After that, the paddle is 2 more miles to Shoshone Falls.

Where to get kayak rentals to Kayak to Shoshone Falls

AWOL Adventure Sports is a locally owned business that rents kayaks & paddle boards. You can also choose to take a guided tour to Pillar Falls or Shoshone Falls. These take any hassle out of the adventure and put you right in the action. They are located right in Centennial Waterfront Park. This is where the adventure begins when you are kayaking to Shoshone Falls.

Book a watercraft online before your adventure. AWOL’s kayak and paddle board rentals are generally booked out days in advance, especially on weekends and holidays. When planning your adventure it is wise to book ahead of the trip to assure you can get a rental. There are tandem and solo kayaks for rent as well as stand up paddle boards. The employees will put your watercraft in the water after you’ve checked in and have been fitted for a life jacket.

How to Kayak to Shoshone Falls

How long does it take to kayak to Shoshone Falls? Depending on your paddling experience it can take on average 5-8 hours. 

After the employees at AWOL have put your kayaks into the water, they will either wish you a great trip or join you on the journey to help guide. Kayak up the Snake River from the docks at Centennial Waterfront Park. The direction you will head is east towards the Perrine Bridge. It is about a one mile paddle to the bridge where you can look up and spot BASE Jumpers soaring to the landing site next to the river. After you’ve passed under the bridge there is about one more mile to Pillar Falls.

Stay to the right (south) side of Pillar Falls when getting ready to portage. Pillar Falls is an excellent place to hang out in the shade and enjoy a snack. Be sure to drink lots of water too! Once rested, carry and hike through the Pillar Falls boulder area to the other (upriver) side. The hike takes about 15-20 minutes and leads you over rocks, puddles, and through brush. Watch your step and take breaks when needed as kayaks get heavy when maneuvering over rocks. There is not an established trail due to water fluctuations, but passage across is easiest closer to the pillars.

Pillar Falls to Shoshone Falls is another two miles, however, Shoshone Falls can be seen from about a half mile away. Depending on the water level you can find small sand islands before the falls that are wonderful to pull the kayak up on and hang out. At the base of the falls, it is possible to pull the kayaks up on the boulders or shore on either side of Shoshone Falls. When the flow is high it may not be possible to park the kayaks anywhere and it is then too dangerous to get close to the waterfall.

Kayaking back to Centennial Waterfront Park

Being at the base of Shoshone Falls is absolutely incredible, but make sure to budget your time for the long paddle back! It is another four miles back to Centennial Waterfront Park and when the wind blows, it is generally against the current. Be prepared with extra water and more snacks to give you energy to get back to Pillar Falls and retrace the same trail you hiked across to get back. It may look possible to pass over the Pillar Falls area if the water is high, but there is no safe option to kayak through at any water level. We also DO NOT recommend swimming at Pillar Falls due to unpredictable undercurrents.

If you’ve booked the guided boat tour and kayak to Shoshone Falls from AWOL Adventure Sports you will have the luxury of  taking the AWOL Pontoon boat back to Centennial Waterfront Park and will have avoided 4 miles of paddling total. If you’re looking for a fun adventure but not an all day one, book AWOL’s tour that includes the boat ride!

Where to stay near Shoshone Falls & Where to Eat

There are a handful of Airbnb’s and hotels near Shoshone Falls and Centennial Waterfront Park. A couple that are located conveniently close to the canyon are Towneplace Suites which is a perfect hotel for guests who like to feel like home at their accommodation while traveling. The La Quinta Inn & Suites Twin Falls is also an excellent hotel to call home for the weekend. Both have wonderful pools and continental breakfast.

There are two lovely & locally owned restaurants on the Canyon Rim. Elevation 486 is established as the classiest restaurant in Twin Falls. The dining room and patio look over the Snake River Canyon where you can enjoy delicious drinks and cuisine. A newly renovated restaurant called Redhawk Kitchen has opened for service summer of 2022. Redhawk Kitchen also looks over the Snake River Canyon and is said to have delicious food as well!

*Tip* You can find more beautiful locations to visit on our Visit Southern Idaho App!