We partnered with Andrea Cannon who spent one week in Southern Idaho and explored a lot of the area around Twin Falls. This is Andrea’s recount of her trip, and how to make the most of your trip to Southern Idaho.
Southern Idaho is filled with incredible hidden gems. To see the coolest spots, Twin Falls is a great home base for your explorations. If you’re an adventure lover, this guide will help you with how to make the most of your trip to Southern Idaho.
How to make the most of your trip to Southern Idaho
In order to have the maximum amount of time for your adventures, here are a few tips:
- Fly directly into Twin Falls, ID (TWF) with flights on United or Delta, but you can also fly into Salt Lake City (SLC) or Boise (BOI) and drive to the Twin Falls area.
- Concentrate on just one area of the state at a time.
- Download directions and trails ahead of time for limited cell service locations. (Use Visit Southern Idaho App for all locations)
- Make reservations ahead of time for kayaking and hot springs soaks.
- See everything on your list at Thousand Springs State Park in one day so you only pay the day-use fee once.
Almo, ID & Oakley, ID
City of Rocks National Reserve
If you are driving from Salt Lake City, this is a good stop on your first day as it is on the way from Salt Lake City to Twin Falls. City of Rocks is known for the abundance of rock climbing, but there is more than just climbing here.
However, as we arrived midday in the summer it was a bit hot for many activities. Instead, we opted for two very short hikes with excellent views and drove around the park. Window Arch and Bath Rock Trail. Both of these took under 20 minutes total (not including our stops for pictures).
There is no cell service in the park as well as minimal information, so in order to make the most of your trip to Southern Idaho make sure to have your maps and trails decided and downloaded in advance.
Not too far from City of Rocks and on the way to our next destination was Oakley Reservoir. We saw people kayaking and fishing in the reservoir, however we just decided to hang out in the area as the breeze felt nice in the hot afternoon.
When planning my trip, visiting Teepee Rocks was on my must-do list for my Southern Idaho trip. This area was pretty far out there, but even still, we were pleasantly surprised to have this area all to ourselves at sunset. I do think sunrise might be better timing to shoot this area as we didn’t get the best sunset or colors, but we were still very impressed. It is such a unique area.
Twin Falls, ID
Perrine Bridge, Visitor Center
As you have to cross the Perrine Bridge to get from I-84 to downtown Twin Falls, you will probably drive over this bridge but it is worth a stop as well. To learn more about the history of the bridge, check out the visitor center on the south side of the bridge.
Base jumping is legal without a permit from the Perrine Bridge and if you hang out for more than just a few minutes, you will likely see several people jumping. Evel Knievel attempted to jump the canyon in 1974 (unsuccessfully) and you can see the sight where he made his launch to the east of the bridge.
You can also access the Canyon Rim Trail from the visitor center. As it is paved, this is a good option for urban hiking, biking, walking or running and would make a great half-day activity.
Perrine Coulee Falls
Not far from the visitor center is Perrine Coulee Falls. This waterfall reminded me of waterfalls in Iceland, without the extreme cold. You can see this waterfall either from the top or from the bottom – where you can even walk behind the falls. As a bonus, we went in the morning and there weren’t any other people there.
Centennial Waterfront Park
Continuing down from Perrine Coulee Falls, you will arrive at Centennial Waterfront Park. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) are popular activities to do on the Snake River and odds are that you saw several people doing this from above at the visitor center. At Centennial Waterfront Park you can rent kayaks or SUP and make your way under the bridge to Pillar Falls (2-4 hours). If you are feeling super adventurous and have some extra time (6-8 hours), you can even kayak all the way to Shoshone Falls. However, this does require carrying your vessel over land at Pillar Falls.
Shoshone Falls State Park
This is another thing you can’t miss on your trip to Southern Idaho. Shoshone Falls are incredibly impressive, even when they are flowing halfway like they were when we visited in the summer. These falls are often referred to as the “Niagra of the West” and are actually 45 ft higher than Niagara Falls itself.
Buhl & Hagerman, ID
Thousand Springs State Park
Thousand Springs State Park can be a bit confusing as it is actually made up of 7 different units instead of one large area. It costs $7 to enter for the day and is cash/check only.
Box Canyon Springs Trail is a 4.3 mile loop (or also can be done as an out and back) to beautiful, clear, blue-green water that will make you want to jump right in. The water is VERY cold so you might not want to attempt unless it is a very hot day.
Box Canyon itself is also beautiful to enjoy from the viewpoints at sunset, no hiking required.
Malad Gorge is a quick stop off from I-84 and can be done on the way to Boise if you plan to continue your trip that direction or if you flew into Boise. Keep in mind the hours of the Malad Gorge unit vary seasonally and when we visited it closed at 4pm.
Miracle Hot Springs
Idaho is famous for its hot springs. Miracle Hot Springs is one of the nicer commercialized hot springs that I have visited. If crowds aren’t your thing, they even have private pools you can book for a quieter experience. Miracle Hot Springs was recently renovated so if you opt to only visit one commercialized hot spring, this might be a good choice.
Banbury Hot Springs
Banbury Hot Springs is another option about 5 minutes away from Miracle Hot Springs. It also has private pools that you can book, however there are less than at Miracle and these were booked when we visited. If you are camping on your trip both Miracle Hot Springs and Banbury Hot Springs have sites as well as lodging.
Kayak to Blue Heart Springs
Another highlight of the trip was a visit to Blue Heart Springs. You can rent kayaks from Banbury Springs and paddle downstream (from the Banbury dock this is left – the river was incredibly slow when we visited and it was hard to tell) to Blue Heart Springs. It was about 50 minutes each way. As we went late in the day on a weekday, there were only a few others there when we visited and they left right after we arrived. However this place definitely gets crowded because of how beautiful it is.
Worswick Hot Springs
If commercialized hot springs aren’t your thing or if you loved the day yesterday and want some more heat, consider venturing about 2 hours from Twin Falls to beyond Fairfield, Idaho. Here you’ll find some natural hot springs. These in particular were nice because you can park basically right at the springs. There are tons of small pools to enjoy with varying heat levels (the farther up the mountain you go, the hotter they get).
This is a nice time to remind everyone to practice leave no trace. Don’t leave any trash and pick up any that you see during your visit. Keep these hot springs pristine for the next people to enjoy.
Skillern Hot Springs
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can continue deeper into the mountains for a visit to Skillern Hot Springs which requires a 6 mile roundtrip hike. During the route, you will see options for a low and high trail. The low trail crosses the (very cold) river 4 times but has less elevation gain. Be aware that there were lots of horse flies at this hot spring, but it was still unique and beautiful. There also was not anyone there when we were.
Hopefully this guide has helped you with how to make the most of your trip to Southern Idaho. (insert normal closing stuff here that yall use)
Andrea Cannon is a pharmacist, triathlete, gratitude practicer, and avid traveler. She enjoys hiking and spending time with her husband (Austin) and dog (Dex). You can connect with her via her Instagram (@andreafcannon), blog www.beaUTAHfulworld.com or via email at andrea@beaUTAHfulworld.com.