There are so many different locations to visit in Idaho it can be hard to choose where to explore. How do you decide between mountains towering over colorful valleys, canyons cutting deep into the earth, aqua blue waters shimmering in the sun, and even enormous waterfalls spilling into rivers? You don’t have to decide between them anymore; Southern Idaho has all of the above, all within an a couple hours of driving distance!
Southern Idaho’s land is diverse, bringing a new excitement around every corner. We’ve curated a list of Seven Wonders of Idaho that must be seen, and we’ve included tips and tricks on how to visit them all. Visit Shoshone Falls, Perrine Bridge on the Snake River Canyon, City of Rocks, Thousand Springs State Park, Balanced Rock, Shoshone Ice Cave, and two different hot springs.
1. Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls
Twin Falls is the best place to stop when you’re chasing waterfalls. It is named the City of Waterfalls for a reason, and is home to the mighty, Shoshone Falls. Known as the Niagara of the West it is a clear choice as number one on our Seven Wonders list. Plus, Shoshone Falls is easy to visit and explore. The waterfall’s park is located just a few miles west of Downtown Twin, meaning you could watch the sunset at Shoshone Falls and still have enough time to go back to town for drinks on the patio at Milner’s Gate.
Shoshone Falls is a 212 ft waterfall, making it even taller than Niagara Falls! It is located on the Snake River below the Twin Falls Waterfall, and east of the Perrine Bridge. Shoshone Falls City Park has a concessions stand, public restrooms, picnic areas, and more waterfalls! There are trails to explore starting at the parking lot, leading to multiple view points, and out of the canyon via the Canyon Rim Trail.
Hotels of all variations are within a few miles from the park. We recommend staying near the Snake River Canyon. The TownePlace Suites by Marriot or Hilton Garden Inn are great places to stay. There are also popular restaurants nearby – including Elevation 486, a local favorite! Elevation is located right at the canyon’s rim and has a wonderful view of our next wonder.Shoshone Falls
2. Perrine Bridge
Towering about 500 ft above the Snake River is the entrance to Twin Falls – the Perrine Bridge. Visitors are allowed to walk out across the bridge on the sidewalk separated from the road. BASE Jumpers leap from a platform on the bridge to the hiking path below. It is one of the only legal bridges in the United States to BASE jump off. Hike or kayak below the bridge by visiting Centennial Waterfront Park. Kayak and paddle board rentals are available over the summer. It is truly incredible to kayak up to and under the huge bridge!Centennial Waterfront Park
Spanning seven miles on the Snake River Canyon’s edge is the Canyon Rim Trail. It provides views of the Snake River Canyon from the Perrine Bridge to Shoshone Falls. Another way to view the canyon is by driving north across the Perrine Bridge to the Jerome side. The north side has many off-road areas leading up to the edge of the canyon. Lookouts are gorgeous around here, and can even provide views of Shoshone Falls. Sunrise and sunset cannot be beat at these lookouts!
3.City of Rocks National Reserve
Picturesque, wild, and jaw dropping views are found at the City of Rocks. The City is one of the furthest destination away from Twin Falls, but one of the most incredible places in Idaho. Drive to Burley for a great stop over and place to grab lunch. Our favorite is Morey’s Steakhouse, mostly because it is located right on the Snake River. The views are so beautiful.
Once you’ve arrived in Almo stop at the Visitor’s Center to get information on hiking. The City of Rocks is exactly what its name is; the landscape looks like a city of uniquely shaped rocks. Although called a city, this area is extremely peaceful. Enjoy birdwatching, hiking, climbing, and site seeing. Camp under the stars to see the Milky Way clear as ever! There are many spots to choose throughout the reserve, and options go further than camping. The Almo Inn is a great western themed hotel located in Almo. Also, Castle Rocks State Park, City of Rock’s neighbor, has a glamping yurt!City of Rocks
4.Thousand Springs State Park
This particular wonder is unique compared to others. It actually has multiple units – Billingsley Creek, Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve, Malad Gorge, Niagara Springs, and Ritter Island. So make sure to plan extra time to explore each place! Its name is from the plethora of waterfalls you will find in the area. A great town to access all of these locations is Hagerman. Stay at Billingsley Creek to enjoy a night near an aqua blue river, running right through the lodges’ backyard.
Box Canyon is one of those locations you cannot miss. Aqua blue water shaped as a mermaid’s tail sits in a lush canyon. The beautiful lookout area is right next to the parking lot and a 2 mile hike that leads to a waterfall. Continue chasing waterfalls by visiting Ritter Island. A historic farm sits on the island and allows visitors in the summer. Aquifer waterfalls are scattered along the canyon walls surrounding Ritter Island causing all of the water to be a vibrant shade of aqua blue! A local favorite of these is Lemon Falls which can be accessed from the parking lot of Ritter Island. Similar to Lemon Falls is Niagara Springs State Park. There is an aqua blue pool located below this waterfall, and is great spot to have a picnic.
Malad Gorge is located past Hagerman, and actually runs under the interstate! Devils Washbowl is the powerful waterfall that surges under the Interstate. The canyon cuts through the land and leads all the way to the Snake River. Malad Gorge State Park has many options to hike around and view different waterfalls and views of the canyon. Camping is available here as well.Malad Gorge
Imagine a rock balancing on 3 feet, 17 inches at the base, and spreads to 48 feet wide at the top! That is what you’ll find at Balanced Rock. Spring and summer are wonderful times to visit the park. Enjoy a picnic at the quiet campground area with tables and seating areas. Fishing is allowed here.
Camping is also allowed in the park, but keep in mind there are no RV hook-ups. Balanced Rock is easiest to access by driving the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway, Highway 30, and then follow signs to Balanced Rock from Buhl. Buhl is a great town to visit as well. Try local ice cream at Cloverleaf Creamery, and get some incredible craft beer or soda at Magic Valley Brewing!Balanced Rock
6.Shoshone Ice Cave
Tour a natural wonder at the Shoshone Ice Caves. A sheep farmer stumbled upon a cave filled with ice years ago, and now we are able to walk through it on a bridge! It is a 1,000 foot tall lava tube that is filled with ice as thick as 30 feet deep. The ice is caused by air currents flowing through the tubes, which causes the water to freeze. It is truly incredible.
The educational tour guides start by explaining the history of the ice caves and the indigenous people who occupied the area. They advise you to bring a jacket, as the cave is cold, even in the summer months. Purchase goodies from their shop, and learn more history about the area by exploring their displays. While you’re in the area, Shoshone is a great town to visit. The buildings are all historic and beautiful, plus the businesses are great! Locals love to stop at Shoshone Snack Bar to get the Mile High Ice Cream Cone and other food.Shoshone Ice Caves
There are two great hot spring options near the City of Rocks National Reserve and Thousand Springs State Park. Miracle and Banbury Hot Springs are located near Buhl and are the perfect place to relax and treat yourself. Reserve a VIP Private Room to soak in a luxurious hot spring or swim in the pool hot spring. Geothermal hot water will make you feel warm and relaxed as it even has health benefits!
Durfee Hot Springs are located near the City of Rocks National Reserve and are also set up into pools like Miracle. Durfee provides a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains, and all of the health benefits of relaxing in a natural hot spring. There are also natural hot springs in Fairfield, about two hours north of Twin Falls. The most easy to access is Worswick Hot Springs, although they are only open in the summer and fall.Miracle and Banbury Hot Springs