If you stick to the freeway in Southern Idaho, you might never know that this high desert region is home to a series of some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the West. These natural waterfalls range from 52-degree water gurgling pleasantly out of rock cliffs to a show-stopping waterfall that’s higher than Niagara.
Spring is the best time to see these beauties at full force, before Southern Idaho farmers divert water from the Snake River to irrigate the region’s bounty of crops. During heavy snow winters, such as 2016-2017, there’s even more water crashing through these gorgeous waterfalls. Here are three can’t-miss sites.
Thousand Springs Scenic Byway
You’ll be blown away by the number of waterfalls here — Thousand Springs truly lives up to its name! This 67-mile-long road takes you through some of the most remarkable geology and natural beauty in Idaho. The vast Snake River Plain Aquifer flows 2,308 miles beneath volcanic rock from the St. Anthony to the Snake River, where it flows over the cliffs at Thousand Springs.
To get there: The trail begins on US-30, just after exiting for Bliss on I-84. From there, it drops directly into the Snake River Canyon.
Viewing tips: 1,000 Springs Tours run year-round thanks to an enclosed, 52-foot catamaran. Take a scenic cruise and enjoy lunch or dinner on board.
Tumbling down the canyon’s side at 250 cubic feet per second, Niagara Springs’ churning, icy-blue glacial waters are a National Natural Landmark. Park the car, walk down the path to the springs, and be amazed as the force of the water fills your ears. This is a great place for year-round bird watching, too — the protected area and warm water provide a haven for waterfowl.
To get there: Take I-84 to the Wendell exit, then drive for seven miles. The road will begin to descend into the 350-feet-deep Snake River Canyon. Be cautious! This road is not recommended for motorhomes or large trailers.
Viewing tips: There’s a shelter at Niagara Springs where you can enjoy a picnic. Keep an eye out for birds, Great Basin spadefoot toads, bull frogs, and Pacific treefrogs — Niagara Springs is great for wildlife watching.
This amazing waterfall is legendary for its height and the sheer force of the water that comes crashing into the Snake River. At 212 feet, these falls are higher than Niagara — stand on the viewing area overlooking the falls and you’re sure to be drenched in the mist that rises from the pounding water below. This spring, you can expect the water to flow at more than 1,000 cubic feet per second. Shoshone Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Southern Idaho, so you’ll find plenty of recreational facilities, playgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails in the vicinity.
To get there: From Twin Falls, head northeast on Shoshone Street East toward Addison Avenue East. Take a slight right onto Addison Avenue East, then turn left onto Champlin Road. Take a slight left to Shoshone Falls Park.
Viewing tips: Don’t forget your cash! Admission to the park is $3 from March through September. During the late spring and summer, you can see the falls from below by renting a stand-up paddleboard.