Life in Hagerman is built around the water. The Snake River flows to its west, hot springs gurgle up from its earth, waterfalls gush from its canyon, and millions of fish are spawned here every year. If you’re a water lover, it’s time to plan your trip.
1. Visit the Thousand Springs State Park Visitor Center.
The newly finished and opened Thousand Springs State Park Visitor Center has all the information you need about the surrounding area. Learn all about the incredible blue water parks such as Box Canyon, Ritter Island, Malad Gorge, and more. Pick up souvenirs and even borrow explorer bags! Grab maps here to assure you have the best and safest adventure in Hagerman.
2. See an ancient horse.
Where can you see one of the world’s oldest horses? At Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Hagerman is home to over two hundred different species of fossil plants and animals. They have everything from mastodons to the aforementioned Hagerman Horse. With over 3,000 new fossil fragments found each year, it is one of the most fossiliferous Pliocene-aged sites in the world
3. Soak away your worries.
Southern Idaho is home to hundreds of ancient, dormant volcanoes that created the lava rock features of the region while trapping millions of gallons of water. Hagerman’s 1,000 Springs, Miracle Hot Springs and Banburry Hot Springs is perfect for both a relaxing getaway or a family outing. Check out our guide to these natural wonders here.
4. See thousands of springs.
The name isn’t a lie: there really are thousands of waterfalls in Hagerman! The best way to see them is on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway, which winds through miles of the most remarkable geology and natural beauty in Idaho. Visit Ritter Island and Box Canyon to get close to the falls. If you’re on a kayak, in a canoe, or on a paddleboard, be sure to check out the clear waters of Blueheart Springs.
5. Whitewater raft the Hagerman Reach.
The free flowing Hagerman reach of the Snake River in the Thousand Springs region features an 8-mile whitewater trip. There are multiple Class II and Class III rapids — the perfect size for families. Idaho Guide Service offers daily guided whitewater trips on the Hagerman reach for $50 to $70. (Interested in bigger water? Idaho Guide Service can connect more adventurous types with heart-pounding rapids below Caldron Linn.)
6. Hike to Box Canyon.
Hike into the Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the 11th largest spring in North America. Here, an astonishing 180,000 gallons of water per minute pour into the Snake River!
7. See bald eagles. A lot of them.
Birds love the Hagerman area for the same reasons humans do — the warm springs are a welcome respite from the cold of winter. You can see a huge variety of waterfowl and birds any time of year. However, winter is prime time for bald eagles and thousands of ducks and geese. Get your guide to winter birding in Hagerman here.
8. Check out the home of the steelheads.
Since 1933, the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery has been raising millions of steelheads for release into the salmon river. You can watch the start of this fascinating process at the hatchery, which features more than 60 rearing tanks and 78 raceways.
9. See Archie Teater’s historic paintings.
Idaho native Archie Teater was once one of the world’s most prolific painters and was well known for his impressionistic Western scenes. He grew up in the Hagerman area and commissioned Idaho’s only Frank Lloyd Wright structure, the Archie Teater Studio (also known as Teater’s Knoll). There you can see several of his paintings on display at the Hagerman Valley Historical Museum, which owns about 600 of Teater’s works.
10. Visit a gorge and an ominously named waterfall.
The Malad River Canyon is 250 feet deep and 2.5 miles long. Which, at Malad Gorge State Park you can walk along its high rim and see below. The highway crosses over Malad Gorge, but the angle of view hides the deep gorge where the river cascades into Devil’s Washbowl. You can take a short hike to discover nearby fingers of the gorge where crystal clear springs produce ponds and streams.
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