Balanced Rock is a famously known boulder in Idaho that balances on a tiny pedestal. At over 48 feet tall and weighing 40 tons, somehow it is balancing on only 3 feet by 17 inches! The rock’s peculiar shape was carved by wind and formed by volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago. The scale of the rock and its pedestal is something you have to see to believe. It is also not the only amazing thing to see in the area. Continue reading for what to do at Balanced Rock Park, and where to stay nearby.
Balanced Rock Park
On the way to Balanced Rock you wouldn’t think there will be a gorgeous canyon full of hoodoos and a creek. Drive through farmer fields south of Twin Falls and Buhl towards Castleford. Balanced Rock is easiest to access by driving the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway and then follow signs to Balanced Rock. Typing in ‘Balanced Rock’ into a maps app will also take you to the destination.
Once you drop down into the canyon it is like another world! See Hoodoos on either side of the winding road. About halfway through the canyon is a beautiful campground and park. Turn left into the park and find a picnic table to sit and enjoy the beautiful weather and stream. Follow the stream to the back of the park and find a secret path that leads around a boulder. From this path, you can walk almost a mile down the canyon! If you stray off path and climb through Hoodoos and rock formations please be sure to be careful and leave no trace.
Side note on the creek: the water looks inviting and blue, but be aware it does have strength. The current is quite strong so if you do take a dip or put in your kayak, be ready for the current to sweep you away. Depending on the season it can be stronger.
Hiking up to Balanced Rock Itself
After you’ve hiked around the park and enjoyed a picnic, continue driving up the road to Balanced Rock itself. There is a large parking lot right below the rock with a shaded table to relax at. Balanced Rock Trail begins here and leads straight up the canyon. The trail is steep, but not long. Use caution when maneuvering around the rocks and follow the trail that looks safest for you personally. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes.
At the top there are views of all angles of the rock. Sit behind it to watch sunset with the rock’s silhouette in front of you, or climb right up next to it for a selfie! Be aware there are steep drop offs in this canyon, so be careful wherever you are enjoying the view. Sunrise and sunset are known to be absolutely beautiful, and thanks to Idaho’s dark skies, shooting the milky way is also a great choice when visiting! Be sure to tag Visit Southern Idaho in all your photos.
In the past, people have vandalized the area. In fact, someone tried knocking down Balanced Rock! Thankfully they failed. Because of this the pedestal was reinforced. Please help us protect these amazing places. No graffiti, no litter, and keep the iconic places looking amazing for generations to come.
What to do Nearby and Where to Stay
Southern Idaho is full of adventures! Nearby Balanced Rock there are lots of hikes and site seeing to do. First off, stop in the Thousand Springs State Park Visitor Center located in Hagerman. Here you will find hikes such as Box Canyon, Malad Gorge, Ritter Island, Niagara Springs and many more.
There area also many options for losing nearby. Hagerman has a wonderful hotel called the Hagerman Valley Inn. Just down the road is also Billingsley Creek Lodge. If you like standard and cozy hotels with a local touch the Hagerman Valley Inn is a great choice. It also has a restaurant next to it called the Snake River Grill. Billingsley Creek has more of the Airbnb/VRBO feel where you get a quaint cabin for your family and can enjoy a stream running through the backyard. If you want a riverside house, try the 1,000 Springs Riverhouse which is an Airbnb that is situated right on the Snake River across from Ritter Island.
Visiting in the fall or winter? There are hidden hot springs all around the Hagerman Valley too! Check out 1,000 Springs Resort, Miracle Hot Springs, Banbury Hot Springs, and even some private ones in Airbnb backyards.