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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Idaho Vacation: Shoshone Falls

Spectacular!  In years with an abundance of moisture, Shoshone Falls is a tremendous waterfall.  This is the year to put this on your Idaho travel and vacation agenda.  Shoshone Falls is also known as the Niagara of the West. 

Shoshone Falls in a High Water Year, June 2011

Shoshone Falls is over 900 feet wide and cascades 212 feet, making it higher than Niagara Falls.  Unlike Niagara Falls, Shoshone Falls has the water flow controlled and is often a falls with little water flowing.  Not so this year, the flow is high and the sight is spectacular.  Later this year the flow over the falls will be reduced and the falls will be pretty mundane.  Now is the time to trek to the Twin Falls area to see this sight.

Visitor Overlook at Shoshone Falls
There are actually two waterfalls near Twin Falls that should be visited this year.  Twin Falls, the namesake for the city of Twin Falls, is about four miles upstream from the more well known Shoshone Falls.  In years like 2011, this falls also gives a pretty spectacular show. 

There are other falls along the Snake River in this general area but most are harder to access and don't provide the spectacular show of Twin Falls and Shoshone Falls. 

Water in the Snake River is harnessed for both irrigation and electrical power generation.  There is a power plant operated by Idaho Power on the north side of Shoshone Falls.  Irrigation water is diverted farther upstream.  During dry years and later in the summer, the flow over the falls is reduced to just a small fraction of the natural river slow. 

Upper Portion of Shoshone Falls, June 2011
At both Twin Falls and Shoshone Falls there are parks and picnic facilities.  The area near Shoshone Falls is the better developed and has very nice shaded grassy areas for picnics.  There is also a gift store at the site.  The area is owned and operated by the city of Twin Falls.  Just a quarter mile up the road from the Shoshone Falls parking area is Dirkes Lake and more picnic areas.  These areas are very popular with locals and are worth a visit. 

Picnic Area in Park at Shoshone Falls
If traveling on I-84, take the Twin Falls exit and go about four miles south to cross the Snake River canyon on Perrine Bridge.  Stop on either the north side or south side to view this sheer walled canyon.  There is a visitor center on the south side.  Follow Blue Lakes Boulevard south a little over a mile to Falls Avenue East, turn left and go east three miles to 3300 E road, turn left and head north to the canyon.  Stay on this road to the Falls.  The canyon road is paved and is fairly steep and narrow in a few spots but is negotiable with any vehicle type.  There are large parking areas near the falls.  Click this link for a map of the area.  From May to October, there is a $3.00 fee for access and parking at the falls or to use the picnic areas.

Another great park in this area to visit is the Twin Falls County Centennial Waterfront Park.  This park is located just a mile from the south end of Perrine Bridge.  View the blogpost here.
Shoshone Falls is worthy of an Idaho vacation any time but at high water, it is a must see.  To check water flow rates, call the city of Twin Falls at 208-735-4357 for information.  Click here for additional information about Twin Falls and the surrounding area.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, this is Kevin writing from Idaho Power. Just wanted to say how much we all enjoyed this post, your pictures, and the rest of your blog. Keep up the great work!

    --Kevin -