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    Shoshone Falls: in the presence of the Niagara Falls of the West!

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    If there is one thing that is not lacking in the West of the USA, it is natural beauty. For me, organizing a tour to discover those places is always a pleasure, but on the other hand I also feel on my skin that sort of "torture" that manifests itself in front of thehuge list of places which remain off the itinerary due to lack of time. One thing, however, we must say: the East Coast still retains the primacy as regards the waterfalls. In fact, the scepter remains firmly tightened in the hands of the Niagara Falls, the mighty waterfalls of the State of New York, able every day to attract avalanches of tourists who want to see with their own eyes what has become a symbol of the power of nature on planet earth.

    But you know, the United States is a land of surprises, so I invite all lovers of waterfalls to listen to prick up their ears: in Idaho there are the so-called Niagara Falls del West which, listen, listen - even if they have a smaller width and range - they are instead higher than 14 meters compared to those of the State of New York! These famous strangers are called Shoshone Falls and are located near the town of Twin Falls, named in honor of another nearby waterfall which I will mention later. In this article I would like to give you some information on how to see Shoshone Falls and the best time to visit, as well as some tips on the itinerary in which to insert them as an intermediate stop.


    • Where they are and how to get there
    • How to insert waterfalls in an itinerary?
    • Observation points of the Shoshone Falls
    • When to go?
    • Hours and prices
    • Other waterfalls in the area
      • Twin Falls
      • Perrine Coulee Falls
    • Where to sleep?
    • Map of the places mentioned

    Where they are and how to get there

    Le Shoshone Falls are located in Idaho, north of Twin Falls, on the course of Snake river which, at 1735 km, is the longest river in the entire Pacific Northwest. This mythical river - which flows through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State - originates from the Rocky Mountains and flows from Jackson Lake, in the heart of Grand Teton National Park. Its very long route ends in Burbank, in Walla Walla County (Washington), when its waters flow into the Columbia River, of which it is the main tributary.

    To reach Shoshone Falls from Twin Falls, exit the city center via Shoshone Road, follow Addison Avenue to the intersection with Champlin Road. From here, turn left and follow the road down to the river. On the way you will find the ranger station where you pay the entrance. If you want to put the address on the navigator, here it is: 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade Road Twin Falls, Idaho.

    How to insert waterfalls in an itinerary?

    This area of ​​Idaho is off the beaten path of the West Coast tours, so - unless you are doing a specific tour in this state - it's not easy to enter Shoshone Falls as an intermediate stop between two destinations. Here are a couple of possibilities:

    • A possible itinerary on a route less traveled by tourists is the one we have illustrated here: if you have decided to follow it, you can enter the Shoshone Falls as intermediate stage between Boise and Craters of the Moon. 
    • Otherwise, Twin Falls and its waterfalls can be a good stop to break up the journey from northern Nevada to Wyoming. For example: Those traveling from San Francisco to Yellowstone will find Twin Falls on their route between Winniemucca / Elko and Pocatello (towards Salt Lake City).
    Looking for oddities? If you like the strangest creations of nature, Twin Falls has one in store for you. In a remote area of ​​the region there is indeed one balanced rock that stands in a really unstable position! How to reach it? It's not difficult: the monolith is located right on Balanced Rock Road, 41km west of Twin Falls. If you want to be sure to see it, follow these coordinates. You will understand that you have arrived when you see a sign indicating the rock, in correspondence with an open space with a table in the shade of a canopy.

    Observation points of the Shoshone Falls

    After paying for the ticket, follow the signs for lo “Scenic overlook” proceeding by car to the main car park: while you already hear the roar of the falls, you will immediately realize that you are on the southern edge of a real canyon carved by the Snake River.

    I 3 main observation points they are very easy to locate and reach, being along a short paved path that starts right from the parking lot. The central one, as well as the lowest, requires you to go down a few steps to reach a small observation platform located under the ridge at a distance of just over 200 meters as the crow flies from the falls. The other two are located at the top of the edge of the canyon, respectively to the east and west of the central one: they allow you to see the falls from two still different perspectives. While the one to the east is at a similar distance to the central one, the one to the west is further away from the falls, being about 300 meters as the crow flies.

    If you like what you see, don't stop there! Take the car, go back from the parking lot and, if the barrier is open, at the first intersection take the narrow uphill road that runs along the ridge. Along the short ride you will have the opportunity to see the falls from a more perspective wide and to enjoy other views of the canyon and the Snake River.

    Here are a couple of additional explanations.

    • How close can you get to the falls? Unfortunately not as much as the observation platforms of the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls allow to do. The closest distance is the one indicated in the previous paragraph.
    • Can the falls be seen from the north ridge? No. The park extends only on the southern side.
    • Does the falls area include other areas to see? Yes. After the ranger station, at a fork in the road you will see signs for the Dierkes Lake, a small body of water lying on the side of the ridge, a few minutes' drive from the waterfall. This area is ideal for picnics while the children play on the playground adjacent to the shore.
    Idaho, land of waterfalls Idaho is famous for the production of potatoes, but as you may have guessed, also the waterfalls I'm not outdone! In addition to those of Twin Falls, we have already talked about the Mesa Falls, an interesting stop on the journey from Idaho to Yellowstone. If you head in the opposite direction, there is another wonder awaiting you, the Palouse Falls in Washington State, about a 7-hour drive from Shoshone.

    When to go?

    The visit of the falls follows a seasonality to which you must pay close attention: the flow of the Shoshone Falls depends on the Milner Dam, the most important dam in the area. Especially in years when there is a lot of snow, Spring is the best time to visit the falls. In summer, the flow decreases a bit because the dam distributes the water elsewhere for agricultural purposes. Visiting Shoshone Falls in the fall can be an unpleasant surprise, as the flow is at its lowest and the falls can even appear dry.

    Hours and prices

    The park, which includes Shoshone Falls and Dierkes Lake, is open year-round, but admission is paid alone from 1st March to 30th September, which then should coincide with the time of year in which the flow of the waterfall is greatest. The opening hours go from sunrise to sunset.

    The entrance fee is $ 5 per car.

    Other waterfalls in the area

    The Twin Falls area is full of waterfalls. I point out two that are worth a visit:

    Twin Falls

    Although Shoshone Falls is the most visited nowadays, the name of the city comes from another waterfall: Twin Falls. As the name suggests, there were once two falls, but one was diverted to make way for a hydroelectric power station. In the period from March to June, the only waterfall still offers a remarkable spectacle, which you can see by reaching the Twin Falls Park. The observation points are well indicated in the park. Admission is free.

    The distance from Twin Falls is 12 km. To reach the waterfall, you must drive east along Addison Avenue to the junction with 3500 E. The road then descends to the ridge of the riverside canyon.

    Perrine Coulee Falls

    Il Perrine Coulee it is a small river which, before flowing into the Snake River, flows from a hill north of Twin Falls. To see this small but scenic waterfall drive on N 3000 E Rd to the intersection with Canyon Springs Road, a road leading to the Centennial Waterfront Park, a park with a golf course and a pier for boats. Already along the downhill hairpin bends you can see the Perrine Coulee Falls stopping at the edge of the road, but there is also the way to get right under the waterfall: the path to take is not well marked, but if you want to see the exact point from which you can attack it, click here (you will have to leave the turning to Centennial Waterfront Park behind).

    Perrine Memorial Bridge: how to see it? Canyon Springs Road, before arriving at Centennial Waterfront Park, offers the chance to see another panorama. A few meters after the sign indicating the entrance to the park, on the right you will find an open space (click on the link for the coordinates): park the car and go up the hill following the path. You will arrive at an elevated point that offers a beautiful panorama of the canyon and the beautiful Perrine Memorial Bridge, visible in the distance.

    If you want to see the bridge more closely, go to the Twin Falls Visitor Center (2015 Nielsen Point Pl, Twin Falls). With much more time available, you can also take the Mogensen Trail, which starts next to the sign indicating Centennial Waterfront Park and winds along the riverfront for 3.5 km (loop): by choosing this option you can walk right under the bridge and enjoy many panoramic views of the canyon.

    Where to sleep?

    If you have decided to dedicate half a day or more to Shoshone Falls and the other waterfalls in the area, my advice is to find accommodation in Twin Falls, which is in a strategic position for visiting all the places of interest on the Snake River mentioned in this article.

    Find accommodation in Twin Falls

    Map of the places mentioned

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