Shoshone Falls

After a particularly stressful week of work, Veronica and I decided we wanted to get out into nature a bit.

So on a random Sunday we drove to Twin Falls, Idaho, to check out Shoshone Falls.

There aren’t a lot of waterfalls in our part of Idaho, and since we already visited Jump Creek Falls we figured the 147-mile drive to Twin Falls was worth it to see the falls that are billed as the Niagara Falls of the West.

Shoshone Falls did not disappoint.

Shoshone Falls raging on a recent spring day.

With the snowmelt beginning in earnest, the Snake River is running high and the waterfall was raging.

The cost to enter the park is $3 and they take cash only. That might be something the county or town or whoever should put on the website, as we had to turn around at the entrance and drive back into town to get cash. Irritating.

After winding down from the canyon edge on a narrow, two-lane road we parked and then had a picnic on a well-maintained large grassy area overlooking the falls.

We then headed down to the main observation deck – which for me, who is terrified of heights – was quite an experience. The falls are tremendously loud and the observation deck was packed, so it was a bit nerve-wracking.

There is also a grate of some sort on the platform. I found myself standing on it and immediately thought of the movie Along Came Polly, where Ben Stiller plays a risk analyst for insurance companies and mentions a (probably  made up) stat about how many people fall through grates in New York City every year. I got off the grate as quickly as possible.

A wider look at the falls, which are taller than the Niagara Falls but not as wide. And you can’t get as close to them as you can their eastern counterpart.

Watching the water cascade over the rocks is truly an awe-inspiring view.

I was also reminded of a story my old pastor Keegan Lenker told. He grew up in Twin Falls and decided to climb on the rocks below the observation deck. After seeing said walls, I’d say Keegan is pretty nuts. There was a greater purpose to his anecdote, but I’ll admit that I don’t remember what the sermon was about that day. Sorry, Keegan.

Catarina isn’t afraid of heights. That gene skipped her, I guess.

Anyway, we then followed the Canyon Rim trail which starts behind the snack shack. It was really short, but offered a few more observation decks that had no one else on them. I guess most people just stay in the parking lot area.

After snapping a few hundred photos from that vantage point, we climbed up a steep hill to reach yet another observation deck which was located halfway up the canyon walls.

This paved trail extends about a 1.5 miles and eventually takes you to the point where Evel Knievel tried to jump over the canyon and failed in 1974. We were too hot and tired to keep hiking, so we turned around and went back to the car.

A pigeon just chilling as water crashes over the rocks just behind it.

We were going to check out the Twin Falls Visitor Center which has trails near the Perrine Bridge, which is famous for having BASE jumpers. But our daughter Catarina chose that moment to become car sick and after a fun time of using a plastic bag as a receptacle, we decided to drive home instead.

At any rate, Shoshone Falls is a must visit in the spring when the snow is melting and it is at its highest capacity. The area reminded me a bit of Palouse Falls, just because you are in nearly flat farmland and then all of a sudden there is this massive canyon with a huge waterfall in it.

– Craig Craker

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