Waterfalls in Section 5

Shoshone Falls
At the city of Twin Falls, take Falls Avenue east 2 miles to the Shoshone Falls Park junction; turn at this junction and drive 2 more miles to reach the cataract.

Situated at an elevation of 3,200 feet in the Snake River Canyon East, Shoshone Falls is recognized as the most famous waterfall in Idaho. In addition, Shoshone Falls’ large watershed and magnitude have placed the cataract in first place for the top ten waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest. With a width of more than 1,000 feet and a 212-foot descent, Shoshone Falls provides visitors with picture-worthy scenery and a bit of Native American history. During pioneer times, the Shoshoni Indian Quish-in-demi related the following story to J.S. Harrington regarding the cataract’s tragic past. This tale is taken from the 1937 Federal Writers’ Project publication of Idaho: A Guide in Words and Pictures:

“In the gloomy gorge above the falls there was, long ago, the trysting place of a deep-chested Shoshoni [warrior] and the slender wild girl whom he loved. Their last meeting was here on a pile of rocks which overlooked the plunging waters. He went away to scalp with deft incisions and then to lift the shaggy mane of white men with a triumphant shout; and she came daily to stand by the thundering avalanche and remember him. That he would return unharmed she did not, with the ageless resourcefulness of women, ever allow herself to doubt. But time passed, and the moons that came and ripened were many, and she still came nightly to stand on the brink and watch the changeless journeying of the water. And it was here that she stood one black night above the roar of the flood when a warrior stepped out of shadow and whispered to her and then disappeared. As quiet as the flat stone under her feet, she stood for a long while, looking down into the vault where the waters boiled up like seething white hills to fill the sky with dazzling curtains and roll away in convulsed tides. For an hour she gazed down there 200 feet to a mad pouring motion and sound into a black graveyard of the dead. And then, slowly, she lifted her arms above her, listed her head to the fullest curve of her throat, and stood tiptoe for a moment, poised and beautiful, and then dived in a long swift arc against the falling white background… And the river at this point and since that hour has never been the same.”

Visitors should be advised that spring offers the best views of the cataract before summer crop irrigation consumes much of the Snake River.

Twin Falls
At the city of Twin Falls, drive east 5 miles on Falls Avenue; pass the Shoshone Falls junction and bear north (left) onto a marked access road for the falls; visitors will reach the falls and a nearby picnic area in approximately 1 mile.

Twin Falls is situated at an elevation of 3,400 feet along the basaltic-layered rocks of the Snake River Canyon East. Descending in segments as the Snake River divides, only one portion of this cataract is allowed to fall. While a dam blocks the larger section of Twin Falls, the smaller segment still descends. During the early spring months, this segment plunges 125 feet with a large watershed. By summer, however, the flow is significantly reduced as a dam upstream draws water off the river for crop irrigation.

Bridal Veil Falls
At the city of Twin Falls, drive east along Falls Avenue 2 miles to the junction for Shoshone Falls Park; turn at the junction and proceed 2 miles to the falls.

The springs of Dierkes Lake feed the 25 to 40 foot plunge of Bridal Veil Falls in the Snake River Canyon East. Situated at an elevation of 3,200 feet, Bridal Veil Falls offers visitors easy access in the same vicinity as other reputable Idaho waterfalls.

Perrine Coulee Falls
Drive north on US Highway 93 from Twin Falls; directly after Pole Line Road, bear west on Canyon Springs Road for 0.7 mile

Perrine Coulee Falls loses contact with its bedrock surface as it plunges 197 awe-inspiring feet in the Snake River Canyon West. Situated at an elevation of 3,500 feet, this cataract is fed by agricultural activities in the area and provides visitors with easy vehicle access.

Auger Falls
Proceed north of the city Twin Falls on US Highway 93; at Golf Course Road, bear west and drive to a subdivision area in 5 miles for a semi-obstructed view; for up-close vantages, turn off US Highway 93 at Canyon Springs Road and continue 5 miles west

Occurring along the Snake River, Auger Falls drops 25 to 50 feet over a rocky surface. Although the north rim of Snake River Canyon West used to provide outstanding vistas, public views are decreasing as more housing developments arise in the area.

Upper Salmon Falls
Take US Highway 30 3.2 miles south of Hagerman; bear west (right) at the sign for Upper Salmon Falls; continue 1.5 miles to the power plant

Upper Salmon Falls divides into four segments along the Snake River as each section drops 15 to 25 feet. At an elevation of 2,880 feet, Upper Salmon Falls is easily accessible. For an up-close vantage, park at the road’s east end and follow an unmarked footbridge across the Snake River to a small island. Continue down the cement path to the falls. Visitors are urged to use caution while viewing the falls as Idaho Power may at times flood the walkways with no liability for any accidents.

Lower Salmon Falls
US Highway 30 south; approximately 6.8 miles south of I-84’s exit to Gooding-Hagerman and 1.5 miles north of Hagerman, exit off US Highway 30 at the Lower Salmon Power Plant entrance; continue 0.7 mile and look beyond the power plant’s substation to locate the waterfall on the far side of the Snake River

Lower Salmon Falls is easily accessible and viewable for visitors of all ages. Descending as a wide band from a section of the Snake River, the cataract plunges 10 to 15 feet with a large watershed.

Falls of Thousand Springs
US Highway 30/Thousand Springs Scenic Route (15 to 16 miles northwest of Buhl)

Falling in multiple threads as the Snake River diverges, Falls of Thousand Springs includes eight major cataracts and several smaller waterfalls descending in ranges from 40 to 100 feet. Located next to a one-mile stretch of the Snake River Canyon’s north edge, the springs significantly increase the river’s volume.

Falls of Banbury Springs
US Highway 30/Thousand Springs Scenic Route; continue 4 miles south past Falls of Thousand Springs and exit US Highway 30 at the Banbury Hot Springs Resort access road; continue 1.5 miles

The Falls of Banbury Springs is located in the same general vicinity of Falls of Thousand Springs. However, gazing across the Snake River at the Falls of Thousand Springs access point provides limited views of this cataract’s 30 to 80 foot descent. For up-close views, proceed to Banbury Hot Springs Resort.

Devils Washboard Falls
From US Highway 30, take Clear Lakes Road to the Buhl County Club (approximately 7 miles north of Buhl and 12 miles south of Wendell)

Devils Washboard Falls is located near the Clear Lakes Trout Company, one of the world’s largest trout farms. The cataract’s spring-fed 15 to 30 foot plummet is impressive at times, but visitors should be warned that a nearby power company occasionally diverts some of the waterfall’s flow from Clear Lakes.

Pillar Falls
Drive to Twin Falls, ID; from here, proceed north 1 mile on US Highway 93, exiting east onto the dirt Golf Course Road; drive 0.9 mile and park your vehicle

Descending at an elevation of 3,200 feet, Pillar Falls drops along the Snake River amid 30 to 70 foot basaltic rock towers. With 10 to 20 feet cascades, this cataract’s location is famous for Evel Knievel’s 1970’s attempt to jump the Snake River canyon on a rocket-cycle. After parking, hike 0.3 mile through abandoned dump areas to the Snake River Canyon ledge. Caution is advised in this area as the canyon rim occurs suddenly and is unfenced. Sightseers will find Pillar Falls descending directly below and a distant view of Shoshone Falls upstream.

The following Idaho waterfalls are also located in this section with limited directions/access available:

Little Drops Falls and Big Drops Falls
Located near Scenic Route 75 a few miles north of Shoshone, ID, both Little Drops Falls and Big Drops Falls are contained in the basaltic rock layers of the Snake River Canyon West on Milner Gooding Canal. While Little Drops falls is found next to a recreation area, Big Drops Falls is located adjacent to a dirt road. Both are shown on topographic maps in connection with historic lava beds.

Sinking Canyon Falls
Sinking Canyon Falls tumbles along an unnamed seasonal stream into Salmon Falls Creek Canyon in the Snake River Aquifer northeast of Hagerman, ID. This cataract may be located on private property, but topographic maps suggest that visitors can access a cross-canyon view during late spring and early summer.

Ross Falls and Phantom Falls
The Snake River Canyon East near Twin Falls, ID is home to Ross Falls and Phantom Falls. Found in the Geographic Names Information System, Ross Falls occurs along Fourth Fork Rock Creek past the Magic Mountain Ski Area. Topographic maps show the cataract plummeting next to a gravel road. Access to Phantom Falls is more uncertain. The falls are along Fall Creek approximately 1.5 miles from the nearest road. Visitors interested in viewing the waterfall will likely need to create their own trail.

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