Southern Idaho is full of unique little gems, and Shoshone Falls Park is one we came across as we made our way from Boise back home to Montana. Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States at 900 feet wide and just over 200 feet tall. It is frequently referred to as the Niagara of the West. This incredible site along the Snake River is located right in the city of Twin Falls, making it a quick and convenient stop if you’re in this region of Idaho. Here are the details for making a visit to see these beautiful falls.
When to Visit Shoshone Falls Park
Shoshone Falls Park can be visited year round; however, the water flow varies depending on the time of year. For the heaviest flow, visit in the spring and early summer. During this time, snowmelt, rain, and minimal water diversion result in massive amounts of water cascading over the cliff.
During the later summer months, when rain is less frequent and more water is diverted upstream for irrigation and reservoir systems, there is less water flowing at the falls. As with many rivers in the winter, water levels are also lower during this time. At some points, the falls are almost completely dry.
These are the general visiting recommendations provided by the City of Twin Falls. But nature is sometimes unpredictable, so the flow varies depending on rain and snowfall, drought conditions, water management, etc. We visited in mid-March and there was hardly any water flowing over the falls. To view the current conditions, click here.
Regardless of when you visit, Shoshone Falls is still a pretty spot to see.
Getting to Shoshone Falls Park
Shoshone Falls Park sits on the outskirts of Twin Falls just northeast of town. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive there from the heart of the city. Champlin Road leads down to the parking area from E3400 N. The roads in and around Shoshone Falls are narrow and wind through a neighborhood and into a canyon area where many people bike, walk/jog, etc., so use a little extra caution when driving here.
The parking area is fairly large and there are restrooms there. If you have an RV, trailer, or other large vehicle, there is additional parking just up the road. You’ll come to it before you make it to the main parking area.
Despite the ample parking, this is a very popular spot, so be prepared to wait for a parking spot, especially if you visit on a weekend.
Fees & Regulations
It costs $5 per vehicle to access the park, payable by cash or card. The fee is only charged March through September.
Park hours run from dawn until dusk. This is a day use area only – no camping allowed. Pets are permitted but must be leashed. This should go without saying, but don’t climb beyond the railings.
Exploring Shoshone Falls Park
Once at the Shoshone Falls Park parking area, the main viewing platforms are only a few feet away. Right from here, you get a good look at the face of the falls and the Snake River flowing through the canyon below. These main viewing areas are ADA accessible. There are a few additional viewing points only a short ways away off a path leading along the canyon rim. It didn’t take us more than 20 minutes to walk to the additional viewpoints and take in the views.
Around the Shoshone Falls parking area, there informational signs and picnic spots if you’d like to stay and enjoy the area for a bit longer. Additionally, Dierkes Lake Park sits just up river from Shoshone Falls and is part of the same park system. There, you’ll find some nice grassy spaces, a large swimming area, more picnic spots, and a walking trail.
Another common way to take in the views of Shoshone Falls is to kayak or paddle board to its base. There are options to rent kayaks or take a kayak tour in Twin Falls. Put in your watercraft at Centennial Park and make your way upstream. Note that this is a few miles away from Shoshone Falls Park and you’ll have to get out at the kayak portage at Pillar Falls to carry your watercraft over a rocky section.
There is also a boat launch just above Shoshone Falls. Though you won’t get much of a view of the falls from above, this is a great option if you’re looking to get out and spend some time on the river nearby.
Always check water conditions before heading out on the water and use your best judgement.