Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Kelly
Shoshone Falls in Idaho is known as the Niagara Falls of the West. The falls are 212 feel tall and over 900 feet wide. The falls are actually taller than Niagara Falls by 45 feet! This makes Shoshone Falls one of the tallest natural waterfalls in the entire United States. We recently visited Shoshone Falls, and we thought it was one of the highlights of our road trip. In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know for visiting Shoshone Falls.
If you’re lucky, you might just see rainbows sparkling at the base of the falls! Our daughter loved seeing the rainbows, and they made for some great photos.
How to Get to Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls is located in south central Idaho near the city of Twin Falls. The park is located close to I-84, so it’s fairly easy to check out the falls while traveling along the interstate. See the map posted above for specific driving directions.
The closest airport to Shoshone Falls is Magic Valley Regional Airport. The airport is located about 12 miles away from Shoshone Falls. However, because it’s a small airport, there’s not many commercial flights. The most feasible airport to fly into is Boise International Airport, which is located about 2 hours’ drive away from Shoshone Falls.
The address of Shoshone Falls Park is 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade Road, Twin Falls, Idaho, 83301.
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Visiting Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls is located near Twin Falls, Idaho. The falls are located near I-84, which makes the falls an easy destination to add to a road trip. There is only a $5 vehicle fee to enter the park (at the time of this writing). The park is open from dawn until dusk. The vehicle fee is only required March 30 – September 30.
There are several viewing areas of the falls, and they are all closely located by the parking lot. For this reason, families with young children and people with disabilities can easily view the falls. The viewing platform pictured below was located directly adjacent to the main parking lot. It was an easy walk from the car. (Less than two minutes!)
The viewing platforms can be pretty busy during the weekend. If you want to experience fewer crowds, we recommend that you visit the falls right after opening.
You can check out current conditions at Shoshone Falls on the day of your trip. You’ll be able to get an idea of the amount of water flowing over the falls and current weather conditions. It’s nice to do this in advance of your visit so you know what to expect.
There are restroom facilities and picnic areas located at the park. When we visited, there was also a snack stand open. There is also a path that you can follow for more views of the falls. The path is a little over a half mile long and is a heavily trafficked out-and-back trail. We made this a quick stop on our road trip and visited the falls for 30 minutes and felt like we got a good sense of the site.
If you can visit in the evening, there is the Shoshone Falls After Dark event during certain times of the year. See this website for current times and availability. Once it’s dark, the falls become illuminated with vibrant colors and music. Now that we have seen the falls in the daytime, we would love to go back in the evening!
You can also view the hydroelectric plant near the base of the falls. It was first built in 1907, so it’s over 100 years old! There is a diversion dam and powerhouse at the plant. The plant was recently renovated in 2020.
Some people even kayak and paddle board to the bottom of the falls were magnificent backdrop! We recommend that you have experience with kayaking prior to attempting this long trip For full trip details, check out this description of the journey.
About the Snake River
The Snake River feeds Shoshone Falls. The Snake River is a major river that starts in the state of Wyoming. It runs through Idaho and then north along the border of Oregon and Idaho, and then it empties in the Columbia River in Washington State.
The Snake River is 1,078 miles long. A major portion of the Oregon Trail followed along the Snake River.
Tour of Shoshone Falls
A convenient way to see Shoshone Falls is to take a guided tour. Your guide will be knowledgeable about the area, so it’s a very stress-free way of seeing the falls. This tour is a half-day (4 hours) and will take you to Shoshone Falls, as well as the city of Twin Falls. You’ll get to learn about Idaho’s pioneer history as you explore the Old Town. The tour even offers pick-up from some of the local hotels, which makes it a very hassle-free option.
History of Shoshone Falls
The indigenous people of this area were the Lemhi Shoshone or Agaidika people. Salmon migration in the Snake River made this area an essential food source for the indigenous people. Lewis and Clark encountered the Shoshone people in 1805, but they did not see Shoshone Falls. Explorer John C. Fremont named the falls Fishing Falls when he first encountered them. He wrote that the salmon were so abundant, that the Shoshone people could randomly throw a spear into the river and still strike a salmon.
Later, travelers on the Oregon Trail would sometimes stop to visit the falls. Shoshone Falls became a tourist attraction beginning in the mid-19th century. It was first called “Niagara Falls of the West” in 1866. The falls were then described as “a world wonder which for savage scenery and power sublime stands unrivaled in America.” In the late 1800s, miners discovered gold in a canyon near Shoshone Falls, which brought lots of miners to the area.
Evel Knievel attempted to jump over the falls in 1974 with his specially-made rocket motorcycle. HIs parachute malfunctioned and opened up when he attempted the jump. He was unsuccessful in the mile-wide leap attempt yet thankfully survived. There is a monument at the Visitor’s Center in Twin Falls commemorating his attempt. You can even see the ramp created for the jump from the Centennial Trail. In 2016, stuntman Eddie Braun completed the same jump and named his motorcycle “Evel Spirit” in his honor.
Trails Near Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls Observation Deck Trail
The .6 mile Shoshone Falls Observation Deck Trail follows along the canyon edge for views of the falls. The main viewing platform, directly by the parking lot, is usually the most crowded. If you walk further down the path, you’ll be able to find some other good viewing areas of the falls.
Canyon Rim Trail
One way to see the falls is by hiking the Canyon Rim Trail. The Canyon Rim Trail is a paved trail that is over 12 miles long roundtrip. The trail follows the Snake River Canyon and has views of Shoshone Falls. Most of the trail is in direct sunlight, so be sure to pack good sun protection.
Dierkes Lake Trail
The Dierkes Lake Trail loops around Dierkes Lake, which is adjacent to Shoshone Falls. The loop trail is 1.8 miles long with 196 feet of elevation gain.
What to Bring to Shoshone Falls
We recommend that you bring a few things while visiting Shoshone Falls:
- Portable Charger: We like this cell phone charger because the cord is embedded. (That’s one less thing to search for in your bag!) This charger will let you charge your phone when you’re out exploring. You don’t want to run out of battery while you’re on the go, because you don’t want to miss a photo opportunity.
- Binoculars: You’ll want to see across the Snake River and take in all the details of the falls.
- Selfie Stick: In order to fully get the falls in the background of your photos, we recommend that you bring a selfie stick.
- Water Bottle: Stay hydrated while you’re out in the sun! We like this water bottle because it’s insulated and will keep your water cooler for longer.
- Day Pack: We recommend that you bring a comfortable backpack to carry snacks, suntan lotion, and supplies.
Activities Near Shoshone Falls
Also located by Shoshone Falls in Idaho is Dierkes Lake. It’s just a 7 minute drive from the main parking lot at Shoshone Falls. There’s an unpaved walking trail around the lake, playground, and picnic area. It’s a popular destination for scuba divers, because there is a variety of things to see under the water (such as sunken rowboats and even a hidden treasure chest). The city council is working to make a scuba diving underwater park.
City of Twin Falls
The city of Twin Falls is only about a 15 minute drive away from Shoshone Falls. You can easily grab a meal (there are plenty of restaurants) or stay the night. There’s lots of things to do in the city.
First we recommend that you stop by the Twin Falls Visitor Center. In addition to helping you orient to the area, the visitor center has a tremendous view of the Snake River Canyon. The visitor center is perched right on the edge, so it’s the perfect place for photos of the canyon.
You can visit the Herrett Center for Arts and Science, where there are a number of educational exhibits. The planetarium there is highly rated.
Centennial Waterfront Park has a great view of the river and the Perrine Bridge (described below). There are kayaks and standup paddleboards for rent as well (seasonally).
The Orpheum Theater is part of the historic downtown area. You can watch classic films as well as live performances there. The theater was originally built in 1921.
Twin Falls City Park is over 5 acres. There’s a band shell, playground, and picnic tables.
The Perrine Bridge crosses the Snake River and is 1,500 feet long. It is the 8th highest bridge in the United States. There is a pedestrian walkway over the bridge where you can see the river below you.
Balanced Rock Park
Balanced Rock Park showcases an impressive geological phenomenon: a wind-carved rock balancing on top of a narrow pedestal. The rock is over 48 feet tall, and it’s perfectly balanced over a pedestal that’s only 3 feet by 17 inches. This park is located less than an hour away from Shoshone Falls.
Shoshone Ice Caves
The Shoshone Ice Caves are located about an hour north of the falls. The caves are actually a giant lava tube that’s covered in ice due to the air currents. Even during the summer, these caves are quite chilly!
The city of Jackpot is about is about an hour’s drive from the falls. It’s a popular local destination for gaming due to the number of casinos located in town.
Orton Botanical Garden
The Orton Botanical Garden is located in the city of Twin Falls. This 5-acre garden contains numerous plants native to Idaho, many of which are cacti. It’s a great place to visit to stretch your legs and admire the gardens.
Canyon Springs Golf Course
If you enjoy golfing, the public course in Twin Falls is called Canyon Springs Golf Course. The golf course has 18 holes, as well as a bar and grill on site.
Where to Stay Near Shoshone Falls
Hotels Near Shoshone Falls
We recommend staying in Twin Falls, Idaho, which is the closest major city to Shoshone Falls.
There are a lot of different hotel options in Twin Falls. Many people stop by Twin Falls as they travel along the I-84 corridor.
The hotels listed below are all within 6 to 7 miles of Shoshone Falls:
- Hampton Inn Twin Falls: This hotel has an indoor pool and complimentary hot breakfast.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Twin Falls: This hotel also has an indoor pool and complimentary hot breakfast.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Twin Falls: This hotel has an indoor pool and complimentary grab-n-go breakfast.
Shoshone Falls Camping
There are several campgrounds near Shoshone Falls. The Oregon Trail Campground is about 5 miles away from Shoshone Falls Park. This campground has tons of amenities, including a laundromat, playground, WiFi, and pull-through sites. Rates start as low as $38 per night (subject to change).
Another campground to consider is the Twin Falls/Jerome KOA Holiday, which is about 10 miles away from the falls. This campground has RV sites, tent sites, and cabins. There’s also a lot of amenities, including free mini golf, a pool, and bike rentals. This is a great option for families.
The Anderson Camp is located only 10 miles away from the falls. Anderson Camp is another family-friendly campground with a lot of amenities. The camp has a miniature golf course, two swimming pools, and a 100-foot waterslide (open seasonally). The campground has 96 sites and 6 cabins.
Finally, Nat Soo Pah Hot Springs and Campground is located a little further away, about 25 miles from the falls), but has a unique amenity. They have a mineral hot spring soaking area, as well as a swimming pool. There is a small admission fee for the water attractions. You can also stay a their campground. The pools and campground are open seasonally.
Restaurants Near Shoshone Falls
There are tons of restaurants in the city of Twin Falls. Here’s a few restaurants to consider:
- Culver’s: Culver’s is a fast-food restaurant that serves burgers and fries. We recommend that you visit for their frozen custard. It’s so delicious! (We came back and got it a second time!)
- Milner’s Gate: This restaurant has an industrial feel with a craft brewery on-site. They have a really good happy hour menu. They serve lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Their dinner menu has a little everything: pizzas, salads, steaks, and pasta.
- Elevation 486: Elevation 486 is a brick bistro that serves pasta, steaks, seafood, and more.
- Jakers: This upscale steakhouse serves all the classics. They have an extensive steak and prime rib menu.
- Idaho Joes: This restaurant serves comfort food. They have an extensive menu that features items like chicken fried steak, chicken pot pie, and prime rib stroganoff.
- Koto Brewing Co.: This craft brewing company has about a dozen beers that they create. Their Asian-American fusion menu is sure to please!
Nearby Kids Activities Near Shoshone Falls
Some activities nearby for children include:
- Laser Mania Family Fun Center: This family fun center has laser tag, black light mini golf, and an arcade. It’s all indoors, so it’s a good escape from a rainy day or a really hot day!
- Jump Time Idaho: Kids will be sure to burn through a lot of energy at this indoor trampoline park. Kids can play extreme dodge ball, slide down inflatables, and jump on one of their many trampolines.
- Harmon Park: This park has a playground, skate park, and lots of green space for running around.
- Magic Valley Mall: When we visited Twin Falls, it was incredibly hot outside, and we had a toddler to entertain. We found out that there is an indoor playground at the Magic Valley Mall. Our daughter was able to play to heart’s content, and we didn’t have to worry about the sun or heat! We could enjoy it all within the air-conditioned mall.
- Toy Town: This toy store has a variety of toys for all ages. We stopped here to pick up some new toys for our road trip. We needed to keep our toddler busy in the car, and getting some novel toys really helped us out a lot.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shoshone Falls
Is Shoshone Falls worth seeing?
Shoshone Falls is definitely worth seeing. Shoshone Falls is known as the “Niagara Falls of the West”, and is actually 45 feet taller than Niagara Falls! We visited Shoshone Falls during our road trip to the southwest, and we had no regrets about stopping to see the falls. It was one of the highlights of our trip.
How long should I spend at Shoshone Falls?
We recommend that you spend an hour at Shoshone Falls. There are several viewing platforms to see the falls. There’s a short trail to access some of the trails, so that you can see the falls from different perspectives. We spent about 30 minutes at Shoshone Falls for a quick stop during our road trip, and we were able to view the falls from several of the viewing platforms. It’s definitely possible to see the falls for a quick visit.
What is the best time to see Shoshone Falls?
The best time to visit Shoshone Falls is during the spring. The water flow will be at its maximum, which will make for a more impressive visit. During the summer, there’s not as much water flow at the falls. That’s because Milner Dam, which is located upstream, diverts some of the water flow from the Snake River for irrigation purposes. We visited Shoshone Falls near the end of May, and we thought the falls were spectacular. (All the photos included in this post were from May.)
How much does it cost to get into Shoshone Falls?
There is a fee of $5 per vehicle to visit Shoshone Falls during peak season (March 1st through September 30th). During the off season, admission is free.
Can you see Shoshone Falls at night?
The park closes at dusk, but there are special events that are occur in the evenings. The Shoshone Falls After Dark event is a light show in which you can see the falls lit up in vibrant colors. During select dates, the show runs from 9pm until 11:30pm. The best time to view the falls at night is after 10pm, when the sky is fully dark and the colors are the most vibrant. See the event website for dates for this upcoming year.
Can you swim in Shoshone Falls?
You definitely cannot swim in Shoshone Falls. If you want to swim, you can swim nearby at Dierkes Lake. The lake is only about a mile away from Shoshone Falls.
How far is Shoshone Falls from Yellowstone?
Shoshone Falls is about 266 miles away from Yellowstone National Park. Expect the drive to take about 4 hours without traffic.
Are dogs allowed at Shoshone Falls?
Yes, leashed dogs are allowed at Shoshone Falls Park. Just be sure to clean up after them.
Does Shoshone Falls freeze during the winter?
During the winter, you may see the area around Shoshone Falls covered in snow. Portions of the falls may freeze or be partially frozen.
Summary: Our Visit at Shoshone Falls
We hope this article was helpful in planning your trip to see Shoshone Falls! We were really glad we were able to see the falls for ourselves during our three-week road trip. It’s hard to believe this was never on our radar before! I grew up in Washington and I had never heard of Shoshone Falls, even though it’s not that far from us. If you’re planning on traveling along I-84, we definitely recommend that you stop by Shoshone Falls for a visit. We found that spending the night in Twin Falls was a great place to rest and refuel along our journey. They were plenty of restaurants, shops, and sights to keep us busy.
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