Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

South Idaho and overlooking Snake River was the scene for us to stop to look at magnificent beauty. Shoshone Falls or known by some with the tag ‘The Niagara of the West’. From the many viewing platforms in the park overlooking, I am pretty sure that all who see them first hand get a total ‘wow’ moment or two as I did. Surrounded by magnificent landscapes, the wide canyon heading west, the falls cascading down creating colour beyond colour. Marvellous indeed.

P5211431 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

P5211451 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

Shoshone falls are actually higher than Niagara Falls, by 14 metres (45 feet). The falls stand at 65 metres high (212 feet) and certainly do look higher than that to be honest. The width of the whole area, spanning the great canyon of the Snake River, giving it a perfect framing.

P5211447 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

Since the fur traders, pioneers, settlers and modernisation since, the falls have changed dramatically. Downriver has seen dam after dam built and irrigation takes water now from the river. Prior to these the river up here was the end of a huge salmon breeding run up river. Sturgeon, salmon etc could of course not jump so high and thus the bottom of the falls were teaming with a natural food source for the Shoshone and Bannock native American tribes.

P5211462 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

The view to the left of the falls is just as dramatic, looking down river, down the huge wide and tall canyon. This canyon, just a couple miles down the river to the view above, is infamous as the place Evel Knievel attempted to jump across in a steam powered rocket. The attempt failed and it became one of his most famous survivals when he went down and crashed to the canyon floor!

P5211420 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

I was here at the end of Spring. There was quite a bit of water coming down. Spring is apparently the best time to view, and even more dramatic after a big snow melt. Due to irrigation and long dry periods it can dry up significantly in the Summer months.

P5211432 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

If you are heading down the Oregon Trail as I was or you are in South Idaho then make the Shoshone Falls a ‘must stop’ and take your time to marvel.

P5211416 Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele


Leave a Reply
  1. Wow, how amazing are the rock formations on either side, it looks like the wall of some ancient medieval city. the falls look beautiful especially with the rainbow. Interesting article. thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The hanging squirrel

Views along the Columbia River, Oregon