Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

A great memory for me on my travels is this visit to the stunning Shoshone Falls in Idaho. Also known as The Niagara of The West. It truly is a mesmerizing sight and landscape.

If you have never yet been then whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who appreciates the wonders of the world, Shoshone Falls is sure to leave a lasting impression. Let’s dive in and explore the wonders that await at Shoshone Falls, Idaho.

Shoshone Falls waterfall

Overview of Shoshone Falls

Located in Idaho, Shoshone Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder that stands as one of the largest waterfalls in the United States. With its impressive height of 212 feet and a width of 900 feet, it captivates visitors with its sheer beauty and power. I must admit it hard to describe the view of the falls in photos and one of them sights you have to see for yourself.

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Shoshone Falls view from car park

The falls are famous for their magnificent volume of water, particularly during the spring season when the snowmelt from the surrounding mountains feeds into the Snake River. I was so pleased I visited in Spring.

Often referred to as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls holds its own against other notable waterfalls around the world. Though it may not match the sheer size of Niagara Falls or the grandeur of Victoria Falls, it still leaves visitors in awe with its natural splendour. The unique combination of its height, width, and the thunderous roar of the cascading water creates a memory that is for sure.

Shoshone Falls is not just a visual spectacle; it also offers a range of recreational activities for visitors. The surrounding parkland provides opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife spotting, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, it is a destination that should not be missed.

Shoshone Falls and Snake River

    History of Shoshone Falls

    Shoshone Falls were created around 14,000 years ago after a massive outburst flooding of what was Lake Bonneville. A massive ancient lake that covered most of what is now west Utah as well as parts of Idaho and Nebraska. The remnants of the shoreline of this great huge lake can still be seen in Salt lake City.

    During the time when just native Americans roamed the land here, like the Shoshone and Bannock tribes, the bottom of these falls were literally packed with Salmon who had swam to lay their seasonal spawn. Of course the salmon and sturgeon could not possibly jump these falls so they all congregated here. It was a great source of food for the tribes.

    However Since the fur traders and pioneers heading west, and settlers came with modernisation and all things since, the falls have changed dramatically. Below the falls and further down has seen dam after dam built plus irrigation takes water now from the river. The salmon in such numbers are no more.

    the top of Shoshone Falls and above

    Planning Your Visit

    As I have already stated the ideal time to visit is during the spring season, specifically April to May, when snowmelt increases the water flow, resulting in a magnificent display of powerful cascades. Additionally, the weather during this time is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and minimal chances of rainfall.

    These falls are located about 3 miles from the city of Twin Falls. If you want to make it a day I would recommend heading also a few miles to the Perrine Bridge and Coulee Falls that are not too far away at all.

    As for entry fees, there is a small fee per vehicle to enter Shoshone Falls Park. As of my latest knowledge, the fee is $5 per car, but it’s recommended to check the official website or contact the park authorities for the most up-to-date information. Parking availability at the park is generally ample, with designated parking areas near the viewing points.

    Experiencing Shoshone Falls

    I must admit I stood in awe as I gazed upon Shoshone Falls. The sight before you is simply breathtaking. Again. Photos do no justice to the size of the scene. You do feel the sheer power and beauty of the cascading water.

    The viewing platforms give you an option of so many views and angles. Even though it was a busy season it never felt too crowded or that it was hard to get a good view.

    The mist from the falls rising up towards the sun creating a constant rainbow effect at the bottom.

    the river and canyon

    The Evel Knieval Canyon Jump

    The view to the left and downriver of the falls is just as dramatic, looking down the Snake River, down the huge wide and tall canyon. Here, just a couple miles down the river, 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!

    Snake River canyon near Shohone Falls

    Wildlife and Natural Habitat

    The flora and fauna surrounding Shoshone Falls offer a diverse ecosystem and a range of wildlife species to observe.

    Visitors to the area can spot various birds, fish, and small mammals. Common bird species include bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, and various waterfowl. Fish such as rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass can be found down in the Snake River.

    Among the small mammals that can be spotted are mule deer, ground squirrels, beavers, and raccoons. The rich vegetation in the surrounding area includes sagebrush, willows, cottonwoods, and other native plants that provide shelter and food for the wildlife.

    Conclusion

    Shoshone Falls in Idaho is a breathtaking natural wonder that captivated me and other visitors with its mesmerizing beauty. The falls, often referred to as the “Niagara of the West,” offer a truly unforgettable experience.

    the whole area of Shoshone falls

    Visiting Shoshone Falls, Idaho is a must for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in a true natural landmark. I came to be here because it also lay perfectly on the Oregon Trail route we were taking.

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    4 Comments

    1. Lyn Barden says:

      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.

      1. Paul Steele says:

        Thx Lyn.. It is so much bigger than it looks on photos too 🙂

    2. ddane@csi.edu says:

      Thanks for such a great article!
      Debbie Dane
      Southern Idaho Tourism

      1. Paul Steele says:

        Thank you Debbie. A top spot for me.. absolutely

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