Called the “Niagara of the West”, Shoshone Falls Idaho at 212 feet tall and over 900 feet wide are an incredible show of nature. They are actually taller than Niagara falls and the thundering water is impressive to see. It’s a shock they are not as famous as it’s cousin to the west. To be honest, I had not heard of them myself until someone I met while hiking in Montana mention that I “must” visit when I’m in Idaho. I’m glad I took their advice, the visit was worth the trip.
As one of the largest waterfalls in the US, Shoshone falls thunders down the Snake River in Southern Idaho. The flow of the falls is dependent on many factors including snow pack and other weather. Sometimes the falls are thundering and sometimes its more a slow trickle. The falls are not always free flowing and a dam upstream controls flow. Sometimes water is diverted for agriculture or to refill the local reservoir.
Getting to Shoshone Falls
The waterfalls are located north of Twin Falls Idaho. Technically it’s in town but its a bit northeast of the city center down some more local roads. The falls are located down Shoshone falls grade road. The road splits between Champion road (to the falls view point) and Dierkes Road (to Lake Dierkes). If you have extra time, wandering and hanging out by the lake is lovely as well.
Twin Falls is about 2 hrs. outside of Boise and located close to I-84 which makes it a quick stop on your way to other places.
For directions we recommend using the address: 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade, Twin Falls, ID 83301
Cost to Visit Shoshone Falls
There is a cost of $5 for each vehicle when visiting the park. There is an attendant at the beginning of the road on your way down to the falls. For those who don’t want to spend money to visit there is a viewpoint where you can get a further away view of the falls right before the pay station.
Tolls are only collected from March through September. Winter months are free to visit as long as the road to the falls are open.
Season Passes ($25) are available Shoshone Falls ticket booth or the Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Department (136 Maxwell Avenue, Twin Falls ID 83301)
Parking at Shoshone Falls
There is a parking lot near the falls however it can fill up fast. There are a few areas to park further away from the viewing platform as well. For those with RVs there are 5 pull-through RV spots and those can fill up on busy days. Plan accordingly and try to visit outside of the areas in the middle of the day.
When to Visit Shoshone Falls
It’s possible to visit the falls all year round (as long as the road is open). Certain times of the year can be better for viewing than others. In the spring, winter melt can add to the thunderousness of the the falls and later in the summer and fall it’s possible the falls won’t be as spectacular. Also the flow of the river is also controlled by a dam upstream, there are times when it may be reduced which would affect the falls as well. If you are able to go in winter, it’s possible to have the area all to yourself.
What to see and do at Shoshone Falls
If all you are after is a shot of the falls. It’s very easy to get in and out to see that at Shoshone. The parking lot is located a quick walk to the viewpoint of the falls.
However, if you have more time there is a lot one can do in the area.
The nearly 8 mile Canyon Rim Trail gives you a beautiful view of the falls and snake river. The paved trail is a fairly long but non-strenuous walk. For those who are interested, you can even view the Evil Knievel jump site about a mile up the trail. In 1974, Evil Knievel attempted (but ultimately missed) an attempt to jump the the 1/4 mile wide jump across the snake river.
There are a lot of recreational activities at Dierkes Lake as well. Swimming, hiking, and watersports are available at the lake. There is also a boat ramp near Shoshone falls that can give you a view of the falls from the water.
Are Dogs allowed at Shoshone
Good news, Dogs are allowed at the falls are and the trails near the falls. The only restriction is that your dog must be leashed and they are not allowed on the grassy area near Dierkes Lake.
Camping at Shoshone Falls and Dierkes Lake
Unfortunately there are no camping facilities available at either Shoshone Falls or Dierkes Lake. However, there are camping opportunities in the areas surrounding the park. RV and tent camping sites abound in Idaho.