Shoshone Falls Idaho

Guide to Visiting the Spectacular Shoshone Falls (Niagara of the West)

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Shoshone Falls is a picturesque waterfall in Twin Falls, Idaho called the “Niagara of the West.” Actually, at 212 feet, it’s 45 feet taller than the famous Niagara Falls. About 10,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Snake River flows over the appropriate 1,000 feet wide rim of the falls. After visiting the Twin Falls area recently, I can say that you really need to visit Shoshone Falls.

When you view the falls you will also notice, a hydroelectric plant is incorporated into the falls with a spillway above the dam.

In addition to viewing the falls, the area offers other recreational activities around the falls and in the nearby Dierkes Lake. Shoshone Falls has one main viewing area and a few smaller ones that a short hiking trail leads to. On the other side of the parking lot is a large grassy area for playing and picnicking.

The Dierkes Lake Complex provides a swim beach, shaded cool grassy areas, a playground, visitor information, and restroom facilities. The $5 fee covers the entrance to both Shoshone Falls and Dierkes Lake. It is worth planning to see both.

Note: This is part of our series based on our visit to Twin Falls. Read more about Things to do in Twin Falls and visiting the Hummingbirds. Don’t worry, I’ll give you these links at the end again.

When is the Best Time to Visit Shoshone Falls?

The best time to visit the Shoshone Falls is April through June. The water level rises due to snowmelt and the demand for irrigation water is minimal. Due to the hydroelectric plant and irrigation diversions, the flow dwindles during the summer.

In fact, the first time I saw the falls many years ago, the flow was so small that I was very disappointed. During our recent late May visit, more water was flowing and I shot the photos in this post. The falls are most impressive in years of high snowmelt flows.

History and Fun Facts about Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls Viewing Deck overlooking the Snake Canyon and Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls Viewing Deck overlooking the Snake Canyon and Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls is located near the town of Twin Falls but is not the same as the Twin Falls waterfall. Both are in the Snake River Canyon, but Shoshone Falls is located downstream from Twin Falls and upstream from Pillar Falls (source).

There are several interesting historical stories attached to Shoshone Falls. The falls are around 14,000 years old, formed due to a catastrophic outburst that resulted in flooding in the Pleistocene ice-age (source).

The Shoshone Falls received its names from the Native American tribe who lived in this area. The name was then officially adopted in 1905 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) (source).

The place was popular for its fishing that included salmon for the Native Americans.

Despite being an isolated location, Shoshone Falls become a famous tourist spot during the 1860s. (source)

In 1900, citizens tried to have Shoshone Falls designated as a national park. The proposal was unsuccessful but drew attention to the area (source)

Shoshone Falls is also nicknamed as the “Niagara of the West” because it is as big and spectacular as the Niagara Falls. The estimated average volume of the waterfall is about 3,600 cubic feet per second (source).

In Shoshone Falls, there are only two dams, namely Milner Dams and American Falls situated upstream. Another dam was installed around the 1900s that draws up to 1,000 cubic feet of water. Some of the water is diverted for the hydroelectric plant and some for irrigation.

Plan Your Visit

If you are planning to visit the Snake River Canyon, make sure you check the Shoshone Falls. The best time to visit this place, to see the most water and the fewest crowds is spring.

You can include a walk or drive across the Perrine bridge, visit the Snake River Canyon, visit Dierkes Lake or Bass Lake or you can zip-line in the canyon. 

Shade and grass for a picnic and relaxing at Shoshone Falls.
Grassy Area for a Picnic at Shoshone Falls

Several other places that are near the Twin Falls that you can visit are 

  • Shoshone Ice Caves
  • Miracle Hot Springs
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds
  • City of Rocks
  • Pomerelle Ski Resort
  • Thousand Springs
  • Bruneau Sand Dunes

As part of our visit to Twin Falls, I wrote a ultimate guide of 17 fun things to do in Twin Falls.

How to Get to Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls Entrance Sign
Shoshone Falls Entrance Sign

Shoshone Falls os located about 3 miles east of town and Just takes five minutes to drive from the city of Twin Falls. 

If you are traveling from the city, take the turn to Falls Avenue, eastward, and drive till you reach Champlin Road. The signboards at each intersection will guide you to the Shoshone Falls. 

If you are traveling from the east-side. You will probably be on the Highway-30. From there, if you take a right turn, for Champlin Road, you will reach Shoshone Fall.

The entrance fee is $5 and is collected by the parks and recreation department at the booth. This fee covers both Shoshone Falls and Diekes Lake.

Once you cross the gate, you will find a second road that will take you to the main parking lot. The main viewing deck is situated 75 ft away from the parking lot. This is the best spot from where you can view the Shoshone Falls but you will have to descend a flight of stairs.

A nearby viewing deck is stroller and wheelchair friendly and is an equally nice view. It is also a little easier on the nerves if you have small children. . 

In case you are traveling in a recreational vehicle, there is a small lot with a few RV spots just before the main parking lot.

Related: 17 Essential Tips for your First Family RV trip

Things to do near Shoshone Falls

The nearby town Twin Falls is mainly popular for the Shoshone Falls and the Snake River Canyon. I have written a full review of the activities in Twin Falls in another post but here is an abbreviated list. Read my full report of 17 Things to do in Twin Falls here.

  • Walk along the Rim Trail – A 12-mile trail extending from the western side of Twin Falls to the Shoshone Falls is a must-visit. The best section of the trail is the portion that falls under the Twin Falls.
  • Play Golf at the Canyon – there are two golf courses situated at the bottom of the canyon. One is the Blue Lakes Country Club and the other one is Canyon Springs Golf Club.
  • Talk a walk on the Perrine Bridge – This famous bridge has a pedestrians only lane. You can get amazing photos from the bridge.
  • Visit the Evel Knievel jump site. The small mound of dirt on the edge of the Snake River Canyon was made famous by his failed attempt
  • Kayak at Centennial Waterfront Park – This popular park on the Snake River has a view of Perrine Bridge, playground and kayals for rent.

Can you swim in Shoshone Falls?

You cannot swim in the Shoshone Falls from the visitor center. However, you can swim in Lake Dierkes that is in the same area as Shoshone Falls. You can swim in either the specified swim beach or from another location along the shore. Additionally, you can kayak to the base of the Shoshone Falls from below.

Dierkes Lake Swimming Area
Dierkes Lake Swimming Area

Final Thoughts on Visiting Shoshone Falls

Twin Falls is only 3 hours from Salt Lake City and halfway between Denver and Seattle. This makes a perfect road trip stop. Although, we recenlty visited and stayed in a nice AirBNB, I would like to camp in our RV next time.

If you plan to add this destination to your road trip or RV trip you will find we have many resources for you. I drove the 9 hours from home with my 5 kids by myself. So I compiled some tips for you. See the related articles we have on this blog:

You must visit the Shoshone Falls if you are in Twin Fall, Idaho. The view from the Shoshone observation deck is incredible and the spray from the falls is refreshing. The Snake River Canyon has a picturesque view and it is breath-taking. 

Visit Shoshone Falls near the town of Twin Falls Idaho.
Shauna Kocman founder Family Travel Fever
Shauna Kocman founder of Family Travel Fever

Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever.  We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug!  I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

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  1. I live in nebraska with my husband and my son and his wife live in seattle. We were looking for a destination to drive to that is between us and i love water falls, flowers, birds and nature. I would love to get your inside tips for places to stay as a base to visit all the sights. They have two small dogs, so it would need to be dog friendly.

    1. Hi! We have been meeting grandma halfway in the middle also! You could stay in the town of Twin Falls. We stayed at an Airbnb that was dog friendly and the second time we camped in the Sawtooth National Forest. The Magic Mountain area has some cabins for the ski area. Otherwise, tent or RV camping is a great option. We loved camping at the Red Fish Lakes! I would go back again and again!

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