10 & 11 August 2018
Twin Falls far exceeded our expectations, it is truely an underrated gem in America’s West. I had never heard of Twin Falls before researching our 2013 trip across America. Even then Twin Falls barely registered on my radar. It became a planned stop between Salt Lake City, Utah and Jackson, Wyoming that we ultimately skipped to make up lost time. Five years later we finally made it here and I’m glad we did.
The main attraction in the town of Twin Falls is ironically not the Twin Falls waterfalls, it’s the Snake River Canyon. People from other parts of the country probably most associate Snake River with the popular section running through Grand Tetons National Park. It is over 1,000 miles long and stretches from Western Wyoming to the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington while defining much of the border between Idaho and Oregon. The canyon area is fantastic. The sights and attractions are easily accessible and not overly crowded.
Snake River Canyon (left) and Perrine Coulee Waterfall (right)
The focus point of the Twin Falls area is Perrine Bridge. The bridge is on Idaho Route 93. Heading south it is the town’s gateway and provides your first glimpse of the canyon. Built in 1976 to replace the original 1927 structure, Perrine Bridge is the eighth highest in the U.S. Besides being an important transportation link and scenic canyon crossing, thrill seekers base jump off the bridge providing entertainment for spectators. The area is full of activity. From the Visitor’s Center we walked east and west of the bridge along the Canyon Rim Trail. From the trail we could see the Evil Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump Site. The ramp still exists from his 1974 attempt.
Perrine Bridge from Centennial Trail (left) and Canyon Sunset from Bridge (right)
A short drive east of town is Shoshone Falls Park. Shoshone Falls are impressive and the surrounding park is a great place for a picnic lunch. Adjacent is Dierkes Lake Park. The lake is a local favorite kayaking and swimming. We enjoyed hiking the trail around the lake, half of which is between the lake and Snake River Canyon giving you great views of both.
Shoshone Falls (top and left), Snake River Canyon from Lake Trail (middle right), and Dierkes Lake (bottom right)
Travel just a little further east and you will find Twin Falls, the namesake waterfalls, near the Twin Falls hydro-electric plant. It was worth the quick stop. We couldn’t help but notice Twin Falls were not twin waterfalls, instead a single steady stream of water from a dam. It turns out there were two “twin” falls before they built the dam and diverted the water.
Downtown Twin Falls, the historic district, is a quaint western town with wide streets and low rise structures. The town has potential but it suffers like so many American towns from greenfield development – more about this in my next tirade, Twin Falls, A Tale of Two Cities.
.We had little over a day here but easily could have stayed longer. We tend not to linger in one place for too long. If we had it to do over again, I would have planned two full days so we could have spent more time on the Canyon Rim Trails, swam at Dierkes Lake, and rented kayaks at Centennial Park.
Only 250 miles from Jackson Wyoming, the gateway to the Grand Tetons, and 275 miles from West Yellowstone, in my opinion Twin Falls should be on everyone’s Great American travel wish list.