Visit Shoshone Falls and Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho

Updated on February 15, 2018
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A longtime camper, Dan has experience with tents, pop-up trailers, camp trailers, and motorhomes. He has also done repairs on all of these.

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These are two of the attractions of Twin Falls, Idaho. Just South of Interstate 84 and only 100 miles away from Boise, they are well worth a brief stop to a traveler passing through. Both are very impressive and the falls have a beauty and majesty seldom seen elsewhere.

Perrine Bridge is found at the entrance to Twin Falls where it crosses the Snake River Canyon, while Shoshone Falls is the Snake River, falling vertically in a huge horseshoe-shaped waterfall. Both owe their existence, in part, to the great Bonneville flood in the last ice age 15,000 years ago, which scoured the snake river plain and created the conditions for this beautiful waterfall and the canyon that the bridge crosses.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A nearly perpetual rainbow over the falls.  No pot of gold, though.  The power plant is visible through the mist to the left.The day of our visit, Shoshone was flowing strongly, although I have seen it even higher.At the very edge of the falls, water flow is still strong.Looking downstream through the mist from the falls was a second rainbow.
A nearly perpetual rainbow over the falls.  No pot of gold, though.  The power plant is visible through the mist to the left.
A nearly perpetual rainbow over the falls. No pot of gold, though. The power plant is visible through the mist to the left. | Source
The day of our visit, Shoshone was flowing strongly, although I have seen it even higher.
The day of our visit, Shoshone was flowing strongly, although I have seen it even higher. | Source
Source
At the very edge of the falls, water flow is still strong.
At the very edge of the falls, water flow is still strong. | Source
Looking downstream through the mist from the falls was a second rainbow.
Looking downstream through the mist from the falls was a second rainbow. | Source

Shoshone Falls: The Niagara of the West

At 212 feet high, Shoshone Falls is higher than Niagara Falls and is some 900 feet wide. Much of the water that would have gone over the falls now goes through the power generation plant at the base of the falls, but in spring and early summer there is still a massive amount of water flowing.

As spring runoff from melting snow naturally decreases and an ever-increasing amount of water is diverted for irrigation purposes, the falls lose much of its majesty, so try to plan your visit for April or May. By July or August, most of the width is nothing but bare dry rock and the enormous cascade has slowed to a trickle.

Just above the falls itself is a beautiful park area, maintained by the city of Twin Falls. Several historical markers are placed there, as are several picnic tables. In addition, an overlook has been constructed projecting out over the canyon and makes an excellent vantage point to view the falls from.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Perrine bridge, crossing the Snake River Canyon.The thin line of dirt at the lower bridge support is the original depth of the canyon before the Bonneville flood.The base jumpers have returned to the visitors center at the end of the bridge and are re-packing their parachutes.Golf course at the bottom of the canyon, downstream from the bridge.
Perrine bridge, crossing the Snake River Canyon.
Perrine bridge, crossing the Snake River Canyon. | Source
The thin line of dirt at the lower bridge support is the original depth of the canyon before the Bonneville flood.
The thin line of dirt at the lower bridge support is the original depth of the canyon before the Bonneville flood. | Source
The base jumpers have returned to the visitors center at the end of the bridge and are re-packing their parachutes.
The base jumpers have returned to the visitors center at the end of the bridge and are re-packing their parachutes. | Source
Golf course at the bottom of the canyon, downstream from the bridge.
Golf course at the bottom of the canyon, downstream from the bridge. | Source

Perrine Bridge: A Base Jumper's Paradise

The present bridge was built in 1976, replacing an older bridge just west of where it is currently located. The cost at the time was $10,565,000, and at 1500 feet long it is the longest span bridge in the west. Just at the south end of the bridge is a small park like area with a visitors center. The center offers great views of the bridge as well as the golf courses below. It is built on the rim of the canyon with little but a stone wall to keep a visitor from stepping out over 400 feet of emptiness.

At 486 feet above the river below it is an ideal spot for base jumping and the the city of Twin Falls allows this activity periodically. Base jumpers were leaving the bridge on the day of our visit, although I did not manage to get any photos of them drifting to the canyon floor far below.

Much of the canyon was carved by the same Bonneville flood that created Shoshone Falls. At about the mid point of the north canyon wall, near the lower bridge support, can be seen a thin layer of dirt; this was the canyon floor before the flood. Everything below that point, whether solid rock, soil or gravel, was scoured out by the flood in just a few weeks. The water would have put the bridge under several feet of water and spread far out over the north side of the canyon.

The flood waters that abraded the topsoil from the area north of the river returned to the canyon about a mile south of the Perrine bridge, where the resultant eddy created the perfect spot for I.B. Perrine to create the region's first farm over 125 years ago as well as a great location for the three trout farms and two golf courses that exist there today. The rocky land on the north side of the river, towards the freeway, is still bare of topsoil to this day.

The Bonneville Flood

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How to Get There

A
Shoshone Falls:
Shoshone Falls, Idaho, USA

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Just a few miles from downtown Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls is well worth the short drive.

B
Perrine Bridge:
Perrine Memorial Bridge, Jerome, ID 83338, USA

get directions

Exit interstate 84 on highway 93 towards Twin Falls, crossing the Perrine Bridge as you do so. Turn left (east) on Falls Avenue for about 3 miles and turn left again (north) on N 3300 E for another 2 miles. Both turns are well marked with signs.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Dan Harmon

    Comments

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      • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

        Dan Harmon 

        6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

        Goodlady, the door is open and the coffee hot. Stop by some time!

      • GoodLady profile image

        Penelope Hart 

        6 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Love all your fantastic pictures. It's amazing. Now I know I'm visiting Idaho one day.

      • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

        Dan Harmon 

        6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

        Yes, Evil Knieval actually tried his famous jump (which failed and he parachuted into the canyon) just upstream of the Perrine Bridge. You can still see the remains of the ramps he used.

        It's kind of strange that a waterfall can be "on" and "off" but it is certainly true of Shoshone. I've seen it very nearly dry and while it's still impressive with large walls of bare rock it just isn't the same!

      • denisemai profile image

        Denise Mai 

        6 years ago from Idaho

        Hey Wilderness! Didn't Evil Knieval jump that canyon? I seem to remember that from childhood. My husband is from that area. I've never seen the falls when they were "on". Maybe someday!

      • emitchell1 profile image

        emitchell1 

        6 years ago from Utah

        Beautiful photos; places I'd love to visit some day.

      • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

        Dan Harmon 

        6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

        Yes, it is a looong way down from that bridge; far enough to jump off, wait for a parachute to open and have a reasonable time to float on down the rest of the way.

        You probably can't see it in the photos, but there is a catwalk along the curved supporting structure for maintenance. Not for ME to walk on though!

      • Just Ask Susan profile image

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        I love water falls. I always feel so relaxed whenever I'm near one. Shoshone looks like such a beautiful place. Have to agree with Univited that bridge looks scary :)

      • Uninvited Writer profile image

        Susan Keeping 

        6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

        Great pictures and a very well written hub. Just looking at that bridge gives me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach :) I have a slight fear of heights.

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