Looking for great places to ride in Idaho that also offers additional adventures off the bikes? How about a kayaking adventure? Look no further than the Snake River for your next big experience.
Where to go?
Centennial Waterfront Park
There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than to be around water, and the best adventure is to kayak the Snake River in Twin Falls, Idaho. The most popular kayak place to set-in is Centennial Waterfront Park.
And if you don’t own a kayak – no worries. AWOL Adventure is conveniently located in the park and makes renting a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board a breeze.
Rental choices are:
Our kayak rental choice for the day was a tandem kayak.
Just a word of caution – we entered Centennial Park into the GPS and were taken Centennial Park – also located in Twin Falls, but it was a bit like pulling up to Wally World because there isn’t a drop of water in sight at this park. So just a note – you’re looking for Centennial Waterfront Park, which is located on Canyon Springs Road.
What’s there to see?
Once on the river, you’ll paddle about a mile upstream to Perrine Bridge – a 3,500-foot arch bridge. You get a spectacular view of the bridge and also a unique perspective as Base jumpers (Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth) from around the world gather on top of the bridge and hurl themselves off right over your head.
It’s the most amazing sight to see someone drop like a stone, hear the swoosh of cloth, then this loud “POP” as the parachute deploys, billowing up above them and watch them sail gracefully down to the south side of the river.
Hot Tip: You can also drive to the Twin Falls Visitor Center where you can watch the BASE jumpers. They use this visitor center as a home base before and after parachuting from the bridge and you can watch them gear up.
Final Hot Tip: If kayaking, do not hang out underneath the Perrine Bridge. Pedestrians on the bridge think it’s fun to throw things - sand, sticks, bowling balls and even shopping carts have been known to be hurled off.
Continuing on from Perrine Bridge, you paddle around several bends in the river, experiencing a peaceful solitude amidst the massive 500-foot canyon walls. Approaching the falls, you will see Pillar Falls - enormous columns that rise out of the riverbed. Several swift channels of water pour around these columns and should not be taken lightly – they will capsize your vessel. Paddle to the right and there are a couple of excellent areas to beach your kayak so you can explore the area on foot. We brought our lunch and had the most relaxing and peaceful picnic so far on our trip.
Due to weather conditions with an approaching storm, we weren’t able to portage our kayak around Pillar Falls and continue on to Shoshone Falls, but if given the chance, I highly recommend this adventure.
Hot Tip: You can hike to the falls instead. There’s a parking lot on Pole Line Road E and from there it’s a steep hike down into the canyon.
If you have the time, water, sunblock and stamina, there’s a 300 foot portage around Pillar Falls. Most of this portage consists of wading in rapidly flowing water over rocks and boulders that do threaten to take an ankle out should a misstep occur.
Once above Pillar Falls, you can re-enter the water and proceed another 1.5 miles to the majestic Shoshone Falls, known as the “Niagara of the West”. In fact, Shoshone Falls, with a 212-foot drop are taller than Niagara Falls.
Hot Tip: For top-side viewing of Shoshone Falls, go to Shoshone Falls Park and Dierkes Lake, located at 4155 Shoshone Falls Grade Road in Twin Falls.
On September 8, 1974, legendary daredevil Evel Knievel tried and failed at one of his most spectacular stunts ever - jumping the mile-wide chasm of Idaho’s Snake River Canyon on his motorcycle. He crashed on the jump because of a parachute malfunction, but only suffered a broken nose. The dirt ramp he used is still at the south rim of the canyon near the Perrine Bridge.
Best Time to Visit
For kayaking, late summer and fall are the best time to paddle to the falls as the water level has fallen.
For top-side viewing of Shoshone Falls, spring is the best time due to the melting snow packs from higher elevations.
I was stationed in Mt. Home ID back in the 90s and did all that. That is some awesome scenery. Reading and looking at the pictures brought back some awesome memories.
Thanks for Sharing