Winter runoff brings amazing flows to Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls is experiencing unusually high water flows for this time of year, according to Idaho tourism officials, and water levels could remain high into the summer.
On Monday, the 212-foot waterfall had flows of 9,200 cubic feet per second, according to Southern Idaho Tourism spokeswoman Cassidee Christensen. This time last year, flows were only at 5,000 cfs, the agency said in a news release.
The high water levels are likely to stick around, according to Brian Stevens, water operations manager for the Bureau of Reclamation for Snake River Water Operations.
Stevens told the tourism agency that water levels will continue to rise through April, possibly rising as high as 10,000 cfs by May. He said water flows could continue into July, which is unusual for the Magic Valley waterfall.
What’s causing the spectacular streams? The Wood River Valley saw record snowfall this winter, and rain in the Magic Valley is adding to reservoirs that are already more than 85 percent full.
In 2017, another record winter, Shoshone Falls recorded flows of 20,000 cfs in mid-April. Officials say this year’s flows won’t rival those numbers, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the show.
“9,000 cfs over Shoshone Falls is still pretty epic and well worth the price of admission,” Idaho Power spokesman Brad Bowlin said in an email.
Idaho Power controls flows through Milner Dam, which releases water down through the falls.
In the news release, Idaho tourism officials said the water flows also will mean good news at other area waterfalls, such as Twin Falls, Auger Falls and Caldron Linn.
“These water flows will also create prime spring sport conditions for whitewater rafting the Milner Mile, kayaking and canoeing under the Perrine Bridge, boating and more,” the release said.
This year, you’ll pay a bit more to see Shoshone Falls. On March 22, the vehicle fee for all-day admission increased from $3 to $5. Season passes are available for $25, and it’s free to walk into the park.
Additionally, Southern Idaho Tourism will host its second annual Lights and Lasers at Shoshone Falls event May 15-18. The light show sold out last year, and more dates have been added.
It’s a 2-hour drive from Boise. Take I-84 east, turn toward Twin Falls on U.S. 93, turn left on Bridgeview Boulevard after crossing the Perrine Bridge, turn left on Pole Line Road, veer right on Eastland Drive, turn left on Falls Avenue and turn left on Champlin Road.