Exploring Nature’s Majesty: Waterfalls Around Hagerman, Idaho

In the center of Southern Idaho, visitors will find a stunning array of natural wonders. The crown jewels being the picturesque waterfalls dotting its landscape. From the always tranquil Lemmon Falls to the roaring spring time cascade of Shoshone Falls, there’s something enchanting about the way water dances over the rugged terrain. We hope this quick guide helps you explore these breathtaking waterfalls and the surrounding wonders they call home.

Lemmon Falls and Minnie Miller by Ritter Island

Ritter Island is one of seven units of the Thousand Springs State Park. Across from it and viewable from HWY 30 or the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway are two of Hagerman’s most popular waterfalls, Lemmon Falls and Minnie Miller Falls. Lemmon Falls is named for the multi-generational Lemmon family that lives on the ridge. The falls gently cascade down the rugged rocks, creating a mesmerizing sight into a small pool and then into the Snake River. Visitors can walk right up to it without any elevation change or obstacles. The path is dirt and gravel, but fairly even. Kayakers and paddleboarders can also take in the up-close beauty of the falls. A primitive boat ramp is located next to the Ritter Island bridge and offers easy access for water enthusiasts.

Lemmon Falls has about the same amount of water flow all year round. Spring through Fall, visitors will enjoy lush vegetation, wildlife and warmer temperatures. Spring can be windy and July/August temperatures can rise above 100 degrees. Winter is a unique and beautiful time to visit as well. Icicles form on the canyon walls and the rocks around the base. Just be careful of slipping while visiting the falls.

Nearby, Minnie Miller Falls adds to the allure with its graceful descent across from the island. The best view is right up next to the falls. The State park has a picnic bench in the clearing and a few trails go to the shore for easy viewing. Visitors can also swim near the falls and take pictures close up. Just be warned the water is beautiful, but ice cold!

Malad Gorge

Venture further into the countryside of Hagerman, and you’ll discover the awe-inspiring beauty of Malad Gorge. Carved over time by many massive geological events, the Big and Little Wood River as well as Malad Springs currently runs through this cavernous stretch changing into the Malad River. It is only 2.5 miles long, making it one of the shortest rivers in the world. At the head is the Devil’s Washbowl and the remnants of a once formidable waterfall. The drop is still impressive to see today, but considering the power it took to carve the canyon, it was once a goliath.

At first the canyon can seem unassuming, but as you near the edge it is very deep, 200′ in some places and narrow. This breathtaking canyon is adorned with cascading waterfalls that tumble into the depths below. Originally discovered by fur trappers it was later used by bandits for hideouts and was close to the pioneer Kelton Trail. Today whitewater chasers come to master it’s waves and fishermen find an array of fish or crawdads to catch. Visitors can explore the rugged trails that wind along the gorge’s edge. Don’t miss the metal bridge that spans Devil’s Washbowl. It’ll give you a great perspective of the falls and canyon. We recommend coming at sunset when the sky lights up with oranges and reds, painting the canyon beautifully with light.

Box Canyon

Just a short drive from Hagerman lies the captivating Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Preserve is one of Southern Idaho’s most prized gems. The entrance is in between Wendell and Buhl on the east side of the Snake River. There are three parking areas. One at the entrance of the park, nearest the road. This parking lot is the only open lot during raptor nesting time. Typically in the colder months, Golden and Bald Eagles nest in the rocks and trees surrounding the springs. The other two parking areas are right next to the first overlook. One is specifically for large vehicles, so don’t worry about getting big rigs in and out.

The first overlook is paved and easy to reach. Box Canyon is the 11th largest spring in the US. The beautiful, crystal clear water spills out into two pools and a river that flows west to the river. If you look with a little creativity, the first pools and river look just like a mermaid’s tail, the color is spot on too! Viewers can continue on, hiking along the canyon rim. This trail is rough and takes a ladder fence crossing. There is a loop trail that wonders down below the canyon rim and then returns to the top at the back of the canyon. Either trip is beautiful, but the fastest way to the falls is to take the first fork down into the canyon. The trail is a little steep to begin with and then flattens out, but good hiking shoes are recommended. Either direction on the trail will lead to the turquoise waters at the bottom of the canyon. Once at the bottom feel free to jump in the pools, but be prepared for some pretty cold waters!

Niagara Springs & Crystal Springs Falls

Named after its larger counterpart on the East Coast, Niagara Springs Falls is a beautiful mid-canyon fall that gushed forth from the canyon. Some of the waters are also used for aquaculture, but the park below is a great place to enjoy the clear waters and manicured lawns. Many times you’ll find fellow visitors fishing, swimming or just watching the waters rush down towards river. The trails and road lead into a bigger day use area. There is a gorgeous pavilion for larger parties as well as smaller picnic tables.

Crystal Springs is a series of smaller mid-canyon waterfalls. Below is a large pond that is stocked with fish. It is a great place to take small, beginning fishers or seasoned fishers to try to catch the larger escapees. The view of the pond and waterfalls make it an awesome spot to hang out all day. Visitors can also venture down to the river’s edge for a closer look at the area and canyon.

Upper & Lower Salmon Falls

Also known as Fall Hole is best seen at lower water levels. Viewers can see it by traveling downriver from the Owsley Bridge. Lost among the rocks the river turns into a dropping waterfall. It can be a more dangerous waterfall to view if unfamiliar with waterflows or the area in general, but beautiful in its own right.

Nearby Waterfalls

While exploring the Hagerman area, don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of the nearby waterfalls that add to the region’s natural allure. Shoshone Falls, often referred to as the “Niagara of the West,” is a sight to behold as the Snake River thunders over its precipice, creating a breathtaking display of power and grace. Perrine Coulee Falls offers a more intimate experience, with its tranquil cascades and scenic surroundings providing the perfect backdrop for a leisurely hike right behind the stunning falls. And Auger Falls as well as Cauldron Linn beckons adventurers with their rugged beauty, inviting visitors to explore its hidden nooks and crannies.

Let’s Get Going!

Hagerman and Southern Idaho is rich with waterfalls abound. Each offers its own unique blend of beauty and tranquility. From the serene cascades of Lemmon Falls to the majestic roar of Shoshone Falls, these natural wonders are humbling and a reminder of the power of nature. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on an unforgettable journey exploring the waterfalls of Hagerman.

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