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Spring Break Road Trip: Waterfall Roundup

Posted On
Mar 01, 2020
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When the snow starts to melt, all that meltwater has to go somewhere. It rushes to area streams and rivers and often ends up cascading down gorgeous waterfalls. Spring is prime time for waterfall watching in the Yellowstone Teton Territory, so why not plan a spring break road trip to see how many waterfalls you can see? Be sure to check out these regional gems during your waterfall exploration.

Waterfalls are typically most stunning in the spring, when they are filled with rushing snow melt, but they are also quite dangerous. Even shallow water can easily knock a person off their feet and downstream, and the cold, rushing water is unforgiving. Use extreme caution near waterfalls and all running water, and be sure to keep a close eye on children and pets at all times, holding small children’s hands, and keeping dogs on leashes. Be sure to watch your footing and be aware of wildlife while you enjoy these glorious waterfalls.

Mesa Falls

Upper and Lower Mesa Falls both offer incredible opportunities to witness a thunderous spectacle as the Henry's Fork of the Snake River rushes and roars downstream near Ashton. Upper Mesa Falls includes a 114-foot drop, and nearby Lower Mesa Falls plunges around 65 feet. Check out both waterfalls, which are accessible via short paths and walkways, and also make time to stop by the Mesa Falls Visitor Center, which offers exhibits during the summer months. The nearby nature trail is also part of the Idaho Birding Trail's Mesa Falls Subloop and worth a stroll—be sure to bring your binoculars.

Idaho Falls

The city of Idaho Falls was named with rushing water in mind. The Snake River runs through town and gently cascades down a waterfall right in the heart of the city. Head to the Snake River Greenbelt Trail for the best views of the waterfall and to enjoy a serene walking path along the river. Soak up nature right in the middle of the city, and then head over to one of the area’s many restaurants to grab a bite to eat.

Fall Creek Falls

Nestled near Swan Valley is a largely undiscovered gem: Fall Creek Falls. This 60-foot waterfall is a great place for photography, as well as spying moose, bald eagles, and other critters. It's undeveloped and there aren't any railings, so be sure to use extra caution. The nearby Falls Campground offers camping on the Caribou Targhee National Forest.

Shoshone Falls

Any regional waterfall road trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Shoshone Falls While it's not technically in the Yellowstone Teton Territory, this stunning waterfall is definitely worth a short detour. Located inTwin Falls, the “Niagara of the West” creates a spectacular show as the Snake River thunders down 212-foot Shoshone Falls. Yes, that’s over 40 feet taller than the actual Niagara Falls. The 900-foot-wide waterfall can reach up to 20,000 cubic feet per second during periods of high meltwater in the spring. The water is used for irrigation, so water levels are typically much lower in summer and fall. Viewing platforms offer opportunities for good views and photography, and it is wheelchair accessible.