My daughter gave us a wonderful present as soon as she heard of our plans to travel full time: A Reader’s Digest book called “Off The Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1,000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting”.
So each time we head to a new state, I look it up in the book to see what interesting and uncrowded points of interest we may be near. In Idaho, there wasn’t much (mentioned in this book) on our southernly route, but I found we could make it to Fort Hall in Pocatello and Thousand Springs near Twin Falls. So in to the GPS they went.
We overnighted just across the border in Preston Idaho, so Pocatello wasn’t far. Armed with only the information from the book, that it was interesting, I plugged in the address. Well, we’ve been finding out that Idaho isn’t the best on signage – for touristy places. We did find the Fort Hall park, up on a hill adjacent to the Pocatello Animal Rescue.
But there was absolutely NO RV parking in their tiny parking lot. Tom found a place anyhow, so we walked uphill to the entrance. But the fort ( a “replica” of the original) didn’t look all that impressive, and we weren’t in the mood for any more pioneer history from the adjacent Bannock County Historical Museum, so we passed on the $12 (each) fees. Oh well.
However, I told Tom we HAD to stop at the Thousand Springs. The picture in the book was reason enough. So we planned our next overnight stop in the area. We stayed at the Jerome County Fairgrounds parking lot. As soon as we got connected we were off – for what I thought to be an hour’s drive or less. I failed to do any online research and relied on the book’s vauge address of Rte. 30 “between Buhl and Hagerman” and followed the maps on my phone.
Long story short, we did a lot of extra driving and Tom was getting quite grumpy about it.
We finally found the turn off to the National Fish Hatchery and the Thousand Springs Power Plant. Here is the only sign before the turnoff – hopefully you’ll notice now small and unassuming it is,
I had Tom park the Jeep as soon as I saw the springs. I recorded it all on video and you can watch it by clicking here. I hope if you watch it you gather the sense of awe we felt. The word I kept using was “crazy”. I was blown away by the way the water was gushing out of the rock on the side of the mountain with absolutely no rivers or lake above. The weirdness of it all was that there was no signage, no information, no parking lot, no tourists. Nothing.
We followed the road down and were surprised by very large and lovely waterfalls. We found our way to the park. There was one other car there. We found a walking trail that went to the base of the waterfalls. Then we walked on to the island. It seemed we were the only two people there. I couldn’t help feel like we were trespassing as we freely roamed the property. (It really was crazy.)
In the end Tom was super glad we made the time to visit. I suggest anyone in the area go see it. The GPS coordinates are listed in the Youtube video. It was all just such a nice surprise and such a hidden (and I mean hidden!) gem.
In the end Tom was super glad we made the time to visit. I suggest anyone in the area go see it. The GPS coordinates are listed in the Youtube video. When we left, we went on Route 30 – on the other side of the Snake River – and came upon this signage: But you could only see some of the falls in the distance (and on the other side of Snake River) from this point. Go figure. It was all just such a nice surprise and such a hidden (and I mean hidden!) gem.
We went from there to the more popular and publicized Shoshone Falls.
And after that to the Twin Falls the town was named after (although river diversion has left only one fall). While they were all cool to visit, nothing interested me as much as the Thousand Springs. It was crazy!
There was actually a lot to see and do in the Twin Falls area, but we are on schedule to meet people, and our recent RV repairs put us behind.
So this area goes into the memory banks as someplace I’d like to come back to. Perhaps in a cooler time of year!
Peace & Love, Joy
You are/we’re in our neck of the woods. Near Boise now?