Trip Report: Kayak/Canoe/SUP/Paddling/Hiking to Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls Idaho

Kayak/Canoe/SUP/Paddling/Hiking to Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls Idaho
By Joy Johnson
BOATING 07/15/2021 Class I

Shoshone Falls Kayak trip on the Snake River
July 15-18
Organizers: Christine Pilgram & Irene Yuen
Participants: Christine, Bryce, Corey & Sorell Pilgram, Irene Yuen & Bret Mathews, Diana Yang, Da Yang & Mia Wipfel, Bruce Moore, Eileen Haynes, Donnie Benson, Sandy, James Naus, Tonya Karren, Yi Qu, Aymara Jimenez-Lofgren & Sean Lofgren, Joy, Mike, Chase & Connor Johnson, Connie Bain, Cindy & Dick Smith, Frank Ryburn, Sharon Vinick, Gene Dennis, Gloria Watson and Vicki Mills.
Christine Pilgram and Irene Yuen generously organized an amazing camping and kayak experience in Twin Falls, Idaho on the Snake River. They both made great efforts to research and plan many details. We started our adventure by camping in tents at 1000 Springs Resort. This was a beautiful, grassy campground with large shade trees right on the banks of the Snake River. We were able to carry our kayaks out to the river from our tent sites which was really convenient. We could paddle our kayaks around Ritter Island, a State Park across from where we were camping, to a huge waterfall which is part of the Thousand Springs aquifer. The vast Snake River Plain Aquifer flows 2,308 miles beneath volcanic rock from the St. Anthony to the Snake River, where it flows over the cliffs at Thousand Springs. The water was sparkling clear and you could see trout swimming below in the river. We saw muskrats playing near the banks, a snake swim through the reeds and even a deer swim across the small part of the river right in front of our kayaks.
Early on Friday morning, we packed up our lunches, drinking water and kayaks and headed from 1000 Springs Resort to Centennial Waterfront Park to start our kayak trip on the water. Christine and Irene had arranged a group rental of single or tandem kayaks from AWOL for some of us at this location and we all started together to paddle upstream in the gentle current of the Snake River. The morning was sunny and beautiful and we felt the energy of many kayakers on the river. There were many pelicans, hawks and eagles looking for fish in the river along the way. We admired the majestic rocky cliffs as we paddled under the huge Perrine bridge that allows vehicle passage across the Snake River Canyon. This bridge is 486 feet above the Snake River and is the 8th highest bridge in the United States. It is not too far from where the famous stuntman, Evel Knievel, attempted to jump across in his modified motorcycle rocket in 1974. We watched base jumpers jump off the bridge, their parachute would open and then they would float quietly on the breeze out of sight up the canyon. We paddled for about an hour and a half and then came to the portage. We helped each other carry kayaks across the 300 yards of rocks to put back in the river on the other side. Connie brought wheels for her kayak so she could move her kayak across the rocks solo. Then another paddle of about an hour and a half to the beautiful Shoshone Falls, named in honor of the Native Americans that once inhabited the area. At 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide, Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States, surpassing the height of the famous Niagara Falls. We paddled around below the falls in admiration, had a picnic lunch and paddled back the way we came. We had a nice ice cream stop at the Cloverleaf Creamery in Buhl on the drive back. Back at camp, we shared a scrumptious potluck dinner organized by Eileen and shot balls into the river with a giant sling shot that required the help of three people, while a couple of kayakers paddled around the river fetching the balls. We then had a drawing and Christine handed out some fun prizes, like dry bags, back packs and some cleverly painted kayak paddles. We ended with a limbo contest using a kayak paddle.
Saturday morning, Frank and James scouted out a great route for us to drop our kayaks in up river and then paddled towards camp. Blue Heart Springs was on this route. What an amazing clear, clean spring in a small cove on the edge of the river. The water stays at about 58 degrees and you can see the white sand on the bottom which gives the water a soft blue hue. We had a little picnic and some of us enjoyed a brief swim, except for Corey who did a longer swim in the cold water. We paddled back to camp for another delicious potluck dinner.
Some of the group went to the Paris Ice caves this day and some paddled some whitewater rapids.
Sunday morning, we drove to the top of Shoshone Falls and looked down on the massive flow of water. Then did some swimming, diving and cliff jumping at Dierkes Lake and a hike behind the Perrine Coulee Falls. The adventure ended as we all traveled back home with great memories and some new friends. A big thank you to Christine and Irene for organizing such a memorable experience!

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