Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Go visit Shoshone Falls - the Niagara of the West! Plus, spring hike at Centennial Park

Shoshone Falls in 2011, with big flows coming over the 212-foot drop. 
Hi all, 

With snowpack in the Upper Snake River region ranging from 130% to 160% of normal -- that's really big folks -- the Bureau of Reclamation has been releasing flood-control water from all of its Upper Snake reservoirs, bringing the Snake River flows to 10,000 cfs in the Middle Snake region, as of today. That means 212-foot Shoshone Falls is gushing with life in a big, thundering way!

The City of Twin Falls just opened Shoshone Falls Park yesterday, and they're open for the season, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. My recommendation is to go see the impressive falls for a fun day or weekend trip. Maybe hit a hot springs along the way, go to the Twin Falls Sandwich Company for lunch, or select from this Trip Advisor menu of top local dinner spots. If you'd like to RV camp or grab a hotel room, here's a listing of RV options and hotels.

Sharing this drone video of Shoshone Falls from Reeder Flying Service, shot in February when all of the low-elevation snow came off and flooded the region:

I'm recommending this trip this weekend because the snow level is expected to go over 7,000 feet on Thursday and stay there for several days, so that will make the skiing iffy if that snow-level holds true. Keep your eyes on the weather because things could change ... no matter what, there will be a ton of snow at high elevations. Watch for avalanche danger as well.

If this weekend doesn't work for Shoshone Falls, know that the flows will continue to be coming over the falls for at least the next three weeks, according to the BOR. I'd guess that it's going to run strong for the next 8-10 weeks, given the deep snowpack. I'm just guessing ... no guarantees. But it will be interesting to see how high the flow gets ... if it gets into the 20,000 range, that will be epic ... not only for viewing Shoshone Falls but also for running the Class 4 Murtaugh reach of the Snake River. Idaho Guide Service offers guided trips in that area, and I can tell you, it's a kick-ass float trip for the adventurous! Big rapids, big roaring whitewater.

Closer to home, I'd also recommend an early-spring outing at Celebration Park, south of Nampa. I liked former Idaho Statesman outdoors writer Pete Zimowsky's blog post about five things to do in the canyon via Celebration Park. The 4-mile hike to Halverson Lake is detailed in my book, Boise Trail Guide: 90 Hiking & Running Routes Close to Home. Centennial Park is a great place for kids and families. There are lots of petrglyphs on the big boulders in the parking lot, providing a teachable moment.

Did you see the article about summer plans for Bogus Basin in the Statesman? General Manager Brad Wilson has a great vision for the future of Bogus, in my opinion. Hats off to the whole board of directors as well! They are going to reinvent Bogus as a four-season resort, and snowmaking is part of the mix.

BTW, if you head out for a Greenbelt hike this weekend, remember that many places along the pathway are getting flooded, so use caution! The Boise River is ripping fast and strong right now.

- SS

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