Looking for a kayaking adventure filled with epic beauty? You can find it in one of the most unlikely places, imaginable: behind a shopping center. Oh, and in the town of Twin Falls, Idaho.
What looks like a typical slice of suburbia is really a treasure trove for a scenic nature-filled day.
Nestled behind the parking lot to a T.J. Maxx, Best Buy, and HomeGoods lies the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River. This part of the Snake River is the perfect spot for a day of kayaking. Canyon rock walls enveloping both sides of the river. It makes for a scenic paddle in a kayak or on a stand up paddle board. Before driving down to the river to either rent or launch your own kayak, stop off by this shopping center to watch adrenaline junkies BASE jump off the Perrine Bridge.
This bridge is one of most famous in the U.S.
The aesthetic and architectural integrity of the bridge as it stretches across the Snake River are something to behold. You can do it from the scenic viewpoint right off the parking lot of the shopping center! However the bridge’s real claim to fame is its base-jumping notoriety.
It is a quintessential location for people that are looking for a thrilling yet risky adventure tandem BASE jumping. This sport is incredibly dangerous and should not be taken lightly. Standing at the bridge viewpoint and various scenic overlooks right behind this shopping center. Each will provide views to take in the BASE jumpers as they perform this risky 486-foot jump. Literally plummeting in front of you and straight toward the river below.
After catching the base jumpers, drive down to nearby Centennial Waterfront Park. That is where you going to rent a kayak or paddleboard and take off on an adventure down the river. Driving down to the riverbank of Snake River Canyon is like driving a world away from the suburban shopping area. Pull over and check out Perrine Coulee Falls in this park. It is where you can hike directly behind the falls to take in the other side of water.
The views of Snake River Canyon are breathtaking.
You have the opportunity to paddle directly under and see the BASE jumpers from an entirely different point of view. This river is usually relatively calm up to this point. It allows for a leisurely paddle that lets kayakers and paddleboarders really take in the scenery of this gorgeous area. The distance from Centennial Waterfront Park to the bridge is only a mile, making it perfect for beginners.
About two miles from Centennial Waterfront Park is Pillar Falls. If you’re looking to continue past the bridge but still want an easy paddle, this is a spot to turn. The Pillar Falls paddle is a total of four miles roundtrip from the park.
For those looking for a bit of a challenge, extending the trip to Shoshone Falls. It makes for an 8-mile round trip paddle. Those continuing on to Shoshone Falls will need to pull the kayak out of the water and re-enter separate launch point. At this point you can’t navigate directly through Pillar Falls in the water.
Shoshone Falls is the “Niagara of the West”
It absolutely ives up to this grand comparison of the legendary waterfall bordering New York and Canada. Towering at 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide, Shoshone Falls is truly magnificent. For those paddlers who decide to make the entire journey to Shoshone Falls, be sure that everyone in your group is experienced and confident in this paddle. It should not be attempted by beginners and experienced kayakers should proceed with caution and keep a safe distance at the base of these powerful falls. Prior to attempting this trip, be sure to go online to look at the conditions of the canyon and the current river flows. The roundtrip adventure should take approximately 6 hours total.
For those kayakers who may not be at an experience level to make it all the way to Shoshone Falls but still want to see this jaw-dropping sight, there is a viewpoint at Shoshone Falls Park that allows visitor to view the falls from above that can be reached by car. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Centennial Waterfront Park and the viewpoint is a quick walk from the parking lot—no hike required. The deep blue water of the individual roaring waterfalls that come together to make up this grand sight is something to behold and the glimpses of rainbow light within the falls are magical.
Whether by kayak from the base or from a viewpoint above, a visit to see the enormity and intensity of Shoshone Falls should be added to any trip to Idaho.