This author is a paid content writer for Idaho Tourism.

Summer is here, and it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter activities, but sometimes the chilly weather forces us to develop patterns: wake up, coffee, work, gym, dinner, Netflix. Am I missing anything? While I enjoy a Breaking Bad binge as much as the next person, I also need to get out and challenge myself sometimes, and one way to do that during the summer in Idaho is to paddleboard Shoshone Falls. I know you thought you’d never hear “extreme” and “paddle board” in the same sentence, but this adventure lives up to the hype.

A massive waterfall flowing into a large body of water.
A view of Shoshone Falls, the “Niagara of the West.” Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

What to Pack

  • Sunscreen
  • Cheap sunglasses
  • Life jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Water sandals
  • Water

Paddle Boarding to Shoshone Falls

Morning: First things first, you have to start your day off with a cup of coffee from Twin Beans Fresh Roasted Coffee Company. Treat yourself to some strawberry crepes while you’re at it – you will burn those calories off later in the day. Once you’ve finished breakfast, head out and get your paddleboard from one of the nearby rental options for your time out on the water.

Two people paddle boarding under a bridge.
Paddle boarding under Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Most vendors on the Snake River see higher volumes of activity towards the end of spring, as people come to rent canoes, kayaks, and of course, stand up paddle boards (otherwise known as SUPs). What’s nice about this adventure is that you won’t break the bank trying to have some recreational fun – all of the rental vendors are affordable with prices ranging anywhere from $20 to $50 (rental times range between 2 hours and full-days).

A stand up paddle boarder and a kayaker paddling beneath a large bridge.
Paddling near Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

The best places for rental options include River & Adventure Toys, AWOL (A Way of Life), and the Idaho Guide Service in Twin Falls.

Afternoon: The journey to Shoshone Falls will likely take about six hours to go up and back, so be sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. The most accessible route to the falls is via the Snake River from Centennial Park to Pillar Falls, which is a two mile paddle that takes roughly three hours there and back. For paddlers continuing to Shoshone Falls, you will have to get out and  carry your board for a bit to a point just above Pillar Falls. Paths are accessible, but use extreme caution when maneuvering to your next launch point. Pillar Falls makes for a great pit stop to refuel and stay hydrated – from Pillar Falls, you continue four miles upstream to Shoshone Falls.

Two kayakers paddling beneath a waterfall.
Kayaking to the base of Shoshone Falls. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

If you’re traveling in a group, keep in mind that this journey is no small feat. While viewing Shoshone Falls from the rocks below is awe-inspiring, to say the least, reaching its thundering base is no easy task – this trip should only be attempted by people who have paddle boarded before and are comfortable navigating tricky waters.

Evening: The view of Shoshone Falls from the base is impressive. Water pours from the Snake River above and drops 212 feet right in front of you – if you have a waterproof camera I highly recommend bringing it. After you enjoy the beauty of this monster waterfall, start heading back before the sun begins to set, as paddling in the dark is not recommended.

A man SUP'ing beneath a waterfall.
SUPing next to Shoshone Falls. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Once you get back into town, cap your day off with a visit to Elevation 486. This restaurant boasts outstanding food and fantastic views of the Snake River canyon. You’ll likely be starving after being on the water all day long, so indulge and get the BBQ baby back ribs. Locals also praise the fire-grilled quail, and the rolls with huckleberry butter are a great finishing touch.

The sun setting behind a long bridge.
A view of Perrine Bridge at sunset. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Trip Tips

  • The cost for admission at Shoshone Falls Park is $3.00 per car (subject to change) if you’d like to check out the falls without getting in the water.
  • Parks and Recreation begins charging admission each year on March 30th and continues through September.

Tyler Schnur

Published on July 12, 2016