Rightly labeled as the “Niagara” of all springs, Niagara Springs is an impressive waterfall nestled in the cliffs of the Snake River Canyon west of Twin Falls, Idaho. Part of the Thousand Springs complex along Idaho’s Snake River, Niagara Springs emits 250 cubic feet of water per second and is said to grow the volume of this stretch of river tenfold. Because so much water emits from the springs, it is used for hydroelectric power, irrigation, and trout farming, which explains the existence of the neighboring Niagara Springs Fish Hatchery.
True to its designation as a spring, visitors will first notice that the waterfalls do not pour over the cliffs of the Snake River Canyon. Rather they originate from a groundwater spring within the cliffs themselves. This groundwater spring is a result of runoff from the snowmelt and precipitation accumulated in the mountains of southern eastern Central Idaho. Such runoff water falls into the porous lava plains that separate the Snake River from the mountains. As a result, these plains hold a large underground aquifer of water that spans about 10,000 square miles. Some of this water then emerges as a system of springs and waterfalls along the Snake River, including the majestic Niagara Springs.
The aquifer and the Snake River Plain that is home to Niagara Springs is one of the largest underground water systems in the world. In addition, the aquifer water emitting from Niagara Springs could have been flowing underground for up to 200 years. Niagara Springs is under the management of Idaho’s Department of Parks and Recreation and is free to the public.
Know Before You Go
Idaho's Department of Parks and Recreation has provided a graded road to Niagara Springs and its adjoining park. The road is stable, but please take caution when driving in the snow.