About Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
The Box Canyon Springs Waterfall was an unusual 20ft waterfall on a high-volume perennial stream emerging from under ground.
In fact, the Box Canyon Springs itself was said to be the 11th largest spring in North America with a flow rate of around 180,000 gallons per minute.
Residing in the Earl M Hardy Box Canyon Springs Preserve, it could very well possess the largest volume of water among the many springs comprising the Thousand Springs State Park area.
By the way, the water from these springs have originated from the snowmelt and precipitation runoff in the mountains of southerneastern Central Idaho.
However, instead of reaching the Snake River drainage above the surface, the porous lava plains over which the runoff flows seeps underground and becomes a huge groundwater aquifer.
Ultimately, this aquifer re-emerges above the surface as springs in the Snake River Canyon and Valley, and the Box Canyon Springs is merely one of the namesake “thousand springs”.
A distinguishing aspect of the Box Canyon Springs experience was that it felt like the most natural of all the springs we got to witness in the Thousand Springs State Park area.
Indeed, most of the other springs had water diversion pipes, fish farms, hydroelectric infrastructure, and other things that detracted from Nature.
However, Box Canyon was as natural as it could be in this part of the Snake River Valley, and for this reason, the 5-mile loop trail to fully experience this quirk of Nature was quite popular.
Experiencing The Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Even though the loop trail to fully experience the Box Canyon was about 5 miles long, we only needed to hike 1.6 miles round-trip to experience the waterfall.
From the nearest trailhead parking lot (see directions below), we walked a few paces towards the nearest railing, where there was an overlook right at the head of Box Canyon.
It was from this position that we could easily tell that the watercourse responsible for the Box Canyon Springs emerged from underground.
Indeed, if we asked ourselves where the ponds resulting in the high volume stream had come from, then clearly they didn’t come from the dry fall at the head of the canyon.
Once we had our fill of this interesting viewpoint, we then crossed over a stile and followed an obvious trail that skirted the south rim of Box Canyon.
At about a half-mile from the stile, we reached an unsigned trail junction where a path on the right led to a railing-assisted path going right down into the depths of the canyon itself.
Because the junction wasn’t signed, Julie and Tahia nearly missed the junction before I told them about the descending trail.
Had we continued along the canyon’s south rim, I’d imagine that the trail would eventually loop back into the mouth of Box Canyon before climbing up and arriving at this junction thereby completing the loop.
The descent was steep but not treacherous as it went down a couple of switchbacks before continuing on the main trail alongside the Box Canyon Springs Stream again.
Roughly a quarter-mile from the bottoming out of the trail, we then reached the brink of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall, which can get busy since it’s a logical stopping point for just about everyone doing this hike.
This area provides a profile view of the falls, but just another 0.1-mile further down the trail was a water gauge and a rock that I was able to stand on.
That rock provided a frontal and broad look at the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall, and this was my turnaround point of the hike.
Overall, we spent a leisurely 75 minutes away from the car, but I’d imagine we could have spent even less time without as many stops that we ended up making along the way.
The Box Canyon Springs Waterfall resides in the Earl M Hardy Box Canyon Springs Preserve in Thousand Springs State Park near Wendell, which was west of Twin Falls in Gooding County, Idaho. It is administered by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
The Earl M Hardy Box Canyon Springs Preserve is located near Wendell, which was about a half-hour’s drive west of Twin Falls.
We got there from Twin Falls by taking the US93 north across the Perrine Coulee Bridge towards the I-84 west.
Then, we followed the I-84 west to exit 157 (ID46 Wendell Gooding), then turned left to go south for about 4 miles before we had to turn right onto E 3400 S.
We then followed this road for about 4.5 miles to its 3-way intersection with S 1500 E.
Turning left onto S 1500 E, we then immediately turned right into the Earl M Hardy Box Canyon Springs Preserve, where there was a gate, an honor system payment box ($5 vehicle fee as of 2021), and overflow parking spaces.
During our visit in early April 2021, the gate was open so we were able to drive the remaining 2/3-mile to the actual trailhead parking lot, which had many more parking spaces as well as a couple of portapotties.
For geographical context, the town of Twin Falls was 128 miles (2 hours drive) east of Boise, 159 miles (2.5-3.5 hours drive) west of Idaho Falls, 218 miles (over 3 hours drive) northwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, and 251 miles (under 4 hours drive) north of Ely, Nevada.
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