Box Canyon Springs Waterfall

Thousand Springs State Park / Wendell / Twin Falls, Idaho, USA

About Box Canyon Springs Waterfall


Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 60-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2021-04-02
Date last visited: 2021-04-02

Waterfall Latitude: 42.70747
Waterfall Longitude: -114.81018

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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.

Box_Canyon_071_04022021 - The Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
The Box Canyon Springs Waterfall

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”.

Box_Canyon_011_04022021 - Looking towards the head of the Box Canyon, whose springs emerged from underground as evidenced by the fact that all drainages on the surface (including the dry fall) were indeed not flowing!
Looking towards the head of the Box Canyon, whose springs emerged from underground as evidenced by the fact that all drainages on the surface (including the dry fall) were indeed not flowing!

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.

Box_Canyon_008_04022021 - Approaching the stile before the continuation of the Box Canyon Springs Trail
Approaching the stile before the continuation of the Box Canyon Springs Trail

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.

Box_Canyon_039_04022021 - Julie and Tahia descending the railing-assisted trail going into the depths of Box Canyon
Julie and Tahia descending the railing-assisted trail going into the depths 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.

Box_Canyon_099_04022021 - Looking across the profile of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall from its brink
Looking across the profile of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall from its brink

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.

Authorities

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.

Box_Canyon_005_04022021 - At the Box Canyon Springs Trailhead
Box_Canyon_010_04022021 - Tahia approaching the overlook at the head of Box Canyon
Box_Canyon_014_04022021 - Looking down at the stream flowing from the ponds caused by water bubbling up from underground at the head of Box Canyon
Box_Canyon_015_04022021 - Tahia and Julie about to traverse the stile to embark on the actual hiking part of the Box Canyon Springs Trail
Box_Canyon_022_04022021 - Julie and Tahia further ahead on the Box Canyon Springs Trail, which skirted the south rim of Box Canyon
Box_Canyon_027_04022021 - Julie and Tahia continuing along the southern rim of Box Canyon as we pursued its waterfall
Box_Canyon_031_04022021 - Looking downstream into the Box Canyon as seen from its rim before going down into it
Box_Canyon_032_04022021 - Looking in the opposite direction into Box Canyon while we were still hiking along its rim
Box_Canyon_040_04022021 - Julie and Tahia descending into Box Canyon as the trail skirted alongside the steep canyon walls
Box_Canyon_043_04022021 - Closer look at the Box Canyon Springs Trail along the base of the steep vertical part of the canyon's walls
Box_Canyon_045_04022021 - Julie and Tahia about to leave the canyon's shadows as we got lower into Box Canyon
Box_Canyon_049_04022021 - Julie and Tahia carefully making their way down into the depths of Box Canyon alongside the railings that we leverage to maintain our balance
Box_Canyon_050_04022021 - Julie and Tahia at the base of Box Canyon as the trail now skirted alongside the Box Canyon Spring
Box_Canyon_056_04022021 - Julie and Tahia flanked by dry overgrowth on the Box Canyon Springs Trail
Box_Canyon_057_04022021 - Looking across some rapids upstream from the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_058_04022021 - Julie and Tahia descending towards the brink of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_065_04022021 - Looking across the wide Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_075_04022021 - Going a little further downstream of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall for a partially wide view of it
Box_Canyon_077_04022021 - Approaching a water gauge further downstream of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_083_04022021 - Broad contextual look upstream towards the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_095_04022021 - Julie and Tahia chilling out at the brink of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_105_04022021 - Tahia and Julie heading back the way we came as we turned back after having had our fill of the Box Canyon Springs Waterfall
Box_Canyon_116_04022021 - Tahia and Julie making their way back up to the rim of Box Canyon
Box_Canyon_119_04022021 - Julie and Tahia making their way back up to the top of the ascent to the rim of Box Canyon
Box_Canyon_127_04022021 - After making it up to the rim of Box Canyon, we then had a flat walk ahead of us to return to the trailhead
Box_Canyon_130_04022021 - Looking down at the pair of 'ponds' after having returned to the overlook near the Box Canyon Trailhead


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.

Box_Canyon_005_iPhone_04022021 - The gate and overflow parking spaces at the start of the spur road leading into the Box Canyon Springs Preserve
The gate and overflow parking spaces at the start of the spur road leading into the Box Canyon Springs Preserve

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.

Box_Canyon_007_04022021 - More parking spaces (and handicapped spots) at the Box Canyon Springs Trailhead
More parking spaces (and handicapped spots) at the Box Canyon Springs Trailhead

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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Back and forth downstream to upstream sweep of the head of Box Canyon from the overlook with some banter


Nearly 360 degree sweep from the water gauge then towards the Box Canyon Falls with a right-to-left sweep examining the falls more closely


Upstream to downstream sweep of the Box Canyon Falls before descending closer to the falls' base

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Tagged with: thousand springs state park, earl m hardy, box canyon springs preserve, snake river, wendell, idaho, waterfall



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