Fall Creek Falls

Swan Valley, Idaho, USA

About Fall Creek Falls

Hiking Distance: 1/4-mile round trip; scramble
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-08-15
Date last visited: 2017-08-15

Waterfall Latitude: 43.44101
Waterfall Longitude: -111.37711

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Fall Creek Falls (I’ve also seen it referred to as Falls Creek Falls) was one of the more scenically located waterfalls we’ve come across as it spilled over 60ft right into the Snake River.

It had a character that was like a miniature version of the Detian Waterfall though I’m sure the geology was quite a bit different.

Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_019_08152017 - Fall Creek Falls and the Snake River
Fall Creek Falls and the Snake River

With no signage and only scrambling paths to get a closer look at the falls from land or taking a boat on the Snake River to get a more expansive view, this was one of the less crowded and obscure waterfalls.

Since we were here in the early morning, the nice soft glow of the rising sun gave the surrounding area a golden look to the scene, especially on the cliffs surrounding the falls.

At other times of the day, it appeared that the lighting would be suboptimal for photo buffs, if the sun was out.

I’ve only been able to manage getting views of the Fall Creek Falls from land, and as you can see in the photo above, I could only get partial angled views of it.

Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_008_08152017 - Profile top down view of Fall Creek Falls and the Snake River
Profile top down view of Fall Creek Falls and the Snake River

I attained such views from an unsigned roadside pullout (see directions below), where I then followed some overgrown trails of use.

They went through prickly bush and tall grass, and they eventually got to the edge of the cliff where I could get profile views of the Fall Creek Falls.

In order to improve my view, I scrambled a little further in the downstream direction, where it eventually descended to a ledge that yielded an angled and semi-frontal view of the waterfall.

While I did notice a very steep scrambling path besides the falls leading to the base, I decided against doing it as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it back up.

Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_038_08152017 - Context of the scrambling paths around the Fall Creek Falls that were pretty much eroded
Context of the scrambling paths around the Fall Creek Falls that were pretty much eroded

The amount of erosion on that path ensured that the footing would be slippery at best.

It would only be a matter of time before this access to the base would no longer be safely viable.

Overall, I had spent less than a half-hour away from the car.


Fall Creek Falls resides in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest near Swan Valley in Bonneville County, Idaho. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_001_08152017 - Checking out the overgrown and narrow use trails leading to the views of Fall Creek Falls
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_003_08152017 - Portrait profile view of the Fall Creek Falls with the Snake River in the background
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_004_08152017 - The use trail deposited me to this initial view of the Fall Creek Falls and the Snake River
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_011_08152017 - The further downstream I went the more of the Fall Creek Falls I was able to see, but also the smaller it became
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_015_08152017 - Context of the cliffs lining the banks of the Snake River while also giving rise to the Fall Creek Falls
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_016_08152017 - Looking downstream from Fall Creek Falls towards the Snake River in the direction of Swan Valley
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_022_08152017 - Portrait view of the Fall Creek Falls backed by the Snake River bathed in morning light
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_031_08152017 - After a few minutes of having the Fall Creek Falls to myself, I was joined by a foreign couple also wishing to check out the waterfall
Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_040_08152017 - The narrow and overgrown use trails zig-zagging this way and that as I'm sure many people before me sought out better views or easier ways to get down to the bottom of Fall Creek Falls

We’ll start the driving directions to Fall Creek Falls from the interchange of the I-15 and the US Hwy 20 at the city of Idaho Falls.

Going south along the I-15 from the interchange, we took the exit 118 towards Historic Downtown and Arco.

We then turned left at the light onto Broadway Street and follow it for about 0.8 miles to the traffic light at the corner of Broadway and Yellowstone Ave.

Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_002_08152017 - This was the pullout where we stopped the car and went looking for the Fall Creek Falls
This was the pullout where we stopped the car and went looking for the Fall Creek Falls

We then turned left onto Yellowstone Ave and followed this street, which would eventually become the US Highway 26.

At about 40 miles from the Yellowstone Ave and Broadway Street intersection, we exited the Hwy 26 at the easy-to-miss NF-058 Road.

This was just before the Hwy 26 was about to cross the bridge over the Swan River (eventually leading to the town of Swan Valley).

Once we got off the highway and onto the National Forest Service Road, we then drove about 1.4 miles to an unsigned pullout on our left.

Falls_Creek_Falls_Swan_Valley_009_08152017 - By the time I was done scrambling and experiencing the Fall Creek Falls, I found myself a bit further down the NF-058 Road
By the time I was done scrambling and experiencing the Fall Creek Falls, I found myself a bit further down the NF-058 Road

It was about 0.1 mile beyond the Fall Creek Road (which we didn’t take).

Overall, this drive took us about 45 minutes or so.

For some geographical context, Idaho Falls was about 52 miles (under an hour drive) north of Pocatello, 108 miles (under 2 hours drive) south of West Yellowstone, Montana, about 88 miles (under 2 hours drive) west of Jackson, Wyoming, and 214 miles (3 hours drive) north of Salt Lake City, Utah, and 287 miles (4 hours drive) east of Boise.

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Right to left sweep checking out the falls from the further viewing spots I was able to find

Video showing the scrambling paths leading to a couple of different vantage points of the falls

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Tagged with: swan valley, bonneville county, idaho, waterfall, fall creek campground

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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