Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

About Idaho Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2017-08-14
Date last visited: 2017-08-15

Waterfall Latitude: 43.49410
Waterfall Longitude: -112.04383

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Idaho Falls was one of those waterfalls that not only pertained to the name of the waterfall, but it was also the name of the city in which it sat at its heart.

In our experience, we’ve seen many cities with the name “Falls” in them (Grand Falls, Klamath Falls, Twin Falls, Sioux Falls, Wichita Falls, etc. just to name a few).

Idaho_Falls_006_08142017 - Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls

However, they usually only pertained to man-made waterfalls or waterfalls that were once there but had been completely destroyed in the name of development.

Typically, such large waterfalls would provide power for electricity, transport, milling, etc.

So we didn’t expect to be checking out a waterfall worth visiting when we stayed in the city of Idaho Falls as a stopover for our drive from Yellowstone National Park to Boise.

Even then, we never considered this being a legitimate waterfall worthy of being discussed on this website.

Is Idaho Falls legitimate?

Idaho_Falls_023_iPhone_08152017 - Idaho Falls and the Idaho Falls Temple in the distance
Idaho Falls and the Idaho Falls Temple in the distance

But with the history of the Idaho Falls before it was interfered with (said to have occurred as early as the 1900s) being murky at best, it was hard to tell whether this particular waterfall was legitimate or not.

One could argue that it was because of the man-made dams that the flow of the Snake River was made to flow over the rocks that you see pictured at the top of this page.

If that was true, then those rocks were nothing more than riverbanks to channel the Snake River and not necessarily having water naturally coming over them.

I’ve also heard of reports that this site used to be rapids on the Snake River.

Idaho_Falls_012_08142017 - Looking back towards the Broadstreet Bridge and part of Idaho Falls in downtown Idaho Falls
Looking back towards the Broadstreet Bridge and part of Idaho Falls in downtown Idaho Falls

Nevertheless, we’ve erred on the side of giving the benefit of the doubt to this waterfall being legitimate though I’m sure the truth about it will come out some day.

This website courtesy of Bonneville Heritage shed some light on the history of the Snake River.

It reported that back at the turn of the century in the early 1900s, the Snake River through Idaho Falls was “a series of rough rapids”.

When a project to create the city’s first power plant was underway, it “tamed the rapids into the picturesque falls we enjoy today.”

Idaho_Falls_017_iPhone_08152017 - Looking over a colorful garden towards the Idaho Falls in downtown Idaho Falls
Looking over a colorful garden towards the Idaho Falls in downtown Idaho Falls

The waterfall also had a bit more of a recent history when a massive surge of water from the Teton Dam failure in 1976.

This occurred in the town of Newsdale, Idaho some 45 miles away, which overwhelmed downtown Idaho Falls and resulted in about two feet of standing water throughout the downtown area.

Old pictures showed the waterfall being completely inundated leaving behind a small dropping cascade over where the rock walls were.

That event resulted in the rebuilding of the dam maintaining the Snake River diversion over the present-day waterfall as well as some additional diversions and infrastructure (for a new bulb-turbine hydroelectric plant) further downstream.

Experiencing Idaho Falls

Idaho_Falls_017_08142017 - Looking over the Friendship Garden just across the bridge from the Residence Inn at Idaho Falls
Looking over the Friendship Garden just across the bridge from the Residence Inn at Idaho Falls

We managed to experience Idaho Falls the waterfall by parking at the Residence Inn by Broadway Street.

Then, we crossed that street to a viewing area and walkway along the Snake River looking right across it at the rocks supporting the cascade.

The city planted flowers alongside the walkway to give the area a bit of color.

We were also able to view the Sanke River and waterfall from the Broadway Street Bridge.

Idaho_Falls_020_08142017 - Julie checking out the 'Friendship Park' at Idaho Falls
Julie checking out the ‘Friendship Park’ at Idaho Falls

This allowed us to view the scene with the Idaho Falls Temple in the background.

Further downstream, there was a pleasant little Japanese-inspired garden in a spot known as Friendship Park.

Within that park, there were the familiar trimmed hedges, mini pagodas, and coy ponds – basically stuff you’d expect to see in a typical Japanese Garden.

It only took us a few minutes to take all this in.


The Idaho Falls Waterfall resides in Idaho Falls in Bonneville County, Idaho. It is administered by the City of Idaho Falls. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Idaho_Falls_001_08142017 - Tahia approaching the bridge leading to the Friendship Park right across the Snake River from the Residence Inn that we stayed at
Idaho_Falls_002_08142017 - Looking upstream towards the Broadway Street Bridge from the bridge leading to the Friendship Park
Idaho_Falls_003_08142017 - Looking downstream towards some railway bridge from the footbridge leading to the Friendship Park
Idaho_Falls_005_08142017 - Checking out a little pagoda-like thing by the Friendship Park in Idaho Falls
Idaho_Falls_007_08142017 - Looking upstream on the Snake River from the Broadway Street Bridge towards parts of the Idaho Falls Waterfall
Idaho_Falls_009_08142017 - Tahia checking out the Idaho Falls Waterfall after having crossed the Broadway Street Bridge
Idaho_Falls_014_08142017 - Within the Friendship Garden part of the Friendship Park at Idaho Falls
Idaho_Falls_019_08142017 - A nice little Japanese Garden beneath the footbridge, which was the most attractive part of the Friendship Park in Idaho Falls
Idaho_Falls_024_08142017 - Tahia enjoying herself hopping over the rocks at the Friendship Park in Idaho Falls
Idaho_Falls_030_08152017 - Sunrise looking towards Idaho Falls from our room at the Residence Inn
Idaho_Falls_010_iPhone_08152017 - Looking along the Idaho Falls backed by the Idaho Falls Temple
Idaho_Falls_011_iPhone_08152017 - Looking downstream towards the Broadway Street Bridge and parts of the Idaho Falls Waterfall
Idaho_Falls_015_iPhone_08152017 - Looking over some colorful plants fronting the Idaho Falls Waterfall
Idaho_Falls_019_iPhone_08152017 - Broad look towards the Idaho Falls Waterfall

We’ll start the driving directions 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 a half-mile to the traffic light right besides the Residence Inn.

Turning right at the light, there were a few parking spaces for the park (amongst the Residence Inn guest parking spots).

There was also some street parking going left at the light as well as a parking lot on the right at the next traffic light across the Broadway Street Bridge.

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.

Find A Place To Stay

Right to left sweep of the falls from the bridge over the Idaho River

Right to left sweep from directly across the falls at the sanctioned lookout

Full sweep from left to right of the Idaho Falls as seen from right across the river

Back and forth sweep from the bridge over the river as we panned back and forth of the Idaho Falls

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Tagged with: idaho, snake river, waterfall, residence inn, friendship park, sportsman park, broadway street bridge, hydroelectricity, man-modified waterfall, bonneville county

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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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.