Moyie Falls

Moyie Springs / Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA

About Moyie Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.3 miles round trip (both views)
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-08-05
Date last visited: 2017-08-05

Waterfall Latitude: 48.73108
Waterfall Longitude: -116.1834

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Moyie Falls (not to be confused with the one in Canada) had a lot of potential in terms of it being a must-see waterfall in the panhandle of northern Idaho as it could have been where the Moyie River would crash some 140ft in cumulative height deep within the canyon carved out by the river. However, a hydroelectric facility (possibly powering some of the local lumberyards in Moyie Springs) ensured that only the lower 20-40ft drop was still flowing while the upper 60-100ft drop was dry due to water diversion. Perhaps during the Spring months when the river should have much higher flow (as opposed to our early August visit), then the falls could be enjoyed to full effect. But during our visit, we were only left to wonder what could have been had Nature been allowed to do its thing. That said, the steep walls and overall height of the Moyie River Canyon was impressive, which made it all the more amazing how motorists routinely driving the bridge spanning this gorge shortly downstream of the falls could take this crossing for granted (a testament to the engineering involved to pull this off).

From the sanctioned parking area (see directions below), we walked back up the road for about 0.1 mile going past a hydro facility and eventually reaching the signed overlook behind a fence for Moyie Falls. This viewpoint only yielded the view of the upper drop, where there was the hydro facility right below it. Unfortunately, during our visit, this part of the falls wasn’t flowing. However, we continued walking up the road for another 300ft or so, and that was when we reached an unsigned opening with a view down the steep canyon towards the lower drop of Moyie Falls, which actually was flowing. This was the extent of our experience as there was no safe access into the canyon for a closer and more intimate experience with the waterfalls. Thus, we headed back to the car, and we wound up spending about 25 minutes away from the car (though we really took our time so it could be an even shorter visit than this).

Moyie_Falls_001_08052017 - This was the substation where there was sanctioned parking to walk to the view of Moyie Falls
Moyie_Falls_005_08052017 - Walking back up the Canyon View Drive from the substation to the view of Moyie Falls
Moyie_Falls_006_08052017 - Julie walking back along the Canyon View Drive with the US Hwy 2 bridge over the canyon up ahead
Moyie_Falls_007_08052017 - This was the view of the dry upper tier of Moyie Falls with hydro facility from the signposted lookout
Moyie_Falls_008_08052017 - Julie and Tahia at the sanctioned viewpoint for the upper drop of Moyie Falls
Moyie_Falls_011_08052017 - Looking downstream towards the high tressel bridge spanning the Moyie River, which was the US Hwy 2
Moyie_Falls_014_08052017 - Contextual look at the lower drop of Moyie Falls after walking a little further up Canyon View Drive
Moyie_Falls_018_08052017 - More zoomed in look between the foliage at the only flowing part of Moyie Falls
Moyie_Falls_023_08052017 - Context of the Canyon View Drive and the fenced lookouts towards Moyie Falls
Moyie_Falls_024_08052017 - Looking down at the context of the Moyie River and the lower drop of the Moyie Falls
Moyie_Falls_032_08052017 - Returning to the substation where we parked the car


Moyie Falls was within the town of Moyie Springs, Idaho. We’ll pick up the driving directions from Spokane, Washington as well as from Kalispell, Montana since these were our driving routes when we made our visit.

From Spokane, we drove east on the I-90 towards the suburb of Spokane Valley (where we actually overnighted; 10 miles to the east) and ultimately taking the exit 12 for Hwy 95 towards Sandpoint and Moscow (about 31 miles or a little over 30 minutes drive), which was in Coeur d’Alene. Then, we drove about 80 miles (roughly over 90 minutes drive) north to the junction with US2 just north of Bonners Ferry. We then drove east for about 5.5 miles turning right onto the Old US Hwy 2 (also known as East Roosevent Rd).

After about 0.5 miles on East Roosevelt Rd (note the speed limit here was a mere 10mph!), we then turned left onto Canyon View Rd. Then, we followed Canyon View Rd for the next 0.8 miles, which passed by a large lumber yard and some residences and speed bumps, before reaching the sanctioned parking area by a substation. Note that this drive went past the signed viewing area for the Moyie Falls but there was no legal parking there, which was why we had to overshoot it and walk back to the view. Overall, this drive took us about 2 hours, but we actually lost an hour because Idaho was in the Mountain Time Zone so it actually took 3 hours.

From Kalispell, we’d drive west on the US2 for about 131 miles before turning left onto East Roosevelt Rd (shortly after the long bridge over the Moyie River in Moyie Springs). Then, we’d follow the local driving roads as given above. This drive would take about 2.5 hours.

Finally for some geographic context, Bonners Ferry was 32 miles (about 45 minutes drive) north of Sandpoint, 78 miles (over 90 minutes drive) north of Coeur d’Alene, 52 miles (about an hour drive) west of Libby, Montana, 140 miles (2.5 hours drive) west of Kalispell, Montana, and 104 miles (2 hours drive) northeast of Spokane, Washington.

Sweeps from a couple of different vantage points looking down at the lower drop of Moyie Falls, which was still flowing

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Tagged with: moyie springs, boundary county, idaho, idaho panhandle, waterfall, hydroelectricity, dam, diversion, hydro

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