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: -116.17574

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.

Indeed, it could have been where the Moyie River would crash some 140ft in cumulative height deep within the canyon carved out by the river.

Moyie_Falls_026_08052017 - Moyie Falls - the lower drop
Moyie Falls – the lower drop

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 in 2017), 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.

Moyie_Falls_007_08052017 - Looking down at the upper drop of the Moyie Falls, which wasn't flowing during our visit
Looking down at the upper drop of the Moyie Falls, which wasn’t flowing during our visit

It was all the more amazing to us how motorists would routinely drive the bridge spanning this gorge shortly downstream of the falls and take this crossing for granted (a testament to the engineering involved to pull this off).

Experiencing Moyie Falls

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.

Moyie_Falls_008_08052017 - Context of Julie and Tahia trying to find where the best spots to view Moyie Falls would be
Context of Julie and Tahia trying to find where the best spots to view Moyie Falls would be

However, we continued walking up the road for another 300ft or so.

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 it.

Moyie_Falls_011_08052017 - Looking further downstream from Moyie Falls towards the gorge and the high tressel bridge spanning the Moyie River
Looking further downstream from Moyie Falls towards the gorge and the high tressel bridge spanning the Moyie River

We really took our time here so it could be an even shorter visit than this.

Authorities

Moyie Falls resides near Bonners Ferry in Boundary County, Idaho. It may be administered by the Boundary County Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

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_009_08052017 - Contextual view of where the upper drop of Moyie Falls with be with a power station at its base and the appreciation of the depth of its gorge
Moyie_Falls_014_08052017 - Contextual look at the lower drop of Moyie Falls after walking a little further up Canyon View Drive
Moyie_Falls_002_iPhone_08052017 - Another look at the only flowing part of Moyie Falls during our August 2017 visit
Moyie_Falls_017_08052017 - Context of both the upper and lower drop of Moyie Falls, which shows that the upper drop was dry (more affected by diversion) while the lower drop was still flowing
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_030_08052017 - Walking back along the Canyon View Rd after having had our fill of the Moyie Falls

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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.

Driving from Spokane to Moyie Falls

From Spokane, we drove east on the I-90 towards the suburb of Spokane Valley (where we actually overnighted; 10 miles to the east).

Ultimately, we took 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.

Moyie_Falls_032_08052017 - Approaching the substation where we parked the car to check out the Moyie Falls
Approaching the substation where we parked the car to check out the Moyie Falls

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.

Moyie_Falls_001_08052017 - This was the power station where we stopped the car then walked back to the viewpoint area for Moyie Falls
This was the power station where we stopped the car then walked back to the viewpoint area for Moyie Falls

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.

Driving from Kalispell to Moyie Falls

From Kalispell, we’d drive west on the US2 for about 131 miles.

Then, we’d turn left onto East Roosevelt Rd (shortly after the long bridge over the Moyie River in Moyie Springs).

Next, 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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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of 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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