Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs

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

About Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

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

Waterfall Latitude: 42.66575
Waterfall Longitude: -114.67421

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Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs are a few of the natural springs emerging into the Snake River Canyon in a larger area known as Thousand Springs State Park.

These springs are the result of runoff from the snowmelt and precipitation accumulated in the mountains of southerneastern Central Idaho, which fall into the porous lava plains separating those mountains from the Snake River.

Niagara_Springs_037_04022021 - Niagara Springs
Niagara Springs

Ultimately, the resulting groundwater re-emerges as springs when they reach the Snake River Canyon, and it’s said to grow the volume of the Snake River tenfold in this additive stretch of the river.

Experiencing Niagara Springs

We managed to experience these springs on pretty much an autotour of the Niagara Springs State Park (a component of the Thousand Springs State Park).

The Niagara Springs was a cascade gushing and percolating beneath impressive cliffs from the north rim of the Snake River Canyon.

This waterfall was easily seen from a viewing area just a few paces from a parking area past a bridge over the creek that the springs had given rise to.

Crystal_Springs_026_04022021 - Looking across Crystal Springs Lake towards one of the segments of Crystal Springs
Looking across Crystal Springs Lake towards one of the segments of Crystal Springs

Immediately downstream from this waterfall was the Niagara Springs Hatchery, which I suspect was one of Idaho’s many trout farms along the Snake River.

Experiencing Crystal Springs

Further east along the Niagara Springs Grade Road, we drove roughly 1.4 miles towards the Crystal Springs, which were a series of smaller waterfalls spilling into a calm body of water that I believe was called Crystal Springs Lake.

This lake appeared to be full of minerals and farmed trout likely from the neighboring Crystal Springs Farm, where the public access part of the Niagara Springs Grade Road ended.

There was a parking area right at the end of the public access road, where we saw a handful of people fishing around the head of the “lake”.

Crystal_Springs_051_04022021 - Context of a picnic table and one of the docks with another segment of Crystal Springs across the mouth of Crystal Springs Lake
Context of a picnic table and one of the docks with another segment of Crystal Springs across the mouth of Crystal Springs Lake

Roughly 0.2-mile closer to the mouth of the “lake”, there were also more parking spaces near a restroom facility flanked by a handful of docks as well as views across the Snake River from the opposite side of the road.

There was a strong smell of manure around both the Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs, and I suspect that the heavy agricultural utilization of the Snake River Valley as well as the neighboring trout farms had a lot to do with it.

Overall, we spent a little over an hour taking in the experience, but this was really one of those places it depends on how you choose to spend your time here.

Indeed, you can easily spend less or a lot more time than we did, especially if you’re fishing around Crystal Springs Lake.

Authorities

Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs reside 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.

Niagara_Springs_002_04022021 - Looking back at the small pullout area by the lookout for Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_005_04022021 - Looking back at the unpaved road and bridge over the creek caused by the Niagara Springs with the Niagara Springs Hatchery to the left of it
Niagara_Springs_006_04022021 - Partial view of Niagara Springs from the bridge
Niagara_Springs_010_04022021 - Context of the short walk leading to the lookout for the Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_013_04022021 - The lookout right in front of the attractive Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_021_04022021 - Julie checking out the Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_024_04022021 - Long-exposed look at the Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_026_04022021 - Portait context of the Niagara Springs underneath the impressive cliffs of the north rim of the Snake River Canyon
Niagara_Springs_034_04022021 - Julie and Tahia checking out the Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_036_04022021 - Upon closer inspection, it looked like there were some diversion pipes across the brink of the emergence of the Niagara Springs
Niagara_Springs_038_04022021 - Contextual look at Niagara Springs and neighboring diversion pipes
Crystal_Springs_069_04022021 - Context of the unpaved Niagara Springs Grade Road with some segments of Crystal Springs in the distance
Crystal_Springs_003_04022021 - Looking across Crystal Springs Lake towards one of a handful of segments of the Crystal Springs
Crystal_Springs_005_04022021 - Looking upstream across Crystal Springs Lake towards another one of a handful of segments of the Crystal Springs
Crystal_Springs_006_04022021 - Looking downstream across Crystal Springs Lake towards and other smaller segments of the Crystal Springs
Crystal_Springs_014_04022021 - Context of the Niagara Springs Grade adjacent to Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_020_04022021 - Julie and Tahia looking across Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_027_04022021 - Looking towards the parking spaces by the end of the public access part of the Niagara Springs Grade at the head of Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_031_04022021 - A man-made waterfall at the head of Crystal Springs Lake with some people fishing at its brink
Crystal_Springs_044_04022021 - This was the parking area near the mouth of the Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_036_04022021 - Looking across the Snake River from near the mouth of the Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_037_04022021 - Looking upstream along the Snake River from near the mouth of Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_046_04022021 - Context of Julie checking out Crystal Springs Lake from one of the docks
Crystal_Springs_054_04022021 - Upon closer inspection of Crystal Springs Lake, we saw smaller fish (trout?) as well as lots of green algal growth
Crystal_Springs_055_04022021 - Looking further downstream towards the mouth of Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_063_04022021 - We spotted a couple of dead fish in the Crystal Springs Lake, and it made us wonder what killed them
Crystal_Springs_066_04022021 - Julie and Tahia checking out the fish swimming in Crystal Springs Lake
Crystal_Springs_068_04022021 - Last look at the Crystal Springs Lake and dock before we returned to the car
Niagara_and_Crystal_Springs_014_iPhone_04022021 - Passing by the Niagara Springs Hatchery on our way out of this section of the Thousand Springs
Niagara_and_Crystal_Springs_015_iPhone_04022021 - Approaching the unpaved climb out of the Snake River Valley after having had our fill of both the Niagara and Crystal Springs


Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs were both experienced along the Niagara Springs Grade Road.

To get there from Twin Falls, we took the US93 north across the Perrine Coulee Bridge towards the I-84 west.

Niagara_and_Crystal_Springs_001_iPhone_04022021 - The unpaved part of the Niagara Springs Grade as it descended into the Snake River Valley
The unpaved part of the Niagara Springs Grade as it descended into the Snake River Valley

Then, we followed the I-84 west to exit 157 (ID46 Wendell Gooding), then turned left to go south for about 4.7 miles before we had to turn left onto E 3500 S then make an immediate right to continue going south (there should be signs pointing the way).

From there, we continued another 1.5 miles south on the Rex Leland Hwy before the road briefly went unpaved as it descended into the Snake River Canyon.

In roughly the next 1.6 miles, we reached the pullout for the Niagara Springs, which was just past a bridge over its creek directly opposite the Niagara Springs Hatchery.

Beyond Niagara Springs, the Niagara Springs Grade went for another 1.9 miles before reaching the private property sign and parking area at the head of Crystal Springs Lake.

Niagara_and_Crystal_Springs_013_iPhone_04022021 - Looking back at the payment kiosk between Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs. Note the road went unpaved again after a brief stretch of pavement somewhere west of Niagara Springs
Looking back at the payment kiosk between Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs. Note the road went unpaved again after a brief stretch of pavement somewhere west of Niagara Springs

For some 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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Comprehensive video showing Niagara Springs from the main lookout before backing away and going down to the road bridge for a look at the farm and the falls again


Smooth L-shaped panning of Niagara Springs


Semi-circular sweep from one of the docks near the wooden outhouse further downstream of the end of the public road for Crystal Springs


Back and forth sweep from the fishing area at the very end of the public part of the Crystal Springs Road


Back and forth left to right sweep across a calm pool backed by waterfalls of Crystal Springs

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Tagged with: thousand springs state park, niagara springs state park, snake river, wendell, idaho, waterfall



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