About Niagara Springs and Crystal Springs
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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 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.
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.
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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