Ritter Island Waterfall

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

About Ritter Island Waterfall


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

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

Waterfall Latitude: 42.74084
Waterfall Longitude: -114.8394

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The Ritter Island Waterfall was one of the more attractive waterfalls that we saw among the many in the Thousand Springs State Park.

However, given the hydroelectric infrastructure upstream of it, I’m under the impression that this waterfall could very well be man-made (or at least man-modified or regulated).

Ritter_Island_036_04022021 - The Ritter Island Waterfall
The Ritter Island Waterfall

So that takes away from the luster of this falls in a way similar to how Shoshone Falls was diminished by its interference in the name of generating power.

Nevertheless, we did witness the waterfall having a nice flow accentuated by its juxtaposition alongside the Snake River.

Even though visiting the falls required minimal effort, we easily could have extended our visit with a 1.5-mile loop hike around the neighboring Ritter Island, or a longer out-and-back hike to Bonnieview.

Those longer excursions promised a bit of history due to a Guernsey Cattle farm (which Julie says produced the less inflammatory A2 protein milk), the Minnie Milner Springs (one of the larger natural springs in the area), and Lemon Falls.

Ritter_Island_011_04022021 - Looking back towards a bridge traversing a section of the Snake River separating us from Ritter Island
Looking back towards a bridge traversing a section of the Snake River separating us from Ritter Island

We’ll have to come back to do a more extended visit of Ritter Island, but in the mean time the main Ritter Island Waterfall will gave us a taste of the scenery and serenity that this area had to offer.

We managed to view the Ritter Island Waterfall both from the road approaching the parking and picnic areas near Ritter Island itself as well as from a trail alongside the Snake River, where we didn’t have to go far to get in front of the falls.

Authorities

The Ritter Island Waterfall resides in the Ritter Island State Park section of 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.

Ritter_Island_001_04022021 - Context of the Ritter Island Waterfall with the Snake River underneath some power lines
Ritter_Island_012_04022021 - Julie and Tahia approaching the base of the Ritter Island Waterfall
Ritter_Island_014_04022021 - Tahia and Julie getting closer to the base of the Ritter Island Waterfall
Ritter_Island_029_04022021 - Tahia and Julie benefitting from the spray coming from the base of the Ritter Island Waterfall
Ritter_Island_031_04022021 - Looking towards the continuation of the trail beyond the base of the Ritter Island Waterfall
Ritter_Island_040_04022021 - Focused on the highest volume part of the Ritter Island Waterfall as seen from the main trail
Ritter_Island_053_04022021 - Looking back at the Ritter Island Waterfall from further along the short trail to its base (and beyond)
Ritter_Island_066_04022021 - Checking out a butterfly around the base of the Ritter Island Waterfall


Ritter Island State Park is located near Wendell, which was about a half-hour’s drive west of Twin Falls.

We got there from Twin Falls by taking the US93 north across the Perrine Coulee Bridge towards the I-84 west.

Ritter_Island_002_iPhone_04022021 - The unpaved road descending past the hydroelectric project facility and ultimately making it down to Ritter Island
The unpaved road descending past the hydroelectric project facility and ultimately making it down to Ritter Island

Then, we followed the I-84 west to exit 157 (ID46 Wendell Gooding), then turned left to go south for about 4 miles before we had to turn right onto E 3400 S.

We then followed this road for about 4.5 miles to its 3-way intersection with S 1500 E.

Turning right onto S 1500 E, we then drove about a mile north to the intersection with E 3300 S, and then turned left and followed this road for about 2.5 miles (the road eventually bends north along the S 1300 E) to a signed turnoff on the left.

The sign said “Thousand Springs Hydroelectric Project and Park” when we visited in early April 2021, but that’s the correct turnoff even though it didn’t specifically mention “Ritter Island” on it.

Ritter_Island_009_04022021 - The nearest trailhead to the Ritter Island Waterfall
The nearest trailhead to the Ritter Island Waterfall

Finally, we drove the remaining mile towards Ritter Island as we passed through a hydroelectric area (at about 0.6-mile), then a roadside view of the Ritter Island Waterfall, before descending into the parking and picnic area.

The trailhead nearest to the Ritter Island Waterfall was at the end of a spur road leaving to the left just before the bridge leading to Ritter Island.

An Alternate Route Involving The Hagerman Highway

Alternatively, we could have also driven the I-84 west to exit 155, then turning left at the offramp to go west on the ID46 (E 2950 S) for about 5.4 miles to its intersection with S 1500 E (W Point Rd) and turning left.

Then, we’d take W Point Rd south for about 3.2 miles to the signed turnoff on the right for the “Thousand Springs Hydroelectric Project and Park”.

Ritter_Island_067_04022021 - Looking back at the unpaved road leading to the nearest trailhead to the Ritter Island Waterfall
Looking back at the unpaved road leading to the nearest trailhead to the Ritter Island Waterfall

Finally, we’d follow this spur road for the last mile to reach Ritter Island.

For 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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Semi-circular sweep showing an elevated view of the Ritter Island Falls and the road leading there


Checking out the Ritter Island Falls from the misty base a little off the main trail


Back and forth from the base of Ritter Island Falls along the main trail


Semi-circular sweep from the far side of the base of Ritter Island Falls at its base with some banter in the background

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



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