About Ritter Island Waterfalls
The Ritter Island Waterfalls were one of the more pleasant waterfall experiences that we enjoyed as part of the many waterfalls within the Thousand Springs State Park.
There were two notable waterfalls as well as a handful of smaller minor springs within view from Ritter Island, which was an “island” surrounded by the Snake River and Ritter Creek.
The first and most conspicuous of the waterfalls was the so-called Lemmon Falls, which is pictured above.
The second of the Ritter Island Waterfalls was the Minnie Miller Falls, which required a short walk on the island itself to witness.
Other waterfalls that we noticed in between these two named waterfalls seemed to have been mostly harnessed for hydropower.
That said, I kind of viewed these waterfalls as sort of the backdrop to the serenity and history of Ritter Island.
After all, we could spend time having a picnic or checking out the agricultural heritage (especially the Guernsey Dairy Farm), and do all this in a relaxed setting.
Experiencing Lemmon Falls
Lemmon Falls was the easiest of the Ritter Island Waterfalls to experience because it’s situated very close to the parking area (see directions below).
In fact, on the drive down to the parking area, we were already able to see the waterfall while accentuated by its juxtaposition alongside the Snake River.
During that drive, we did notice some hydroelectric infrastructure upstream of Lemmon Falls, which made me think that this waterfall could very well be man-made (or at least man-modified or regulated).
If that’s the case, then it kind of takes away from its luster in a way similar to Shoshone Falls was diminished by its interference in the name of generating power.
However, upon looking at a map inside the Thousand Springs Guernsey Dairy Farm (the same place where I learned of this waterfall’s name), there was apparently a trout farm directly upstream of Lemmon Falls.
Anyways, visiting the falls required minimal effort as it was a short walk from the parking area to the waterfall’s base.
We didn’t go farther than the base of Lemmon Falls, but the trail did continue further along the Columbine Trail towards the Split Rock Trail.
Experiencing Minnie Miller Falls
The Minnie Miller Falls was an impressively wide series of natural springs, which made it one of the largest among the system of waterfalls and springs making up the Thousand Springs waterfalls system.
It only took about a half-mile walk to get to the picnic area and viewpoint from the parking area.
After crossing the bridge to get onto the island, we pretty much followed a road that led us past the visitor center and the Guernsey Dairy Farm before the road split off with the waterfall trail.
There were actually two parallel trails that went to the Minnie Miller Falls – a lush narrower trail closer to Ritter Creek and a wider trail set further inland.
Both trails were flat and more like a stroll than a hike.
We managed to do the wider trail first, and then we took the lusher, narrower trail on the way back, but it’s generally about a mile round-trip to fully experience the falls.
At the end of the short waterfall trail, there was a well-shaded picnic table with a clear view right across Ritter Creek towards the Minnie Miller Falls.
The Guernsey Dairy Farm & The Rest Of Ritter Island
Although we could have resumed a 1.5-mile loop walk around the perimeter of Ritter Island, we opted to head back from the Minnie Miller Falls to the Guernsey Dairy Farm.
Inside the farm, there were several rooms and displays of the equipment used to procure the less inflammatory (according to Julie) A2 protein milk.
There was even an upstairs empty barn where we got a more elevated look at the Minnie Miller Falls and the hydropower-tapped springs directly across Ritter Creek.
Once we got out of the Guernsey Barn, I extended my walk a little by going a little further south of the bridge (whilst still on the island) to see Lemmon Falls from across Ritter Creek.
By the way, there were limited hours for experiencing the dairy farm and Ritter Island itself as it was open only from Thursday to Monday from 10am-3pm (at least when I last checked).
Therefore, you’ll want to time your visit to get the most out the Ritter Island experience.
The Ritter Island Waterfalls 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 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.
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.
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”.
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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