Ritter Island Waterfalls

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

About Ritter Island Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside (Lemmon Falls); 1 mile round-trip (Minnie Miller Falls)
Suggested Time: allow at least 30 minutes to visit both waterfalls

Date first visited: 2021-04-02
Date last visited: 2021-06-18

Waterfall Latitude: 42.74084
Waterfall Longitude: -114.8394

Waterfaller Newsletter

Get over the hump of the mid-week blues! Subscribe and get exclusive curated content delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

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.

Ritter_Island_036_04022021 - The Ritter Island Waterfall
The Ritter Island Waterfall

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

Ritter_Island_001_04022021 - View of Lemmon Falls and the Snake River as seen from the unpaved road leading down to Ritter Island
View of Lemmon Falls and the Snake River as seen from the unpaved road leading down to Ritter Island

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.

Ritter_Island_053_04022021 - Looking back across the higher volume segment of Lemmon Falls from its base
Looking back across the higher volume segment of Lemmon Falls from its base

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.

Ritter_Island_055_06182021 - Looking across Ritter Creek from Ritter Island towards the impressive Minnie Miller Falls
Looking across Ritter Creek from Ritter Island towards the impressive Minnie Miller Falls

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.

Ritter_Island_033_06182021 - Context of the wider 'inland' trail, which paralleled the lower trail to the right, but both paths led to the viewpoint of the Minnie Miller Falls
Context of the wider ‘inland’ trail, which paralleled the lower trail to the right, but both paths led to the viewpoint of the Minnie Miller Falls

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.

Ritter_Island_106_06182021 - Mom checking out the view from this open barn upstairs in the Guernsey Dairy Farm on Ritter Island
Mom checking out the view from this open barn upstairs in the Guernsey Dairy Farm on Ritter Island

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.

Authorities

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_005_06182021 - Back at Ritter Island in two months (June 2021).  This time, I went with my Mom onto Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_007_06182021 - Looking downstream from the footbridge to Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_010_06182021 - Looking upstream towards Lemmon Falls from the footbridge to Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_012_06182021 - Closer look at the outflow of a hydropower plant across from Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_013_06182021 - Once we were on Ritter Island, we noticed this building across a well-maintained lawn
Ritter_Island_016_06182021 - Mom making her way deeper into Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_017_06182021 - Looking back at the bridge that we walked over to reach Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_019_06182021 - Looking at one of the houses on Ritter Island backed by one of several springs that might have been tapped for hydropower
Ritter_Island_022_06182021 - The entrance to the Guernsey Farm on Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_023_06182021 - Looking towards some of the smaller springs between Lemmon Falls and Minnie Miller Falls as seen from Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_025_06182021 - Mom making her way past the Guernsey Farm on Ritter Island as she pursued Minnie Miller Falls under a very hot day in June 2021
Ritter_Island_029_06182021 - Looking across one of the parallel trails fronting the Minnie Miller Falls as seen from Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_030_06182021 - Mom going onto one of the parallel trails leading from the farms on Ritter Island towards Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_035_06182021 - Initially, Mom and I took the hotter trail (it was in the low-to-mid 90s during our mid-June 2021 trip) en route to the Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_037_06182021 - Looking across the lower trail leading to Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_038_06182021 - Looking back at the Guernsey Dairy Farm buildings on Ritter Island during our short waterfall walk to the Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_040_06182021 - Mom about to round a corner so we could approach the view of the Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_043_06182021 - The well-shaded picnic table and viewpoint for Minnie Miller Falls on Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_045_06182021 - Mom checking out the Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_050_06182021 - Zoomed in look at the Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_058_06182021 - Mom about to walk back on the lower trail from the Minnie Miller Falls back to the Guernsey Dairy Farm on Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_062_06182021 - Context of Mom trying to stay cool as she headed back to the Guernsey Barn from the Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_070_06182021 - Looking back at the more shaded trail to Minnie Miller Falls
Ritter_Island_077_06182021 - Back among the Guernsey Dairy Farm infrastructure on Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_079_06182021 - Closer look at some of the diversion pipes taking water away from the springs between Minnie Miller Falls and Lemmon Falls
Ritter_Island_081_06182021 - Closer look at a contraption that separates out the cream from the milk
Ritter_Island_083_06182021 - Mom walking through the interior of the Guernsey Dairy Farm
Ritter_Island_100_06182021 - Exploring the backside of the Guernsey Dairy Farm
Ritter_Island_102_06182021 - Upon finding an upstairs room, I stumbled upon this pretty sizable barn room
Ritter_Island_103_06182021 - Looking towards the context of the springs and diversion pipes as seen from the Guernsey Farm window or doorway
Ritter_Island_107_06182021 - One of the rooms at the corner of the Thousand Springs Guernsey Dairy Farm on Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_113_06182021 - Approaching an unusual view of Lemmon Falls while exploring a bit of Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_127_06182021 - Julie and the kids listening along with some other visitors at a person working for (or volunteering) at Ritter Island during our mid-June 2021 visit
Ritter_Island_128_06182021 - Returning to the parking area for Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_134_06182021 - Looking towards the hydropower infrastructure between Minnie Miller Falls and Lemmon Falls at Ritter Island
Ritter_Island_138_06182021 - Looking at the nice picnic area by the parking area and the Ritter Creek side of the Snake River
Ritter_Island_007_04022021 - Context of Lemmon Falls with the Snake River as seen from the unpaved road leading down to the parking area during our first visit in April 2021. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery were taken on that trip
Ritter_Island_011_04022021 - Looking back towards the bridge providing access to Ritter Island as seen from around the base of Lemmon Falls
Ritter_Island_012_04022021 - Julie and Tahia approaching the base of the Lemmon Falls, which was the most convenient of the Ritter Island Waterfalls
Ritter_Island_014_04022021 - Tahia and Julie getting closer to the base of Lemmon Falls
Ritter_Island_029_04022021 - Tahia and Julie benefitting from the spray coming from the base of Lemmon Falls
Ritter_Island_031_04022021 - Looking towards the continuation of the trail beyond the base of Lemmon Falls
Ritter_Island_040_04022021 - Focused on the highest volume part of Lemmon Falls as seen from the main trail
Ritter_Island_042_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_067_04022021 - Julie and Tahia returning to the rental car after the short excursion to experience Lemmon Falls during Tahia's Spring Break in 2021


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.

Find A Place To Stay



Booking.com

Sweep showing both sides of the river with waterfalls on either side


Back and forth sweep checking out the front of Minnie Miller Falls


Sweep around the Guernsey barn on Ritter Island revealing some springs in the distance


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

Related Top 10 Lists

No Posts Found

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Booking.com


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



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls


The Process of How I Earn Income Sharing My Passion Through Lived Experiences

Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.