Thousand Springs State Park
This page contains our personal notes on Thousand Springs State Park near Hagerman, Idaho.
It was 30 miles from our motel in Twin Falls to this area.
We caught I-84 north of town and drove west. There is road construction in the area of the junction. We exited at Wendell, exit 157, and drove south. At the rim of the gorge the paved road turns into a graded dirt road as it descends into the canyon.
We saw pelicans and cormorants out on the river, mostly sitting on rocks. We saw lots of marmots of various sizes, some sunning in the dirt road. We also spotted several hawks soaring along the face of the cliffs.
This is a typical riparian area, with much undergrowth, lots of trees, and very buggy. We drove east along the river. There are several fish hatcheries along this road, and at least one (it seemed like a State hatchery, had a visitor center. We did not stop at this time.
There is a $3.00 day use entrance fee for this park.
There are several springs pouring and cascading from the north wall of the canyon, as well as one or two that are visible pouring from the south wall, from across the river. The river seems to be more like a river here, instead of a reservoir, although I'm sure that if it weren't for the dams the river would be flowing differently. There are several rapids in this area.
The Niagara Springs are very nice; refreshing. The area is overgrown, and we missed the springs on our way in, and almost, again, on our way out. So watch for the slight turnout on the north side of the road and a stone path that leads to an observation platform below the cascade. The spot is not marked. The water splashes into a white foam and then pours down across the rocks and into wild pools of crystal clear water. It looks very cold.
There is camping in this park-like area along the river. It is a nice, grassy area. There were quite a few people either fishing or enjoying the shade under the tall trees. It seemed to be buggy though. We didn't notice if there was an
At the end of a gravel road there is a small shallow lake with springs pouring into it. There were several folks fishing. It was in this area that we saw quite a few small marmots, some sunning themselves on the dirt road. We were able to get some nice views of some of the springs, and could hear the roar and almost feel the spray.
We drove back out on the dirt road, caught the paved road north, back to Wendell, bought gas, and then caught I-84 west. At the town of Tuttle we exited (exit 147). It's just a short drive to the west to the Malad Gorge State Park.
It was a 21 mile drive from Niagara Springs to Malad Gorge State Park. There was a $3.00 entrance fee for day use.
It is a well groomed park, with modern restrooms and drinking water. It appears that there is camping, because there were a couple of tents set up, but we did not notice anything about overnight fees. It is a well shaded park, except for along the rim of the gorge, which is very exposed.
It was a pleasant day, in the upper 70s to lower 80s, with a breeze with occasional gusting winds. With the breeze blowing it was almost perfect. Again, there seemed to be quite a few insects. There were a number of people enjoying the park, but it was not crowded.
There is a paved 3.1 mile road that passes along the rim, with several view points. At the end of the road you'll find Woody's Cove Overlook. This is a short walk across a paved path through high desert vegetation to view an erosional feature, where water has cut back into the basalt layers capping the sides of the gorge. There are good views down into the Hagerman Valley.
One of the other overlooks features views of the block faulting that is bringing down the basalt cliff faces over time. This is typical of other basalt capped areas, but is still interesting. The Malad River runs and tumbles down below. The stream is very clear and looks green because of the plant growth covering the submerged rocks.
To the north of the main portion of the park, near the rest rooms, there is a loop drive that ends at the Devil's Washbowl Overlook parking area. Here you'll find interpretive information displayed within a building constructed of native basalt. There is also a long metal bridge that crosses over the falls at the head of the canyon. From the bridge, which parallels the Interstate bridges, you can look to the north and see the tight canyon and the cascading river water as it tumbles over the fallen rocks between the basalt walls. There are also great views of the downstream portion of the canyon.
On the far side of the foot bridge there is a paved trail that passes through the grasses of the prairie like surface above the gorge. There is an overlook at the end of the quarter mile trail. From the overlook you can look back toward the falls and the bridges and also downstream toward Hagerman Valley. It is well worth the time to take the short, level walk.