Sparkling waterfalls, scenic walks, and osprey sightings attract outdoor enthusiasts.
Choosing the best of the many natural splendors on view can pose a challenge to visitors at Idaho’s Thousand Springs State Park, which straddles Interstate 84 between Twin Falls and Mountain Home. Malad Gorge’s 60-foot waterfall is simply spectacular. Box Canyon plays host to soaring raptors. And the shaded lawn near the tumbling cascade of glacier-blue water called Niagara Springs makes a perfect spot to stretch out and relax.
But for a dazzling combination of scenery and history, it’s hard to beat Ritter Island. Walking paths wind past waterfalls formed as the margin of a 400-mile-wide aquifer bursts from cliff walls and pours down into the iconic Snake River. Trails also lead visitors to the Minnie Miller Farm, a 1920s dairy ranch now preserved as a museum.
Along the way, keen-eyed hikers can seize the opportunity to spy on ospreys feeding their chicks at nest boxes throughout late spring, and then, in early summer, to watch the young birds hopping clumsily and hilariously in their first attempts at flight. (208) 837-4505, parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/find-a-park.
This article was first published in May 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.