Best Outdoor Activities Around the Magic Valley–Our Top Five
Idaho is famous for its potatoes, but the real lure that brings people to Idaho and convinces them to stay is its great outdoors. The Magic Valley is no exemption to this rule. People come from all around the world to explore our rivers, rocks, and mountains in search of an adventure, and I'm sure they find it every time. Here are the valley's top spots that get people out into the wild.
In terms of water sports, Murtaugh Lake has much to offer. It is the number one water-skiing destination in Twin Falls County and is also a popular place for fishing, canoeing, swimming, and camping. Bird-watchers love it, too, because many species of birds call the lake home. Murtaugh Lake Park has 12 boat docks, 26 RV sites with hook-ups, tent sites, a picnic area, and two pavilions available for reservation. Tent sites can be rented for $4.00/night and RV spaces for $8.00/night. Call ahead to make a reservation. Directions–Take Highway 30 East out of Twin Falls for about 10 miles (past Kimberly and Hansen). Turn right (South) on 4475 E. which is also marked with a “Sportman’s Access” sign (if you cross the bridge and pass the “Welcome to Murtaugh” sign, you’ve gone too far). Follow the road for about a mile and turn left into Murtaugh Lake Park. 208-734-9491
Considering the wet spring we've had and the awesome flow over Shoshone Falls that resulted from it, many of you have probably seen them already. But how would you like to see Shoshone Falls from the river? At Pryor Paddle Rentals, you can rent a canoe all day for $45 and paddle your way upstream to the falls and enjoy a true "Niagra of the West" experience. They are located in Centennial Park in the canyon, so you'll paddle under the Perrine Bridge, hike around Pillar Falls, and go where no motor boat has gone before in the smooth, 2-mile stretch of river that leads up to Shoshone Falls. One-person kayaks and paddleboards can be rented for four hours for $25 or for a full day for $40. Two-person kayaks and canoes can be rented for four hours for $30 or for a dull day for $45. They're open on weekdays from 12:00 PM-9:00 PM or dusk, and on Saturdays from 10:00 AM-9:00 PM or dusk. Closed on Sundays. Located in Centennial Park, Twin Falls, by the playground equipment. For Reservations: 208-732-8937 www.pryorpaddlerental.com
A popular place for the locals to get their belay on is the northern side of Dierkes Lake. There are many cliffs to climb with difficulty levels ranging from beginner to advanced. There is a $3 vehicle fee for entering the lake. All of your rock climbing gear can be purchased at River and Adventure Toys in Twin Falls. For those of you who would like to learn how to rock climb, courses are available through CSI. Call 208-732-6221 for more information. Directions to Dierkes–Head East out of town on Falls Ave. for two miles past Eastland Dr. Turn left (north) onto Champlin Rd. and follow it into the canyon. Be sure take the right after the toll booth to get to the Lake instead of Shoshone Falls. River and Adventure Toys: 701 2nd Ave. S., Twin Falls 208-735-8697 Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM-6:00 PM http://www.facebook.com/pages/River-Adventure-Toys/274760751034#!/pages/River-Adventure-Toys/274760751034
The Idaho Guide Service offers white water rafting trips on fours sections of the middle Snake River: the Hagerman Section, Class 3; the Murtaugh Section, Class 4+/5; the Milner Section, Class 3; and the Canyon Springs Section, Class 3 & 4. I've floated the Milner Section before, and it's very cool seeing the canyon from that perspective. There are enough rapids to make it fun but there's also time to leisurely float along and search the canyon walls for wildlife and pieces of history. Prices vary according to each section. One-day and multi-day adventures are available. 563 Trotter Dr., Twin Falls 208-734-4998 http://idahoguideservice.com/index.php?action=1-snakeriver
The ultimate destination for outdoor fun in the Magic Valley has got to be the Sawtooth National Forest, or the South Hills as the locals call it. There are tons of trails for ATVing, dirt biking, horseback riding, and hiking. There are also lots of camping and picnic areas, the easiest to drive to being the Diamondfield Jack Campground. There are places to park your RV or pitch a tent there, and it's a good place to leave your vehicle and hit the trail. Ross Falls and Phantom Falls are fun to hike into and are beautiful oases in our arid climate. Maps and more information are available through the National Forest Service. Spend a day, a weekend, or a whole week in the South Hills and see the beauty that Southern Idaho has to offer. Directions to the Diamondfield Jack Campground (35 miles southeast of Twin Falls)--Head East our of Twin Falls on Kimberly Rd. Take the Kimberly exit and follow Highway 30 to Hansen. Take the first right onto Rock Creek Rd. and follow it for about 25 miles up the mountain. At the end of the paved road on the right is the campground. Directions to Ross Falls--Follow the same directions as above but there is a turnout for the falls on the right side of the road about 3/4 of the way up the mountain. There's a small sign marking the trail. If you reach the Magic Mountain ski area, you've gone too far. Sawtooth National Forest Service: 2647 Kimberly Rd. E., Twin Falls 208-737-3200 www.fs.usda.gov