Featured Photo by Visit Southern Idaho

4 Spring Hiking Spots In Idaho Near The Snake River Valley

Spring is the best time of the year to get out and hike, especially along the Snake River in the southern regions of Idaho. Wildflowers, unique landforms and rock formations, and epic panoramic views await those who head out on the trails. With so many places to choose from, here are some of the best Spring hiking locations in southern Idaho, including national parks and reserves, conservation areas, and more!

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Snake River Spring Hikes: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (Arco, ID)

Best For Unique Sights and History
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is 750,000 acres of unique landscape formed by a volcanic eruption over 2,000 years ago that left the land coated in lava and sagebrush. Cinder buttes, lava tubes, and spatter cones now dot the landscape and visitors can explore these formations firsthand on many of the hiking trails. The park’s caves and trails are located along the 7-mile park Loop Road, so hikers can easily drive to several locations in one visit, park their car, and get out to explore and hit the trails. Peak time to visit during the Spring at Craters of the Moon is from mid to late June when the wildflowers are in full bloom bursting across the volcanic rock and the temperatures are moderate. But the park loop road opens as early as mid-April depending on snowfall and winter weather. Popular hikes include Devil’s Orchard, Big Cinder Butte, and the Caves Trail where you can explore several lava tubes.

Craters Of The Moon Trip Tips
Permit Needed: Park Pass, Best Attraction: Big Cinder Butte, Most Popular Hike: Devil’s Orchard, Other Popular Recreation: Camping

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Snake River Spring Hikes: Shoshone Falls (Twin Falls, ID)

Best For Natural Attraction
A natural attraction on the Snake River, Shoshone Falls is a perfect place to not only hike but swim and picnic for a full day of adventure. The falls are higher than Niagara Falls at 212 feet and are a magnificent sight to see first hand. The popular Canyon Rim Trail will take hikers all around the falls area to see the Shoshone Falls from multiple vantage points and explore the surrounding flora and fauna. Spring is the best time to visit the falls. This is when the snowpack begins to melt and the falls are flowing with their maximum flow, which can fall between 10,000 and 12,000 cubic feet per second at peak, giving visitors the best show of the falls natural power.

Shoshone Falls Trip Tips
Permit Needed: Vehicle Pass, Best Attraction: Shoshone Falls, Most Popular Hike: Canyon Rim Trail, Other Popular Recreation: Swimming in Dierkes Lake

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Best For Wildlife Viewing
The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area’s mission is to protect the unique desert habitat that supports North America’s highest density of nesting raptors. But there are still epic opportunities there for outdoor recreation, including hiking. One of the most popular hiking trails runs alongside the Snake River from Swan Falls Dam to Celebration Park. This five mile trail features excellent wildlife viewing, especially of raptor birds, beautiful scenery, and historical homesteads and cultural sites. At Celebration Park, Idaho’s only archaeological park, you can spend some time hiking on your own or join a walking tour, learn about petroglyphs, and more.

Morley Nelson Trip Tips
Permit Needed: None, Best Attraction: Nesting pairs of raptors, Most Popular Hike: Dedication Point Overlook, Other Popular Recreation: Mountain biking

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Snake River Spring Hikes: City of Rocks National Reserve (Almo, ID)

Best For Backcountry Adventuring
If you’re an avid backcountry hiker or backpacker, the City of Rocks National Reserve is one outdoor destination along the Snake River to add to your bucket list. The reserve is located at the southern end of the Albion Mountains and stretches for 14,407 acres of granite pinnacles, domes, and fins. Many people travel to the City of Rocks for climbing, but there are exceptional hiking trails as well, for hikers who want to enjoy the special beauty of the area. The hiking trails at City of Rocks range from easy to strenuous and they lead to dramatic overlooks, arches, windows, and more. Along with hiking and the inspirational scenery, you can discover geological study and remnants of the Old West during your time at the City of Rocks National Reserve.

City Of Rocks Trip Tips
Permit Needed: Free Entrance, Best Attraction: Castle Rock, Most Popular Hike: Window Arch Trail, Other Popular Recreation: Climbing

Content Writer and Social Media Coordinator. I paint, listen to music, and play with my dogs a lot. When I’m not doing all that, I love to read and try new things.

Maeve Miller

Writer, River Travel Magazine