Flows over Shoshone Falls will significantly increase this weekend, making the next several weeks the best time to visit one of Idaho’s most popular tourist destinations.
Most of the past winter’s abundant snowpack has been captured in upstream reservoirs, which entered the season at historically low levels, or diverted for agricultural irrigation. Little or no water has been flowing past Milner Dam, east of Twin Falls, in recent weeks.
But on Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will begin releasing water from its upstream storage to help push young salmon and steelhead downstream to the Columbia River and eventually to the ocean.
Flows past Milner will increase to 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Thursday and double to 3,000 cfs Friday, where they will remain until approximately July 11. River levels downstream of Milner will rise by more than three feet. That’s good news for visitors to Shoshone Falls, often called “The Niagara of the West.” Located in the Snake River canyon just east of the city of Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls Park includes a viewing deck, parking lot, trails and restrooms.
Idaho Power provides a minimum scenic flow of at least 300 cfs over the falls during the summer, but volume over the next several weeks will be several times that. The company diverts some water through its Shoshone Falls power plant, which has a capacity of 14.7 megawatts.