P1080526 magic valley This area of Idaho is known as Magic Valley, consisting of several counties in south central Idaho.  During the first decade of the 20th century two dams and a series of irrigation canals were constructed on the Snake River, resulting in the area being “magically” transformed from a nearly uninhabitable area into some of the most productive farmland in the Northwest.

As we left the Craters of the Moon, we decided to drive a little bit out of our way on our return trip and take the Thousand Trails Scenic Byway, south of the Snake River.

The Byway starts just north of the river with a dramatic drop into the canyon2010-08-26 -3- ID, Thousand Springs Scenic Byway -1010 2010-08-26 -3- ID, Thousand Springs Scenic Byway -1006

crosses the river, and follows along the fertile farmland.2010-08-26 -3- ID, Thousand Springs Scenic Byway -1008 There were several side trips that we’ll save for another time.  As we continued along the river, we began to notice numerous waterfalls along the cliffs on the opposite bank.   The falls originate from underground vents carrying water from the Lost Rivers far to the north, surfacing here in the “Thousand Springs” area.Lost Rivers of Idaho

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Spanning the river between Twin Falls and  Jerome is the Perrine Bridge, 1500 feet long and situated 486 feet above the Snake River.2010-08-26 -4- ID, Twin Falls - Snake River at Perrine Bridge -1006

The gorge’s claim to fame is Evel Knievel’s attempt to jump the gorge just east of this bridge.  Here’s a short YouTube video of the event.

 

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You can still see the jump site mound from the bridge.Evel Knievel Jump Site Snake River ID

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The bridge itself has become famous for a different type of jump, BASE (acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: buildings, antennae, spans (bridge) and earth (cliff) jumps.  The Perrine Bridge is the only bridge in the U.S. from which you can jump legally without a permit, and has become one of the most popular sites for parachute BASE jumps.  In fact, while we were at the Visitor Center, several young men were preparing their parachutes for a jump from the bridge.  They told us it would be 20 minutes to a half hour before the jump, so we thought we had plenty of time to drive across town to see the Shoshone Falls.  Unfortunately, rush hour traffic prevented us from getting back in time to view the jumps.  Here is a short video however, from a similar jump occasion.

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Our last stop of the day was Shoshone Falls, also known as “Niagara of the West.”  Even though it is late in the summer, and the flow of water over the falls is low compared to spring levels from snow melt, it was still very impressive.2010-08-26 -5- ID, Twin Falls - Shoshone Falls, Niagara of the West -1006 2010-08-26 -5- ID, Twin Falls - Shoshone Falls, Niagara of the West -1002  

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Over eleven hours after leaving home, our day was over and we were very tired, but what a rewarding day!

Thousand Springs Scenic Byway

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