Few places can match the broad range of fun that Twin Falls and the surrounding Magic Valley offers: Rafting, biking, snow skiing, ice climbing (and did we mention scuba diving?)
There aren’t many places that offer scuba diving and ice climbing within a mile of each other. The fact that you can engage in both those disparate activities illustrates just how extensive and varied are the outdoor recreation activities in Twin Falls and Southern Idaho.
“We really have everything you could want to do pretty close by,” says Andrew Perttula, who owns Pertt’s Bike Rental with his wife, Jessica. “There are so many different things as far as outdoor recreation that it seems to never end. All you have to do is just look and see what’s around you.”
“Almost every form of outdoor recreation you can think of exists
in this part of the world. And from a scenic point of view,
it’s just spectacular.”
Paul Alden | Solider Mountain
Oh, there is plenty around Southern Idaho. The collection of mountains, rivers, canyons and waterfalls throughout the region provides a beautiful backdrop for all manner of activities. From water sports during the summer (rafting the Snake River, scuba diving at Dierkes Lake) to frozen fun during the winter (snow skiing at Soldier Mountain, ice climbing near Shoshone Falls, which is located just upstream from Dierkes), you will enjoy fun in the sun all year round.
Rent an Adventure
There are plenty of locations in Southern Idaho that attract outdoor enthusiasts from beyond the region. The Snake River is well known for its whitewater rafting action, and boaters of all kinds flock to Sawtooth National Forest, which features more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 1,000 lakes.
But one of the great things about Southern Idaho is you don’t have to go far or deal with crowds of tourists to enjoy outdoor recreation. For example, there is a 20-mile stretch of the Snake River near Burley, ID that is smooth and quiet, making it an ideal location for anglers, windsurfers and water skiers.
If you want to stay closer to home, many communities throughout the Magic Valley have invested significantly in their local parks and greenways over the years. A few favorites include Buhl North Park in Buhl, Mary L. Gooding Memorial Park in Shoshone and Candlelight Park in Jerome.
Several businesses in the area rent the equipment needed for an enjoyable outdoor adventure. Pertt’s Bike Rental will even bring the bike to you, so you can start your ride right away from wherever you are.
Hit the Trails
Three biking trails recommended by Andrew Perttula of Pertt’s Bike Rental:
• The Canyon Rim Trail is a 12-mile paved pathway offering stunning views.
• The Auger Falls trail network provides access to a plethora of trails, with options suitable for experts and beginners.
• The Indian Springs Trail is an old horse path that evolved into a bike trail, making for a more natural look.
Meanwhile, AWOL Adventure Sports provides equipment and lessons for a variety of water activities. This includes kayak tours to Shoshone Falls, boat tours to Pillar Falls, paddleboard rentals and, yes, scuba diving.
“We teach beginning scuba courses every month,” says AWOL owner Paul Melni. “I tell my students that if you can dive in Idaho, you can dive anywhere. We teach at Dierkes Lake, in the canyon above Shoshone Falls. We also have some absolutely beautiful, crystal-clear artesian wells that come off the aquifer all along the canyon that are great for diving.”
One Mountain, Four Seasons
Approximately 80 miles north of Twin Falls, Soldier Mountain offers activities for all seasons. It has been used as a ski resort since the 1970s (the actor Bruce Willis was once an owner), and currently has two lifts that reach an elevation of 7,200 feet. There is an additional 2,000 acres at approximately 7,300 feet for experienced skiers.
But recently, Soldier Mountain has started staying open during the warmer months as well, turning the scenic topography into a mountain bike park with five trails. The same lifts that are used for snow skiers also transport cyclists up the mountain, leading to an exhilarating downhill ride back toward the bottom.
“It’s unpardonable to leave beautiful terrain like this closed during the summer,” Alden says. “People around here like to be outside doing any of the recreation that is offered, any time of year. It’s a lifestyle thing. When people choose to move here, it’s a lifestyle decision about wanting to spend time enjoying the outdoors.”