The Scoop on Southern Idaho
There's something for everyone in Southern Idaho.
Southern Idaho’s diverse outdoor recreation opportunities range from base jumping into the Snake River Canyon, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, biking and everything in between.
In This Article
Wear the Gear
Outdoor recreation opportunities abound in the Magic Valley, including hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, ATV riding and skiing, to name just a few. Plus, a number of businesses will make sure residents and visitors are dressed for success, no matter the activity they choose. Some of these include Adventure Idaho Inc., American Eagle Outfitters, Deadline Outfitters, Downeast Outfitters, Dry Creek Outfitters, Idaho Guide Service, Idaho River Rentals, Pioneer Outfitters and Rapid River Outfitters. Some also offer professional guided tours.
Natural beauty abounds in Southern Idaho, from the area’s unique birds to its eye-catching plants. The Cassia Crossbill, a type of bird that’s part of the finch family, makes it’s home year-round in the South Hills and Albion Mountains. Males’ feathers are usually a dull red/orange color with gray or brown highlights, while females show off more of a dull yellow. As for greenery, Christ’s Indian Paintbrush, found in the Albion Mountains, blooms bright yellow buds in July and August. And Camas Lilies, a gorgeous purple flower that blooms in the spring, decorate many parts of Camas County, but the majority can be found in Camas Prairie.
Evel Jumped Here
It was 1974 when motorcycle daredevil Robert “Evel” Knievel attempted and failed to leap the Snake River Canyon’s chasm on his rocket skycycle. Knievel’s parachute malfunctioned, causing the daredevil to cross the chasm only halfway before floating down 500 feet to the canyon riverbank between Shoshone Falls and the Perrine Bridge. Evel survived with only a broken nose, but fans loved him for trying such a dangerous stunt. Check out the launch ramp on the Snake River Canyon rim.
A new visitors center, opened by the National Park Service, now graces the Minidoka National Historic Site in Jerome. The doors to the National Park Service Visitor Center swung open in February of 2020, showcasing the building’s ranger information desk, gift shop, theater and exhibition space. Once travelers visit the gift shop and have all of their questions answered, the outdoors await. Just outside the center are numerous recreational opportunities, from hiking and camping to wildlife viewing. Visitors are welcome to tour the Minidoka National Historic Site itself, which served as an internment camp for West Coast Japanese-American citizens from 1942-1945 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and plunged the U.S. into World War II. At one point, approximately 13,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated and housed at Minidoka, and several exhibits educate visitors on the relocation camp.
Beer lovers say cheers! Southern Idaho is home to a number of craft beer breweries. Magic Valley Brewing in Buhl offers Basalt Stout and El Diablo Corral JPA. In Twin Falls, Koto Brewing Co. has a variety of handcrafted beers. Soldier Creek Brewing Co. in Fairfield grew from a coffeehouse into a popular restaurant and microbrewery. Lots of other restaurants/bars also have great brews on tap.
Hurling an axe through the air in the hopes of achieving a bullseye is probably not an activity you would associate with Southern Idaho, but it’s here! The Bearded Axe in Twin Falls offers 10 individual lanes, each with two targets, for folks ready to give it a try. People of all ages and athletic abilities are welcome, with coaches available to teach attendees how to throw (and do it safely!). You can book a one-hour session online for $17.50 or simply walk in and throw for $20 an hour.
The 4-1-1 on Southern Idaho
- Adventures Abound: Thanks to its many outdoor adventure opportunities and its famous Evel Knievel Snake Canyon rocket motorcycle jump, Twin Falls was recently ranked No. 1 on Livability.com’s Top 10 Cities to Defy Death list. A few must-tries include BASE jumping, rugged ATV trail riding, kite skiing, rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
Happy Birthday: Jerome County celebrated it’s 100th birthday in 2019.
Rich in Resources: The Mini-Cassia area is made up of 12 cities and towns, along with forests, reserves and seven national and state parks.
Food for All: Southern Idaho has a thriving agribusiness sector consisting of food processing, food science and row crops.
Smart Starts: The College of Southern Idaho, a community college in Twin Falls, also offers students classes through Boise State University, Idaho State University and the University of Idaho.
Take a Keepsake (or two!) Home: Residents and visitors alike can get their fix of unique souvenirs and Idaho products at the Twin Falls Visitor Center, which is perched on the rim of the Snake River Canyon and caters to the area’s large tourism industry.
Hearty Harvests: Farming, especially potatoes and sugar beets, is a key industry in Southern Idaho, and the area’s fields are largely irrigated with water from the Snake River.
If you’d like to learn more about the Southern Idaho area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Southern Idaho.