Where we’re at: I’m jumping ahead to share my trip in late August 2020 with Visit Idaho. I’ll jump back into chronological time eventually!
Real talk: As soon as I found out Idaho was the Gem State, I was tickled, because I truly do feel like it’s a hidden gem.
Now, that’s how I feel about the state as a whole. Within Idaho, the hotspots of Boise, Sun Valley, Coeur d’Alene and McCall are on the radar of those in the know. But Twin Falls? Even Katie, who is an Idaho resident and expert and grew up in Twin Falls, was skeptical when I enthusiastically added it to my itinerary. So we are talking diamond in the rough within a hidden gem status, here.
When you first drive into Twin Falls, you’ll see a lot of big box chains and a bunch of strip malls and you might think, huh? But peel off a few layers and you’ll find easily accessible and stunning natural wonders, funky small businesses, and a downtown in the process of revitalizing. Here’s how to enjoy it.
Where To Stay in Twin Falls
Hotel options are somewhat limited in Twin Falls, at least of the boutique variety. I have a feeling eventually, once the secret is out on Twin Falls, someone is going to scoop up some prime canyon-side real estate and build a gorgeous resort. In the meantime, there are some pretty fab Airbnbs out there.
We booked this one, and couldn’t believe what a find it was. It is about a ten minute walk from the rim of the canyon, it was huge — we each had our own bedroom and bathroom! — and it was super stylish to boot. What a score!
While we didn’t really take advantage of the full kitchen or the working spaces — we were go go go! — it was awesome to have a washer and dryer to do laundry in the middle of our road trip, especially as we were doing a lot of really active — read, sweaty — activities all over Idaho.
Where to Eat in Twin Falls
While we didn’t have too many meals in Twin Falls, the ones we did were well-researched and super memorable. Don’t miss these spots!
4 Roots Juice Bar and Cafe
This unassuming juice bar blew us away. After a sunrise hike, we showed up at 4 Roots starving, just as they opened. And dang, did they deliver! I went for one of the egg dish specials and I was obsessed — and immediately wished we could have a lunch here, too. They have an extensive menu of healthy meals and have plenty of veggie and vegan options for plant-powered travelers, too.
Koto Brewing Co.
Idaho is a paradise for beer drinkers — it feels like there’s a local brewery in just about every city. Twin Falls is no exception! While I’m not a beer drinker myself, I was eager to check out the downtown, and suspected Koto Brewing might have some ciders on tap, too (I was right!)
They had a great menu of comfort bar food, and it was fun to stroll around downtown before dinner and work up an appetite.
Yellow Brick Cafe
Confession: we didn’t actually eat at Yellow Brick Cafe, as it was closed all the days we were in Twin Falls. Regular readers will know how rare it is for me to write about a place I haven’t personally experienced, but this one looked so cute and came so highly recommended to us, I can’t help but give it a shoutout. I can’t wait to try it someday when I come back. They even have kombucha on tap!
You just can’t beat the views — or the happy hour cocktails! — at Elevation 486. Nab a seat outside for sure, and enjoy the taste of drinks infused with local ingredients like 44 North’s huckleberry vodka, a potato-based Idaho speciality.
What To Do in Twin Falls
The vast majority of Twin Fall’s highlights center around the gorgeous Snake River Canyon and all the scenic waterfalls, bridges, cliffs, and overlooks that make it special.
Yoga at Hive Hot Yoga
I’m a huge fan of Buti Yoga — in fact, I was supposed to attend a training to become certified in it in 2020! — and love discovering classes for it in all corners of the country. So I was beyond thrilled to find Hive Hot Yoga, which I was hooked on from the moment I loaded their chic website.
We were given a warm Idaho welcome to our evening Buti class, which included the usual tribal dance movements, sweaty cardio, creative sequencing and inspiring vibes I’ve grown to so love. I was also tickled to see signs for a SUP yoga summer series and workshops like wine tasting and yoga. Um, can I somehow transport myself to Twin Falls for each of them?
After class, the owner gave us a little tour of the garden out back, and invited us to stay for the yin class coming up. It was a tempting offer, as was the kind invitation to help ourselves to the fresh tomatoes growing in the Buddha-head strewn veggie garden.
Yogis, don’t miss this special spot!
Hike in Bruneau Dunes State Park
I know I gush a lot about our incredible National Parks system — in my opinion, the pride of America — but wow, State Parks are seriously the bomb too. All the nature and half the crowds, generally! So when I spied Bruneau Dunes State Park on our route to Twin Falls, I was excited to have the perfect pit stop to stretch our legs. At just over an hour from Boise, and just under and hour and a half from Twin Falls, it makes a great day trip from either city.
Climbing the epic dunes with Katie while she regaled me with hilarious stories of her childhood field trips there, I felt like we could have been in Namibia or Peru (seriously, I was having major Huacachina flashbacks!) — but we were right in Katie’s home state, exploring our own big national backyard, marveling at how lucky we are. It was a really nice little two hour distraction, but I also have it mentally starred to camp in someday — especially when the on-site observatory is open for some stargazing!
The catalyst for our trip to Twin Falls was kayaking the eight miles to Shoshone Falls, and wow, did it live up to the hype. AWOL Adventure Sports has their hands in many of the adventure activities in the area, from the SUP yoga collaboration with Hive Yoga to the epic canyon-crossing zipline (and I say that as someone who’s generally burnt out on ziplining!) to even a scuba school.
They also rent either SUP or paddle boards for the empowering, self-guided journey to the Perrine Bridge, Pillar Falls, or the full length to Shoshone Falls, depending on your adventure-meter. Read my experience paddling to Shoshone here.
Waterfall Hop Along the Canyon
As incredible and special as it was to get to experience all these sights from the canyon looking up, you can’t miss the opportunities to see Twin Fall’s famous sights from all angles.
We woke up before dawn to catch the sunrise from the bottom of the canyon, scrambling up a pile of rocks hoping to watch day break over the Perrine Bridge. While we had a cloudy morning, we couldn’t have asked for a more scenic place to sip our tea and have a morning stretch.
After, we went on an adventure to find the trail to the bottom of the Perrine Coulee Falls. It turns out, there’s a turnoff on Canyon Springs Road where there are a few parking spots and you can scramble down and find yourself under the falls in moments. If you’re looking for a bigger burn, there’s also a Perrine Coulee Falls Trail from the rim of the canyon.
Later that day, I walked the Snake River Canyon Rim Trail to see the same falls from the overlook and wow, was it worth it — especially when a rainbow appeared! Hopping in the car and continuing along the canyon, we stopped at the Twin Falls Visitor Center where we walked under the Perrine Bridge and looked out for BASE jumpers — it’s one of the hot spots in the country for it — and soaked up the views.
We couldn’t stop marveling that (A) all of this was so easily accessible (B) it was free to enjoy and (C) that we had it to ourselves.
Our final stop, Shoshone Falls Park, had a nominal fee of $5 per car. I’ve seen quite a few waterfalls in my day, and these really do wow — they have a 212 feet drop, which is 36 feet higher than Niagara Falls (hence their nickname, the Niagara of the West!). They also plunge more than nine hundred feet across, making them one of the largest natural waterfalls in the country. It was so satisfying to see them from above and picture ourselves in our tiny little kayaks below just a few hours earlier! Your admission fee also gives you access to Dierkes Lake, which could be a nice way to cool off on a hot day.
How Long To Spend in Twin Falls
Our time in Twin Falls was short and sweet — I actually wish we’d had another night there. Personally, I’d recommend at least two full days if you plan to kayak or paddle to Shoshone Falls, since that will really wipe you out. The next day, you can explore all else there is to enjoy. When I come back, I’m SUPing, trying the zipline, and exploring more of downtown!
Have you been to Twin Falls? Leave me any further recommendations in the comments for my next trip! And if not, have I convinced you yet to go?