Shoshone Falls is a beautiful waterfall situated on the Snake River, in southern Idaho, United States. This wonder of geology is a block style waterfall. It is often referred to as the “Niagara of the West.” Uniquely, the shape of the flow of Shoshone Falls changes depending upon the flow volume. These forms range from a single broad wall of water to multiple small flows scattered across the cliff face. The volume of Shoshone Falls is greatly reduced in the summer and fall. At these times, the waterfall is utilized as a source of both hydroelectricity and irrigation.
Shoshone Falls Origins and Characteristics
Shoshone Falls was formed during the last ice age. At that time, the Bonneville Flood formed the Snake River, along with multiple nearby valleys. The waterfall was named in honor of the indigenous Shoshone Indian Tribe, who originally inhabited the immediate area. The crest of Shoshone Falls sits at an elevation of approximately 3,263 ft (995 m) above sea level. It is a single drop waterfall, with a plunge of approximately 212 ft (65 m). Its width varies by season but averages approximately 925ft (282 m). The average flow rate of Shoshone Falls is estimated to be approximately 3,200 cf/s (91 cm/s).
Shoshone Falls Ecological Importance
Shoshone Falls is an important component of the ecology of the region. It forms a natural division between the Upper Snake River and the Lower Snake River. Before the construction of the hydroelectric dam, enormous quantities of salmon and sturgeon once swam to Shoshone Falls. These were a primary food source for the indigenous peoples of the region. The Upper Snake River is home to numerous species of trout. Because of the natural division formed by Shoshone Falls 65% of the fish species in the Snake River are present in only one section or the other.
Todd Sain Sr.