Hike Location: Thousand Springs State Park: Malad Gorge Unit
Geographic Location: southwest of Gooding, ID (42.86698, -114.85395)
Length: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: 0/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: July 2011
Overview: A leg-stretcher hike on paved trail with fabulous gorge views.
Park Information: http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/thousand-springs
Hike Route Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=135522
Directions to the trailhead: Between
Boise and Twin Falls, take I-84 to the signed exit for the state park (exit 147). Exit and follow signs to the park, paying the small entrance fee. Turn right at the first park intersection and follow the road for the Devil’s Washbowl Overlook. Park at the parking area for this overlook.
The hike: Most people driving along I-84 cross the
in just a few seconds, never seeing the scenic gorge they just zoomed across. For travelers willing to take a short drive off of the interstate, spectacular views await. At 250 feet deep, the Malad River cuts a deep, jagged gorge through the unusually flat (relative to otherwise mountainous Idaho) Snake River plain. Parts of the gorge are only a few feet wide, while the section closest to the Snake River is around 100 feet wide. Malad River
There are no trails into the gorge and no true nature trails, but the short blacktop trail described here takes you to two fabulous gorge overlooks. Even better, this trail is the perfect length and location for a leg-stretcher hike if you are driving along otherwise monotonous I-84 between Boise and Twin Falls.
|Trailhead at Devil's Washbowl|
|Looking down Malad Gorge from bridge|
At 0.25 miles, you reach Devil’s Washbowl Overlook. Perched on a peninsula on the gorge rim, the overlook gives nice views downstream, but the real show can be seen looking upstream at Devil’s Washbowl. Devil’s Washbowl is a high-volume 60-foot waterfall that marks the river’s main entrance into the gorge. Many years ago, this waterfall was located south of here where the Malad River enters the Snake River, but headward erosion has moved it to the current location, carving the gorge in the process. The process of headward erosion continues, so imagine where the waterfall will be years from now.
|View downstream from Devil's Washbowl Overlook|