Fall Creek Falls – Swan Valley, Idaho - Atlas Obscura

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Fall Creek Falls

Swan Valley, Idaho

A creek tumbles over a series of step-like rocks to create this scenic water feature. 


This little gem in Idaho feels like it came out of a movie or was designed as a theme park attraction, but it is a beautiful natural wonder. A small creek tumbles down step-like cliffs overlooking the Snake River as it meanders through the beautiful Swan Valley. The cascading waterfall creates several mossy veiled grottos, where adventurers can wade into small chambers and watch the water droplets shimmer down. You can also relax in the shallow sitting pools in front of the caves and gaze out over the scenery.

Getting to the waterfall is its own journey. While hikers can climb down the falls from the top, further down the road is a rope path where you scuttle down a steep embankment of red earth. Some teamwork is helpful going up and down the rope. At the base of the embankment, the grass and reeds grow widely. Above the soft mud cliffs, birds have carved out holes for their homes.

The falls can also be accessed by boat, as the river is deep enough at the base to moor a small vessel, but shallow enough to wade across and begin climbing the falls.  There are places upriver to put in your craft, and a boat ramp (with bathrooms) at the Highway 26 bridge not far downstream. There is a campground just up the road for an overnight stay, but day adventurers can just park on the edge of the road near the falls.

Know Before You Go

The falls are 45 minutes east of Idaho Falls, near Swan Valley, Idaho. Take the US Hwy 26 Fall Creek road exit, immediately west of the bridge. There is a lot of climbing and scrambling, and the falls are quite mossy and slick.  Be careful as you adventure.

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August 30, 2021

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