Waterfalls in Section 3
Big Fiddler Creek Falls and Long Gulch Falls
Exit I-84 at Mountain Home; continue 20 miles north on US Highway 20; merge onto Road #134 and drive for 5 miles; turn left onto Road #113 and continue 2 miles to Prairie; at the junction, turn left (west) and drive 2.4 miles to the Road #189 junction; turn west onto Road #189 and proceed into South Fork Canyon for approximately 5.7 miles
At an elevation of 4,000 feet within the Mountain Home Ranger District of Boise National Forest, Big Fiddler Creek Falls claims the title of Idaho’s highest officially measured waterfall. Descending 252 feet, this waterfall can be impressive if viewed during early and late spring before Big Fiddler Creek dries up in the summer’s heat.
The 100 to 125 foot plunge of Long Gulch Falls is also viewable from the same area. At an elevation of 3,600 feet, this waterfall has a medium watershed and descends into the South Fork Boise River. After driving 2 miles into South Fork Canyon and locating the viewing area for Big Fiddler Creek Falls, gaze toward the near side of the canyon to find this cataract.
Little Salmon Falls
Located at an elevation of 3,640 feet near the Payette National Forest’s New Meadows Ranger District, this waterfall offers visitors scenery and easy accessibility. Following the Salmon River, these falls cascade 10 to 15 feet with a large watershed.
Lower Little Salmon Falls
The Little Salmon River descends rapidly for 5 to 10 feet to form Lower Little Salmon Falls near the Payette National Forest. Immediately north of the Smoky Boulder Road junction, park at the turnout and walk to the falls.
Fall Creek Falls
Before slipping into the Little Salmon River under US Highway 95, Fall Creek plunges 15 to 25 feet at an elevation of 2,920 feet.
Lost Creek Falls
Found within the Payette National Forest’s Council Ranger District, Lost Creek Falls is situated at an elevation of 4,380 feet and is easily accessible. Dropping 5 to 10 feet from Lost Creek into a pool below, these falls provide visitors with a peaceful picnic backdrop in the wooded surroundings. While Lost Creek Falls is visible from the roadside, visitors will find up-close views by taking one of the various fishermen’s trails leading to the cataract.
Little Falls and Big Falls
Little Falls drops along the South Fork Payette River within Boise National Forest’s Lowman Ranger District. At an elevation of 3,350 feet, Little Falls descends 5 to 10 feet as a wide band from the broad river. For more waterfall scenery, continue past Little Falls 2.2 miles until reaching Big Falls’ 25 to 40 foot drop into a pool below. This cataract is best viewed from a slight distance, so park where the gravel road broadens and gaze upstream. Big Falls may then be found 100 to 150 feet below on the canyon floor.
Indian Bathtub Falls
Found on land that the Bureau of Land Management administers, Indian Bathtub Falls drips 7 to 12 feet into a small hot springs pool. Many find the waterfall uninspiring, but the thermal springs surrounding the cataract draws several visitors eager to soak in the warm water. Visitors are cautioned to bring appropriate footwear as the hot springs basin may contain broken glass from previous users.
The seasonal eroding force of Deadman Creek and Deadman Falls formed the gorge now known as Deadman Canyon on land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. Visitors expecting to see a powerful cataract, however, will likely be disappointed. Although a 125 to 175 foot rocky ridge characterizes the canyon, a small dam prohibits Deadman Creek from dropping down this ledge most of the year. However, visitors lucky enough to visit after a severe thunderstorm may catch a glimpse of the falls.
Jump Creek Falls
Descending vertically for 40 to 60 feet along Jump Creek, Jump Creek Falls is found at an elevation of 2,640 feet on land governed by the Bureau of Land Management. Visitors who take a fairly easy hike will discover this cataract falling amidst unusual rock formations. Upon locating the trailhead, follow the 0.2-mile path leading to the canyon floor. Viewers will climb over and under massive boulders and jump across a small creek before reaching the cataract.
Smith Creek Falls
Since no developed trail leads to Smith Creek Falls, access is limited and recommended only to adults with no physical limitations. For those willing to take a difficult day hike, however, Smith Creek Falls provides outstanding scenery with its 80 to 120 foot plunge into a cavern formed by Smith Creek. At an elevation of 3,700 feet, this cataract is located within the Boise National Forest’s Mountain Home Ranger District and is rarely visited.
After parking your vehicle, begin your trek by crossing the 5 to 10 foot wide irrigation canal that may be knee or waist deep. Next, cross through the sagebrush toward Smith Creek. After walking approximately 100 feet, you will reach views of the cataract from South Fork Canyon’s rim. Visitors are urged to use caution while hiking near these unfenced cliffs.
The following Idaho waterfalls are also located in this section with limited directions/access available:
Wildhorse Falls and Bear Creek Falls
Benton Creek Falls, Rush Falls, and Lower Rush Falls
Gold Fork Falls, Sixmile Creek Falls, and Upper Sixmile Creek Falls
Falls Creek Falls
Austin Butte Falls, Camel Falls, The Falls (Sugarloaf), Sheepshead Draw Falls (Section 3)
Clover Creek Falls