We have hit Shoshone Falls a couple times and the Indian Ice Cave so this Twin Falls mid-trip adventure, to beat the desert drive doldrums, is Malad Gorge.
Trickery seems the only sure way to have our young teen Kayla join us for an outdoor excursion so on the way back from delivering her friend Jataya halfway to her Pocatello home we’ve stopped to see what these “Malad Gorge” signs are about. Kayla works to restrain her excitement.
“The Malad River Canyon is 250 feet deep and 2½ miles long,”¹ making it one of the shortest rivers in the world. It is named for the “malady” that befell a large number of pioneering trappers sickened by local beaver meat in 1824.²
Even though it passes right over, the Malad Gorge is almost invisible from the perpendicular interstate highway. There are just one or two seconds you might see it out the car window.
When the Bonneville Flood drained a Utah lake the size of Lake Michigan, some fifteen million cubic feet of water flowed each second down the Snake River Canyon on its way to the Columbia Gorge and Pacific Ocean.¹ What a sight that would have been!
The deluge scoured a wide swath of land down to underlying basalt (easily seen today) and forcefully excavated the river canyon at places, creating Shoshone Falls and this Devil’s Washbowl that today challenges thrill-seeking kayakers.²
A short drive along the gorge reveals picnic areas and other overlooks, though it seems a bit dry and dusty for picnicking.
A little play acting seems to cheer Kayla up.
A concrete diversion and flume sends water to an Idaho Power Dam that has generated electricity continuously since 1911 when it was the largest power generator along the Snake River.¹
Once a locus of awesome hydraulic force, later a center of regional power generation, now a flicker in the periphery of interstate travel. Pull off the next time you go by. It takes just a minute to see this impressive site.