Malad Gorge State Park at Thousand Springs State Park in Southern Idaho is one of five different units a short drive away from one another, each with their own features and attractions. The units are Malad Gorge, Kelton Trail, Earl M. Hardy Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve, Billingsley Creek, Ritter Island, Crystal Springs, and Niagara Springs. The five units total around 2,000 acres of outdoor recreation for you to explore and enjoy.
At the Malad Gorge unit, which has 451 acres, visitors can take in some fantastic views of the canyon and the falls. It might be easy to miss from the highway, but it’s worth a stop to stretch your legs or enjoy a picnic while taking in the stunning views. There are also excellent opportunities for bird watching and photography as the Snake River and nearby springs are picturesque and serene.
For a longer walk, Kelton Trail offers views of some of the remainder of the old Oregon Trail, where mail, freight, and passengers were carried between 1864 and 1883. You can even see ruts and wear where wagons once rode. It may not be Niagra Falls, but Niagra Springs is still a sight not to be missed. The water is an icy glacier blue and tumbles down the canyon at 250 cubic feet per second.
The springs, part of the Thousand Springs Complex at Snake River, are also a National Natural Landmark. Inside the canyon, Crystal Springs Lake offers year-round fishing and abundant wildlife. There are also modern restrooms, picnic tables, and a group shelter. Leashed pets are welcome at Thousand Springs State Park. Be respectful of park rules and other guests by removing pet waste and keeping your dog controlled.
Malad Gorge State Park at Thousand Springs State Park is open year-round. There is a $5 entrance fee per vehicle, or free if you have an Idaho State Parks Passport. In Southern Idaho, there’s a reason why the area around Thousand Springs State Park's Malad Gorge State Park is called the Magic Valley. When you visit, you’ll see why.