Written by Sarah Rohrbach
Cassia Mountain Range, locally known as the South Hills are beautiful beyond words. Located south of the Magic Valley by just a quick drive, it is truly incredible how much the landscapes shift. The elevation changes from Twin Falls at 3,700 to the top of the hills at 8,400. Hikes in the South Hills are wonderful to escape the valley and explore the vibrant forest.
A perfect quick hike to a beautiful view is Ross Falls! The trailhead is located about 45 minutes south of Twin Falls, before Magic Mountain. The trailhead is marked on the road and has a large pull off because of Ross Fall’s popularity. The trail is only a half mile long and will lead to an orange cliff side with bright green moss all along the walls. The waterfall is powerful in the spring, a trickle in the late summer, and frozen in the winter! It is beautiful to see year round and we recommend visiting multiple seasons since the hike is so easy! Ross Falls is dog friendly.
Rim View Trail
The best views looking over the top of the South Hills can be found here! The Rim View Trail is a 9.5 mile trail (one way.) Foot and horse traffic only. The trail crosses several streams and leads you through sub-alpine fir and aspen trees. The trail follows the canyon rim along the west side of Rock Creek. Backcountry camping opportunities are available. Be on the lookout for wildlife because it is not uncommon to see fox and moose!
This 9 mile loop is a sight to be seen! Enjoy volcanic formations and rolling golden hills. The trailhead is a tough but enjoyable one sporting gradual switchbacks and some downhill. Because it is high desert be sure to bring water for the longer hikes. It can get toasty out there!
The trailhead to Eagle Loop is located at Pettit Campground. This wonderful hike is a 3 mile loop that showcases gorgeous views of the South Hills. Eagle Loop is dog friendly, as well as Pettit Campground. It is a defined trail with clear markings. There are ATV trails that weave through it occasionally, but there are signs that will show ‘Eagle Trail’ with an arrow pointing in the right direction. All through summer enjoy gorgeous blooms of lupins and other wildflowers along the trail! Fall will bring bright yellows, oranges, and reds as the Aspen Trees change color. The campground is not serviced in the winter.
Diamondfield Jack Campground
Although this is a campground, there is wonderful hiking all around. Take a quick walk into the forest to be surrounded by tranquility and peace. The forest is beautiful all times of year, and is a fun place to go snowshoeing as well. These trails are a popular spot for snowmobilers every winter. The campground is suitable for tent camping, trailers, and motor homes.
This trail is perfect to x-country ski in the winter to arrive at a peaceful hut! To reserve the hut, contact the High Desert Nordic Association to inquire about open dates. Unlike other huts in Idaho, it usually will have openings! Valdon Hancock’s, of the High Desert Nordic Association number is 208-420-9042.
Phantom Falls is deep in the south hills, about two hours from Twin Falls. Driving to Phantom Falls is all gravel, rocky roads to be sure to have a high clearance vehicle. There is a pull off on the side of the road with signage. It is 1.5 miles to the waterfall from here. Trees cover a portion of the trail leading you through a somewhat shaded path. Phantom Falls at some times of year is a small trickle off of a cliff. Either way, it is a gorgeous sight to see and the falls are truly phantom-like.
Humming Bird Sanctuary
The Humming Bird Trail isn’t exactly a hike, but it is a beautiful place to sit and nature and watch it do its thing. Bird feeders are hanging all around the trees and each day at sundown the birds come in and feed. It is the most peaceful and wonderful place to hang out and enjoy life. Getting here requires the drive up almost to Magic Mountain, but instead turn west towards Rogerson. This road will lead you over the mountains and to the Humming Bird Sanctuary located in the valley next to a creek.