Written by Sarah Rohrbach
Shoshone, Idaho is a historic town located north of Twin Falls. Lava fields are scattered throughout the area and hidden gems are located when you look under the surface. Historic buildings line the streets and the cowboy culture is fun to experience. Here are our top 10 things to do in Shoshone!
1. Shoshone Ice Caves
One of the most remarkable places in Idaho is located near Shoshone. It’s underground, freezing cold, and created from lava; the Shoshone Ice Caves! Take a tour over lava rocks and learn history about this ice making phenomenon. Then, walk through the lava rock entrance and put on your coats to prepare for the chilly adventure. You’ll walk on a wooden platform to safely pass over the icy floor of the cave. See beautiful reflections and discover artifacts found within the cave.
2. Lost N Lava Cowboy Gathering & Art in the Park
Shoshone throws extremely fun events like Lost N Lava and Shoshone Art in the Park! The Lost N Lava event is a yearly celebration of ranching and great rural West. The event expresses itself through poetry, music and stories. Discover the beauty and challenges of a life deeply connected to the earth and its bounty. Cowboys will take you in and maybe even teach you how to dance the two-step and discuss plans for the West’s future. The cowboy gathering is always a high energy and an extremely enjoyable experience.
The Shoshone Arts in the Park showcases local art that you can take home! Browse the incredible handmade goods and taste the local flavors in an assortment of cuisine. Arts in the Park has been a tradition for over 33 years, and welcomes over 40 artists each year. Find anything from paintings, woodwork, ceramics, folk art, glad art, and more.
3. Black Magic Slot Canyon
A slot canyon lays north of Shoshone, hidden from the eye that not many know about. To find it you will drive past farmlands and arrive at an old dam, from here the descent down the canyon will lead to jarring black cliffs of lava. Keep in mind; this slot canyon is only open in fall and winter due to flooding in the spring and summer. If you are unsure of conditions check the canal company’s website to double check. Come prepared to hike in sand and navigate through oddly shaped lava rock. The canyon goes about 1 mile before leveling out. There are more sections of this canyon to explore too. If you’re looking for an easier access, stop at the bridge crossing the Big Wood River. Here, the sidewalk is paved and you can peer into the canyon just steps from the road.
4. Shoshone Snack Bar
Ice cream, chicken strips, fries and more, the Snack Bar is the perfect place to stop for delicious food! The menu has endless options for all tastes. We highly recommend the ice cream! The service is warm and kind, expect smiles all around while they quickly prep your food. Supporting local and small has never been easier. Enjoy the groovy vibes at the Snack Bar!
5. Magic Reservoir
The beautiful body of water sits below the Sawtooth Mountains and shows off the beauty of southern Idaho. Not only are the views gorgeous, but the fishing is bountiful! The diverse fishery provides plenty of access along the low gradient shoreline. Magic is great for young anglers. Water level will vary during different times of the year depending on irrigation demands, but there is a boat ramp to get out on the water regardless. It is best to go in the spring and summer. Also find a campground, some lodging options, restrooms and ADA access.
6. Mammoth Cave
If you are ready to see some funky stuff, head to Idaho’s Mammoth Cave and Bird Museum. Mammoth Cave is huge! So huge, it is actually the largest underground lava cave in the world that is open to the public to explore. Unlike Shoshone Ice Caves, this is a self guided tour, but does have an entrance fee. After you’ve wandered through the eerie but incredible cave, stop and see the Shoshone Bird Museum. This is where it gets weird. There are hundreds of artifacts and unique taxidermy animals located within the lava rock building.
7. Historic District Walking Tour
Shoshone is full of beautiful historic buildings. Buildings include the Lincoln County Courthouse, McFall Hotel, The Governor’s Mansion, the Methodist Church and the Soloaga Basque Boarding House. The Governor’s Mansion is even a B&B you can stay in to take a ride back in time. Stop in at the Lincoln County Visitor Center to get more information to partake on a walking tour, located in the 2nd Time Around Antique Mall which is also a historic building!
8. Bear Claw Trading Post
Get lost for hours browsing unique souvenirs from all around the world. The Bear Claw Trading Post is your one stop shop to get an Idaho gift for yourself and your loved ones. Find crafts, incredible pottery, carvings, jewelry, gems and more. Decorate your home with gems from South America, or a rug from Navajo nation. This trading post is locally owned.
9. Lincoln County Fair and Rodeo
Held in Shoshone the last full week of July each year is the Lincoln County Fair and Rodeo. Idaho throws some incredible rodeos, so expect to see lots of cowboys, live music, and browse the merchant building. The action packed rodeo showcases talented bull riders, ropers, and other western athletes.
10. Little Wood River & Mary L Gooding Memorial Park
The Little Wood River flows through Mary L Gooding Memorial park and is the perfect place to relax. The peaceful park is surrounded by trees and has many sitting areas with shade.