From the Snake River Plain Aquifer, an abundance of natural springs
gush from the steep canyon walls and cascade into the river below..
In fact, the aquifer creeps through an area of several thousand
square miles under southern Idaho's porous volcanic rock before
emerging from the springs in the cliffs of the Snake River Canyon.
This pure, clean, oxygenated water maintains a constant temperature
of 58 degrees F., ideal conditions for trout. The hatcheries located
along the 30-mile stretch of the Snake River in the Hagerman Valley
raise about 70 percent of the trout produced in the United States.
Today hydroelectric and irrigation projects divert some of the
water. So while you won't see literally a "thousand springs"
along the route, it is nevertheless an impressive sight.
Thousand Springs Preserve
The 400-acre preserve meanders along the Snake River for over two
miles. Minnie Miller Falls burst out of the cliff side and cascade
down the canyon wall for almost 200 feet into a brilliantly clear
creek that separates the preserve headquarters on Ritter Island
from the mainland. Most of the preserve is open for day hikes and
nature walks every day.
From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the 70-acre island
is open on Friday and Monday from 9-5, and Saturday and Sunday from
noon to 7. Otherwise, the hours are irregular. So call 208-536-6797
or 208-536-5748 to be sure the gate is open. The historical farmhouse
and dairy barn are open for guided tours only.