Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Perrine Memorial Bridge - Twin Falls, Idaho


Massive and impressive architecture isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you picture rural Idaho. However, the Perrine Memorial Bridge outside of Twin Falls is a stunning example of large scale engineering. The towering truss arch is especially interesting when you consider the surrounding communities have few buildings taller than 3 stories high.  The bridge is a vital connection for Twin Falls. It carries Highway 93 over the Snake River Canyon. It's also a great tourist destination. There are pedestrian walkways on the bridge as well as overlooks on the canyon edges on either side of the bridge. The sides of the bridge are popular locations for BASE jumping.

Location: The bridge is on the north side of Twin Falls on Highway 93.  It is 5 miles south of I-84

Hiking Distance and Time: Plan for about 10 minutes if all you want to do is get out of your car and take a quick look at the bridge.  However, you can make your visit last longer if you want to walk across the bridge or explore the canyon rim trail on the south side of the canyon.

Cost: Free to visit.  The Visitor Center on the South side of the bridge is also free.

Helpful Websites:  https://visitidaho.org/things-to-do/roadside-attractions/perrine-bridge/

Date of Visit: Saturday May 5, 2018

The Perrine Bridge was second stop of the first day of our Idaho Road Trip in May of 2018, We left Shoshone Falls Park and drove less than 5 miles into Twin Falls to find the bridge.

Those of you who have read this blog for a while know that Brandon and I love bridges. We always seem to add one or two to our vacation itinerary.  So it was basically a no-brainer that we would stop at the Perrine Memorial Bridge while we were in Twin Falls.  This bridge is 486 feet high and 1500 feet long.  It is the eighth highest bridge in the United States.  Of course we were going to stop and see it.

The bridge spans the Snake River. The Snake River has cut a deep river channel with steep walls so we couldn't see the canyon from the road until we were almost there. We also couldn't see much of the bridge from the road.  It's flat and aside from the gaping river canyon, we'd never know we were about to cross a bridge.
This is the view from the bridge.
We crossed to the north side of the bridge and pulled over at a pull out on the east side of the road.  We could have turned around and crossed back over the bridge and stopped at the Twin Falls Visitor Center on the south side of the canyon.  But we didn't want to back track.  The pull out was good enough for us. 
Our original plan was to maybe walk over the bridge,  but then we spotted a small trail leading from the pull out down to an area under the bridge.
The trail led to a stairway that led to an observation area under the bridge.  This was unexpected and very, very cool looking.
Here's the view up river.
We could see several small waterfalls cascading over the canyon walls.
Here is the bridge in all it's glory.  The bridge was built in 1976 when it replaced an older 1920's era bridge.
While we were there we could see BASE jumpers preparing to jump off the bridge.  We watched 4 people jump during the 20 or so minutes we were at the bridge.  This bridge is one of the only places in the United States where it's legal to BASE jump year round without a permit.
Here's an up close shot of one of the jumpers.  Whenever a parachute deployed it sounded like artillery being shot in the distance. The kids thought this was the coolest thing ever.
Here's a look directly under the bridge.  It's kind of crazy to think that I was standing under 4 lanes of traffic.
Here's a view down river.  Across the water is Centennial Park which has river access as well as great views of the bridge.

Recommendation: If you are a fan of impressive architecture, then the Perrine Memorial Bridge is an excellent place to stop.  Plan to take a minute or two to appreciate the juxtaposition of the metal bridge with the natural beauty of the Snake River Canyon. 

Directions: If you are on I-84, get off at Exit 173 and head south toward Twin Falls on Highway 93.  That will take you straight over the bridge.

If you are in Twin Falls you will want to find Blue Lakes Boulevard and head north. Blue Lakes Boulevard is also known as Highway 93.

Places Nearby: I would love to come back to Twin Falls and spend the day in Centennial Park on the river's edge  This section of the Snake River is slow moving so I hear its a good place to kayak.  It is even possible to kayak up river to Shoshone Falls from Centennial Park.

Next Stop: Niagara Springs

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I would love to hear what you think. Did I get it right, or was I dead wrong? What was your experience like?

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