June 2022 – After venturing down a road that was very much less traveled and winding up in some very remote (and beautiful) farm fields, we arrived in the middle of a bustling and vibrant city: Idaho Falls, Idaho.
The first thing we saw was a fantastic waterfall sculpture of flying eagles right in the center of a roundabout. How cool is that?!
This sculpture is a dramatic work of art from all sides, and we walked all around it to admire it from every perspective.
Just beyond Eagle Rock Fountain we came across a collection of handsome brick buildings. It felt like a college campus. But these turned out to be office buildings for various professionals. Lucky them to work in such an elegant environment!
There were lilac bushes in bloom to boot. Ahh…the sweet smell of lilacs. We just love these flowers!
On the other side of a large grassy lawn we came upon the Idaho Falls River Walk. This is an absolutely fabulous series of walking paths, trails and manicured terraced gardens that line the banks of the Snake River as it runs through downtown Idaho Falls.
Huge rectangular boulders have been cleverly placed to create walls and benches along the way, and you can stroll on dirt paths and grassy trails.
What a stunning haven this whole area is for locals and visitors alike where they can get a breath of fresh air and a taste of nature alongside the river, right downtown.
A train bridge in the distance caught Buddy’s eye.
There’s a paved bike path that runs for a long ways on both sides of the river too. We followed it through a short tunnel. Fun!
This entire area has been lovingly landscaped. I can’t imagine what it cost the city to transform their river banks into a glorious waterfront, but the end result was worth every penny. Apparently, generous donations keep the greenbelt beautifully maintained and there are plans to expand it as well.
Colorful flowers have been planted all over the place and they were all in bloom.
While we wandered around, jaws agape, trying to capture the beauty with our cameras, Buddy was transfixed by all the little critters who have taken up residence between the rocks.
There were ground squirrels and chipmunks galore, and his jaw was agape and panting after his gallant efforts to capture those tasty morsels with his fast sprints. They were onto him, though, and they just scampered from burrow to burrow, and then taunted him with chirps from deep among the rocks.
Out on the water there was a ferry boat that offers rides up and down the river and some other speed boats too.
We were puzzled that his amazing area was almost completely devoid of people on this gorgeous springtime Saturday morning. Where was everyone?
We decided to cross the river to see what was on the other side. There’s a bridge for pedestrians just beyond the train bridge.
From the middle of the bridge we got a dramatic view of the Mormon Temple steeple in the distance. This was the 10th Mormon Temple ever built (the first one built in Idaho) and it was the 8th temple to begin operations. Mormon temples are really impressive and massive buildings.
Back in 2014, we did a tour of the newly constructed Mormon Temple in Gilbert, Arizona. Guided tours were offered to the public free of charge for a month prior to the temple beginning operations (no cameras allowed). The line to get in every day was immense!
Much of the inside was conference rooms, but the massive baptismal font with its theater seating viewing area blew us away.
The temple baptismal font was an enormous tub, much like a small swimming pool, and it was supported underneath by twelve life size oxen arranged in groups of three, each group facing in one of the four compass directions. You could see the oxen statues up close by going to the floor below the font.
As we understood it, the temple baptismal font is used for “proxy baptisms” where a living member of the LDS church undergoes a baptism on behalf of a deceased person (usually a relative) who didn’t have the opportunity to be baptized while they were alive. After this ceremony, the spirit of the deceased person can then decide whether to accept or reject the baptism and the salvation it represents. The twelve oxen beneath the temple baptismal font represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
The temple changing rooms were another surprise. When entering a temple, church members change out of their street clothes and put on white garments that represent purity, thus leaving the dirty outside world behind as they enter these sacred surroundings.
It was a neat tour, but we weren’t headed to the Idaho Falls Mormon temple right now. We wanted to continue savoring this unusual River Walk!
On the far side of the bridge, we saw a wonderful waterfall — the namesake of this town.
Nearby there was a platform area for viewing the river, and a wedding party was gathered on it! Hurray! I love bumping into weddings and wedding photo shoots! There were several adorable flower girls running around in frilly dresses posing for photos.
We discovered we were in the middle of the Japanese Friendship Garden. This is a lovely, lush spot nestled under towering trees and infused with a unique oriental flavor.
While we meandered through this sweet spot, we noticed an older fellow sitting on a park bench holding a bag overflowing with vegetables.
“Is there a farmer’s market somewhere?” Mark asked
“Right over there!” The man answered, pointing. “It goes on for blocks and blocks. It’s ending in a few minutes, though.”
We rushed over to the place where he was pointing and found an endless row of tent booths on each side of the street. Wow! So THIS was where everyone was hanging out on this beautiful springtime Saturday morning!!
Many vendors were closing up shop, but a few were still selling their wares. I noticed a booth selling sprouted wheat bread and just had to try a taste. The rosemary bread was delicious, but the honey wheat was a better match for the homemade almond butter I’d brought along for our trip. Apparently, sprouted wheat flour has about half the gluten in it as regular wheat flour.
We started chatting with the vendor, Bryun (“spelled correctly!” he joked), and we discovered he has a very humorous blog called OneCrazyDad.com. His hilarious tales, one of which was about inaccurate measuring spoons and home grown recipes, were the perfect thing to read the next morning at our rig as I enjoyed a slice of his homemade bread.
We reached the end of the farmer’s market (it happens every Saturday, by the way, from May to October), and the River Walk kept going. Wide grassy lawns dotted with towering shade trees invited us to explore further. According to Google Maps, there are over 7 miles of trails!
People were relaxing under the huge trees.
This is a bike-friendly town, and elsewhere on the River Walk we’d seen a sculpture of a racer on a bike. Here, we watched a few people roll past on bicycles.
And then we came across a penny-farthing bicycle bench!
There’s also a fleet of motorized scooters that you can grab and ride from here to there. They are operated by the Bird App, and you log in to rent the scooter right as you’re standing next to it. Very convenient!
We saw a few dads zooming around with little kids standing on the scooter in front of them. You do have to be careful, though, because these things are silent and the drivers sometimes get them going very fast, weaving between pedestrians on the paths.
Idaho Falls is also a very dog friendly town. Buddy had been warmly welcomed throughout the farmer’s market and he’d already met quite a few new dogs on our walk. Here we found a fun set of four dog paw stools marching along.
Mark and Buddy took a breather on a music park bench in the grass nearby.
The whole River Walk is beautiful, whimsical and inviting. We stopped at a war memorial overlooking the Snake RIver to pay our respects to fallen soldiers in all the wars since WWI. It has a wonderful view of the river.
We had arrived in Idaho Falls with no idea what to expect. Within a few hours of strolling along the waterfront, we were smitten, and so far we’d only seen only a portion of the unusual River Walk.
What a special and fun-loving place!
Never miss a post — it’s free!
- Idaho Falls Visitor Info
- RV Parks and Campgrounds in the area
- Idaho Falls River Walk
- River Walk Trails – Google Maps
- River Walk Trails – Downloadable Map
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- Japanese Pavillion
- Mormon Baptismal Font info
- Mormon proxy baptism procedure
Other blog posts from Idaho:
- Sun Valley, Idaho – A Joyful Return to a Favorite RV Destination! 08/13/22
- Bovill, Idaho – An Early 20th Century Classic 08/05/22
- Nature’s Capriciousness in Idaho – Streams, Mountains and Storms! 06/30/22
- Sun Valley Idaho – An RV Traveler’s Delight in Ketchum, ID! 09/16/16
- McCall, Idaho – Summer Beach Fun on Pretty Payette Lake 09/14/16
- An Idaho Panhandle RV Trip on US-95: Sandpoint, Moscow & McCall 09/10/16
- An RV Cruise Along Idaho’s Salmon River on US-93 05/08/16
- A Backcountry RV Roadtrip in SE Idaho – Quiet Splendor! 05/04/16
- Craters of the Moon + Cataclysms from Sun Valley ID to Alpine WY 09/02/14
- The Artsy Side of Sun Valley, ID 08/26/14
- Ice Queens of Sun Valley, ID 08/21/14
- Sun Valley Road Rally – Go Granny Go! 08/16/14
- Movin’ On Up to Sun Valley, ID 08/12/14
- Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, ID – Pretty Waterfalls 07/25/12
- Sawtooth Scenic Byway and Stanley, Idaho – Picturesque! 08/28/09
- Sun Valley Idaho – Music, History & Celebrities 08/15/09
- Sun Valley Idaho – RV Camping, Car Racing & Skating Legends 08/06/09
- Sun Valley & Ketchum ID – Beauty & Fun in the Mountains! 07/25/09
- Northern Idaho – Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes 08/23/07
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