Find out why Balanced Rock is a must-see side trip from Twin Falls, Idaho. Balanced Rock makes a great homeschool field trip!
We love going on homeschool field trips to help our kids learn more. Field trips allow us to have hands-on experiences, and let the kids learn about history, geology, and so much more! If you’re ever in the Boise area, check out these Boise Field Trip Ideas.
On our recent trip to Twin Falls, Idaho, we made a side trip to Balanced Rock.
How far is Twin Falls from Balanced Rock?
Located about 30 minutes Southwest of Twin, Balanced Rock isn’t that far out of the way.
Directions from Twin Falls to Balanced Rock
To get to Balanced Rock from Twin Falls, hop on Hwy. 93 heading south. Turn West on E 3700 N Rd, and that road will take you directly to the rock. It’s straight forward and hard to get lost.
As you drive down E 370o N Rd, you’ll pass farm field after farm field. Then, abruptly, the road will dip down into a canyon.
Balanced Rock Park
At the bottom of this canyon is Balanced Rock Park. You can’t see the rock from the park, but it’s a great spot to stop if your kids need a potty break, or you want to have a picnic. The park is narrow, due to it’s location between two canyon walls, and the fact that it has Salmon Falls Creek running through as well.
There are restrooms, picnic benches, swings, and camping spots, though the spots are dry camping and quite primitive. Still, it’s a bit of an oasis compared to Balanced Rock, which lies just up the road.
Is Balanced Rock still standing?
After passing the park, the road increases in elevation, and curves around canyon walls, and suddenly the huge rock is visible up on the hill to your right. It has been standing for so many years, and it’s still standing!
The rhyolite rock is quite impressive, balancing nearly 200 feet above the canyon floor. The rock itself is 48 feet tall, 40 feet wide, weighs 4 tons, and balances on a base that’s less than 4 feet wide.
According to MagicValley.com,
“The shape of Balanced Rock is the product of differential weathering,” Willsey said.
“Water exploits fractures and weak zones in the rock and can eventually erode and shape rocks into bizarre shapes.
“The wind is usually overrated as a weathering agent and in this case, did very little in shaping [the rock].”
The main factors would have been freeze/thaw cycles in fractures of the rock along with fracturing that occurred when the rock formed and cooled and contracted.
You can climb right up and touch the rock, if you want, but the hike is steep. While it’s not necessarily difficult, it’s just straight up the hill. There is a well used path leading straight up, but there’s actually an easier zig-zag path off to the left that will make the hike less strenuous.
When visiting Balanced Rock, you’ll want to make sure to wear good shoes will lots of tread, and bring plenty of water. There are no trees, and the sun really beats down on you. The sun also heats the rocks, making it even hotter. In front of the site, there are spots to park, but that’s it. There are no other facilities at the actual rock.
Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. We saw plenty of lizards, and we didn’t see any rattlers, but the area is the perfect habitat for them, so just make sure your kids know what a rattlesnake looks and sounds like.
After visiting, I recommend making your way back the way you came to Twin Falls. You can continue on E 3700 N Rd, which turns North shortly after passing Balanced Rock, and eventually meets up with Hwy 30, south of Hagerman. However, that drive is a bit circuitous and winding. If you’re staying in Twin Falls, it’s much faster to turn around and head back the way you came.
I hope that if you’re ever in the Twin Falls area, you’ll make a quick jaunt over to Balanced Rock. It’s well worth the drive!
Want to plan a field trip for you homeschool group? Here are tips on how to plan a homeschool field trip.
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