The trail: A paved trail on the canyon floor connects popular, well-maintained Rock Creek Park with its companion RV park and follows the creek downstream.
Allowed: Pedestrians, bicycles, skateboards and leashed dogs. No horses or motorized vehicles other than wheelchairs.
Where to park: The two county-owned parks at the heart of this pretty trail mean you can drive right down into the canyon to start your stroll, with the amenities of a developed park close at hand.
On Twin Falls’ Addison Avenue West — just west of the County West office building and the bridge over Rock Creek — turn north into either the Rock Creek Park entrance or the one for Rock Creek RV Park. Both lead directly into the canyon, entry is free and both tree-filled parks have plentiful paved parking, covered picnic tables, vault toilets, playground equipment and tended lawns. The two roads aren’t connected, however.
If you’d rather walk down from the canyon rim, you have three other access options:
• At the southwest corner of the County West parking lot, a paved trail leaves the canyon rim just beside Addison, gradually descends the canyon wall and crosses a footbridge to enter the RV park. (The trailhead is a little hard to spot from the County West parking lot; don’t be distracted by a weedy dirt path that runs along the rim.)
• Another paved trail leads down from the small dirt parking lot at the south end of Grandview Drive North and joins the main trail near the RV park.
• At the west end of Filer Avenue West, you’ll find another trailhead with unpaved parking. Here the grade that descends the canyon wall is loose dirt, so it’s not a good option for everyone, but the first and last holes of Rock Creek Park’s 18-hole disc golf course are here. This access joins the main trail near its west end, and it’s all asphalt once you reach the canyon floor.
Trail length: From the east canyon-rim access point at the county offices, it’s a 1.4-mile walk to the trail’s western end, where it dead-ends beside the creek. You can add to the length with loops in both parks.
The experience: On pleasant days, Rock Creek Park draws masses of anglers, picnickers, RVs, bikes, dog owners and family photo shoots, but you can find solitude on the trail's west end. There, you’ll find benches well away from the crowds, where birdsong and running water might provide the only sounds.
“We get quite a bit of positive feedback,” said Rick Novacek, Twin Falls County’s parks and waterways director. “People really enjoy walking down there, especially in the wintertime. It’s protected down there, where it might be windy and cold in Twin.”
And along that west stretch — from Rock Creek Park to the trail's dead-end just beyond the Filer access — the disc golf course challenges players with multiple locations for each hole, some strange terrain and a lot of water hazards. It’s a well-developed course, with concrete tee pads and detailed signs for each hole.
In some places, the trail squeezes between the canyon wall and the Russian olive trees that line the creek. In others, the canyon opens up enough for grassy areas and more disc golf holes. (I’m using the term “grassy” loosely, however. The two parks have well-watered lawns, but to the west the lawnmowers manicure weeds and crispy grass.)
Two drawbacks on this trail are occasional nasty odors from the creek and its swampy areas, and some badly broken asphalt.
This spring the county parks department planned to tear out and replace the asphalt on a deteriorated section of trail between the Heider Pavilion and the RV park’s west bridge. But federal funding was delayed, and now Novacek intends to have workers start the repaving in September or October.
Notes: The entire trail and both parks are unlighted — the pavilions are lighted only if they’re reserved — but you’re allowed to walk the trail any time of day or night if you want to.
Drive-in park access has some limits, however. Rock Creek Park’s gates are closed between dusk and 7 a.m.; the park is open year-round unless the county has to close it for a day or two because of winter ice. Rock Creek RV Park is open around the clock from April 1 to Nov. 1, and its gate closes in the off-season.
Be vigilant about monitoring children here; the creek’s water is swift, it isn’t fenced, and in places the dropoff is abrupt.
Walking a dog? You’ll find garbage cans along the trail.
And bring your own water. You won’t find drinking fountains.
Previous Twin Falls 'Urban trail' features
• Snake River Canyon rim trail, east of the Perrine Bridge: New views of Pillar Falls. http://bit.ly/1fJDA2o
• Snake River Canyon rim trail, east of Federation Point: Best views of Perrine Bridge and the coulee waterfall. http://bit.ly/29Z1UL0