Traveling from Twin Falls back to San Jose was a long and lonely road. Long was very eager to go home by night so we made up our minds that we won’t stop at any attractions or sites that interest us on the way. He drove most of the way and I was so disappointed when we missed a bunch of interesting sights. We drove down I-86 and finally made our turn to Highway 50 to Idaho Falls. Upon exiting the freeway I finally convinced Long to make a short stopover and he agreed.
We passed by the long bridge of Hansen and we were caught by the beautiful view of the Snake River Canyon. Now we have to stop, it was like the Grand Canyon with water! I think it was intended because right after crossing the bridge there was a small rest area where you can admire the view and read about the sights.
The area we went to was known as the Hansen Overlook and it has the magnificent view of the Snake River Canyon. A brief history indicated that during the late 1800s, the 400-foot deep volcanic was only crossable by rowboat. Until 1919 when a two-lane high suspension bridge was completed.
Originally named for a local pioneer merchant, John Hansen constructed in 1966 to replace an aging suspension bridge from 1919, the current Hansen bridge has 3 main steel girder spans set atop two of the highest piers ever built in the United States at 338 feet (103 mtrs). The central span is 258 feet (79 mtrs) with two side spans of 200 feet (61 mtrs) and an approach span of 102 feet (31 mtrs).
The original Hansen suspension bridge was the highest bridge in North America upon its completion in 1919. Soon after the Hansen suspension bridge opened, its construction engineer R. M. Murray started to look into another crossing of the Snake River. With 14 cables, each more than 900 feet long, a $100,000 suspension bridge was wide enough to accommodate two lanes of farm wagons or early cars that had begun to gain popularity then. From it’s deck, nearly 400 feet above Snake River, travelers had a spectacular view that still can be seen from its replacement, built in 1966.
There was also a marker commemorating the bridge and a huge sign common to the state. We walked to the shaded area where there was an information about the Snake River Canyon and its formation.
Snake River Canyon
The overlook was also known as the “heart of Idaho’s Magic Valley.” Before it was covered desert and the water from the Snake River “magically transformed” the desert to Idaho’s farmlands. Here is the history of the of the beginning of the Snake River Canyon, its transformation to what it is today.
“The Flood that Reshaped Southern Idaho. The Snake River Canyon is one of Idaho’s most recognizable geologic features. Volcanic forces dating back more than 10 million years ago created the canyon. But it took the second largest flood in the history of the world to reshape it and to give the canyon its unique appearance as we see it today.
During the last Ice Age, prehistoric Lake Bonneville at 32,000 square miles (52,000 sq. kilometers) was larger in size than today’s Lake Michigan. About 15,000 years ago an alluvial dam made of gravel located at Red Rock Pass near Pocatello. Idaho suddenly gave way rapidly draining Lake Bonneville into southern Idaho.
The Bonneville Flood, which lasted for nearly eight weeks, reshaped the entire length of the Snake River Canyon as it raced to the Pacific Ocean. Lake Bonneville once occupied one-third of Utah. Today the Great Salt Lake and the Boneville Salt Flats are a vast landscape silently marking the site of one of the world’s greatest glacial lakes.”
We walked along the trail to the every edge of the cliff and took pictures and sat with the refreshing air in our faces. After admiring the canyon the watching the passing vehicles on the bridge we head on. We walked back to the car and resume our journey back to the Bay Area.
Here is the link for more information: