Along Idaho’s Snake River
By Ron EngeldingerAll Posts
Rolling through the plains of South Central and Southeastern Idaho, the Snake River connects the cities of Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. Carving a spectacular canyon through the basalt cliffs in some areas while lazily floating across the high plains in other parts, the river sustains vibrant communities and rich farmlands. The region offers unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation and the cities are known for their friendly hospitality. The area is an attractive destination for meeting and event planners.
Perched on the south rim of the Snake River Canyon, Twin Falls offers breathtaking views and a variety of recreational activities along with opportunities for productive meetings and fun events. “Wonderful outdoor activities attract visitors to Twin Falls throughout the year,” says Melissa Barry, executive director of Southern Idaho Tourism.
You do not have to go far for brilliant scenery. Shoshone Falls, located at the edge of town, lives up to its nickname of “Niagara of the West” during the high-water season. The Perrine Bridge soars nearly 500 feet above the canyon providing a home for BASE jumping daredevils. A charming downtown area with a wide variety of shops, art galleries and restaurants entices visitors. “There are a lot of good things happening in Twin Falls. Visitors will be impressed,” says Barry.
MEET AND STAY
Located in the heart of Twin Falls, the Red Lion Hotel Twin Falls hosts meetings, conferences and events of all types. Seven meeting rooms range in size from the 2,500 square-foot Forest Ballroom, accommodating up to 200 guests, to the more intimate Pine and
Willow rooms. The variety of room sizes make the hotel appropriate for a conference that requires breakout spaces or for smaller get-togethers. A full-service restaurant, on-site catering, the latest audiovisual equipment, complimentary WiFi and free parking are features of this full-service conference hotel.
With views of the Snake River Canyon and a canyon walking trail at the hotel’s doorstep, the Hilton Garden Inn is an attractive meeting choice. The hotel’s flexible meeting spaces can accommodate a variety of meetings or events. The Snake River Room is the largest conference room, accommodating 130 theater-style or 100 for a banquet. The room can be divided into two spaces for smaller gatherings while additional rooms offer space for breakout sessions or intimate retreats. Meeting amenities include on-site catering, modern audiovisual equipment, complimentary WiFi and free parking.
Additional hotels include the La Quinta Inn & Suites with two meeting rooms and a maximum capacity of 94 guests. Twin Falls boasts a compact center with all the services meeting attendee will require. The hotels are all located close to a variety of restaurants and offer easy access to the historic downtown area.
Overlooking a vista of parks, golf courses and the Snake River, the Canyon Crest Dining & Event Center encompasses an event center, a premier restaurant with a lounge and private dining opportunities. The 5.320 square-foot Event Center can accommodate as many as 870 guests in a theater-style setup and 450 for a banquet. A large stage and full audiovisual system make the room perfect for conferences, seminars and presentations. The room can be divided into five rooms of varying sizes allowing groups maximum flexibility. In addition to on-site catering, the venue offers off-site catering whether your event is in a local park or the middle of downtown.
The College of Southern Idaho, located in the center of Twin Falls, has a variety of impressive spaces available for meetings or events. The CSI Fine Arts Center includes a 930-seat Auditorium that is perfect for a large presentation or conference. A 320-seat Theater, a smaller rehearsal hall and a soaring atrium offer flexibility for groups. The facility features state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and WiFi availability. The Herrett Center for Arts & Science, also located on campus, is a renowned regional museum focusing on the natural sciences and art. A variety of spaces are available for groups up to 260.
OUT AND ABOUT
Whether it is a brief interlude amid a full schedule of meetings, a team building session or a fun add-on to the conference, Twin Falls has a range of activities for visitors. “We have some great golf courses and a range of recreational activities for groups who want to get outdoors,” explains Barry.
Cliffside dining with spectacular views is a great way to unwind after a long day of meetings. Elevation 486 and Canyon Crest Dining & Event Center offer excellent cuisine and spectacular vistas overlooking the canyon.
For a breath of fresh air during a conference break, the 486-foot-tall Perrine Bridge is an easy destination. A short walk from the center of town, the bridge offers heart-pounding views of the canyon. The bridge is the launching point for daredevil BASE jumpers giving viewers a close-up glimpse of this thrilling parachute sport.
Located along the Snake River at the base of the basalt cliffs, Canyon Springs Golf Course offers spectacular views and enough challenge to make playing a round here enjoyable. Canyon Springs can host your group for a corporate outing, accommodate a business meeting or serve a special banquet for your conference attendees.
For group water-based activities, AWOL Adventure Sports is conveniently headquartered at Twin Falls’ Centennial Waterfront Park. This slow-moving stretch of the Snake River is perfect for kayak, canoe and stand-up paddle board excursions. For an adrenaline-inducing water activity, groups can enjoy whitewater rafting along the fast-water sections of the river not far from Twin Falls.
The region also abounds with land-based activities. The College of Southern Idaho offers the Outdoor Challenge Course that is an ideal team building activity. Built to accommodate groups from 10 to 300, the course includes physical and intellectual elements that lay the foundation for learning new skills for success in the workplace or in daily life.
Zip the Snake is an exhilarating zip line experience over the Snake River Canyon just minutes away from Twin Falls. The nearby countryside affords plenty of opportunities for cycling and hiking while a complete range of winter activities are a short drive from the town.
Twin Falls lies just off of I-84 midway between Portland, Oregon, and Salt Lake City, Utah, while it is a two-hour drive from Boise, Idaho. Twin Falls Airport, located four miles from the center of town, offers daily service to Salt Lake City with connections to all major U.S. cities. Boise Airport offers regularly-scheduled service from Portland and Seattle with shuttle bus access to Twin Falls.
- Twin Falls has more than 1,000 hotel rooms
- Twin Falls Airport is four miles from downtown
Southern Idaho Tourism
Red Lion Hotel Twin Falls
Bonnie Coats, general manager
Hilton Garden Inn
Stacy Jones, director of sales
La Quinta Inn & Suites
Erik Bingham, general manager
Canyon Crest Dining & Event Center
Katie Jones, event center manager
College of Southern Idaho
Camille Barigar, facilities coordinator
Canyon Springs Golf Course
AWOL Adventure Sports
Surrounded on three sides by mountains, Pocatello has been a major crossroads since the pioneer days. The city gained prominence as a railroad gateway to the Northwest. Pocatello’s early days are still on display in its well-kept city center and in Frontier Town, with replica buildings of the frontier days.
“We offer visitors many fine museums, an active arts and culture scene and a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities,” says Birgitta Forrest Bright, tourism administrator for Visit Pocatello. She adds, “Pocatello is a friendly town and a nice place to visit.” With a variety of modern conference venues, Pocatello is an attractive destination for meeting and event planners who want a productive meeting or event coupled with excellent pre- and post-meeting activities.
MEET AND STAY
Located just minutes from downtown and just off of I-15, the Red Lion Hotel Pocatello is the area’s largest hotel conference venue. With ten meeting and event rooms comprising over 14,000 square feet of space, the Red Lion can accommodate large gatherings and small meetings. The Convention Center, the hotel’s largest event space, can seat 1,000 in a theater-style arrangement. This space can be divided into as many as five smaller spaces, allowing maximum flexibility for groups of all sizes. Additional smaller spaces and board rooms offer breakout space and are suited to intimate corporate retreats or planning sessions. The Red Lion offers on-site catering, complimentary WiFi, free parking and easy access to all that Pocatello has to offer. With seven meeting and banquet rooms, the Clarion Inn Pocatello can accommodate as many as 400 in a theater-style arrangement. The Grand Ballroom, the largest space, can be divided into four sections of varying sizes providing flexible arrangements for smaller groups. The outdoor Terrace is the perfect spot for break-time refreshments or an after-meeting reception. This full-service hotel features up-to-date audiovisual equipment, on-site catering, complimentary WiFi and free parking.
Only 15 minutes from the center of Pocatello, the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center is a modern hotel, casino and event venue that can accommodate conferences for 1,500 or a banquet for 900. At 15,000 square feet, the hotel ballroom is the largest conference space in the region and it can be divided into as many as ten smaller rooms. Easy access to Pocatello and all the activities in the region will keep meeting participants busy and the Cedar Spa offers a luxurious escape for after-meeting relaxation. Complimentary WiFi and free parking, along with on-site catering and the latest in audiovisual support make things easy for meeting and event planners.
Planners looking for a large space for a trade show or conference should consider the recently-opened Mountain View Event Center with a capacity of 1,600. With bleachers seating 750, the 28,000 square-foot main floor of the multipurpose center is ideal for indoor sporting events but the large open floor plan is also perfect for a conference or banquet. Additional conference rooms are available for smaller meetings or breakout session.
The recently-remodeled Pond Student Union at Idaho State University has a variety of spaces equipped with the latest technology in a vibrant atmosphere. Rooms range in size from small conference rooms accommodating 16 to the Ballroom that sets 800 theater-style. Beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces adjacent to the facility offer the option to conduct outdoor events.
For an interesting diversion from the typical conference center, the Museum of Clean has four meeting and event spaces that can accommodate up to 450. “There is no other museum like it in the world,” explains Forrest Bright. The museum offers a fun hands-on experience and the Event Center is perfect for conferences, banquets, seminars and workshops.
OUT AND ABOUT
Pocatello offers a rich array of activities to compliment your meeting or event. You can relive Pocatello’s railroad past in Old Town. With 12 square blocks of modern shops and restaurants set alongside charming historical buildings, the area is perfect for a relaxed afternoon of exploration.
Watch a stage production or enjoy dinner theater at the Palace Playhouse or the Westside Players Dinner Theater. Both venues offer fine dining and entertainment for groups. During the summer, Pocatello is alive with fun activities. Regular concerts, a Farmers Market and a year-round Art Walk entice visitors to enjoy the downtown area.
With mountains rising on all sides, there are more than 1,000 miles of recreational trails around Pocatello. Biking, horseback riding, hiking and rock climbing opportunities abound. Winter visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing at the Mink Creek Nordic Ski Complex and downhill sports at the nearby Pebble Creek Ski Area.
For a wonderful team building activity, check out the CW HOG Challenge Course at Idaho State University. This facilitated team-oriented activity is ideal for groups with up to 24 participants.
Located at the intersection of two interstate highways, Pocatello is easily accessible from anywhere in the region. The nearest major city is Salt Lake City, Utah, about 165 miles away while Boise, Idaho, is about 230 miles away. Delta Airlines offers daily flights connecting the Pocatello Regional Airport to Salt Lake City with connections to major cities throughout the Northwest.
- Pocatello has 1,500 hotel rooms
- Pocatello Regional Airport is eight miles from downtown
Red Lion Hotel Pocatello
Clarion Inn Pocatello
Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event
Echo Marshall, director of sales & marketing
Mountain View Event Center
Raul Cano, executive director
Idaho State University
George Casper, director of events
Museum of Clean
Brad Kisling, museum director
The Snake River winding through the center of town provides the backdrop for everything happening in Idaho Falls. “This is a phenomenal place,” says Chip Schwarze, CEO of the Idaho Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The people that live here are friendly and outgoing. We welcome visitors,” he adds.
The six-mile long paved greenbelt skirting the river and the easily walkable downtown area, Idaho Falls entices visitors to get out and explore the city. With a historic downtown area that is full of restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and museums and the region’s spectacular scenery, groups will find activities to match any interest. Groups meeting in Idaho Falls would be well-advised to build extra days into the schedule to take in all that the region has to offer.
MEET AND STAY
With 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the Pinecrest Event Center accommodates groups of all sizes. Whether it is a 125-booth trade show, a large conference or an intimate board retreat, the Center can accommodate your group. The 19,500 square-foot Center Reception Hall seats up to 2,165 theater-style. Three meeting spaces of varying dimensions allow the flexibility to meet the needs of any size group.
With the Snake River flowing by its backdoor, the Hilton Garden Inn Idaho Falls is conveniently located only blocks from downtown. Groups will find the hotel suitable for up to 300 meeting or event attendees. Meeting rooms vary in sizes from the intimate Boardroom that holds 12 to the outdoor River View Terrace that can accommodate a banquet of 350. The Palisades Ball Room can seat 240 theater-style for a conference or presentation. With a total of ten meeting and event spaces, there are a variety of options for smaller groups and breakout sessions. The hotel offers complimentary WiFi throughout the facility, on-site catering and free parking.
Overlooking the Snake River, the Shilo Inn Suites Hotel can accommodate large and small gatherings. Ten flexible meeting spaces range from the Idaho Ballroom that holds 1,400 theater-style to smaller rooms accommodating from18 to 300 attendees. Free parking, on-site catering and complimentary WiFi make things easy for meeting and event planners.
The Willard Arts Center and Colonial Theater add an atmosphere of elegance to any event or business meeting. The original 1919 vaudeville theater has been refurbished for modern use while keeping the original art deco details. The adjacent Willard Arts Center has a variety of spaces suitable for small business meetings and large seminars. Located in the center of downtown a short distance from the hotel district, the facility has meeting spaces for groups as small as 16 and auditorium space for 1,000.
Additional hotels with meeting space include the Residence Inn Idaho Falls, the Hampton Inn Idaho Falls/Airport and the Le Ritz Hotel and Suites. With more than 1,000 sleeping rooms in the city, Idaho Falls can accommodate a variety of meetings, conferences and events. “We offer a full-service planning team that can find the right match for your needs,” says Schwarze.
OUT AND ABOUT
Group activities can range from relaxing to energetic. Grab a brochure and follow the self-guided walking tour of the historic downtown area. Leave
plenty of time to explore the shops and galleries that you pass as you explore the history of Idaho Falls. Golf is always a popular group activity and the City of Idaho Falls obliges. The city operates three championship golf courses and a six-hole short course offering golfers a variety of options.
Minor league baseball can be a fun way to unwind after a day of meetings. Idaho Falls has the perfect opportunity for this diversion. Visitors during the summer months can venture to Melaleuca Field and watch the Chukars minor league baseball team.
The region offers unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation and Idaho Falls makes the perfect central base for exploring the area. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are only a 90-minute drive from the city. A day trip to either park rewards visitors with spectacular sights. The mountains near Idaho Falls offer whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Winter months bring superb skiing opportunities. “The eastern Idaho powder offers some of the best skiing in the world,” claims Schwarze.
Groups can spend a leisurely afternoon soaking in the hot springs at Heise Hot Springs, a quick ten-minute drive from Idaho Falls. More adventurous visitors can enjoy the thrill of zip lining over a 1.5-mile course or join a guided fishing expedition along the South Fork of the Snake River.
Idaho Falls lies on I-15, a three-hour drive from Salt Lake City and four hours from Boise. Idaho Falls Regional Airport offers daily non-stop flights to Salt Lake City and Denver with connections to all major Northwest cities.
- Idaho Falls has more than 1,000 hotel rooms
- Idaho Falls Regional airport is three miles from downtown
Idaho Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau
Pinecrest Event Center
Hilton Garden Inn Idaho Falls
Angela Mago, director of sales
Residence Inn Idaho Falls
Robert Thornock, assistant general manager
Willard Arts Center and Colonial Theater
Hampton Inn Idaho Falls/Airport
Patti Thomas, sales manager
Shilo Inn Suites Hotel
Le Ritz Hotel and Suites
Jennifer Bright, sales manager