Idaho’s Gravity-Defying Balanced Rock

August 29, 2022

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Photographer: Ray Boren    

Summary Author: Ray Boren

High above a rural road southwest of Twin Falls, Idaho, rises a huge, precariously poised hoodoo shaped somewhat like the continent of Africa. Like many of its kind, it is simply called Balanced Rock, as illustrated in a photograph taken on July 26, 2022. An upward-tilted arrow on a roadside sign points toward it, and the sign reports that this natural sculpture, some 48 feet high and 40 feet wide (14.6 by 12.2 meters), hovers over a slim base only 3 feet by 17.5 inches wide (0.9 by 0.5 meters).

Shaped by differential weathering over a great span of time, the pillar is composed of rhyolite, a silica-infused magma laid down about 8 million years ago on the southern fringe of the Snake River Plain, when the volcanic hot spot below today’s Yellowstone National Park instead sat 300 miles (480 kilometers) away, below this part of southern Idaho.

Just down the road from Balanced Rock is a veritable oasis in this dry setting: Twin Falls County’s Balanced Rock Park, as shown in a second photograph taken the same day. Salmon Falls Creek, en route to the Snake River, flows beneath volcanic escarpments, providing visitors a pleasant spot for picnicking, camping, hiking, climbing, boating and fishing.


Balanced Rock, Idaho Coordinates: 42.5482386, -114.9575579

Related Links:

Idaho’s Pass of the Standing Rock

Southern Idaho’s Balanced Rock Area