A true cosmic phenomenon on earth…The Snake River Plains have been forming for millions of years from numerous geologic and natural events. The most recent is the Bonneville Flood some 14,500 years ago, that provides the current beautiful scenic attributes.


Lake Bonneville, the precursor to the Great Salt Lake, once nearly 1,000 feet above the current level and resting on the higher slopes of the surrounding mountains, nearly 20,000 square miles in size - raptured its shores and discharged an immense volume of water to the north and then west down the Snake River.


It is calculated that the Snake River sustained a high rate of flow from the flood for more than one year.


Present-day Devil’s Corral was formed at this time. At the mouth of Devil’s Corral, resistance from the lava rock formation forced the water to be backed up temporarily. Swerving violently around, like a cornered Tasmanian Devil trying to find an exit, the force of the water and suspended rocks formed the magnificent canyons in Devil’s Corral before it continued on its journey to the Pacific Ocean. When the water receded, two new rivers and majestic rock canyons were left behind as a reminder of the beautiful art nature can create!


An Expert Opinion by Tom Gilbertson

Tom Gilbertson came to Magic Valley in April of 1978 as a staff real estate appraiser for First Federal Savings and Loan of Twin Falls, later re-chartered as First Federal Savings Bank of Twin Falls. First Federal Savings Bank has been a very successful real estate lender in the Magic Valley markets for many years.


They have extensive experience in all forms of real estate lending from residential, commercial, industrial, development, and other forms of real estate.


Tom Gilbertson as a Vice President of the Bank and his 36 years of experience was responsible for completing appraisals, property evaluations, and reviewing appraisals and appraisal policies for the bank.


Tom’s knowledge of the Magic Valley real estate markets is extensive as he has reviewed appraisals and completed property evaluation reports in all parts of Idaho, but primarily in the counties of Gooding, Camas, Blaine, Lincoln, Jerome, Twin Falls, Cassia and Minidoka which make up the area known as Magic Valley.


In the last four decades of valuing real estate and the study of markets in South Central Idaho, I believe that for the first time I have been asked to value a property that may be truly priceless. The geology of Devil’s Corral is evidence of the Bonneville Flood that formed much of the magnificent Snake River topography 14,500 years ago. An appraiser would be challenged to value incomparable land such as this. The land’s uniqueness is itself impossible to duplicate. An appraiser can only detail individual characteristics to arrive at a value for a one of a kind priceless treasure.


My involvement here is to express my professional opinion in evaluating this property as a banker and real estate expert for the purpose of giving an investor/ purchaser an honest and professional platform to establish value. The total area of the unique parcel, historically called “Devil’s Corral” in Twin Falls local lore is two hundred acres.


Currently in its natural, virgin state, it is accessed through the Bureau of Land Management’s adjoining 6,500+ acre park. The Devil’s Corral has potential for development on 80 of the 200 acres. Residential home sites, commercial resort, equestrian use and other activities can be considered.

The balance of the property, 120 acres, consists of a lake, beautiful cliffs, streams and breathtaking views adding to the overall effect of the natural, spectacular beauty surrounding the initial developable acreage. This value of this acreage after road costs, power, water, sewage are subtracted would add substantially to the overall project.


On the south side of the Snake River/Twin Falls side of the property, are a number of residential developments. Private homes on that side of the rim are priced in the $500,000 to just over $1,000,000 range. In 1981, a professional, accredited appraisal valued Devil’s Corral at $3,200,000. Due to the construction in the intervening years, the proximity of growth in Twin Falls’ commercial projects and the rise in prices overall, it is my opinion that a current value of $10,000,000 is conservative.


A value of $50,000 per acre for comparable prime land in this market has already been achieved long ego


The seclusion and guaranteed privacy, the unmatched canyon views, natural life and the scarcity of such sites would probably support a doubling of the price. In conclusion, the true value of Devil’s Corral may exceed this opinion of value but the above number is $10,000,000. And is also supported by the 1981 appraisal if brought to today’s dollars.


Several background issues guide the development program. This land is in the middle of publicly-owned park. Historically, it has been used for off-road vehicles, hunting, horseback riding, and other forms of recreation. In addition, the Snake River Canyon is a sensitive environmental resource and any development will need to incorporate and protect this wonderful natural resource.


There are ways to address and incorporate them into the programming and design. These include:


Creating a hub or center for public access, which may include a visitor’s center, facilities for recreational concessions (ATVs, hiking, riding, rock-climbing, etc. All of this will be managed by the SRCP Board.)


Create a campground for recreational vehicles and low-cost visitation.


Facilities within the hospitality operation will be made available to the public.


Facilities within the hospitality operation will be made available to the public.


Conference facilities in this environment would be an asset to spur the public use and enjoyment.


Design must create a visual impact that is in harmony with the landscape, as illustrated to the right


Three different approaches to a hospitality project associated with these public improvements have merit.


A small lodge or cluster of 30 to 50 units of rooms or residences that may operate as a private hotel, a condominium hotel, or divided ownership facility. A similar facility would be the successful Roaring Fork Club in Snowmass, Colorado but without golf facilities.


A conference center with approximately 150 rooms, with a family or church orientation. A similar facility would be comparable to Aspen Grove in Sundance, Utah.


A 250 room recreation and conference-oriented hotel. A similar facility might be the El Tovar Lodge on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.


On the rim will be a small development with about 10-20 condominiums and about 20 Tiny-Homes for sale or rent to the employees or to local retirees that do not need their large home anymore and favor to spend the winters in Nevada, Arizona, or S. Utah, as many do!


Tiny homes is a new, eco-friendly concept that are becoming very popular all over the west. The new trend in housing is away from the large “McMansion”. Many people are questioning the need to build a large home which is becoming increasingly more expensive to build and is not efficient to heat and cool. Larger homes are also much more expensive to maintain and worst of all are difficult to afford with their high mortgage payments and property tax bills.


There are many advantages to invest in quality over quantity of living space by building a smaller home of high quality materials and conveniences. Besides being more affordable they are much more energy efficient and a cinch to maintain. Comfort does not have to be sacrificed with a smaller well designed space.


The tiny house trend is not just for young people or first-time home owners. Many people nearing retirement age are exploring the benefits of living in smaller spaces. Four main reasons retirees move to smaller homes: wanted cash from selling previous home; now have fewer family members in the home; much less time and cost to maintain home; the biggest reason though is reduced monthly costs.

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This video of the zipline shows how breathtaking the views at Devil's Corral can be and will be in the near future. Enjoy!

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