My Visit to Evel Knievel's Canyon

By Mike Johnson

I finally made the pilgrimage. It took 44 years but I made it to Twin Falls, Idaho to view the site of Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon jump. The dirt ramp is still visible from the Twin Falls visitor center located just across the Snake River as you enter town from I-84.

The jump took place behind me in the photo on left, just beyond where the river curls out of sight. I'm standing at the public park overlooking the twin waterfalls that gave the town its name.

As a 17-year-old kid, the daredevil was my hero and I was riveted to the event.

On September 8, 1974, a crane lowered Evel into his steam-powered skycycle. He was terrified. A million things could go wrong.

The wind. The distance. The unproven skycycle itself.

He never imagined the parachute would rip open right on the ramp from the jolt of the engine. This drag prevented the cycle from getting more than halfway across the canyon. Wind pushed the dangling machine back toward the launch ramp, landing on the river bank hundreds of feet below. Evel was shaken and banged up but otherwise OK.

Forty two years after Evel's attempt, Eddie Braun successfully made the jump across the same canyon, using the same skycycle design. The link to that story and video is below.

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Here is Eddie Braun's story and a video of his successful Snake River Canyon jump. Using the same skycycle design, built by the son of the man who built Evel's skycycle, Braun proved Evel would've made it if the chute hadn't malfunctioned. Eddie Braun's Jump

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The video of Evel making the jump. Evel's Canyon Jump

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Here is a great video overview of the canyon where Evel jumped as it is today. Remains of Evel's Ramp & Snake River Canyon Over-Flight

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We stopped at Butte, Montana to visit Evel's grave. The cemetery is across the street from Walmart, along a busy highway. If you know where to look, you can see his grave site right from the highway. Evel's Grave

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My inspirational article featuring Evel Knievel: "What Are We Really Risking?"

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