Idaho Falls is a city in and the county seat of Bonneville County, Idaho, United States. It is the state's largest city outside the Boise metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the population of Idaho Falls was 56,813 (2019 estimate: 62,888), with a metro population of 133,265.
Idaho Falls serves as the commercial, cultural, and healthcare hub for Eastern Idaho, as well as parts of western Wyoming and southern Montana. It is served by the Idaho Falls Regional Airport and is home to the College of Eastern Idaho, Museum of Idaho, and the Idaho Falls Chukars minor league baseball team. It is the principal city of the Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Idaho Falls–Blackfoot-Rexburg, Idaho Combined Statistical Area.
The area around Idaho Falls was first sparsely settled by cattle and sheep ranchers. No significant development took place until 1864, when a man named Harry Rickets built and operated a ferry on the Snake River at 43°36.112′N 112°3.528′W. The ferry served a new tide of westward migration and travel on the Montana Trail following the Bear River Massacre of Shoshone Indians in 1863.
The present-day site of Idaho Falls became a permanent settlement when freighter Matt Taylor built a timber-frame toll bridge across a narrow black basaltic gorge of the river 7 miles (11 km) downstream from the ferry. The bridge improved travel for settlers moving north and west, and for miners, freighters, and others seeking riches in the gold fields of Idaho and Montana—especially the boom towns of Bannack and Virginia City.
By the end of 1865, a private bank, small hotel, livery stable, eating house, post office, and stage station had sprung up near the bridge.