Who can pass up something considered “one of those too good to be true occurrences in nature”? – according to the Complete Guide to Idaho Hot Springs. That’s right, more than just famous potatoes, Idaho is home to 130 hot springs, more than any other state. The Idaho Batholith covers 15,400 square miles of mountains – formed by millions of years of colliding tectonic plates (rather than being heated by active magma, which is the case in places such as Yellowstone National Park).(1) The result is beautiful hot springs nestled in canyons or residing right off the highway. And for some, this could be untapped territory for some well-deserved R&R.
To get you started on navigating the world of Idaho Hot Springs, here are the top 7 must-visit Idaho Hot Springs as noted by visitidaho.org (2):
- Boat Box Hot Springs: a small, intimate fit, there’s only room for about 3-4 soakers at a time. Enjoy the view of the Salmon River and easy access to the hot springs.
Getting there: head north up Highway 75 for about 3 ½ miles. You’ll pass through Lower Stanley and by a few campgrounds before you reach the small pull-off on the right side of the road. The pull-off can only fit 2-3 cars – be on the lookout for steam rising from the river area.
- Rocky Canyon Hot Springs: this three-tiered spring requires crossing the river during summer months. Being one of the closest springs to Boise, it sits right above the Middle Fork and the Payette River. You may also consider camping along the river for some extended fun.
Getting there: Take South Middle Fork Road for 12 miles from downtown Crouch. The road will turn to gravel after about 8 miles and a small pull-off on the left side will signal the parking area after 4 miles. Look for steam across the river and pools on the hillside.
- Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs: popular during weekends and holidays, this well-known spring in Sun Valley is located right up against large boulders along the gravel road. Consider visiting in the fall to experience nature’s beautiful colors and surrounding trees.
Getting there: 10.5 miles down Warm Springs Road outside of Sun Valley.
- Kirkham Hot Springs: considered one of Idaho’s most famous geothermal pools, get ready to socialize and soak as Kirkham is also home to a popular campground, especially in the summer months. Enjoy numerous pools of varying temperatures, cascading waterfalls and warm water overflowing into a cliffside pool.
Getting there: 5 miles north of Lowman on Highway 21.
- Trail Creek Hot Springs: short hike down to find two beautifully crafted pools above a storybook creek. There’s actually a network of pipes that mixes both hot and cold water to provide an optimal soaking experience.
Getting there: from Cascade, turn right on Warm Lake Road. Drive 18.8 miles and turn off into the large turn-out on the right side of the road.
- Mountain Village Lodge: access this hot spring either by staying at the resort or paying for use by the hour. It’s located in an old barn about a quarter mile from the lodge. Be sure to open the barn doors to take in the view of the Sawtooth Mountains.
Getting there: located at the Mountain Village Lodge in Stanley. Make sure to reserve your spot!
- Burgdorf Hot Springs: enjoy old wood cabins (including no electricity) and huge community hot springs. Note that in the winter months, it can only be accessed by snowmobile.
Getting there: located about 30 miles north of McCall.
The sky is the limit for experiencing all types of different Hot Springs across Idaho. If you haven’t enjoyed this part of nature yet, there are some important courtesies to keep in mind:
- Keep them clean: although it may feel like it, hot springs are not bathtubs. It cannot support soaps or hair care products, so keep bathing out of the hot springs experience.
- Clean up after yourself and others: ensure everything you bring with you to the hot spring also makes it out with you. Since these are natural habitats, there are often no trash bins or storage around. Consider leaving it better than you found it.
- Be respectful: some soakers come to hot springs for silence and meditation. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of fellow soakers.
The great outdoors is calling – don’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy nature’s beauty right here in Idaho. You may just find yourself discovering a part of yourself while exploring the land. As John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
Need some extra cash for those rode trips? Apply for an ISU Credit Union credit card and we will take care of the rest!