Idaho is a gateway state to the wondrous Pacific Northwest region. Like other surrounding mountainous states, Idaho has its fair share of excellent hot springs. It has a wide range of hot spring options from very primitive to full-on resort relaxation. You can visit most of them year-round for healing and relaxation.
List of Natural Hot Springs in Idaho
The hot springs resorts in Idaho are among the top in the country. There are both primitive and resorts to be found in the state. Some even have lodging on-site, perhaps even camping.
Map of Natural Hot Springs in Idaho
Local ID Hot Springs
Guide to Idaho’s Natural Hot Springs
Idaho is called the Gem state because you can find almost 72 types of gemstones throughout its border. It’s also responsible for growing a huge percentage of America’s potatoes. Great places to visit, like Hells Canyon and Sun Valley, round out a perfect Idaho holiday.
Most importantly to us, Idaho has exceptional hot springs. So if you’re looking for a great adventure that ends in a long, hot, relaxing soak, these hot springs will be perfect for you!
Before packing up your car to visit one or more of Idaho’s many hot springs, it’s important to understand the various offerings the state has to boast about to its adventure seekers. Primarily, Idaho’s hot springs are divided into two categories: primitive hot springs and hot spring resorts/retreat centers.
Primitive Hot Springs
For those explorers seeking the most natural and unique experience with a bent towards hiking, trekking, fishing and primitive camping, searching for primitive hot springs will be right up your alley. You can take in the abundant Idaho scenery while gaining bragging rights for discovering a sought-after hot spring location that many never take the time to find.
These primitive springs take more determination to reach and require a fair bit more planning to get there. The payoff is big, though. A long, hot soak in the middle of nowhere can’t be beaten as the rest of the world and all of your cares will feel miles away.
Mainly characterized and cherished because of their isolation and proximity to open wilderness, nature, and wildlife, these hot springs are the simplest of gems. Sometimes clothing is optional, so expect you may come across that. That’s how some earn names like Skinny Dipper Hot Springs.
Primitive hot springs are most often composed of river rocks placed strategically by fellow soakers which form a border to the natural pool. You may also discover a man-made, wooden, or concrete tub to hold in the precious hot waters.
To enjoy, you should plant yourself right in the middle of a hot mineral spring or inside of a basin that is filled from a nearby source. Then close your eyes and relax the day away. Cooler water is often available to help regulate the temperatures.
Sometimes cooler mineral water is piped into the natural spring area. Other times you will need to gather it in buckets sometimes provided to maintain bearable soaking temperatures. Most often there are no facilities in primitive areas, but sometimes in Idaho, you’ll get lucky that a restroom can be found nearby.
These experiences are not for the faint of heart. It will take you a little determination to get there, but guaranteed, this will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
The discovery of these undeveloped hot springs in Idaho is the most budget-friendly adventure route you can take. True, accessibility can be more difficult and requires maneuvering trails, rivers, or snowy paths.
Access is more challenging depending on the weather and a lot of preparation for your adventure is necessary. Still, to relax in a primitive pool with friends and family is the quintessential Idaho adventurer’s dream.
The majority of Idaho’s primitive hot springs sites do not provide overnight lodging, though some can be found near local Airbnb’s and cabins. Be prepared to do some good, old-fashioned, primitive camping, or just choose a spring where you can hike in and experience it for the day and then head home. You can often find campsites with other hot springs pool seekers nearby.
Hot Springs Resorts and Retreat Centers
Idaho is also the home of a number of hot springs resorts and retreat centers. They range from rustic to extravagant, each one possessing its own bit of local charm. Located outside of Idaho’s larger cities, these resorts serve the vacationing population with an all-encompassing, amenity-filled Idaho experience.
For example, Bergdorf Hot Springs offers a rustic resort experience that is perfect for the outdoorsman. Cabins are located on-site, yet it is isolated with no electricity, running water, or cell phone coverage.
Lava Hot Springs Inn, on the other hand, offers soakers a variety of amenities such as spa treatments, prime overnight lodging, and plenty more pampering while enjoying an all-inclusive visit.
From luxurious pools with breathtaking views under the stars to indoor, protected pools with water slides, the entertainment value at Idaho hot springs resorts is high. These resorts offer well-appointed accommodations of every variety from rustic to premiere.
Idaho hot springs resorts are often much more crowded than the primitive pools you might discover. They are perfect for those guests searching for a traditional getaway in a more developed area, with accommodations on-site.
Locals and visitors alike are welcome to purchase day passes to many of these hot springs resorts in order to gain access to the pools. True, this style of hot springs soaking comes with a higher price tag. But you’ll reap the benefits of a well-run facility and ease of access.
The good news is, even if you’re not looking to stay overnight (and not all resorts have lodging), you’re usually still welcome to take advantage of these springs for a day of healing and enjoy a taste of the good life. Though some hot springs are known to be private and only open to overnight guests. Always inquire ahead. Camping is sometimes found too 0n-site.
Idaho’s Favorite Hot Springs
These are just a few of the myriad of hot springs waiting to be discovered by you in Idaho. Make the most of your time in the Gem State and hit one of its top hot springs, either primitive or resort.
Kirkham Hot Springs – The most popular hot spring in Idaho would probably be Kirkham Hot Springs. It has multiple indoor and outdoor pools and also a stunning view. It has clear pools with a river flowing beside them. The temperature of the pools here is almost perfect to bathe in any season.
Boat Box Hot Springs – Boat Box might be a small hot spring but definitely a cozy one. The temperature of the pools here is pretty much perfect. It ranges from 80 degrees to 110 degrees, which is great no matter what the temperature is like outside the water.
Trail Creek Hot Springs – It might take some hiking to get here, but we guarantee that it’ll be worth it. Not only does this place have great natural hot springs, but it also has an exceptional view. The water in these pools is temperature-controlled and also very clean.
Bear Valley Hot Springs – Looking for a pleasant, moderate hike with a huge payoff? Definitely visit Bear Valley Hot Springs. Like so many other Idaho hot springs, this treasure is located near Stanley, Idaho, and the great Salmon River. A visit to Bear Valley includes the possibility of not only a pleasant soak but also good exercise and a potential overnight stay.
There are multiple pools to try at Bear Valley, but the one closest to the river is the largest and deepest. It will hold at least 10 people. The water enters Bear Valley Hot Springs at a screaming hot temperature of 130°F. Then it cools to a more manageable temperature of about 104°F as it descends.
Why Visit Idaho?
Secluded in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Idaho is known for its mountains, wilderness, and exotic outdoor locations. Some of the commonly loved activities of Idahoans are fishing, rafting, skiing, and hot springs; basically making the most of the perfectly suited outdoor weather!
With over 100 soakable hot springs out of more than 300 geothermal springs in the state, Idaho is among the best places in the world to experience soothing mineral water. Visit one of these aforementioned hot springs resorts and primitive pools for a soak you’ll never forget.
Nearby States with Natural Springs
Learn more about what makes Idaho famous on our sister site, La Vida Nomad.