Yes, we will be exploring our team’s pick of the 7 best hot springs in the state of Idaho, based on quality, entertainment value, cleanliness and character.
We all know Idaho is renowned for its potatoes and miles of farmland stretching to the horizon, as well as for its dramatic snow-capped mountain peaks. But did you know the state also boasts some of the best, and best-loved, hot springs in the United States too? Idaho has over 120 soak-in-able hot springs waiting to ease away your aches and stress, and we can credit that to geology and the meteorite which hit nearby some 17 million years ago, upending part of the earth’s surface and leading to the creation of Idaho’s batholith and lots of heated minerals coming up to form warm water pools ready for your enjoyment.
We already covered some of the state’s natural gems (definitely click on over to that article when you’re done here!), so in this Traxplorio piece, we’re going to cater to those who seek a little more comfort and structure to their soak.
A lot of the hot springs sources around Idaho have been snapped up by private owners over the two centuries the land has been inhabited by “white man,” and the natives used them for millennia before that for healing and ritual purposes. Families have cared for and developed these springs over generations, creating safe, clean, relaxing (or fun-for-the-family) environments that you must rightly pay to use.
Commercialization comes with rules, which must be adhered to, but this in itself promises a controlled and rejuvenating experience that you can rely on year after year. Let’s explore the Traxplorio team’s best 7 commercial hot springs resorts in Idaho.
1. Lava Hot Springs
Lava Hot Springs is a big, fun, family-friendly, year-round destination spread over two separate zones in a town of the same name – one quieter site for shaded outdoor hot springs soaking, and another boasting a swimming pool, slides and a kiddies’ splash zone.
At the hot springs site, the natural 104° to 112°F mineral-packed, odor-free spring water circulates through the pools and is diverted into the Portneuf River, keeping the springs ever fresh and, most importantly, clean!
Near the pools are changing rooms, showers, restrooms, coin-operated lockers, and beautiful landscaping that just inspires your body to relax.
On a separate site just up the road, the Olympic Swimming Complex features a 50-meter heated outdoor Olympic pool complete with water slides and summer-use diving boards. There is also a year-round heated indoor pool and the popular Portneuf Kiddie Cove. The exterior pool is surrounded by grassy areas that are perfect for picnicking and sunbathing. Alternatively, get your competitive edge on at the complex’s Water Basketball hoops, AquaClimb Wall and volleyball courts.
While there is no accommodation on the premises, you’ll be sure to find somewhere to stay in town, where there are plenty of rooms, vacation homes, cabins, cottages, and camping options.
2. Downata Hot Springs
Located in Downey, Idaho, Downata Hot Springs is a paradise for both adults and children.
The ideal place for a family vacation, Downata Hot Springs is open year-round and offers handicap-accessible 102 – 106°F hot springs pools with jets (and color-changing lights for evening soakers!), and a separate large, chlorinated outdoor swimming pool with four fun water slides and a water playground. Both are surrounded by green, shady areas and there is a lifeguard on duty for your safety. The swimming pools average 85 – 99°F in summer and 95 – 101°F in winter.
Nearby is a clean bathroom, pay-per-minute shower facilities, and simple picnic tables.
Dine here (try the rib-eye!), and if you choose to stay, bring your tent, or choose from their huge variety of other accommodation options – go to the resort’s site yourself to check it out! We particularly like the large yurts and cute modern cabins.
3. Silver Creek Plunge
Nestled in the heart of Boise National Forest, surrounded by the magnificent aroma of pine trees and the sound of Silver Creek bubbling by, Silver Creek Plunge resort prides itself on being a big and fun family-friendly facility, boasting numerous ways to keep everyone entertained between their relaxing soaks!
Silver Creek Plunge Resort has been serving guests since 1957, who love to use it not only as a place to revive in mineral-packed waters, but as a base to explore the Boise town and forest. There is only one hot spring pool at Silver Plunge, but it is big enough to accommodate up to 20 people and is within a short walk of all lodgings.
The pool holds 180,000 gallons of geothermal water, which flows in at around 102°F and out at 97°F, changing over every 6 hours, meaning it is a very clean soak you’ll be getting!
You can put up a tent here, bring your RV along, or book a “deluxe family unit” or “family cabin.”
4. Durfee Hot Springs
Run by four generations of the Durfee family, Durfee Hot Springs is a clean, simple, hidden gem of the state, much-loved by local adventurist rock climbers and hikers for its convenient proximity to destinations such as City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park – they love to come here for a rejuvenating 104°F soak at the end of a tough day exploring!
Durfee offers well-maintained outdoor showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms, but no accommodation – so it’s a hike, soak-and-go kinda place. Head to the nearby towns of Almo and Twin Falls for hotels, etc.
5. Challis Hot Springs
Challis Hot Springs (also known as Beardsley Hot Springs) is the perfect destination for families, couples, and friends looking for somewhere civilized and quiet to really get back to nature.
The site offers two open-air, man-made, fenced-in and well maintained clearwater pools which are pebble-bottomed and geothermally heated. The larger pool is 100 x 30 feet in size, and three to four feet deep. It is kept (with a touch of help and cool water), at a temperature of 96°F in summer and 98-100°F in winter. The smaller hot mineral water pool is 25 x 18 feet, four feet deep, and is kept at around 105°F. Both are great for floating away your aches after a day exploring the local nature on foot, by bike or on your ATV.
Come for the day or stay the night on the property’s grassy and shady RV and tent campground which rests on the bank of the Salmon River – also a great place for kayaking and fishing.
6. Burgdorf Hot Springs
Burgdorf Hot Springs is a rustic resort tucked into the stunning mountains of the Payette National Forest, for 6 months of the year only accessible by snowmobile.
Burgdorf offers hot-springers three log sided pools with gravel bottoms, the smaller of which are a steaming 118°F, while the larger pool averages 100-115°F, depending on the season.
There are poolside dressing rooms and lockers (you’ll need to bring your own lock).
You must make a reservation to schedule your 2-hour day soak.
If you’re staying overnight in one of their 15 charming, rustic, historic cabins, all of which are within walking distance of the hot springs, you can soak 24/7.
NOTE- You will need to bring your own food and supplies. Drinking water is available on site, but you’ll need your own cups/bottles.
7. The Springs
The Springs resort, nestled in the Boise National Forest, offers a true mountain experience to immerse yourself in.
Soak away your cares in 10,000-year-old, mineral-packed water bubbling through into the large 40 x 80-foot geothermal pool, or, for more heat, try the smaller 104°F hot tub before heading over to the steam room. There are also four private pools which can be rented by the hour.
One of the bonuses for many at this resort are the Wednesday – Thursday – Friday “Adults Only” soaking!
You must book before heading out, and soak times (and spaces) are limited.
Other highlights are the geothermically heated changing rooms, the massages in the heated yurt (!), the craft beer and wine available poolside (sigh!), the freshly made cafe wraps, and the summertime live music.
Idaho has a lot to offer eager hot-springers looking for established and well-maintained infrastructure. Some of those are stand-alone soaking pools, others come with camping and lodging options too. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the details of the sites both on Traxplorio (where we compile reviews, photos reports and personal experience) and on the official sites themselves.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!