Lava Hot Springs – A World Famous Hot Water Playground

Lava Hot Springs – just the name of the town it’s in speaks of warmth, fun, and rejuvenation. This family-friendly, year-round destination offers two separate zones- one for outdoor hot springs soaking, and another for play, swimming, sliding, and splashing. It’s the best kind of fun for kids of all ages, and it is one of many on our list of favorite hot springs in Idaho worth your soaking time!

The Lava Hot Springs mineral pools.

What To Expect

Lava Hot Springs​ is a world-famous, trendy day-use hot springs playground with five outdoor gravel- or rock-bottomed hot spring pools. The 104° to 112°F mineral-packed, totally natural, odor-free spring water bubbles up from an ancient volcano at 2.5 million gallons per day. This flows through the hot springs and is diverted into the Portneuf River, keeping the springs ever topped up with new minerals, and, most importantly, clean!

Address430 Main Street, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 83246 (World Famous Hot Springs Pools)

195 N Center Street, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho (Olympic Swimming Complex)
LocationLava Hot Springs, Idaho
OpenHot Pools 9 am – 11 pm
Olympic Pool 11 am – 8 pm (weekends 10 am – 8 pm)
Clothing Required
Road AccessEasy. All vehicles
Water Temperature104 – 112°F
AdmissionFrom $8 – $12

For even greater comfort, the pathways are heated by the hot springs water, so even in snow and ice, you’ll be able to move around in comfort and keep at least your feet warm! In summer, if the heat’s too much, there’s an outside cold shower tap near the coolest pool. 

NOTE: The best times to head to Lava Hot Springs are weekdays and early mornings so as to avoid crowds!

On site, you’ll find dressing rooms, showers, restrooms, coin-operated lockers, and the free-to-enter, beautiful, flower-packed Sunken Gardens, ideal for further relaxation. Scroll to the bottom of the resort’s hot pool page to see what minerals you’ll be enjoying while you soak. There are a lot of them!

On a separate site just up the road, the Olympic Swimming Complex features a big heated outdoor Olympic pool 50 meters long and eight lanes wide, complete with water slides and summer-use diving boards (5, 7, and 10 meters from the water), and a year-round heated indoor pool. Divers can head for the boards at the deep end while younger swimmers can play safely in the shallows with pool toys and slides. The pool is surrounded by grassy areas that are perfect for picnicking and sunbathing in.

The Complex also boasts Water Basketball hoops, an AquaClimb Wall, the popular Portneuf Kiddie Cove– packed full of water toys to stimulate and excite young minds, a natural mineral water hot pool next to the kiddie pool, as well as a number of well-maintained parks and pavilions with grills and volleyball courts for your next family reunion or company picnic. Party rooms are also available for rent.

The Speed Water Slides, if you dare to ride, drop you 60 feet – you’ll feel like Superman coming down, reaching speeds up to 38 miles per hour – while their two curly tube slides will send you spinning and laughing right out into the shallow run-out at the bottom! 

Lava Hot Springs slides.

Hungry? On-site, you’ll find privately run concession stands and food trucks, and at the company’s Gift Shop, you can pick up a coffee, ice cream, snacks, and other drinks, and browse for souvenirs. You can also rent towels and bathing suits here.  NOTE – food and drinks can be brought into the Swimming Complex but not the Hot Springs facility. There, you can bring an empty water bottle and use the water fill station – staying hydrated is important when soaking in hot water! There’s also the Gift Shop selling snacks, but not to be eaten in or near the pools!

More On Those Pools

The outdoor Olympic Pool is 87⁰ – 90⁰F. The indoor pool is about 85⁰. The kiddie pool is about 92⁰- 94⁰F, and the natural mineral water hot tub is about 105⁰F.

The outdoor pool starts at 2 inches deep at the stairs and gradually gets deeper up to 17 feet of water by the diving boards and platforms. The 25-yard indoor pool is 3.5 to 12 feet, and the kiddie pool at its deepest is 18 inches.

Review by Lady Gigglemug

The Hot Pool temperatures range from around 102˚F to 112˚F. The large 102-105˚F degree pool is the coolest and boasts a smooth rock bottom and shaded seating area, as do the other smaller pools of an average 105˚F. The gravel-bottomed hotter pools have less shade and plenty of seating, the biggest of which is tucked away from the others up against the hillside. Please see the calendar for opening times of both the Hot Pools and the Swimming Pools.

Hot Pools (Summer Rates)

Adults (weekdays – weekends)$8 – $12*
Child / Senior (weekdays – weekends)$7.50 – $10*
Combination Weekday (swim and hot pools) (weekdays – weekends)$18 – $22*
3-month Individual Pass$185*
3-month Family Pass$325*
Child under 3 (includes swim diaper)$3*
*Prices may be subject to change and have conditions attached, such as valid days for use. Check with the property before you go.

They also offer punch cards (11 visits for the price of 10) for $75, annual passes, and offer military and group rates. Buy here.

Olympic Pool (Summer Rates)

Adult (weekdays – weekends)$12 – $15*
Child (weekdays – weekends)$10 – $12*
Under 3s (includes swim diaper)$3 (combo swim and hot pools $6)
Combination (swim and hot pools)$18 – $22
*Prices may be subject to change and have conditions attached, such as good days for use. Check with the property before you go.

Buy your pass here.

Restrooms, showers, and dressing rooms are provided with your paid entry.  Lockers are coin-operated, costing 50¢ – $1.00.

Bathing suits and towels can be rented at the Gift Shop for $3.00 each plus a $5.00 refundable deposit.

Review by travellocally

Getting to soak in a hot spring in Idaho was totally a bucket list moment for me! Lava hot springs offers five hot pools with crystal clear, pure, healing mineral waters. Their first pool starts at 102 degrees, and the hottest one is 112 degrees! Most hot tubs are around 100-104 degrees, so 112 is 🔥 In case you’re wondering, yes, I did get in all five pools. When you start in the pool with the lowest temperature, your body gets used to that temperature, so as you get into the hotter pools, you really don’t notice much of a difference! I actually stayed in the 112 degree pool the longest! • • • • #southeastidaho #visitidaho #experiencesoutheastidaho #hotsprings #hotspring #lavahotspings #naturalhotsprings @visitidaho

♬ taylorraemusic Breezeblocks cover – Taylor Rae

Interesting History

From the Shoshone-Bannock people of ancient times to the European and other descendants of today, people have always gone to hot springs to bathe, rest and worship, believing in the healing properties of the mineral water.

Lava Hot Springs in the early 20th century.

In the late 1800s, the Lava Hot Springs and the land they were on were initially shared through a treaty agreement between the Indians and the US Government. Then the government bought up the land, approximately 178 acres, including the springs. 

In 1902, the lands were granted to the State of Idaho for public use. The Lava Hot Springs Foundation was established, an agency within the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation, to operate, manage, maintain, and develop the lands and property. 

In 1962 and 1963, flooding damaged the swimming pools and hot baths and they had to be rebuilt.

How To Get There

From Salt Lake City, Utah, take the I-15 N for 2 hours 12 minutes (149 miles). Take Exit 47 onto the US-30 E. This will lead you to the hot springs on your right via E. Main Street and Maughan Road (the turn to the Olympic pool is before this, on N Center Street).

From Boise, Idaho, you’ll need to drive 4 hours 10 minutes (271 miles) on the I-84 E via Bliss, the I-86 via Pocatello, and onto the I-15 S. Take Exit 47 onto the US-30 E. This will lead you to the hot springs on your right via E. Main Street and Maughan Road (the turn to the Olympic pool is before this, on N Center Street).

Can I Stay There?

No. There is no accommodation on the premises, but you’ll find plenty of rooms, vacation homes, cabins, cottages, and camping options in and around the town of Lava Hot Springs.

We love Lava Campground. with its glamping tents, remodeled retro campers, studio apartment, and spacious RV and tent sites. Stay there and you’ll be near the local attractions, restaurants, and stores, but far enough away to be able to enjoy some rural quiet. Check the details, availability, and rates here

Mary’s Place Campground is also close to everything you want to see and explore in Lava Hot Springs, and yet also offers quiet space to relax away from the tourism. Its RV sites are about 30 feet above the Portneuf River, and the riverside wooded tent area is on the river bank. Check out the rates here

For hotels, you can’t do better than Riverside Hot Springs Inn, a historical 18-room hotel next to the Portneuf River. It boasts a restaurant and lounge, its own indoor hot springs soaking rooms and outdoor hot tub, and massage therapy.

The Lava Hot Springs Inn & Spa is great for the romantics among you, offering numerous accommodation options to suit every taste, from a hotel and bed & breakfast to vacation rentals and cottages. Included in your stay are the use of the outdoor hot springs pools and a full buffet breakfast. We particularly love the “spa” aspect of this Inn, with the stunning outdoor “Spa Aquatic Bodywork Water Therapy Pool” offering an outstanding view over the river as you get massaged.

What Else Is There To Do In The Area?

Lava Hot Springs (the town) is great for shopping and dining, offering a relaxing atmosphere as you wander and soak up the hot springs water, sun, and mountain air. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of chances to fish, golf, go biking, snowmobiling, and skiing. 

If you’re wild at heart, you’ll love the inner tube run on the Portneuf River, a fast-flowing body of water partly fed by the local hot springs. Rent a tube at a stand in town or bring your own kayak or raft. Don’t forget life jackets and water shoes!

An inner tube run on the Portneuf River

Definitely check out the Lava zipline, zipping you through a pretty canyon.

Learn about the history of Lava Hot Springs and the surrounding area at the South Bannock County Historical Center Museum.

Review by Amanda B

Alternatively, get out of town and go for a scenic ride on horses or mules through the beautiful mountains of Southeast Idaho. You can also enjoy seasonal snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the area in winter.

The Lava Hot Springs Fire & Ice Winterfest is also worth visiting, held each year during the first weekend of February.

 Are there for the hot springs and hungry for more minerals? Why not head off to some of the region’s many other such mineral pools? Downata Hot Springs resort is not so far away, offering similar facilities in separated hot springs pools and a swim-and-slide zone, as does Crystal Hot Springs just down the road in Utah. If you want a more primitive soak in the Idaho mountains, check out Rocky Canyon Hot Springs, Trail Creek Hot Springs, and the popular Kirkham Hot Springs. We’re constantly updating, so come back to our site again and type “Idaho” into the search bar for more local soaking.

The Takeaway

Lava Hot Springs is a “something-for-everyone” kind of place, with the hot springs pools and swimming areas separated by a few miles within a cute and interesting town. Choose your timing carefully- the resort is naturally busier on weekends, holidays, and during the summer. Go early to catch some RnR time hot mineral soaking- you’re guaranteed to come out feeling touched by that ancient healing magic!

The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting A Hot Springs

Every hot springs has its own quirks. Visitors to Lava Hot Springs, for example, should adhere to the site’s rules on food and drink and will need to sign a diving waiver before using the diving platforms. For more general and very important “hot springs etiquette,” we highly recommend you take a moment to check out our carefully compiled easy-to-read list of “dos and don’ts” here. And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Lava Hot Springs?

The World Famous Hot Springs is at 430 E. Main Street in the town of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Their associated Olympic Swimming Complex and Indoor Aquatic Center are at 195 N. Center Street in the same town.

How much does it cost to go swimming at Lava Hot Springs?

This depends on how old you are and the day/month you’re going. Summer hot pool access costs $8-12 for adults and $7.50 – 10 for children and seniors. Check on the site for updates. 

How many hot pools are in Lava Hot Springs?

There are five hot pools on the site, ranging from 104 – 112°F.

How deep is Lava Hot Springs?

The pools come to about waist height on an average adult – perfect for full soaking when seated.

Is Lava Hot Springs pet friendly?  

No. Pets are not allowed onto the hot springs and swimming sites unless they are official service dogs.

Is Lava Hot Springs handicap accessible?

Yes. All the pools and restrooms at both the Hot Springs and Swimming Pools sites are handicap accessible. They even have wheelchairs to borrow to help you get into the pools!


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!

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