The weather outside is frightful, but the Idahoan hot springs are so delightful! Did you know that Idaho has the largest amount of usable hot springs in the United States? It’s true. If you’re looking for a relaxing retreat, for a few hours or a few days, natural hot springs are where it’s at!
The beautiful state of Idaho is full of natural hot springs throughout, with 340 total and 130 that are soakable for you to enjoy. Rather than being heated by active magma like those in Yellowstone, the hot springs in the Gem State are heated by moving tectonic plates. There are two types of hot springs, public & commercial. Public hot springs are on public land, considered rustic or wilderness-style and soak without major improvements in surrounding areas. Commercial natural hot springs are on private land, have on-site facilities and usually require a fee, like at a hotel or spa.
Below we’ve compiled a list of natural public hot springs throughout Idaho, along with proper etiquette so that you and your family can fully enjoy, as well as fellow Idahoans around you!
Hot Springs Etiquette 101:
- Natural hot springs are, well, NATURAL. Meaning that any soap or shampoos can cause harm to the spring. Save the bath for home or your hotel 😉
- It is highly advised to stay on trails or pathways leading up to the hot springs.
- Be respectful of others, some hot springs are very popular and can get crowded. Respect other Idahoans’ space and remember most people are there to chill (or defrost).
- Most importantly, pack out what you pack in. Don’t leave any trash – bottles, wrappers, etc. or materials that do not belong in nature. If other people left their trash before you, be a Good Samaritan and pick up any trash to keep the environment clean! 🙂
- Possibly Idaho’s most well known public hot spring
- Numerous pools with various temperatures are found at the bottom of the wooden staircase
- Warm water falls over the cliffside into a pool
- Can get very busy in the summer months
Boat Box Hot Springs
- This spring flows into what looks like an old mining caldron
- Water running down the pipes in scalding hot water, there is usually a bucket used to transport water from the river
- The Caldron is smaller, about 3-4 people can fit
- View of the Salmon River while you relax in the pool
Rocky Canyon Hot Springs
- Sits right above middle fork and the Payette River
- Requires river crossing in the summer months
French Men’s Bend
- Snuggled up along boulders on the side of the road
- Fall is a great time because of the vibrant colorful trees surrounding the tub
Trail Creek Hot Springs
- Requires a hike down to two pools sitting above the storybook creek
- These pools have been carefully crafted to improve the experience
- A network of pipes that strategically mix hot and cold water
Mountain Village Lodge
- Spring sits about a quarter of a mile from the lodge in an old barn next to the river
- Open the barn doors to take in the view of the Sawtooths
Burgdoff Hot Springs
- Like stepping back in time
- Able to rent old wood cabins (but don’t expect five-star accommodations)
- Some places don’t have electricity, allowing you to really become one with nature
- Pool is large enough to fit a full football team
- During the winter months, it is only accessible by snowmobile