- These geothermal oases, surrounded by natural beauty and warm waters, often attract various animal species seeking both sustenance and sanctuary.
- Mammals are also frequent visitors to the areas surrounding hot springs.
- In addition to terrestrial creatures, some hot springs also have proximity to water bodies, which can make them ideal locations for aquatic wildlife.
Idaho has numerous rugged landscapes and lots of geothermal activity. Thus, it is a treasure trove of natural hot springs that offer a rejuvenating escape for both locals and travelers. Located everywhere from remote wilderness sites to easily accessible rivers, these natural springs invite you to unwind in their soothing waters while surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Here’s a guide to 22 enchanting natural hot springs in Idaho and where to find them:
1. Goldbug Hot Springs (Salmon)
Located in the mountains near Salmon, Goldbug Hot Springs offers a truly enchanting experience within warm, calming waters. It is accessible via a moderately challenging trail. After the hike, people are rewarded with a series of pools that cascade down the hillside. As you soak in the warm waters, you’ll also be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and river. The hot springs’ remote location adds to the serene atmosphere. Thus, this makes it a popular spot for those seeking relaxation in a pristine natural setting.
2. Jerry Johnson Hot Springs (Clearwater National Forest)
Tucked away within the stunning Clearwater National Forest, Jerry Johnson Hot Springs offers a soothing, blissful retreat from the modern, noisy world. They are accessible through an enjoyable hike. A trail goes along a creek, which leads you to a series of naturally formed pools of varying temperatures. Surrounded by lush foliage, these pools create a tranquil ambiance that perfectly complements the soothing geothermally warmed waters. This spot has the gentle sound of flowing water and the scent of pine in the air. Thus, this spring epitomizes the serenity of the Idaho wilderness.
3. Kirkham Hot Springs (Boise National Forest)
Situated in the Boise National Forest, Kirkham Hot Springs is a haven of relaxation. It is perched beside the Payette River. Multiple terraced pools with a range of temperatures, it ensures a comfortable soak for every visitor. The pools are surrounded by the forest’s beauty, creating a sense of intimacy and seclusion. You can unwind in the geothermal waters while listening to the rhythmic sounds of the river and smelling the scent of pine needles. This sensory experience rejuvenates both the body and soul.
4. Boat Box Hot Springs (Salmon-Challis National Forest)
The Boat Box Hot Springs is only accessible by boat because of its secluded location. Therefore, it adding an element of adventure to your journey. It lies beside the Salmon River. These natural pools are the perfect place to unwind while surrounded by the soothing sounds of the rushing water. The location also makes them an excellent stop for those exploring the scenic Salmon River by boat. Therefore, they are a relaxing oasis in the midst of nature’s beauty.
5. Burgdorf Hot Springs (Payette National Forest)
In the rugged landscapes of Payette National Forest lie the Burgdorf Hot Springs, a historic gem. The springs have been a destination for relaxation since the late 1800s. Therefore, they have been offering visitors a chance to unwind in the midst of alpine beauty for ages. You can choose from a variety of soaking options, including both indoor and outdoor pools. As you enjoy the warm waters, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees. This creates an atmosphere of rustic charm.
6. Pine Flats Hot Springs (Sawtooth National Recreation Area)
Lying along the Salmon River, Pine Flats Hot Springs are a calm spot amidst the stunning landscapes of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The hot springs can be reached via a scenic trail, which adds to the sense of calmness you feel once you reach the springs. As you soak in the pools, you’ll be able to gaze at the pristine river and forested surroundings. You can also immerse yourself in the natural beauty that defines this remote wilderness retreat.
7. Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs (Snake River)
Accessible only by boat, Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs is a remote oasis nestled along the Snake River. This secluded spot gives visitors an opportunity to soak in the geothermal pools. At the same time, they can also enjoy the tranquility of the river and the surrounding canyon walls. It is a long journey to reach these springs. However, that adds an element of adventure, making your soak all the more rewarding when you finally take in the untouched beauty of this hidden gem.
8. Shea Hot Springs (Boise National Forest)
Along the banks of the Payette River in Boise National Forest lies Shea Hot Springs. It is a scenic spot to unwind and rejuvenate. The hot spring water flows into a series of terraced pools. Each offers a unique soaking experience. The natural setting is only complete with the soothing sounds of the river and the beauty of the forest. It creates an idyllic ambiance that invites you to relax and let go of everyday worries.
9. Lava Hot Springs (Portneuf River)
Situated in a charming resort town that shares its name, Lava Hot Springs has a diverse range of soaking options. From indoor to outdoor pools, each with varying temperatures, these springs cater to all kinds of visitors who seek both relaxation and recreation. In addition to the geothermal waters, the town itself has a delightful atmosphere with shops, dining, and entertainment. This makes it a well-rounded destination for those seeking a getaway filled with comfort and warmth.
10. Bonneville Hot Springs (Snake River)
Accessible only by boat, Bonneville Hot Springs is an opportunity for a truly unique geothermal experience. As you cruise along the Snake River to reach these springs, you can see numerous pools perched above the water. The isolation and the adventure required to reach them make for a more than memorable and rewarding soak.
11. Sacajawea Hot Springs (Salmon)
Named after the famous guide Sacajawea, these hot springs provide a picturesque soak beside the Salmon River. You’ll be surrounded by the river’s gentle flow and the tranquil beauty of the surrounding valley. Thus, it makes them an excellent stop for those exploring the Salmon River region, a peaceful and rejuvenating pause in your journey.
12. Weir Hot Springs (Clearwater National Forest)
For those willing to embark on a rewarding hike, Weir Hot Springs in Clearwater National Forest is a hidden oasis. They are accessible via a scenic trail. They are located within a forested setting where they create an atmosphere of peaceful seclusion. As you soak in the warm waters, you’ll hear the sounds of the creek and witness the natural beauty that characterizes Idaho’s wilderness.
13. Sunbeam Hot Springs (Salmon-Challis National Forest)
Situated beside the Salmon River in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Sunbeam Hot Springs are a historic spot. These pools have been enjoyed for over a century, and still their geothermal waters continue to provide a soothing experience for visitors. As you soak in the warm waters, you’ll be able to appreciate their rich heritage while taking in the scenic beauty of the Salmon River.
14. Sandy Beach Hot Springs (Boise National Forest)
As the name suggests, Sandy Beach Hot Springs provides a serene and picturesque spot for relaxation along the middle fork of the Payette River. These natural pools along a riverside setting offer visitors a chance to soak in warm waters while surrounded by the beauty of nature. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventurous day by the river, these hot springs have something to offer.
15. Avery Hot Springs (St. Joe National Forest)
Hidden along the St. Joe River, Avery Hot Springs are a unique and secluded spot to unwind. They are accessible along the river via a trail. The hike to these springs adds an element of adventure to your soak. As you relax in the geothermal waters, they create a tranquil ambiance that perfectly complements the remote beauty of the surrounding forest.
16. Elk River Hot Springs (Clearwater National Forest)
In Clearwater National Forest lie the Elk River Hot Springs. The pools are accessible by a picturesque hike, adding to your sense of anticipation as you make your way to these falls and springs.
17. Trail Creek Hot Springs (Boise National Forest)
Hidden within the Boise National Forest, Trail Creek Hot Springs are serene and peaceful to unwind in. The springs are nestled beside Trail Creek and give a soothing soak to anyone who steps in them. Meanwhile, you are surrounded by the sounds of flowing water and the beauty of the forest. Whether you’re seeking a solo retreat or a memorable experience with friends, these hot springs are the epitome of relaxation.
18. Mesa Falls Hot Springs (Caribou-Targhee National Forest)
Located within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Mesa Falls Hot Springs has views of the stunning Mesa Falls. As you soak in the warm waters, you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of the falls while surrounded by the serene ambiance of the forest. Whether you’re doing a day trip or a longer exploration, these springs offer a refreshing pause in your outdoor adventure.
19. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs (Salmon-Challis National Forest)
Named after a local character, Wild Willy’s Hot Springs are a scenic and rustic spot to relax in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. These pools are located near the Salmon River. They are a tranquil retreat where you can soak in the warm waters. You can also enjoy the soothing sounds of the river and the untouched beauty of the surrounding landscape.
20. Baker Creek Hot Springs (Sawtooth National Recreation Area)
Accessible via a scenic hike, Baker Creek Hot Springs in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area are a secluded retreat amidst nature. You’ll be treated to the sight of the Salmon River and the surrounding forest, which creates an immersive experience showcasing the rugged charm of Idaho’s wilderness.
21. Warfield Hot Springs (Snake River)
Accessible only by boat, Warfield Hot Springs offers an opportunity to experience geothermal relaxation while surrounded by the majestic beauty of Hells Canyon along the Snake River. As you journey to reach the springs, you’ll be treated to breathtaking canyon views. The pools themselves provide a serene and scenic oasis, allowing you to bask in the warm waters while taking in the awe-inspiring surroundings.
22. Laird Hot Springs (Clearwater National Forest)
Situated within Clearwater National Forest, Laird Hot Springs offers an off-the-beaten-path geothermal escape along the Lochsa River. The pools can be reached by a scenic hike, adding an element of adventure to your soak. As you relax in the warm waters, you’ll be able to appreciate the unspoiled beauty of the forest and the gentle flow of the river, creating a sense of peaceful immersion in nature.
Wildlife Near Natural Springs in Idaho
The hot springs of Idaho create a unique and inviting habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. These geothermal oases, surrounded by natural beauty and warm waters, often attract various animal species seeking both sustenance and sanctuary. As you soak in the rejuvenating warmth of the springs, you may have the opportunity to witness wildlife flourishing in their natural environment.
One of the most common sights near hot springs is the presence of various bird species. Birds such as waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors are drawn to the water sources near the springs, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching. The serene surroundings of the springs create a calming atmosphere for both visitors and the feathered inhabitants, allowing for peaceful coexistence between human and avian visitors.
Mammals are also frequent visitors to the areas surrounding hot springs. You might spot curious deer grazing on the nearby vegetation, or even catch a glimpse of smaller mammals like raccoons and squirrels. The warm waters of the springs can serve as a natural attractant for animals seeking hydration or a cozy spot to rest. Keep an eye out for signs of activity along the water’s edge, as these habitats provide a vital resource for the local wildlife.
In addition to terrestrial creatures, some hot springs also have proximity to water bodies, which can make them ideal locations for aquatic wildlife. Frogs, turtles, and even aquatic insects might call these areas home. The combination of the geothermal warmth and the availability of water can create a haven for amphibians and other aquatic species, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the region.
Summary of 22 Natural Hot Springs in Idaho and Where to Find Them
|Number||Name of Hot Springs||Location||Description and Location|
|1||Goldbug Hot Springs||Salmon||Cascading pools and scenic views.|
|2||Jerry Johnson Hot Springs||Clearwater National Forest||Along a creek in a lush forest setting.|
|3||Kirkham Hot Springs||Boise National Forest||By the Payette River in a forested area.|
|4||Boat Box Hot Springs||Salmon-Challis National Forest||Unique, boat-accessible by the Salmon River.|
|5||Burgdorf Hot Springs||Payette National Forest||Historic springs amid towering trees.|
|6||Pine Flats Hot Springs||Sawtooth National Recreation Area||Along the Salmon River.|
|7||Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs||Snake River||Along the Snake River.|
|8||Shea Hot Springs||Boise National Forest||Terraced pools along the Payette River.|
|9||Lava Hot Springs||Lava Hot Springs||Diverse range of indoor and outdoor pools.|
|10||Bonneville Hot Springs||Snake River||Boat-accessible.|
|11||Sacajawea Hot Springs||Salmon||Beside the Salmon River.|
|12||Weir Hot Springs||Clearwater National Forest||Accessible via a scenic trail in the forest.|
|13||Sunbeam Hot Springs||Salmon-Challis National Forest||Along the Salmon River with scenic beauty.|
|14||Sandy Beach Hot Springs||Boise National Forest||Along the Payette River.|
|15||Avery Hot Springs||St. Joe National Forest||Along the St. Joe River.|
|16||Elk River Hot Springs||Clearwater National Forest||Scenic Elk River hike.|
|17||Trail Creek Hot Springs||Boise National Forest||Peaceful soak along Trail Creek.|
|18||Mesa Falls Hot Springs||Caribou-Targhee National Forest||Views of Mesa Falls.|
|19||Wild Willy’s Hot Springs||Salmon-Challis National Forest||Near the Salmon River.|
|20||Baker Creek Hot Springs||Sawtooth National Recreation Area||Scenic hike with river and forest views.|
|21||Warfield Hot Springs||Snake River||Breathtaking canyon views in Hells Canyon.|
|22||Laird Hot Springs||Clearwater National Forest||Escape along the Lochsa River with a scenic hike.|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Debraansky/ via Getty Images
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