What makes Idaho’s hot springs so special? Their seclusion, the natural and abundant warmth they provide to us, and their grounding way of connecting us back to the earth. Places like Goldbug, Boat Box, Sunbeam, Kirkham and Pine Flats provide otherworldly experiences where you can immerse yourself into nature and disappear from the world for a bit. Muscles relax, worries melt away, and the water flows gently all around you.
Why is it important to visit these magical places responsibly? Because humans have trashed these natural gems and turned them into garbage bins. We can’t allow this to happen and have to keep people accountable. The less trash there is laying around, the less trash people will leave. Always pack out, even if you haven’t packed in. Check out Boise River Volunteers to donate your time to cleaning up around the area.
How to visit Idaho Hot Springs?
- Bring water safe shoes just in case there is glass or sharp rocks underwater.
- Bring a swim suit to the popular springs when you know there will likely be company.
- If there are people in the hot spring when you arrive, give them 30 minutes to enjoy to themselves, then politely take your turn
- Always bring water, and bring it next to the hot spring so you can drink it while soaking.
- If you are in a hot spring and there is a line of people, please only spend 30 more minutes in the springs and make your exit.
- Check the springs before you leave to make sure you grabbed ALL of your belongings.
- Bring a bag to pick up trash or grab a few pieces on your way out.
The best hot springs in Idaho are those that are clean and peaceful. It’s so important to respect the locals and tourists alike. We can all enjoy nature! The best part of most of these springs are how close they are together. I recommend visiting the following hot springs in pairs:
Kirkham and Pine Flats
North of Boise there are absolutely amazing hot springs. All naturally formed into rock side with the assistance of arranged rocks to create a tub. Even Airbnbs in Garden Valley and nearby cities have private hot springs in their yards! Kirkham Hot Springs and Pine Flats are only about a 20 minute drive apart, about 30 minutes from Garden Valley. We made the most of our trip by first enjoying a waterfall hot spring at Kirkham, then running back to the car, driving to Pine Flats, and doing the less than a mile walk to the cliff side spring. Kirkham was busy and we only had one pool as an option, but Pine Flats we had completely to ourselves.
Kirkham was extremely messy, and trash was everywhere. Don’t be this person, and grab some on your way out – you might just pass someone who’s coming in and inspire them to do the same.
Boat Box Hot Springs and Sunbeam Hot Springs
Stanley, Idaho has an incredible selection of hot springs, some inside cabins, others made of old “boat boxes.” Boat Box Hot Spring and Sunbeam Hot Springs are located only about 30 minutes apart. Boat Box has one tub, and Sunbeam has two tubs, plus some shallow riverside hot springs. These springs usually require patience, because they are very popular. I always recommend visiting in off seasons on Monday-Wednesday to best avoid crowds. I have found that visiting at sunrise I’ve usually had it to myself for at least an hour! The plus side is if one is full, you might have luck at the next. There are more hot springs in between these two and in Stanley as well to choose from as backup.
Miracle Hot Springs and Banbury Hot Springs
These two hot springs are not natural but they are a fun experience. Miracle Hot Springs is updated and has a nice public pool as well as private rooms. Banbury’s public pool isn’t great, but their private pools are riverside and are absolutely beautiful! These hot springs are located on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway near Hagerman and Twin Falls. Book your soak ahead of time.
Skillern Hot Springs and Worswick Hot Springs
North of Fairfield in the Soldier Mountains you can get lost finding hot springs! Skillern is a 6 mile round trip hike but well worth the trip. It’s the hardest to access on this list but may be my favorite. There is one rock contained spring in the cliff side. An easier access spring nearby is Worswick. This one has been loved a lot recently and also has had lots of trash. Again, try to pick up after others because the cleaner it looks the less likely people will think it’s ok to drop trash.
Maple Grove Hot Springs and Lava Hot Springs
Maple Grove Hot Springs and Lava hot springs are both located south of Pocatello. Neither are natural, but Maple Grove does have one natural pool, plus a few that look almost natural. Both are really nice, clean, and picturesque facilities. Book your soak ahead of time.
Bonus Spring: Goldbug
Goldbug is a 2 mile hike up a pretty steep and sometimes muddy hill. Come prepared with crampons in the icy winter season. This spring has been getting a lot of traffic as well so expect to not get your own spring right away. Be patient, be kind, and be respectful!
These are the best hot springs in Idaho in my opinion! I haven’t visited them all so let me know if I left out your favorites! As always leave no trace and take only pictures, LOTS of pictures.
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