Post Summary: Visiting Bonneville Hot Springs In Idaho
Nestled alongside Warm Springs Creek, is Bonneville Hot Springs.
It’s one of the lesser-known Idaho hot springs, probably because it’s not as plainly visible as other famous ones like Sunbeam, Boat Box, and Kirkham Hot Springs.
However, lesser-known doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful! Quite the opposite actually.
Bonneville Hot Springs provides charm, privacy, and solitude more than other hot springs in the area.
In this post, we’re sharing how to reach Bonneville Hot Springs, where to stay nearby, and what to expect when you visit.
Experience Bonneville Hot Spring In Idaho
Tell Me More About Bonneville Hot Springs…
Bonneville Hot Springs is located along Warm Springs Creek in Central Idaho, close to other springs like Pine Flats Hot Springs and Kirkham Hot Springs.
Bonneville Hot Springs is a collection of piping hot pools that cascade from the source into a series of several rock-walled pools that trail to the river’s edge.
There is also a private soak shack that was built with a cast iron tub inside, if you are looking for a bit more privacy.
Bonneville Hot Springs requires a very, very easy quarter-mile trail to the pools.
To make it even more convenient, you can camp at Bonneville Campground which connects to the trailhead. Campers have 24-hour access to the pools, while day guests are charged a $5 day-use fee to park in the parking lot.
Campground full? Discover other nearby places to camp (some even for free!) using The Dyrt. It’s an app that searches the best places to camp in the US. Try to pro version free for 30 days by clicking here!
Soak With Confidence
Get our Idaho hot springs e-book
to plan your next ahhh-mazing adventure!
What To Pack For An Idaho Hot Springs Trip
Slip-On/Off Shoes: Bonneville Hot Springs requires a short trail Pack and wear shoes you can easily slip on and off for minimal fussing and maximum soaking. Grab yourself a pair of Teva Universal sandals to wear in and out of the water, or our reader-favorite Ember Mocs for easy outdoor slippers in the winter!
Towel: Choose a lightweight & quick-dry towel that isn’t bulky or heavy. We prefer ones by Nomadix, but also love these stylish ones by Slowtide!
Water Bottle: Water is essential when soaking in hot springs! The temperature of the pools can potentially bring negative effects, so make sure to hydrate often.
Dry Bag: Bonneville Hot Springs has several pools connected by rock walls. Pack a dry bag to stow away your important items like keys, cell phones, and cameras. You can also bring a big canvas tote, to hold bulky items like towels and coats, but keep it away from the water.
Snacks: Bring easy-to-eat snacks to keep up your energy when soaking. Remember to pack out all your trash, including orange peels and apple cores!
Coming in the winter? Bring microspikes, a big parka, and a trash bag (or a big dry bag!) to stuff everything in to keep it from getting wet on the snowy ground.
Directions to Bonneville Hot Springs
The easiest way to reach Bonneville Hot Springs is from Stanley, Idaho. From there, it’s about a 45-minute drive.
Here are the directions to Bonneville Hot Springs:
- From Stanley, head west for a 45-minute drive on Idaho State Route 21.
- After about 40 miles, turn right onto Forest Road 025UB (Warm Springs Road)
- Drive ~1 mile past the campground, and park at the day-use parking lot.
- A $ 5-day use fee is required! (But you can use an America the Beautiful Pass if you have one!)
There is little cell service near Bonneville Campground, so make sure to download an offline map before you head out.
Want to get more navigation tools for your road trip? Download These 15 Essential Road Trip Planning Apps Before Your Next Adventure
Bonneville Hot Springs Distances:
- Distance from Stanley, Idaho: 40 miles, 45-minute drive.
- Boise, Idaho to Bonneville Hot Springs: 94 miles, 2-hour drive.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Bonneville Hot Springs?
Bonneville Hot Springs is open May-September.
The hot springs are essentially closed along with the closure of the campground. The access road is not maintained in the winter season.
Personally, we think late summer and early fall are the best times to visit Bonneville Hot Springs.
This is when the temperature can drop pretty low in the evenings, making your hot dips even cozier!
Regardless of the season, weather, storms, and snowpack (if coming early spring) can affect road safety, so it’s important to always check road conditions and the forecast before you head out. Click here to stay updated on the most current road conditions.
Planning a cold-weather road trip? Pack These 12 Essentials In Your Winter Car Emergency Kit
Enjoying Bonneville Hot Spring
This Idaho refuge hosts two unique pool areas, each with their own cool features! Below, we’re breaking down the pools so you can decide which one is best for you.
The Creekside Pools
Similar to Sunbeam Hot Springs, the hot water runs off of the cliffside, briefly cooling it before it pools in the creek below.
There have been pools created by damming up the hot water all along the creekside.
The pools closer to the cliffside runoff are EXTREMELY HOT – to the point where the water is unbearable. Keep venturing downstream until you find a pool that’s a suitable temperature for you.
Access depends on the water levels of the creek – during spring (snowmelt season) the cool water sometimes washes the pools away. During times of low water levels, the pools fill up quickly with scalding hot water. Be careful!
The Wooden Pool house (With Tub)
Up on top of the cliff, there is a wooden structure with a cast iron tub inside.
Someone manufactured this hut as a private way to soak, and funneled the water in via a PVC pipe to fill up the tub.
The wooden pool house is a fragile structure, so please use it with care! Make sure to brush up on our guide to hot springs etiquette to best care for these unique spots!
Since there is also one tub, remember that others may want to use it. If it’s busy, be mindful of your time.
Camping at Bonneville Campground
There are plenty of opportunities to camp around Bonneville Hot Springs, and the best location of them all is at the campground on-site!
Bonneville Campground has 22 tent camping sites. It’s $15/night for a single site, and $30/night for a double site. There are no electric hookups here.
The campground is generally full during summer weekends (as expected), but it’s fairly easy to snag a spot mid-week during camping season.
You can reserve a spot at Bonneville Campground online here. There is drinking water via a hand pump on site. There is also garbage service, but it’s best practice to pack out what you can to not overwhelm the system.
There are vaulted toilets in the area, so you don’t have to worry about doing your business in the woods. It’s always a good idea to pack extra toilet paper though – these bathrooms can sometimes be maintained infrequently.
Find the campground coordinates here: 44.150453,-115.310994
What Else Is There To Do Around Bonneville Hot Springs?
Bonneville Hot Springs is the most popular thing to do in the direct area, but there is still so much to do and see in the Sawtooth area as a whole.
Here are some tips on visiting the Banks-Lowman Highway to get the most out of your trip to Central Idaho!
Stay Overnight at Garden Valley, ID – Garden Valley is known for some adorable a-frames tucked away in the woods. Rent one here for super-convenient access to Idaho hot springs.
Rocky Canyon Hot Springs – Rocky Canyon Hot Springs is another hidden Idaho hot springs. Forge the river to access this gem.
Pine Flats Hot Springs – Similar to Bonneville Hot Springs, Pine Flats also has a convenient campground to book so you can stay nearby.
Kirkham Hot Springs – Kirkham Hot Springs is arguably the most popular natural pool in Idaho. Expect crowds, but it’s worth it to see this beauty!
Other Things To Do Central Idaho
Is Bonneville Hot Springs just one of many stops on your Idaho road trip? (Or are you planning to see a lot more Idaho hot springs?)
No matter what your reason is for visiting, here are some other cool things to do around Central Idaho:
- Go Backcountry Yurt Camping
- Spend a Winter Weekend In McCall, Idaho
- 16 Incredible Things To Do In Boise, Idaho
- 10 Weekend Getaways From Boise, Idaho
- Hike & Camp at Goldbug Hot Springs