Post Summary: Incredible Idaho hot springs and what to expect at each one.
To us, Idaho feels like the last frontier.
There are so many places to explore, and every time Berty and I visit we’re blown away by the sheer beauty of this state.
One feature we especially love is the vast amount of Idaho hot springs.
There are literally hundreds of backcountry soaks in the state! Berty and I have made it a point to check out at least a few every time we are in the area.
In this post, we’re sharing the ones on our radar to encourage you to experience them yourself, and to seek out the hidden ones, too!
Let’s First Begin With Some Idaho Hot Springs Etiquette…
In all of our hot springs posts, we like to share common courtesies and mutual responsibilities for all soakers who wiah to partake.
Please keep these in mind as your help will allow these places to be enjoyed for years to come!
1. Keep Them Clean.
Natural springs and the connecting waterways cannot support soap/shampoo (even the biodegradable kind).
Don’t treat it as your bathtub! Nothing should be added to the water except yourselves. ?
2. Pack It In And Pack It Out.
We’ve encountered PNW hot springs where beer cans were littered everywhere and the water was filthy.
Keep it clean for yourself and for other visitors by packing out all your trash. You can even bring an extra trash bag to help out others who have left their waste behind.
3. Leave It Better Than You Found It.
Some places have been cut off from access because of public misuse.
Help it continue to be enjoyed for years to come by being respectful of any boundaries, structures or waterways in place.
4. Clothing May Be Optional.
Depending on the location, you may encounter soakers in the nude.
You will more than likely see this if you are heading to a hard to reach hot springs. Learn to be okay with it!
5. Be Respectful Of Other Visitors.
Everyone comes for their own reasons. Be respectful of people who wish for a silent soak.
6. Be Aware Of Hot Springs Capacity.
Some locations can only fit so many people (some as little as one soaker!)
Doing a little research beforehand about size, capacity, and popular times can help you determine the best dates for your visit.
The Best Idaho Hot Springs You Need To Experience (And Exactly Where To Find Them)
1. Kirkham Hot Springs
Of all the Idaho hot springs, this one is arguably the most well-known in the state.
It’s an insanely beautiful, multi-tiered hot springs along the side of the Payette River.
Despite the number of cars we saw in the parking lot, (there were at least 10 other people there) we were able to find our own pool and have our own quiet experience!
The cascading waterfalls, crystal clear pools next to the river, and steaming hillside were some of the many beautiful features you can expect here.
*There is a $5.00 fee to park your car for day use, so bring cash! Alternatively, you can reserve a spot at the campground and have access to the hot springs 24 hours a day!
Read More: What You Can Expect at Kirkham Hot Springs
2. Boat Box Hot Springs
Boat Box Hot Springs is a little tub located on the side of the river in Stanley, Idaho. Water is channeled from a pipe and feeds searing hot water straight into the basin for a perfect soak.
The tub can fit 3 soakers, but any more than that and you are in for a tight squeeze.
This place is perfect for visiting on a cold day because the steam will rise beautifully off the river, and the sound of the flowing river will give it an extra-relaxing feel.
**This location is run and maintained by locals and is extremely small.
Take extra care when visiting Boat Box and be courteous of the capacity it may hold. Because of its size, even the smallest bit of damage or misuse can have a big impact on the space.
Planning your visit during an unpopular time can give you a better chance of enjoying this tiny Idaho hot spring!
3. Hot Spring at Mountain Village Resort
Owned by the Mountain Village Resort in Stanley, Idaho, you can access this Idaho hot springs by staying at the resort or paying for use by the hour.
This one is unique because of the swinging barn doors that face directly towards the incredible Sawtooth Mountains.
You can experience a serene mountain soak with one of the most spectacular views in the state!
Stanley, Idaho can get REALLY cold in the winter, so prepare for sub-zero temperatures if you are planning to visit between November and March.
We came in March and noticed that our hair would freeze as soon as it emerged from the water – you can see it here on our vlog!
Want a Unique Place To Stay Around Here? Try Backcountry Yurt Camping!
4. Trail Creek Hot Springs
Many Idaho hot springs in a backcountry setting require a long hike or backpacking trip to reach (kudos to you soakers who are that dedicated!).
To our delight, we discovered that Trail Creek Hot Springs had the impression of being deep in the forest, AND had the convenience of a short walk. It’s the best of both worlds!
Situated next to Trail Creek, this hot spring was built up by past soakers to fill several pools with steaming hot water.
Someone also created a spigot and plug to channel cold river water into the basin to regulate the water to any temperature you desire. Similar to the Boiling River in Yellowstone, you can go between the hot spring water and the chilly river water for your own version of a polar bear plunge!
The water was refreshingly clean and clear, and we spent several hours here enjoying each other’s company and meeting others as well.
5. Gold Fork Hot Springs
If a spa-style soak is more your preference, Gold Fork is an Idaho hot springs you must visit.
Gold Fork Hot Springs has several pools of varying temperature ranging from boiling hot (commonly referred to as the lobster pot) to some manageable for all ages.
The water is naturally sourced while being channeled into beautifully constructed pools for a clean and comfortable experience.
Here, you have the convenience of changing rooms, towels to rent, snacks to buy, and even tables and lounge chairs. You are able to bring your own food, so pack a picnic and stay for the afternoon!
*This Idaho hot springs take cash only, so leave your cards at home! The current rate as of March 2018 is $10 per adult.
6. Burgdorf Hot Springs
This rustic hot spring experience is definitely one to add to your bucket list!
Burgdorf Hot Springs is only accessible by snowmobile 6 months out of the year – which makes it more appealing, in our opinion. You can rent a snowmobile from Cheap Thrills in McCall, Idaho. Plan for a 30-mile ride to the hot springs!
This place is open for day-use guests as well as one who would like to stay in their rustic-style cabins.
Cabins are $40 per person per night, and they require a $10/ night firewood fee in the winter months (trust us, you’ll want that firewood to keep warm!).
Burgdorf’s cabins are a full-on camp-style stay, which means you bring your own food, sleeping gear, and lighting. Their rustic cabins have no electricity, no running water, and no plumbing!
The best time (in our opinion) to visit is when you can make a weekend out of it. Better yet, make it your winter road trip destination during those colder months of the year for fewer crowds!
Bring your friends, plenty of food and water, and bring sleeping gear to keep you warm for the winter chill (they only provide simple mattresses).
7. The Springs Mountain Resort – Idaho City
The Springs in Idaho City is a luxurious hot springs location just an hour north of Boise, Idaho.
Here, you can choose between a large communal soaking area (where you can order food and drinks poolside!!), a large hot tub, toasty sauna, and several private pools.
The admission is affordable ($20 per adult), but reservations are required to keep the capacity at an enjoyable level for all guests. Call ahead to reserve a date, and prepare for an entire day of rest and relaxation.
Private pools require an additional reservation and can be enjoyed by the hour. We highly recommend this, as the ambiance and scenery here provide an elevated hot springs experience!
More Idaho Hot Springs…
There are more hot springs than we can keep track of in Idaho! From backcountry soaks to beautiful commercial spas, there’s a hot springs in Idaho for everyone.
On our future trips to the Gem State, here’s what we’ll be exploring next…
Goldbug Hot Springs
Rocky Canyon Hot Springs
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Sunbeam Hot Springs
Pine Flats Hot Springs
Loftus Hot Springs
Chattanooga Hot Springs
Prince Albert Hot Springs
Parting Words About Idaho Hot Springs Stewardship and Responsibility
Before we finish, we’re going to share an excerpt from our Pacific Northwest Hot Springs post that we think is very important to address:
“Talking about hot springs on the internet seems to be a controversial topic.
Lots of soakers don’t like locations being shared, naturally for fear of their favorite places being ruined by reckless visitors.
Berty and I believe that blog post or no blog post, these places will be discovered and visited by many people as social media and sharing is a part of today’s culture.
Our blog is dedicated to sharing beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and with that comes a responsibility to educate readers and share expectations of how we can enjoy these places respectfully.
We’re here to be a voice and an example of how to properly treat locations so that people can enjoy them for generations.
If people are going to find out about them eventually, we would rather there be good information about proper practices and etiquette readily available.”
Have you visited any of these Idaho hot springs? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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