Hot Springs in Idaho



One of the most well-known and visited hot springs in the state is Lava Hot Springs, a massive destination resort with some really nice hot springs as well as a few other attractions that might even be fun during the summer, when a dip in a hot spring would not be as comfortable. They have a very large swimming pool that is perfect to cool off, either if is not winter or if you are just a little too steamed up, and if you want to do something unrelated to water, hot or cold, they have other activities as well. Lava Hot Springs has plenty of amenities to make an extended stay comfortable and well supplied. It is also an excellent place to just work for a few days, and use the nights to relax. Of course, you will need to have work that you can bring from home. The main attraction, the hot springs, is composed of multiple pools of water with heated walkways in-between that let you stay as warm as possible for as long as possible. Unfortunately, Lava is well known and well-traveled, so if you are looking for place with some seclusion, it might not be the right spot.

If you are looking for something more private, there are still plenty of places that are not so on the map. Burgdorf Hot Springs, a little north of the city of McCall, is a step down the popularity ladder from Lava Hot Springs. They are not as well-known, but still offer places to stay and a variety of pool options. They have one large pool with a couple of smaller hotter pools, and if you forgot to come prepared, they offer swimsuit rental. Burgdorf will not be so popular as some of the bigger hot springs, but it is not the remote destination. McCall is a moderately big tourist spot, and will attract a lot of attention that is also going to be directed at Burgdorf. Still, you can get a little more peace and quiet there than if you were at Lava Hot Springs, where the regular pool has a giant water slide. No water slides in Burgdorf, just other visitors taking advantage of the hot springs and staff.

A few of the more secluded hot springs are Sacajawea Hot Springs, and Goldburg Hot Springs. Where the previous two springs have had development around them to make the springs a multiple night destination, Sacajawea is basically just a ring of rocks trapping hotter water from becoming mixed up with a cold river right next to the spring supply. These hot springs depend on user control to actually become dippable, otherwise it is just a jet of hot water in an otherwise cold river (Maybe freezing, though it probably is not a good idea to go to some of the more remote springs when frostbite is on the table). You might reach the hot springs and find that some of the rock wall has collapsed, letting cold water in over the hot. You will have to rebuild the wall if you want the full experience. The opposite is also true. The rock wall might be too well put together, letting the pool rise to more uncomfortable temperatures. Letting in a little bit more of the river will cool things off to a reasonably hot heat. Sacajawea Hot Springs are north of Lowman, Idaho.

What makes Goldburg Hot Springs special, is that the pools are at the end of a fairly grueling two-mile long hike. They are up in the mountains, and it can take some doing to get to them. It is worth it though, because not only do you have some wonderfully hot water to relax in at the end of the journey, but some of the pools give a really spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. Not to mention, the hike means a lot of people are going to be weeded out of trying to reach the springs, and you will probably have the whole place to yourself. Keep in mind, that if you do not have the whole place to yourself, and are the second to arrive, the people who came before you might not have been expecting visitors.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that most of these hot springs are relying on you to take good care of them. Lava Hot Springs and Burgdorf Hot Springs will kick you out if you get too messy, and will maintain their springs, but there are not always people to look out for the other, more remote places. Be conscious of the impact you are making, as well as the impact of others around you. Clean up after yourself, and do not leave a mess for the people that will come after you, or for any wildlife that might come along when no one is around.

Idaho is a paradise of hot springs, and there are way more than just the handful I have listed here. Hundreds of these springs dot the landscape, some private, some bustling with activity. It just depends on where you are, and how willing you are to get the ideal experience.


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