Kick Back and Relax in Idaho’s Hot Springs


You dash, barefoot, through piles of snow. The icy air sticks to your skin and your breath comes out in white clouds. Just when you think you can’t stand it anymore, you step into a pool of hot water and, with a grateful shudder, lower yourself into the soothing warmth. You gather a handful of snow, drop it into the pool, and watch it melt. You are enjoying one of Idaho’s hot springs. Idaho is home to an abundance of natural hot springs, both on private and public land. These hot springs are year round luxuries for Idaho’s citizens and visitors.

How Do They Form?

The hot springs in Idaho are formed from super heated groundwater. Water seeps underground and gets close to the magma underneath the earth’s crust. High temperature creates pressure and pushes the water up through fissures in the rocks. This mineral-rich water rises to the surface and forms streams that often flow into nearby river systems. People who discovered these hot streams built rock dams, trails, and even resorts around these therapeutic streams to form pools for public and private use. 

Resort Locations

Many of Idaho’s hot springs have been converted into recreation centers. These include Red River Hot Springs, Givens Hot Springs, Challis Hot Springs, and the world famous Lava Hot Springs. Red River Hot Springs is located in the Nez Perce National Forest. Complete with a rustic resort, this location is great for those who choose to live in Northern Idaho. If you are more interested in staying close to Boise, Givens Hot Springs is just an hour long drive from downtown. This pool features a diving board, a deep pool, and a shallow kids pool. Challis Hot Springs is just off of the Salmon River in central Idaho and is a great destination for campers. In southeast Idaho, Lava Hot Springs resort rests in the crook of two mountains. The hot pool portion of this resort is open year round and features five different pools of varying size and temperature.

Other Locations

Although several of the hot springs are features in resorts, countless others are not. Idaho’s mountain highways and campgrounds are dotted with free access hot springs. You can stop on the way home from camping and stand under a gushing, hot waterfall or bathe in a hot pool that borders and icy mountain river. Just watch for highway signs announcing their presence or look it up before you leave on your trip.

Idaho is a great place for anyone who wants access to natural, hot pools. These springs contribute to a healthy lifestyle and are a wonderful vacation resource. They are so abundant that you can ask any Idahoan about hot springs, and they will name a few nearby for you. Although your chlorine filled man-made pool may be closed for the winter, Idaho’s geothermal springs are spouting hot, mineral-rich water regardless of the temperature outside. Whether you want a break from the cold or are just stopping by after a summer camping trip, Idaho hot springs are there for you.

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