The Hot Pools of Lava

A cool Southeastern Idaho breeze rolls down from the mountains. The sun has set, and the sky is clear, creating a perfect scene of the stars stretching from horizon to horizon. The cool breeze feels good, wafting steam over you as you relax, enjoying the beautiful Idaho weather at night. It’s a little chilly, but you are warm and comfortable, soaking in the wonderful hot pools. Apart from a little splashing from people getting in and out, and the general chatter, it’s a peaceful night, and you are enjoying yourself. You could soak here forever it seems.

Welcome to Lava Hot Springs. Or, I should say, welcome to the hot pools in Lava Hot Springs. The hot pools are the main attraction in this small Idaho town, and it’s little wonder. They have a variety of hot pools, ranging in size and temperature. What’s truly unique and fascinating about these hot pools, though, is that they are completely natural. The different pools range in temperature from 102 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature is not regulated at all; it’s simply the temperature of the water bubbling up from underneath the earth. The other amazing thing about these pools is that they are not treated. They are completely natural, and only filled with the minerals from the underground hot springs. However, these hot pools don’t have any sulfur. This means there’s no bad smell! A definite plus if you’re planning on visiting them.

You never have to worry about the water not being fresh and pure either. Within one day, a massive, and impressive, 2.5 million gallons of spring water flows through these hot pools and empty into the Portneuf River. These are truly clean hot pools, and the water is never the same when you go back! But that’s not all that’s incredible about these pools. They are open year round, and only close on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don’t worry; you’ll be plenty warm if you visit the hot pools during the winter. All of the sidewalks, walkways, and the changing room floors are all heated. You’ll be sure to stay cozy going to the hot pools, and leaving them when you’re done. That’s if you want to leave the warm and soothing water at all.

If you’re worried about crowds, you don’t really need to be. They have four large hot pools, plus a new pool that has a system to melt the snow from the deck, plus plenty of shades to keep the sun, rain, or snow away. And their long hours ensure you can visit whenever you want to. They do have seasonal hours, so be sure to check those out, but for the most part, they are open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm. Even with the slightly shorter seasonal hours, on Fridays and Saturdays the hot pools are still open until 11:00 pm.

While the hot pools are Lava Hot Springs’ biggest attraction, that doesn’t mean they are the only aquatic feature available for you to enjoy. They have a huge Olympic swimming complex, which consists of a massive, 50-meter outdoor pool, complete with diving platforms at 5, 7, and 10 meters high. If diving isn’t quite your thing, they also have water slides. There are two different waterslides. One features a staggering 60-foot vertical drop, and you can reach speeds up to 38 miles per hour. On a water slide! The other water slide is less intimidating, and has a lot of bends and turns. You can also stay indoors, and use their 25-yard indoor pool. It’s open year-round, and has a diving board and a climbing wall with water. Nearby, is a kid friendly pool that they call Kiddie Cove. This is a fun place for kids to swim and play, and it also features a small, indoor hot pool.

Lava Hot Springs is packed with stuff to do, and it’s a great tourist resort or a quick getaway. The hot pools are a dream, there’s regular swimming, and tons of great lodging and restaurants all within walking distance of the hot pools. Like Idaho, Lava Hot Springs has a lot to offer, even beyond the hot pools. You’ll just have to go there and explore for yourself!

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