4 Amazing Idaho Hot Springs
Oct 22, 2019 /
If we get do much more hot springs guides on here we might have to convert the entire website over to a hot springs guide! Our family absolutely loves a good hot spring and we often go out of our way to find new ones! As part of our Endless Adventure with Tepui we decided to find as many hot springs as we could manage through the Saw Tooth Mountains of Idaho and thus this Idaho hot springs guide was born.
Idaho has about 130 soak-able hot springs so these four are just the tip of the iceberg. Each of these hot springs are family friendly and are easy to get to, making them ideal for a family soak. Because of their easy access though we recommend visiting them during the middle of the week if possible. We actually visited each of these hot springs at first light or in the afternoon to avoid too many other soakers.
Boat Box Hot Springs
Who| Any age, although its good to remember that little ones have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature so take frequent breaks.
Where| Coming from Stanley, head north on Highway 75 for 3.8 miles until you see it on the right-hand side of the road. There are only enough spaces for two or three cars.
Type| Drive up, Day Trip
Worth it Scale| With basically no approach and gorgeous views, but the possibility of being over crowded we give this experience an 8 out of 10.
It's incredibly hard to pick a favorite hot spring because each one we've visited offers a different experience and Boat Box Hot Springs is no exception to that. This hot spring consists of a metal and wooden tub nestled on the banks of the Salmon River. The tub is only big enough for 3-4 adults so things can get crowded fast during the peak season. We arrived at the tub before the sun had risen and had the place to ourselves.
It took us awhile to figure out how to regulate the water temperature so let us do you a favor and tell you how before you go. The tub is filled by a single white PVC pipe of water that comes right out of the ground. This water is extremely hot so be sure you use caution before just jumping in! You can "turn on" the water by twisting the pipe 180 degrees (it will make sense when you're there, we promise). If the water is too hot then use the provided bucket to pour in some of the cool river water.
Sacajawea Hot Springs
Who| Any age
When| Spring-Summer-Fall; can be submerged due to high water levels.
Where| North of Lowman on your drive towards the Sawtooth Lodge and Grandjean trailhead. Near the Lodge you'll find a pull out and the hot springs are along the banks of the South Fork of the Payette River.
Type| Drive up, Day trip
Worth it Scale| Another gorgeous spot with easy access but a pretty "typical" river hot springs experience, we'd give this a 7 out of 10.
This pretty, hot spot, nestled on the banks of the Payette river was the perfect playground for the kids and a place for mama and dada to relax. The pools are made from river rock and sand which makes it easy to adjust temperature which you'll probably have to do especially if the river water levels are fluctuating drastically. After we spend a few minutes building some new walls and redirecting some river water the temperature was perfect. Depending on the water levels these hot pools can be completely submerged, this is pretty typical during the spring run off.
It's incredibly relaxing to hear the rushing river go by as you soak in the warm mineral water. Denali and I found a comfortable rock to rest on and almost felt asleep. The Payette river is surrounded by huge pine trees that created an incredible mountain experience. After we soaked until our toes and fingers resembled prunes we ate dinner at the historic Sawtooth Lodge just up the road. Their huckleberry shake was a must!
Bonneville Hot Springs
Who| Any age
Where| Bonneville Campground is 19 miles east of Lowman, Idaho just off Highway 21
Type| Hike in, day trip or camping available.
Worth it Scale| What can we say? You can't really go wrong when it comes to hot springs in the middle of the Sawtooth Mountains! 8 out of 10
Bonneville Hot Springs is a bit of a mix between Mystic Hot Springs and Sacajawea. After a short 1/4 mile walk through Boise National Forest you have the option to go left up to an old bath house or right down to the rivers edge. The bathhouse has one old school bathtub perfect for one or two soakers (or 3 little soakers). You can even lock the door to the little hut if you're looking for a bit of privacy. The water temperature flowing through the tub was a bit warm for our little ones but perfect for myself.
Down the hill you'll find a variety of rock wall pools with a range and temperatures. The further up stream you go the hotter it gets and it gets REALLY hot. I like hot but the pools where so hot that I couldn't even put my feet in. I was very surprised to see anyone soaking in these pools. If you continue up past the hot hot hot pools there are up few more cooler pools around the river bend that were soak-able.
We spent two nights at the Bonneville campground and would come back here in a heart beat. The camp hosts where incredibly nice and kept the place very clean. We recommend trying to get a spot next to the river which lulls you to sleep in the evening.
Kirkham Hot Springs
Who| Any age
Where| Next to the South Fork Payette River just east of Lowman, Idaho
Type| Drive up, day trip or camping available near by
Worth it Scale| We give Kirkham Hot Springs an 8 out of 10. Its large and beautiful but also has the tendency to be crowded due to it's easy access.
Kirkham Hot Springs is an easy (but slippery) walk down the banks for the Payette river. We loved the atmosphere of the large fallen boulders that created perfect riverside pools for soaking. A waterfall of hot water on one side with the rushing river on the other made for the perfect spa or playground. This is a popular spot for river runners to get out and warm up on their way down the Payette river. If you get to hot you can jump off the large boulders, straight into the rapids of the river.
Even though Kirkham does have the tendency to get crowded it has many small pools that line the rivers edge so you can likely find your own little nook to relax in. The temperature of the pools largely depends on the time of year and how full the river is.
Hot springs are a fun and warm way to enjoy nature any time of the year. Although we visited these hot springs during the summer months you might want to consider adding these to you winter bucket list.