Picture this: You’re soaking in a warm pool of ancient mineral water, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the rugged wilderness. As you sink deeper into the water, you close your eyes. The only thing you hear is the wind whistling through the trees.
Places like these really exist in Southwest Idaho.
Idaho has the largest number of soakable hot springs in the nation. Out of the 130 soakable hot springs in the state, we’ve narrowed the list down to six of our favorites.
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Photo courtesy of The Springs
Can’t decide between the luxury of poolside service and the scenery of rugged wilderness?
Nestled in the alpine forests surrounding Idaho City, The Springs is a natural hot springs retreat less than an hours’ drive from Boise. Relax in the sauna, dive into the main pool, soak in spacious hot tubs or treat yourself to a massage.
The resort’s poolside service offers wine, beer, small plates and entrees. Make your mountain escape complete with a stay at the resort’s cozy mountain getaway, Inn the Pines.
The resort is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (except Tuesdays), with adult-only days Wednesday through Friday. We recommend making a reservation in advance, which you can do here.
Directions: From Boise, take ID-21 north toward Idaho City. The Springs will be right off the highway to your left, just a few miles before Idaho City.
Kirkham Hot Springs
Less than a two hours’ drive north from Boise, Kirkham Hot Springs is tucked away into the South Fork of the Payette River. After a careful hike down a stone staircase, you’ll find steaming pools and waterfalls nestled right alongside the freezing river.
With ten different pools to soak in, you’ll be able to find a peaceful spot to relax while looking out at breathtaking mountain scenery.
Directions: From Boise, take ID-55 to Banks. Take Banks-Lowman Road to ID-21 and turn left. You’ll find the Kirkham campground at milepost 77.
Mundo Hot Springs
Photo Credit: Mundo Hot Springs
All year round, everyone of all ages can enjoy the sparkling, geothermal water at Mundo Hot Springs.
In the winter, you can book a guided, day trip with Snowmobile Idaho through the Payette National Forest. Spend the day cruising along groomed trails that take you along the water and deep into the forest. End your tour with a soak at Mundo Hot Springs.
Rocky Canyon Hot Springs
You might need to drive a winding dirt road in the mountains to get to these springs — but it’s all worth it once you get there. This three-tiered spring sits above the middle fork of the Payette River, just 12 miles past Crouch.
Make it a weekend trip by staying at one of the campsites nearby.
Directions: From Boise, take ID-55 to Banks and take the Banks-Lowman highway to Crouch. From there, follow South Middle Fork Road until you see a pull-off area and steam coming from the nearby river.
Gold Fork Hot Springs
Worried about hot springs being too hot or too cold? At Gold Fork Hot Springs, you don’t have to. Less than an hours’ drive south of McCall, this natural hot spring flows into a series of six tiered pools with different temperatures, so you can find the perfect temp to soak in.
The facilities open everyday (except Tuesdays) at noon.
Directions: From Boise, take ID-55 north toward Donnelly. Take a right turn onto Davis Creek Lane. After a few miles, turn right onto NF-498. The driveway to the springs will be on your left.
Trail Creek Hot Springs
These secluded hot springs are just a short hike into the forest, east of Cascade. You’ll be surrounded by pine trees and breathtaking scenery as you soak in small pools overlooking a mountain stream.
Directions: From Boise, take ID-55 north, just past Cascade. Turn right on Warm Lake Road and travel just over 19 miles to a large parking lot on the south side of the road.
Local’s tip: Just a few miles past Trail Creek Hot Springs is Northshore Lodge & Resort, the perfect mountain getaway.
Whether they’re nestled in a hillside, hidden in a forest or the main attraction at a luxury resort, Southwest Idaho’s hot springs are one of the state’s best-kept secrets for a reason.