10 Best Idaho Hot Springs: Where Nature Meets Luxury

If the idea of soaking in nature’s own hot tub gets you excited, then you’re in for a treat. You might be thinking of far-off places like Iceland or Japan for a hot spring retreat, but wait till you hear about Idaho. Yep, the Gem State is not just about potatoes; it’s a paradise of natural hot springs!

From family-friendly spots to secluded oases, and from natural springs to luxury resorts, Idaho has something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore the hot springs of Idaho that you absolutely can’t miss!

Why Idaho for Hot Springs?

Idaho is practically a hot springs haven, thanks to its unique volcanic geology. The state sits atop a hotbed of geothermal activity, which means—yep, you guessed it—natural hot springs are abundant here. We’re talking over 130 soak-worthy pools scattered across the state, each with its own unique flavor (not literally, please don’t drink the water).

But hold on, it’s not just about the quantity. The variety of experiences you can have is absolutely mind-blowing. Want to hike up a mountain and find a secluded pool overlooking a valley? Idaho’s got it. Prefer a resort-style soak with all the amenities you can dream of? Yep, Idaho offers that too.

And here’s the cherry on top: many of these springs are set in breathtaking landscapes. Imagine soaking in a natural hot tub while staring up at a sky full of stars, or watching the sunrise over a mountain range as you laze in warm, mineral-rich waters.

Best Hot Springs of Idaho

Kirkham Hot Springs

Kirkham Hot Springs—this place is the epitome of “easy to love, hard to leave.” Nestled alongside the South Fork of the Payette River, this hot spring is a hit for all the right reasons. The best part? You won’t have to trek through miles of wilderness to get there. A short, well-marked trail will lead you straight to this natural haven. It’s the perfect spot for families and those who like their adventures on the lighter side.

Kirkham Hot Springs Idaho

Now, let’s talk features. Kirkham is a collection of multiple pools, with temperatures ranging from warm to hot. The springs cascade down a rock formation, creating these amazing natural hot waterfalls. It’s like nature’s own spa treatment. And if you look around, you’re surrounded by a lush forest and the soothing sounds of the river.

But hey, remember, Kirkham is popular for a reason, so it can get crowded, especially on weekends. My pro tip? Try to visit on a weekday or arrive early in the morning to claim your own slice of this paradise.

Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs

If you’re into mixing a bit of luxury with your natural soak, then Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs is your jam. Located in Stanley, Idaho, this hot spring is part of the Mountain Village Resort, giving you the best of both worlds—nature and amenities.

Firstly, the spring itself is a thing of beauty. Enclosed in a log cabin, you get a private, serene soaking experience. The pool is large enough to stretch out but cozy enough to feel intimate.

Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs Idaho

You can even control the temperature to your liking! Yep, you read that right. It’s like having your own personal hot spring.

But what sets this place apart are the additional amenities. We’re talking a full-fledged resort experience. After your soak, you can indulge in a delicious meal at the resort’s restaurant or cozy up by the fireplace in your room. If you’re into exploring, the resort offers various outdoor activities like fishing and hiking.

The catch? You’ll need to be a guest at the resort to access the spring, and reservations are required. But hey, for a hot spring experience that feels like VIP treatment, it’s totally worth it!

Boat Box Hot Springs

Boat Box Hot Springs, a little treasure that’s as quirky as its name suggests. This hot spring is literally in a large “cauldron,” giving it a rustic, almost magical aura. Located near the town of Stanley, this is a smaller, more intimate experience, perfect for couples or solo travelers looking for a unique soak.

Now, don’t let the cauldron fool you; the water here is divine. Fed by a pipe from a nearby hot spring, the water is hot and soothing. Plus, because of its small size, the water gets replenished frequently, keeping it fresh. It’s like your personal hot tub, but with stunning views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

But here’s the kicker: Boat Box Hot Springs is right by the road, so no extensive hiking required. The downside? It’s not exactly a secret spot, so you might have to wait your turn, especially during peak seasons. My advice? Bring a cup of coffee or some snacks, and enjoy the surrounding beauty while you wait.

Sunbeam Hot Springs

Next up, we have Sunbeam Hot Springs, a gem that’s as radiant as its name. Located along the Salmon River, this hot spring is a mix of natural and man-made.

Large rocks and sandbags have been strategically placed to create pools where the hot spring water mixes with the cold river water. The result? You can actually customize your soak by moving closer or farther from the hot water inlet.

Sunbeam Hot Springs Idaho

The backdrop here is nothing short of breathtaking. Imagine soaking while overlooking the beautiful river and the towering mountains. It’s like a nature-made amphitheater just for you. Accessibility is also a breeze; it’s right off Highway 75, making it perfect for a quick stop if you’re road-tripping through Idaho.

Goldbug Hot Springs

We’ve got Goldbug Hot Springs, the adventure lover’s paradise. Situated near the town of Salmon, getting to this hot spring is a bit of a trek—a two-mile hike with some elevation gain.

But let me tell you, the journey is as rewarding as the destination. The trail takes you through a scenic canyon and offers glimpses of the surrounding mountains. And then you arrive, and oh boy, it’s worth every step!

Goldbug Hot Springs Idaho

Goldbug Hot Springs is a multi-tiered wonder, with several pools at different levels. The water is crystal clear, and the temperatures vary from pool to pool. But what steals the show are the waterfalls that cascade down the rocks, filling the pools below. It’s like something straight out of a fantasy novel.

Given its remote location, Goldbug is less crowded than some other Idaho hot springs, making it ideal for those who seek solitude in nature.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Ready to be enchanted? Then let’s head over to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, located in the Clearwater National Forest. This is one for the true nature enthusiasts. To get there, you’ll have to hike a relatively easy 1.5-mile trail that winds through a lush forest, crossing streams and wooden bridges. The hike itself is an appetizer for what’s to come.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Idaho

The hot springs are spread out in three different areas, each with its own set of pools. The water temperature is just right—not too hot, not too cold, making it perfect for a long, relaxing soak. The pools are surrounded by rocks and forest, giving you a sense of complete isolation from the world. It’s the perfect place to find your inner Zen while enjoying the soothing sounds of nearby streams.

Note that Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is popular but less crowded compared to some other hot springs in Idaho, possibly due to its more remote location. A word to the wise: the area is not maintained, so remember to pack out whatever you bring in. Let’s keep this natural wonder pristine!

Stanley Hot Springs

Now, if you’re up for a more challenging but rewarding adventure, Stanley Hot Springs is your go-to. Located in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, getting to these springs is a bit of a trek—about a 6-mile hike one way. But let me tell you, the hike is absolutely breathtaking, featuring scenic overlooks, crossing creeks, and, if you’re lucky, some wildlife sightings.

Stanley Hot Springs Idaho

Once you arrive, you’re greeted with a series of pools terraced on a hillside, each varying in size and temperature. The upper pools are hotter, and as you move down, they get progressively cooler. It’s almost like nature’s own temperature control! The setting is serene, with the wilderness enveloping you as you soak your worries away.

Given the length of the hike, many people opt to camp overnight, making it a full-on outdoor adventure. So if you’re looking for a hot springs experience that’s off the beaten path and closer to a multi-day wilderness adventure, Stanley Hot Springs is your place.

Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Rocky Canyon Hot Springs, a true hidden gem that offers both adventure and relaxation. Located near Crouch, Idaho, this hot spring is a bit of an open secret among locals. It requires a short but somewhat tricky hike to get there, crossing the Middle Fork of the Payette River—so be prepared to get a little wet.

Rocky Canyon Hot Springs Idaho

What awaits you is a series of three naturally formed, rock-lined pools, each with a different temperature. The pools are perched on the side of the mountain, offering an incredible view of the canyon below.

To top it off, a small waterfall feeds into the uppermost pool, making for a truly idyllic setting. Just remember, the road to get there can be a bit rough, so a high-clearance vehicle is recommended.

Pine Flats Hot Springs

Pine Flats Hot Springs, a sanctuary for those who want the best of both worlds: accessibility and seclusion. Located near Lowman in the Boise National Forest, this hot spring is just a short hike away from the parking lot. But don’t let the easy access fool you. Once you’re there, it’s like you’ve entered a secret world.

Pine Flats Hot Springs Idaho

The hot spring itself is a single pool, but what makes it magical is its setting. It’s right next to the South Fork of the Payette River, offering you a unique experience of soaking in warm water while listening to the river’s calming flow. Even better, the pool is partially enclosed by rocks, giving it a cozy, intimate vibe.

Here’s a little bonus for the night owls: Pine Flats is known for its stunning night skies. So if you’re into stargazing, an evening soak here is nothing short of ethereal. Just remember, this hot spring is no longer a well-kept secret, so try visiting on weekdays or during off-peak hours to enjoy some solitude.

Trail Creek Hot Springs

Located near Cascade, Trail Creek Hot Springs requires a bit of a hike, but trust me, it’s worth every step. The trail is relatively easy, though it can be slippery in the winter, so tread carefully.

Trail Creek Hot Springs Idaho

Once you get there, you’re greeted by two main pools. The unique thing about these pools is that they’re built into the side of the hill, overlooking Trail Creek below. A wooden plank with adjustable pipes allows you to control the flow of hot and cold water into the pools, letting you customize your soak to your heart’s content. It’s almost like having a natural Jacuzzi in the wilderness!

Best Seasons to Visit

Timing can make a world of difference in how much you enjoy your trip.

  • Summer is, of course, a popular time. The weather is warm, the trails are dry, and the experience is generally more family-friendly. But, let’s be real, you won’t be the only one with this bright idea. Expect more crowds, especially at the well-known spots.
  • Fall brings a whole new level of beauty. Imagine the trees in shades of orange and yellow, creating a stunning contrast with the blue skies. Plus, the weather is still mild enough for a pleasant hike to those remote springs.
  • Winter, my friends, is for the brave and the romantic. There’s something otherworldly about soaking in a steaming pool while snowflakes gently fall around you. Just remember, some springs are harder to access during this season due to snow and icy conditions.

What to Pack

  • First things first: swimsuits are a must. No one wants an awkward, “Oops, I forgot my swimsuit” moment, trust me.
  • Next, towels. You’ll need something to dry off with, or even sit on if you find a particularly rocky spot in the spring. And hey, if you’re headed for a more remote location, why not pack a lightweight, quick-drying towel to save space?
  • Don’t forget your hydration game. Bring plenty of water, especially if you’re planning a hike to your dreamy soak spot. Hot springs can be dehydrating, so keep that water bottle handy.
  • Snacks are a good idea too. Think easy-to-carry and less messy options like granola bars, fruit, or nuts. You’ll thank yourself later, especially if you’re spending the whole day exploring multiple springs.


From the easy-access pools like Kirkham and Pine Flats to the adventure-filled treks leading to Goldbug and Stanley, Idaho offers a hot spring experience like no other. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for a hike-plus-soak experience, or a comfort-lover searching for resort-style amenities, Idaho’s got you covered. Trust me, once you dip your toes in these heavenly waters, you’ll wonder why you didn’t discover this hot springs paradise sooner.