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14 Idaho Hot Springs That Don’t Suck (Ultimate Guide + Map)

Jun 14, 2022

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On my first visit, I had no expectations for Idaho. I knew it was the land of potatoes, and the Sawtooth Mountains were quite the site, but I wasn’t sure if Idaho hot springs would be “all that.” 

OH LAWDY. 

Lemme just say: Idaho is WAY MORE THAN POTATOES. 

And the hot springs live up to the HYPE and then some. 

So ditch the backyard jacuzzi and get yo @$$ over there ASAP.

This blog will cover a list of all the best Idaho hot springs you should visit, where to find them, and what to expect when you get there.

To start, let’s dive into hot spring etiquette. We want to keep them pristine, after all!

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no cost to you.

Idaho Hot Springs Do’s & Dont’s

We want to keep Idaho’s hot springs steamy, right? So you must follow these guidelines when you visit.

Throw Trash Away

Okay, so this is gross, but when Scott (the BF) and I were exploring, we found other people’s underwear left at some.

EWWW. Like, come on, that is disgusting.

Pick up your trash!

Dumping trash can seriously harm the springs, and if garbage gets into a spring’s water source, it can lower its overall temperature—bye-bye warm water. 

Save the Bath for Home

An Idaho hot spring is a hot spring, not your janky bathtub. 

The springs cannot tolerate soap or shampoo, even the all-natural kind.

So deciding that you want to cleanse your body in a hot spring can damage every part of it. Also, you’ll smell like sulfur, reminding everyone of egg farts, so you probably shouldn’t be sporting an Idaho hot spring shower in the first place.

Clothing is Optional

Hey, I don’t make the rules, but some folks enjoy dipping their jingles and jangles in a tub of hot water. While that may not fly with you, it’s the world’s way. 

Learn to turn the other cheek if it bothers you. 

90% of the time, there was more than one Idaho hot spring pool in a single area, so you can always go soak in the opposite direction of a nudist if you want space. 

Be Respectful

Some people find Idaho hot springs meditative. Please respect this. 

If someone is sitting quietly in the spring, respect that silence and keep your volume low.

And in general, some people just want to relax. Save the party for later.

Be Mindful of Capacity

Some springs are so small that they only fit one to two people inside! 

So if you see someone going into a tiny tub, be mindful that you may not be able to fit in as well.

Wait your turn if you must!

Leave the Dogs at Home

Idaho hot springs (and other hot springs, for that matter) are not suitable for dogs.

Their insides can’t handle the heat most times!

Phew! That was easy right? Now let’s talk about where to stay.

Where to Stay

When visiting Idaho, you’ll most likely stay in Boise or Stanley, ID.

And lemme just say, the accommodations are cute AF.

Take a look…

Now, let’s talk details:

Triangle C Cabins—Located in the heart of Stanley, ID, these adorable cabins have everything you need for a ridiculously cozy stay. You’ll feel like you’ve walked into a mountainside dream as soon as you step on property. Enjoy the nearby Boat Box hot springs and the fire-pit in the center of the cabins!

Modern Farmhouse Cottage—This 1 BR 1 Bath updated cottage is located minutes from downtown Boise, making it the perfect hub for your adventure. You’ll love how thoughtful it is and warming your toezies by the fireplace.

Pet-Friendly Boho Home—Boise is about to turn into your home away from home with the help of the luxuriously updated property! You and Fido will love the bohemian vibes. But you’ll love the quiet neighborhood even better.

Stylish Getaway with Sauna—Okay, once you see the interior and amenities in this home, you’ll never want to leave! As if the hot springs weren’t enough, when you book this Vrbo, you’ll come back to your own retreat complete with a sauna. Located near downtown Boise, ID.

Salmon River Home—Talk about a VIEW. If you’ve been dreaming of a countryside retreat that’ll put you near mountains, flowing riverbeds, and natural hot springs, look no further. This gorgeous home on the Salmon River will take your breath away. Spend your mornings and nights watching the sun set and rise over the Sawtooths in your own little gazebo.

Click here to book your stay!

List of the Best Idaho Hot Springs

  1. Goldbug Hot Springs
  2. Boat Box Hot Springs
  3. Gold Fork Hot Springs
  4. Mountain Village Resort
  5. Cove Creek Hot Springs
  6. Sunbeam Hot Springs
  7. Trail Creek Hot Springs
  8. Mile 16 Hot Springs
  9. Bugdorf Hot Springs
  10. Kirkham Hot Springs
  11. Loftus Natural Hot Spring
  12. Council Mountain Hot Spring
  13. Pine Flats Hot Springs
  14. Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Don’t worry! We’ll dive into each of these!

Plus, I have some honorable mentions you’ll wanna see too ;).

Below is a map of the springs.

Now that you know about the etiquette and have a map handy let’s discuss the details.

Click here to see a live version of the map!

#1 Goldbug Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.898098,-113.9745069
  • Entrance Fee: Free with a suggested donation
  • Hike: 4 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: 1,350ft
  • Features: Multiple pools with mountain views
  • Hot Water Level: HOT (top pool); Medium (2nd pool from top)

Goldbug was the very first Idaho hot spring Scott, and I visited. It’ll blow you away!

Upon arriving at the parking lot, you will see a box for a suggested donation. 

You will then start your hike up a fairly steep hill that goes through someone’s private property (be extra respectful and stay on the trail).

After climbing up for a .25 mile, your hike to Goldbug will flatten out. Eventually, you’ll go through brush, reach a boulder field, and continue climbing alongside the hot creek that feeds the pools. 

When you come to a bridge on the top of a hill, you’ll notice a pool below, indicating your arrival.

The view will take your breath away!

We found that the pool below the bridge (which is the hottest one) was a bit crowded.

So, we chose to walk down a dirt path below and go to the second largest pool, which was probably a medium temperature. This is a popular hot spring, so you may run into crowds.

#2 Boat Box Hot Springs (Must-See Idaho Hot Spring)

  • Coordinates: 44.2448647,-114.886138
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Features: Large cauldron on the Salmon River
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

The Boat Box hot spring is a bit tricky to find. 

It sits below a small roadside pull-off, so it is easy to miss. 

Upon walking down a little dirt path, you’ll come face to face with the cauldron, and at this point, you’ll notice just how small it is. 

BUT, don’t let the size of the tub fool you! 

It’s perfect for 2 people to enjoy.

Directly behind it is the source of this Idaho hot spring’s water, and it is HOT.

You’ll use a PVC pipe to fill it up. Then, if the tub is TOO hot, you can cool it down!

There is a bucket right below that tub that is not trash, but for you to grab water from the cold ass Salmon River next to Boat Box and use it to regulate the temperature.

PS: You might see bald eagles in this area!

#3 Gold Fork Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.6758439,-115.9458876
  • Entrance Fee: $10
  • Features: Commercial spring with multiple soaking pools
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

Gold Fork Hot Springs features gorgeous pools with naturally sourced water from the ground.

This Idaho hot spring is more commercial than the others you’ve seen so far.

To access Gold Fork, you’ll have to pay a $10 admission fee. I recommend checking out their website for the most up to date spring information. 

#4 Mountain Village Resort

  • Coordinates: 44.2170452,-114.9339076
  • Entrance Fee: $25 per hour for 3 people
  • Features: Hot spring at a resort with private barn-style pools & views
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

Know for its barn-style exterior; this Idaho hot spring is in a resort.

So you have a couple of options for soaking here.

Your first is to book a room at the Mountain Village Resort, which includes a soak at the springs.

The second option is to visit the resort and reserve time to use the hot springs. 

Option number two will cost about $25 per hour! 

On a clear day, you’ll be greeted with views of the Sawtooths, making this an excellent place to sit back and enjoy Idaho’s beauty!

#5 Cove Creek Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.2635658,-114.8174687
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Features: Small natural soaking rock pools on Salmon River
  • Hot Water Level: Medium

Cove Creek Hot Springs is made up of two tiny little pools down by the Salmon River. 

The water comes up from below, making the bottom of the pools reasonably hot. 

I found that this Idaho hot spring is more secluded than most others.

And what’s nice is there is a restroom at the entrance—an amenity most natural springs don’t have. 

Make a stop here if you want to be alone for a bit!

#6 Sunbeam Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.2679821,-114.7568871
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Features: Natural spring with a blue tub and small rock pools on river
  • Hot Water Level: HOT (in the blue tub); Medium (in the rock pools)

Sunbeam is a pleasant surprise.

It’s a natural Idaho hot spring and historic bathhouse on the Salmon River.  

If Boat Box and Cove Creek had a baby, Sunbeam would be it.

There are about three different hot spring structures to enjoy along the river.

On the lefthand side of the area, you can enjoy a blue bin tub or a small rock pool (it looks just like Cove Creek). On the righthand side of the area is a slightly larger rock tub.

There typically aren’t super large crowds here.

Plus, the three different springs make it easy to get privacy from other parties.

#7 Trail Creek Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.6273832,-115.7526937
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Hike: 60 feet
  • Elevation Gain: N/A
  • Features: Natural pool in a scenic forest
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

East of Cascade, ID sits Trail Creek and Samuels hot springs. 

These springs are popular with locals, so you must visit early if you want to beat the crowds! 

When you get here, you’ll notice two soaking pools with temperature control valves. 

Be wary of the time of year you visit. Warm Lake Highway, where the springs sit, might be closed during severe winter months.

#8 Mile 16 Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.8465833,-115.6976389
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Features: Natural hot springs in a secluded area with an incredible view
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

If you’re looking for an Idaho hot spring that doesn’t require you to hike up a steep hill but has some fantastic views, head to Mile-16 hot springs! 

It’s located right on the edge of the Boise National Forest and features a small, single pool. 

It can fit about four people inside.

So get here early if you want a spot! 

As you soak, you’ll be taking in the views of the Salmon River the whole time. 

Not a bad place to spend the day!

#9 Burgdorf (Unique Idaho Hot Spring)

  • Coordinates: 45.276951,-115.9154359
  • Entrance Fee: $40 per person per night
  • Features: 30-mile snowmobile ride to a secluded spring & cabin resort
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

If you’re looking for a REAL adventure, opt-in to explore Burgdorf Hot Springs. 

The only way to access it for half of the year is to take a snowmobile out on a 30-mile ride. 

Say whaaaaat? 

Talk about fun! You can easily rent a snowmobile through Cheap Thrills in McCall, Idaho.

So come here if you want a unique experience.

Burgdorf Hot Springs has cabins you can stay in for $40 per person per night with a $10 per night firewood fee in the winter. 

The cabins are somewhat bare, so you will also be required to bring your lighting, sleeping bag, food, and other gear you think you’ll want. 

#10 Kirkham Hot Springs (My Fave Idaho Hot Springs)

  • Coordinates: 44.07156, -115.54288
  • Entrance Fee: $5
  • Features: A fairy-tale like hot spring experience with cascading waterfalls
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

Kirkham Hot Springs is likely the most popular spring on the list, and for a good reason! 

Kirkham literally belongs in a fairytale. 

I loved going there in the morning because it was secluded, and there was so much steam coming from the pools—it looked like a fairytale!

The hot water comes from above, so you can opt to take a “shower” in the hot spring. 

With a bit of walking, we found that the warmest pool was over a small rock ledge, while the cooler ones were closer to the entrance of Kirkham. 

I have an entire blog on Kirkham you can check out—click here to read!

#11 Loftus Hot Spring

  • Coordinates: 43.7242561,-115.6067829
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Features: Large dreamy soaking pools on the Boise River
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

A waterfall feeds the two pools at Loftus Natural Hot Spring.

Both pools feature a sandy bottom, which means your peach is in for a little exfoliating should you choose to go here. 

LOL.

Temperatures sit around the 100F mark, making it an excellent place for a soak if you can get a spot here.

Loftus Springs looks so dreamy all year round.

And in the winter, Loftus turns into the most magical site with snow surrounding it 360 degrees around. With it being right on Middle Fork Boise River, you’ll be nestled in a little forest wonderland while you soak.

#12 Council Mountain Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: Click here for directions
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Hike: 4 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: 1,246ft
  • Features: Scenic hike to beautiful natural springs
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

Like hiking? 

Well, Council Mountain Hot Springs may be for you! 

You’ll find this pool tucked away from society in the middle of nowhere in an unassuming forest. 

To get here, you’ll have to hike about 2 miles.

The scenic hike will be worth it, though! The spring gets really hot, so you’ll have a warm soak waiting for you at the end.

There is lots of ample camping available in the area too.

The road to get here is open from May to November (November at the latest). 

#13 Pine Flats Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 44.0629083,-115.6840105
  • Entrance Fee: $5
  • Hike: .5 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Features: Secluded springs in a dreamy forest
  • Hot Water Level: HOT

The easiest way to access Pine Flats Hot Springs is by parking in the Pine Flats campground. 

Once parked, you will be required to walk about half a mile until you reach the first set of springs. 

Most people don’t seem to know that when you reach the first “waterfall,” you can climb up to the top and find a secret pool! 

Unfortunately, it was not as warm as I would have liked, so we pressed on.

You’ll be required to walk through the creek to get to the main attraction and the hottest pools.

Be careful since you’ll be treading through running water!

Once around the bend, you’ll see two more pools! An Idaho hot spring waterfall feeds one and the other by its runoff/ a ground source.

They’re beautiful, so enjoy them!

#14 Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

  • Coordinates: 46.4627053,-114.8816043
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Hike: 2 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: 150ft
  • Features: Small series of pools you can reach at the end of a trail
  • Hot Water Level: Very Warm

If you find yourself near the Montana border, hit up Jerry Johnson Hot Springs! 

After crossing a river by bridge, you’ll walk a little over a mile to get to the first pool. 

The remaining pools are along the river and vary in temperature. 

The final pool is more secluded than the rest and is still very warm!

The best part about Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is its location: a dreamy, fairy-tale-like forest. Ooo la la!

Other Hot Springs You Should Consider

Consider these if you want to visit some more amazing Idaho hot springs! 

  • Rocky Canyon Hot Springs
  • Chattanooga Hot Springs
  • Bonneville Hot Springs
  • Prince Albert Hot Springs
  • Stanley Hot Springs
  • Weir Creek

Now let’s talk about what to bring with you!

What to Pack

Take it from me—you’ll WANT these items with you on your hot spring trip!

A Reusable Water Bottle

I recommend bringing a large Hydroflask with you on your trip. Idaho hot springs can be super hot, and you need to ensure you do not dehydrate!

Sturdy Sandals

I cannot emphasize enough how much you will love having a pair of Chacos like these with you. Many of the springs have a sandy, rocky bottom. 

My Chacos protected me! AND some of the spring floors are covered in algae, so the sandals will prevent you from slipping.

A Cute Swimsuit & Towel

Duh. A swimsuit is a must when you’re exploring hot springs—unless you’re going nude, of course LOL. Because most of the springs are in the middle of nowhere, you will want a towel. If you don’t bring one, you’ll probably end up freezing your ass off after your soak.

Let’s wrap this bad boy up!

Final Tips for Soaking

Take it from me! These final tips are based on my soaking experience so you can have the best time!

Test The Water—There were SEVERAL times when I went to jump in a hot spring, feet first, and found my toes burning away. So test the water before you soak.

Rent a Car—You’ll want to rent a car. Some of these hot springs are pretty far from one another! So the best way to get around will be to have your own vehicle.

Go in the Fall or Winter—I suggest planning your springs trip for the fall or early winter! I went in late September and had most of the springs to myself. It was quite a magical experience. Winter can be an excellent time to go too. However, going in winter requires extra planning. For example, there may be road closures!

And that’s it! I hope this blog gave you insight into what to expect when you visit the best Idaho hot springs.

If you liked this blog, be sure to save it to reference later!

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  1. Kylie says:

    Lava hot springs has more than one pool for different temps one reaches over 100° All natural springs and it helps makes your skin look good and helps with acne

  2. When I am alone, I come to see your comments. It is a very good comment, how strange is your loneliness in this city, there are thousands of people but no one is like that. One is changed because you are not there, yesterday even the sunlight did not come on the wall. Thank you from my heart.

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!