Photos by Clay Cammack
The great state of Idaho is famous for more than potatoes. With more than 130 usable hot springs, it has one of the highest concentrations in the country—and they’re not as far from Utah as you might think. Next time you’re looking to fight winter’s chill, take a drive north for a soak in these five thermal springs.
Location: 25900 South Downata Road, Downey
Take a dip in our northern neighbor’s waters at Downata Hot Springs, a two-hour drive from Salt Lake City. This full-service hot springs resort features new hot pools with jets and changing lights, naturally heated swimming pool, indoor cabin accommodations, and optional spa massages. You can also pair your adventure with Steak & Soak combo.
Logistics & Fees: Admission is $2 for ages 2 and under, or $8 for ages 3 and up. Saturday Early Bird soak for $3 from 8:00–10:00 a.m. Open Mondays–Saturdays in winter.
Location: 430 E. Main, Lava Hot Springs
Find a family-friendly hot spring experience at Lava, where mineral-rich hot water bubbles out of natural underground springs—with no sulfur that causes the typical bad hot springs odor. Soak in five outdoor heated mineral pools, or venture indoors to the 24-yard pool, kiddie cove, and climbing wall that caters to kids. The geothermal spring temperatures range from approximately 102˚ to 112˚.
Logistics & Fees: Weekend admission is $2 for ages 2 and under, $7.50 for ages 3-11, $8 for ages 12-59, and $7.50 for ages 60+. Open year-round, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs
Location: 1080 Warm Springs Road, Ketchum
This local’s favorite hot spring is located near the town of Sun Valley and is naturally heated to 110 degrees. The best part about this beautiful spring is its three different pools varying in temperature. And once you start to overheat, hop in the adjacent river to cool off.
Logistics & Fees: The springs are free to use, but are most crowded on weekends and in evenings. Getting there requires an icy drive in winter so use caution when visiting. Once you park, walk a quarter-mile upriver to find the springs on road’s west side.
Kirkham Hot Springs
Location: 7658 ID-21, Lowman
Regarded as the most famous geothermal pool in Idaho, this primitive natural spring is very accessible and located along the the South Fork of the Payette River. Head down the wooden staircase to soak in multiple natural pools with a range of temperatures, or take a hot shower underneath the cliffside cascading waterfall. Cool off after hot springing with a plunge in the icy cold river next to the springs.
Logistics & Fees: Located five hours from Salt Lake City, and five miles north of Lowman on Highway 21. $5 fee required for parking at Kirkham Campground. Soaking in the springs is free. Bring your own towel and slip-resistant footwear.
Location: 3696 N 1600 E, Preston
Looking for a hot spring experience with extra amenities? Head to Preston’s Riverdale Resort where two hot pools are open year-round. The small mineral soaking pool is filled with healing mineral water and can reach temperatures of 105 degrees. Not recommended for kids, this spring features jets and is for therapeutic soaking. The larger soaking pool is 3.5 feet deep, welcomes families, and varies between 90–95 degrees.
There’s also a children’s pool, game room, RV parking, and eight motel rooms with hot tubs for overnight stays.
Logistics & Fees: Resort is five miles north of Preston in the Riverdale Valley. Admission is $2 for anyone under 2, $7 for ages 3–11, $8 for ages 12–60, and $6 for seniors and military. Open Mondays–Saturdays.
Please enjoy these natural wonders responsibly; pack out whatever you bring in.