Most people have never heard of Kirkham, Idaho. However, this undiscovered little town in the western state of Idaho is one of the best places in the country to find incredible hot springs.
Some major hot springs in the state require an experienced hike to access, however, some are a short distance from their designated parking areas. Whatever your physical abilities, Idaho has a hot spring for you!
Hike and trip to hot springs
All of these amazing hot springs are surrounded by lush green forests – perfect for the ideal Instagram shots! These magical places will leave you feeling clean and fresh. Be sure to check the distance from the parking lot to the hot spring and get ready for the trip.
Hot springs are an inviting and delicate environment. The longevity of any hot spring requires the best usage practices from all who visit it. Follow these handy tips to make sure you’re doing your part:
- Stay on designated trails
- Follow camping restrictions
- Be sure to take out all the wrapped trash
- Remember to leave the hot springs better than you found them
These hot springs tend to get populated quickly, especially during the holiday seasons. It is important to remember to be respectful of any others who may also be present and to limit your time in the pools as they tend to be a bit small. Some people also have a habit of sitting naked in swimming pools – so be prepared for any adventure that may await you.
Top 5 Springs to Visit in Idaho
Kirkham Hot Springs, Boise National Forest
This bubbling spring and enchanting landscape is on the South Payette River, and it’s actually visible from Highway 21 (Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway). Kirkham Hot Springs is the most popular location in the state. People have loved coming to this relaxing bath for decades. Whether you attend in summer or in the heart of winter, this place will offer you some of the most incredible feelings of relaxation you will experience during your vacation.
There is also a campground right next to the hot spring that bears the same name. It is a wonderful place to camp and spend the weekend enjoying the delightful nature scenes like the hot springs. This place also accepts reservations. Be sure to book early as summer reservations tend to fill up quickly.
Jerry Johnson and Weir Creek Hot Springs, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is one that offers a short hike that begins with crossing a suspension bridge over the Lochsa River. It may be an uphill hike, but it will be rewarded at the end with three spacious pools to relax and calm tired muscles. Pools tend to vary in temperature, providing the perfect space and heat level for everyone in your party.
If you’re not much of a hiker, Weir Creek Hot Springs offers a quick walk from Highway 12. The trail is a quick and relatively easy path to walk, but sturdy shoes are always recommended. Nestled in a lush mountain canyon is the Weir Creek Pool. It tends to be a bit deeper than the others and will comfortably accommodate everyone in your group. If you’re looking for something a little more intimate, there’s a small pool for one or two just above the slope of the mountain. This place also offers camping if you choose to extend your rejuvenating vacation to more than one day.
Goldbug Hot Springs, Salmon-Challis National Forest
Hidden between Salmon and Challis in central Idaho you will find Goldbug Hot Springs. This is one of the best Instagram spots in the state with fantastic panoramic views of the mountains and valley below the pool.
This particular pool offers quite a trek up the twisting mountainside. The trail climbed about 1,300 feet to reach the divide in the mountain that contains this spectacular spring. Although the hike can be a bit toasty, it’s worth it once you reach the top and enter the inviting pools that relieve sore muscles.
Sunbeam Hot Springs, Salmon-Challis National Forest
This amazing spring is one of the easiest to get to as it is right off Highway 75 – no hiking required. However, there are still beautiful scenes of the forest and rock formations around for perfect Instagram shots or if you feel like exploring.
This hot spring follows the Salmon River and is generally one of the most popular in the area as it is near a central base camp for exploring Sawtooth National Recreation Area, one of the best national forests in Idaho.
Another notable cleaning pool nearby is Boat Box Hot Springs (also known as Elkhorn Hot Springs). This amazing roadside soaking spot features a large metal tub that’s perfect for a romantic occasion with just you and your partner. This unique location is just far enough from the highway to provide privacy and enhance your delightful romantic experience.
Bonneville Hot Springs and Pine Flats, Boise National Forest
There is a good collection of hot springs located in the Boise National Forest and less than an hour from the capital. Bonneville is one of the closest and easiest to get to hot springs, located east of Kirkham on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, this is the place to be in Idaho. It’s an easy quarter mile walk to Bonneville from Bonneville Campgrounds. The moss-covered spring is accessible via a trail that skirts Warm Springs Creek—perfect for soaking your feet on your walk. There are also campsites scattered throughout the region, perfect for your ideal weekend.
There are several pools grouped together at this location, offering a range of temperatures. The pools closest to the spring can be incredibly hot, be careful when entering them. Take advantage of the variations in temperature and alternate between hot and cold pools, providing a deeper relaxing experience for your mind and body.
If you feel stressed and overwhelmed and need a break from everyday life. Take the time to visit one of these amazing pools in Idaho.
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