Exploring Idaho’s Wild and Natural Hot Springs

When people think of Idaho, the license plate is usually their main exposure, especially the tagline: “Famous Potatoes”. While the potatoes are the main export that people consider, that notion is a bit misleading. It makes you think of endless farm fields with nothing better to do than cultivate the vegetable that is so pervasive in the western diet.

In some ways that is a good thing. When driving through the state on I-84, most people take little notice of the mountains to the north. Yet those mountains are home to some of the most varied terrain and geologic activity in all of North America.

winter hot spring touring in idaho
The view from one of the multitude hot springs

Within those mountains that get little recognition are an even better secret: a multitude of hot springs all over the place. Many have come to discover this, and few broadcast it. Even now as I write this I worry about the hate mail that might come from people who are hesitant to let the cat out of the bag. I can only hope that those who read this will take the knowledge with respect and treat these unique and special locations in kind.

deer at the idaho hot springs
All species enjoy a trip to the hot springs in winter

Getting the Guide

I’m not the first person to divulge the secrets of Idaho hot springs, so I feel comfortable telling you about it. In fact, someone already wrote the book on it: Hot Springs, Idaho: Complete Guide to – Second Edition 2013

This book showcases a wide variety of natural hot springs to go explore. I highly recommend picking it up.

A culture of Exploration

The beauty of these hot springs is that the journey is just as exciting as the destination. Without a guidebook it would be pretty hard to find them all. Some, however, sit right next to the highway as the roads traversing the state take the path of least resistance, usually in river canyons. But the best ones take a bit of navigation and fall off the general beaten path. Which, to the traveler, is music to one’s ears.

Over the next few weeks I will try to feature each hot spring I visited in more detail. But for now, take a look at this video I did for Idaho Tourism while on assignment this winter where I was lucky enough to visit a few of these hot springs and earn a paycheck.

If you would like any more information, please contact me via the link at the top of the page. I’d be happy to share a bit more information for those interested, as long as you agree to treat the locations with respect and leave the site just a little bit better than you found them.

See you in the water!