Hot springs truly are Mother Nature’s original spa — they’re soothing, relaxing, and perfect for rejuvenating travelers, hikers, and vacationers of all ages. Idaho features more usable natural hot springs than any other state in the country. Best of all, the springs found on public lands and parks are free to use. When visiting primitive sites, remember to wear hiking shoes to help reach the pools. Take some sandals to wear in the pools, and pack snacks, water, trash bags, and towels. Certain pools are clothing optional. For families who prefer amenities, there are also affordable natural hot springs sites where visitors revel in comforting soaks. When booking your Idaho vacation rental, consider properties situated near these top natural hot springs.

1. The Springs, Idaho City

the springs
Source: thespringsid.com

Idaho City vacation rentals put you close to The Springs, which includes a natural geothermal pool and many other amenities, such as kiddie snacks, free shampoo, free sunscreen, towels, and swim diapers. Family yoga classes welcome children ages eight and older who attend with a parent. Indulge yourself with some world-class pampering, including deep tissue table massage, Shiatsu massage done while floating in the water, and private hot tub reservations. Hit the cafe for some soup and sandwiches, and enjoy poolside service of craft beers on tap and fine wines.

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2. Burgdorf Hot Springs, McCall

Burgdorf Hot Springs
Source: Facebook/burgdorfhotsprings

The variety of family-friendly activities in the area makes Burgdorf Hot Springs one of Idaho’s best vacation destinations and a playground for adventure seekers. This back country resort features the hot springs in a central location, roomy enough for everyone visiting the resort. The main pool includes a comfy, sandy bottom and perfect temperatures; then, two small pools crank up the heat for those who want the hotter soak. Enjoy this oasis in the Idaho mountains year-round, including winter-time when you need a snowmobile to reach it. When you step out of the hot springs, try fishing, swimming, hiking, skiing, or snowboarding. The site features some basic amenities, including a cafe and heated dressing rooms. You need to know that the resort sometimes closes briefly in late fall and early spring due to limited access via the Warren Wagon Road.

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3. Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, Clearwater National Forest

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Source: Flickr/W & J

Many Montanans claim Jerry Johnson Hot Springs as their own, as Missoula, Montana is the closest city to this primitive Idaho geothermal spa. The site features three groups of pristine pools dotted along the banks of a rustic creek, surrounded by cedar trees in a lovely valley. As high waters in the spring tend to wash out some of the hot pools, users find fall and winter best for soaking here. You need hiking poles and crampons in the winter as a result of ice on the steep areas of the short hiking trail. Look for the trailhead at the pack bridge that crosses the Lochsa River near the Warm Springs Trailhead sign. Park across the road from the bridge, and follow Warm Springs Trail #49 south along the creek for about a mile. The first pool, fed by a waterfall, lies at the bottom of a steep trail. Further down the trail, the second pool features a large boulder in the center; and, a little farther on, you find the third pool, where you get awesome views of a meadow and mountains. Families with children need to know that visitors sometimes use these free soaking pools in the Idaho wilderness without wearing bathing suits.

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4. Trail Creek Hot Springs, Cascade

Trail Creek Hot Springs
Source: Flickr/Mitchell Friedman

Follow the locals to the delightful–and free–Trail Creek Hot Springs, about 20 miles northeast of Cascade. The two pools feature stone and mortar walls to contain the natural thermal spring water, and include water pipes that carry cold water that you use to regulate the temperature of your personal soaking experience. There’s a large turn-out on the side of Warm Lake Road where you park before hiking down the 60-foot trail to the pools, which overlook a tranquil little creek. The first pool measures about 8 feet by 12 feet, and the second measures about 6 feet in circumference. Enjoy these pools summer or winter for perfect water temperature that you control. To enjoy a private soak, try going early in the morning.

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5. Sacajawea Hot Springs, Lowman

Sacajawea Hot Springs
Source: Flickr/Mitchell Friedman

Sacajawea Hot Springs lies nestled on the banks of the South Fork of the Payette River, near the Grandjean trailhead, which leads into Sawtooth National Recreation Area. About a half-mile before reaching Grandjean, look for the hot springs free parking area on the right side of the gravel road. The 50-yard descent to the pools is pretty steep, but you easily see the user-built batch of rock-walled pools by the river. The sparkling clear water reveals clean sand and river-gravel bottoms. Depending on the depth of the river, you see between three and seven pools from which to choose. Hot and cold water streams into the pools and occasional stirring motions with your hands keep the temperatures satisfactory. As the site is near a family-friendly campground, expect to see other families enjoying these free, natural hot springs.

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