Take A Winter Road Trip In This State With The Most Usable Hot Springs

Setting out on a winter road trip may seem unconventional, but picture yourself on a scenic winter drive through a wonderland of snow-covered landscapes and stopping at several cozy hot springs to warm up and refresh yourself. If this sounds like an exciting adventure, then the 78-mile journey from Pine Flats Hot Spring to Sunbeam Hot Springs in Idaho is the perfect gateway to this unique experience.

Did you know that Idaho has more than 200 natural hot springs? Over 120 of them are safe and perfect for soaking. While you certainly can't visit them all in a day, this road trip invites you to immerse yourself in the therapeutic embrace of several scattered along the route. This journey will take you to some of the most stunning hot springs in Idaho, each with unique charm and natural beauty. Along the way, you'll experience the mesmerizing views of snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and lush forests. With practical tips and insights into each location, you can plan the perfect winter escape.

A tour of scenic hot springs along the Lowman to Stanley section

Pine Flats Hot Springs in Lowman has cliffside pools offering breathtaking views of the Payette River, and the short 0.6-mile trail to get there is worth it. Kirkham Hot Springs is the next great spot near Lowman, with natural rock-wall pools and sandy bottoms. The temperature is just right, at about 120°F at the source and other areas ranging from 95°F to 110°F, perfect for a soothing soak. If you're looking for something more secluded, the third spot on this road trip is Bonneville Hot Springs, a hidden haven in the Lowman area with small waterfalls, mountain views, and plenty of space to soak. Just take a short 0.5-mile hike from the Bonneville Hot Springs Campground, and you'll find yourself in a peaceful paradise.

Next on the trail, Mountain Village Hot Spring in Stanley offers cozy pools framed by barn doors that open to the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. You can access this spot via Mountain Village Resort, which is a gorgeous place to spend the night. Next up is Boat Box Hot Springs, also in Stanley. It's a small metal tub for two just off the main road. Cove Creek Hot Springs is another must-visit spot in Stanley with several hot pools within the Salmon River. You can drive directly to this natural marvel. The road trip journey concludes in Stanley at Sunbeam Hot Springs, another series of pools along the Salmon River, which is just steps from the main road.

Tips for comfort and hot springs fun

With winter temperatures in the area ranging from average highs of 24 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it is essential to plan thoughtfully to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. Layering your clothes is highly recommended. You can start with a bathing suit or trunks, then add a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat to protect yourself from the crisp winter air — and boots sufficient for short hikes. You might also want water shoes for springs with rocky bottoms. Don't forget to pack towels, water, and snacks to keep you going during your winter escapade.

If you're planning a trip to the hot springs, here's what you need to know about the fees and hours of operation. Visitors to Pine Flats Hot Springs must pay a $5 day-use and parking fee. Kirkham Hot Springs also has a $5 day-use and parking fee and is open from 7 a.m to 9 p.m. Bonneville is open year-round, and there is a $5 parking fee to access the springs. Guests of the Mountain Village Resort have access to the hot springs there at no additional charge, but reservations to use it are required. Finally, Boat Box Hot Springs, Cove Creek Hot Springs, and Sunbeam Hot Springs are all free to enjoy. So, gear up for a road trip that combines the thrill of winter exploration with the tranquility of hot springs. Discover these treasures of Idaho, where nature's beauty and therapeutic warmth await at every turn.