Tucked into the rolling green hills of southeast Idaho, you’ll discover a couple of off-the-radar gems worth stopping for and exploring.
Immerse yourself in world-class hot springs in the quaint town of Lava Hot Springs. In the heart of town, you can soak in five wonderfully sulfur-free outdoor pools heated to 102-112 degrees by natural underground springs. But in a nod to the wellness vibe of this town, a number of the charming hotels in town also have their own private hot springs and even massage therapists.
“People from all over the world find Lava Hot Springs hot pools to be unique,” says Devanee Morrison, executive director, Lava Hot Springs Foundation. “Two and one-half million gallons of odor-free, natural mineral water flow through our pools daily, ranging in temperature from 112 degrees to 102 degrees, creating the perfect soaking experience."
If you want to spend time on the wild Portneuf River that flows through town, rent an inner tube and personal flotation device at TPD Tubes next to the hot springs complex. Then, float downriver less than a mile to the take-out where you can either walk or take a shuttle back up to where you started. Tip: wear water shoes rather than flip flops that will get stuck in the mud or fall of your feet and get swallowed by the river.
For more water-related fun, walk four blocks to the Olympic Swimming Complex, which features a huge swimming pool, diving platforms and speed slides with 60 foot drops. Continue the fun on dry land as you fly through the air at a private canyon with Lava Zipline Adventure.
When you’re hungry, stop by Ye Old Chuckwagon Restaurant for good-sized burgers and an informal, relaxed atmosphere with booths and regular tables. It’s on the corner of Second Street and Main. Or check out the Portneuf Grille & Lounge, which is located in the Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa. The restaurant is a highlight of the historic 1914 hotel. Its menu features Northwest-inspired cuisine and includes vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, along with classics like U.S.-aged prime rib steak.
For a delicious four-course meal, head to the reservation-only Greystone Manor Bed and Breakfast and Event Center where you can savor your various dishes, including an entrée of salmon, beef or chicken, on the patio or in the dining room.
For more information, visit www.lavahotsprings.org