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."

Lava Hot Springs Resort

Lava Hot Springs Hot Pools

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.

Lava Zipline Adventure in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

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.

Chuck Wagon Restaurant in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

Chuck Wagon Restaurant

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.

Horizontal rule

For more information, visit www.lavahotsprings.org


Girl in a hot springs swimming pool

17 Best Hot Springs & Pools In and Near Yellowstone

The Yellowstone area has many places to go swimming and soak in the natural mineral hot springs.

Yellowstone Hot Springs pools

A Serene Soak at Yellowstone Hot Springs

Just eight miles from Yellowstone's North Entrance, these naturally hot pools feel surprisingly remote and far from the park’s crowds.

Rafting with Montana Whitewater

Montana Whitewater Rafting and Zipline Company near Yellowstone

Go on scenic floats or on Class IV whitewater rafting trips offered on the Gallatin, Yellowstone, and Madison Rivers.

Rafting near Yellowstone with Mad River on the Snake River. Courtesy photo

5 Best Rafting Trips Near Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Waters surrounding Yellowstone offer up everything from lazy floats to intense rapids—pleasing everyone from kids to adrenaline junkies.

Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming

Hot Springs, Bison and Dinosaurs in Thermopolis

Soak in hot springs, visit the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and see bison without the crowds in Thermopolis.

Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone National Park

Deaths and Injuries at Yellowstone's Geysers and Hot Springs

The extraordinary natural features that keep Yellowstone such an alluring place can make it perilous.

Swimming in Yellowstone's Boiling River

Swim in Yellowstone's Boiling River

Find out exactly how to get to Yellowstone's Boiling River and the rules and regulation for this hot spring near the Mammoth area of the park.

Kids enjoy climbing and playing in interesting rock formations at Castle Rock State Park near the City of Rocks National Reserve

8 Undiscovered Southern Idaho Gems near Yellowstone

After Yellowstone, dip into southern Idaho to explore attractions, including two national park sites, you won’t find elsewhere.


Rare Microbes Flourish in Yellowstone National Park Geysers and Hot Springs

The Thermal Biology Institute at Montana State University studies life forms and microbes found in the hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park.