Everything you need to know to visit Bonneville Hot Springs in Idaho.
There are hundreds of natural hot springs throughout Idaho’s backcountry, but I’ve yet to see Bonneville Hot Springs pop up on any top 10 lists of best hot springs in Idaho. This doesn’t mean it’s not awesome, it just means it’s not as well-known.
Bonneville Hot Springs is located near the small town of Lowman, Idaho within the Boise National Forest, about 2 hours outside of Boise. It is just a few minutes up the road from the popular Kirkham Hot Springs.
After spending a few days hiking and backcountry camping at Alice Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness, a relaxing soak in these hot springs was just what we needed. Bonneville hot springs has everything you’d want– (really) hot water, plenty of separate soaking pools, and even a small wooden hut with a bathtub!
How to get to Bonneville Hot Springs
If you’re looking for some amazing hot springs along the road from Boise to Stanley, don’t miss out on Bonneville Hot Springs.
From Boise, Idaho to Bonneville Hot Springs: About 2 hours
From Lowman, Idaho to Bonneville Hot Springs: 30 minutes
From Stanley, Idaho to Bonneville Hot Springs: 50 minutes
Parking for Bonneville Hot Springs
Parking is available at the Bonneville Campground just off of Highway 21. The campground is usually open May to September (depending on snow). The Day Use Fee is $5. Or you can use an America the Beautiful National Park Pass if you already have it since the area is part of the Boise National Forest.
If the campground is closed and there is too much snow, park by the Warm Springs Trailhead just before the turnoff to Bonneville.
There are a pit toilets by the parking lot if you need a place to change (I know, not glamorous) or use the bathroom before you head to the hot springs.
It’s a 0.25 mile walk down from the Bonneville Campground parking lot to Bonneville Hot Springs, which takes just a few minutes when there isn’t snow. If there is deep snow, use snow shoes or skis to access the hot springs.
About Bonneville Hot Springs
If the weather is cold, you’ll see the steam rising up as you make your way along the trail from the parking lot.
The hot water seeps out from the hillside and cascades down towards Warm Springs Creek. But don’t be fooled by its name, the creek was definitely not warm (at least in late September).
These springs are natural, but people have built up little rock walls to create small pools to effectively divert some of the cooler creek water and mix it with the super hot spring water. Do be careful when testing out the pools – some are very hot!
It took a few tries to find a pool where the water was well-mixed, but it was awesome once we did! I didn’t notice a sulfur smell while we were there, which is always a plus.
There’s also a private wooden soak shack at the top of the hill with a bath tub and a pipe that’s constantly refilling the tub. The temperature in here was just right!
Help Keep the Hot Springs Clean
We love sharing awesome places we visit like these hot springs in Idaho, but we hope that everyone that comes leaves them cleaner than they found them. This means…
- No shampoo, soap, or chemical sunscreens – These waters flow into the river and seep back into the ground, which means any pollution in the hot springs is going to have a literal downstream impact. If you need a solid mineral sunscreen that isn’t going to harm any wildlife, we recommend Raw Elements.
- Pack it in, Pack it out – Remember to pack out all your trash and belongings around the hot springs
- Bathrooms are back at the campground – It’s only a few minutes walk.
- Be respectful of other visitors – Most people are here for a quiet, relaxing soak, so please be aware of others. We visited with kids and even though sometimes they’re not always perfectly quiet, we appreciated that everyone there was friendly and happy to share a pool.