Hey travelers! My name is Vanessa and thanks for stopping by my article on visiting Idaho in winter: road trips chasing magical hot springs. I grew up in San Pedro, California where I still reside today. My passion for the outdoors came later in life as I didn’t start hiking until I was in my early twenties.
One hike was all it took and I was hooked! Nature, scenery and challenges are what keeps the passion alive. It wasn’t until I started blogging and sharing my trips with others that I realized how much I enjoy storytelling. If there was ever one destination that is story-worthy it would be Idaho!
Idaho is home to the most amazing hot springs! A friend and I flew in from California and spent four days on the road as we ventured around the state. We weren’t expecting a snowstorm that week, so that made the trip pretty special. I remember waking up on our first morning to snow! It snowed for hours that first morning, covering everything in a blanket of snow.
From Boise National Forest to the Sawtooth Mountains, we were able to soak in four hot springs within the four days we were there. All the hot springs that we soaked in on our trip were very special, however there was one that took the cake! Kirkham Hot Springs was my favorite because it requires a little bit of a hike and there is a campground nearby as well.
Best Things To Do in Idaho in Winter
This state is a traveler’s paradise and there is so much to see and do all year long. I have only visited Idaho during the winter months but I definitely plan to head back there for some backcountry adventures in the summer. If you plan on visiting Idaho in winter then here are my top experiences:
- Soak in the Hot Springs of Idaho: This gem of a state is blessed with many beautiful natural hot springs and there are in excess of 100 of them! If you don’t have time to locate all 100 I can highly recommend Kirkham Hot Springs, Boat Box Hot Springs and Sunbeam Hot Springs.
- Go Snowshoeing in the Sawtooth Mountains: The Sawtooth Mountains are an incredible place to visit especially when draped in snow. One fantastic spot is Stanley Lake where you can arrive by snowmobile and then go snowshoeing in the surrounding landscape.
- Ski/Snowboard at Sun Valley Resort: A wonderful ski resort that caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. There are two mountains to choose from here, along with three different mountain lodges and the Sun Valley Lodge. Sun Valley Resort is a destination in and of itself!
- Stay in a Backcountry Yurt: For a truly unique winter experience in Idaho stay in a backcountry yurt for a couple of nights! Far from the outside world, in the middle of a forest, relaxing by a cozy fireplace and sipping on a cup of hot chocolate – does it get any better than that?
Need to Know Before you Go
Anytime I explore a new state I try to allocate a minimum of four or five days. A lot can be done in a week, but if you want to relax in the hot springs and not rush from point to point I would suggest visiting Idaho for at least a week and a half. This should give you plenty of time to soak it all in!
When it comes to your transport there is really only one way to get around in Idaho in winter and that’s by heading on a road trip! Being on the road allows you to see and experience so much more! We rented a Wandervan (campervan) from Boise and it was an amazing experience! We weren’t expecting a snowstorm but still we felt safe driving the roads in our van.
If you are ever in the Boise area be sure to check out Wandervans. They have an awesome fleet of campervans available and I can’t think of a better way to experience the natural beauty of Idaho in winter! Here are some final tips to make the most of your winter getaway in the state of Idaho:
- Always check the weather and road conditions before heading out.
- The days are short and the sun sets early in winter. Start your day early!
- Most hot springs are in small towns, so respect city limits and residents.
- Campgrounds in Idaho are usually closed during the winter months but there is plenty of BLM land available for dispersed camping.