Insider’s Guide to Lava Hot Springs in Fall

Photo Courtesy of Lava Hot Springs

Lava Hot Springs—a resort community located in southeastern Idaho—is known and often lauded for its clear, odorless geothermal hot spring pools, which range between 102 and 112 degrees and provide a warm, relaxing and therapeutic gathering place for all ages. However, there’s much more to this picturesque city than its hot pools, and travelers who visit Lava Hot Springs in fall will find a variety of thrilling, entertaining and calming activities that they can embark on throughout the week. From shopping to zip lining, the entertainment possibilities in Lava Hot Springs make it a superb place for a fall getaway–especially since the summer crowds will have subsided.

Located midway between Salt Lake City and Yellowstone National Park and nestled in the Portneuf Range, Lava Hot Springs is centered around the Portneuf River, which was named “America’s Best River for Tubing” in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Awards. You can stroll along the river pathways for a serene break or dunk a fishing pole at fishing areas right outside of town. There’s swimming at the Olympic Swimming Complex’s Indoor Aquatic Center, which is open year-round and includes a 25-yard pool, diving board and the Portneuf Kiddie Cove water playground for little ones. Between the river, hot pools and swimming pools, there are a variety of water-based recreation options to choose from.

If you’re interested in an exercise that doesn’t involve water, toss a game of horseshoes, play a round of mini-golf, or try your hand at a fun, free round of disc golf at two locations in town: Near the Olympic Swimming Complex or at Lion’s Park. If you don’t have your own, discs are available for purchase at stores in town. Thrill seekers will want to ride up to Lava Zipline Adventures, which offers several thousand feet of zip lining on steel cables across a beautiful valley view as well as a ropes/challenge course and a geodesic dome with a spinning globe. Make sure to allow enough time to do it all because you won’t want to miss out on any of it once you get there. The bucolic setting, as well as those of the various hiking and biking trails located around the city, allow you to enjoy the full scope of nature’s beauty.

Most everything in town is within walking distance. Wander downtown and try crooning some karaoke or stop in at the South Bannock County Historical Museum to see some history. For an out-of-the-ordinary gift, visit any of the charming local shops. If you work up an appetite, there are fine and casual dining experiences dotted throughout the town. Then after spending time outdoors—or anytime—treat yourself to a relaxing massage or spa day at several locales.

Lava Hot Springs is located fewer than 2.5 hours from Salt Lake City. To get there, take Interstate 15 to Exit 47-US 30 E and travel east on 30E for 11.2 miles. For more information about upcoming events, restaurants to try and places to stay, visit


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