Wellness Destination: Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

LAVA HOT SPRINGS, Idaho (June 14, 2022) — Wellness tourism expenditures and mineral and thermal pool revenues dove dramatically worldwide in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re predicted to rebound over the next five years. Lava Hot Springs in Idaho has recovered at an astonishing rate, with the state park’s pools attracting over 50,000 more visitors in 2021 as they had in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Idaho Tourism)

Lava Hot Springs rests in Eastern Idaho beside the mountainous Portneuf River Valley along the historic route of the Oregon and California Trails. People have gathered there for centuries to bathe in its soothing, mineral-rich waters. Once part of the original Fort Hall Reservation of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Lava Hot Springs was ceded by Congress to the State of Idaho for public bathing use in 1902. The Lava Hot Springs Foundation, an agency within the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, is charged with the operation, management, control, maintenance, and improvement of the lands and property.  

According to the foundation’s executive director, Devanee Morrison, Lava Hot Springs has become increasingly popular as a destination for health and wellness over the last two to three decades.  

“Our hot springs have developed significantly over time since the construction of the park’s first bath house in 1918 to the five pool complexes our guests enjoy today,” Morrison says. “Our facilities include the world-famous hot pools—which range in temperature from 102 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit—plus our outdoor Olympic swimming complex, an indoor aquatic center, the indoor Portneuf Kiddie Cove, and an outdoor water slide park.”  

What makes Lava Hot Springs water unique is that it surfaces at an optimal temperature (112 degrees Fahrenheit) and it has a remarkably low sulfur content. Two and a half million gallons of fresh, hot mineral water cycle in and out of the pools each day, keeping them fresh and clean.  

Beyond the state park itself, hot springs are abundant throughout the area. The Home Hotel, Lava Hotel & Spa, Lava Hot Springs Inn & Spa, and Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa offer hot mineral soaking experiences.  

For more information, go to lavahotsprings.org.