20 Best Things to Do in Lava Hot Springs, ID

Lava Hot Springs, ID
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Lava Hot Springs is a city that forms a part of the larger Bannock Rock County in Idaho.

The place is primarily famous for its hot thermal springs and an inner turbulent tubing that runs through the town.

The place is less populated as compared to other nearby cities.

Here, you will encounter clear springs every few miles.

This place is a paradise not just for the meditative kinds but also for the ones looking for fun and adventure.

There are lots of places worth visiting and activities worth pursuing in this city.

Here are the 20 best things to do in Lava Hot Springs:

Hiking the Various Mountains

Enough is known about how delightful a hiking trip can be.

You can try hiking the Bird Canyon Trailhead.

There are other places to hike too, such as the Lava Hot Springs East and West Koa.

You could also try out the Centennial trail, which will help you challenge your previous scores concerning elevation transitions.

The view at the top is heavenly, and every penny is worth the climb.

Another trekking destination is the Lava Lions Park.

This one is an easier climb and great for novice trekkers.

Exploring the Downtown

Lava Spa motel in Downtown
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The villages and hamlets in downtown will cheer up your spirits.

There are small shops selling trinkets and memorabilia you could consider buying as remembrance merchandise commemorating the fun you had when you had visited this place.

The simple sight of children playing merry-go-round or cycle bells ringing as adolescent flutters by will ease your nerves.

You will understand the significance of slowing down and living in the moment.

You can even try visiting one of the houses in the village.

The people are compassionate and hospitable, and you will be taken into their circle in no time.

This is also a great way to explore authentic country cuisines that are difficult to replicate or come by.

Ziplining Through the Gorges

Get that shot of adrenaline pumping in your veins by trying the adventure sport of ziplining.

There will be big army trucks that take you to the location North of the Lava Hot Springs.

Here, you can bond and share your thrills and excitement with other fellow zipliners as you get ready in line to fly.

Sizzle in the feeling of soaring through the skies like a free bird as you cross the canyon's deep gorges.

As the trucks transport you back to the starting point, you will have a great time sharing your experience with other people who just completed that adventure like you.

If you are a sucker for a thrill, the kind that loves living on the edge, this sort of fun will certainly be perfect for you!  

Visiting the Baker Ranch

Baker Ranch in Dempsey Creek is meant for wildlife touring with horses and wagons.

They organize three-hour, horse-drawn wagon rides into the wild.

You can enjoy traveling in the evening against the backdrop of the setting sun spilling golden light through the clouds.

It's common for travelers to come across indigenous fauna native to the place.

If that happens, you can pause the wagon and softly alight down its steps just in time to capture a picture of an animal from up close.

There will be campfires and music to accentuate the experience too.

Your kids can tag along when you visit this place.

There are walking paths, slides, and tire horse strings to keep them occupied and contented.

Swimming in the Lava Hot Springs Olympic Swimming Complex

This gigantic multiple-laned swimming pool might be the biggest dream of every water sports lover.

The sheer size and dimension of the pool, which spans a length of about fifty meters, is pleasantly overwhelming.

You can give other destinations a miss while visiting Idaho, but this one must be checked on your bucket list.

The lanes can be in different numbers - ten, seven, five, three, or one.

The numbers are odd, but the experience will set your mood even.

There are curly slides, springboards, and speed slides that can fire forward at the rate of thirty-five miles per hour.

The outdoor pool remains open in summers, but the indoor one is open all year round.

They have diving boards, climbing walls, and basketball hoops in the inner pool sides too.

There are green pastures for you to lounge and organize picnics.

There is a grill, too, in case you might be wanting to cook something there itself.

What a wholesome place, we must say.

Oh, and did we forget to mention that the waters are heated.

Isn't that awesome?

Floating on the Portneuf

Water gushing through Portneuf river
Jesse Stephens / Shutterstock.com

Water lounging is a great way to enjoy the nature around you.

Enjoy the feeling of moving along water channels.

There are a few river access points you should consider before charting out your river float trail.

These include the Centennial and Rainy Park, Taysom Rotary Park, Cheyenne Bridge, Portneuf Road, and Edson Fichter Nature Area.

Portneuf river during winter
JF Hobbs, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting the South Bannon County Historical Centre and Museum

The South Bannon County Historical Centre and Museum is an encyclopedia of Lava Hot Springs' history.

There is both written and physical information about the various tribes that inhabited the place during multiple points in time.

These include the Virginia, Inkomm, McCammon, Virginia, Arimo, Downey, and Swan Lake tribes.

The museum also holds records of the various trappers and traders who visited this place in the 1800s.

The legends around the healing properties of the waters are highly intriguing.

Strolling in the Sunken Gardens

Visit the Sunken Gardens for a thrilling experience.

The vegetation here is grown against a backdrop of rock walks that look like lava.

But in reality, they are algal reefs that have sustained themselves while fighting with the various agents of rock erosion.

The process had turned them into incredible pieces of natural artistry.

After all, what has endured shines.

Hiking the Petticoat Peak

Towering to a height of about 8000 meters, the Petticoat Peak shares a connection between the various tribal groups that inhabited the Fish Creek Mountain Range slopes.

The terrain is rugged and challenging; its beauty lies in the multitude of vegetation composed of mixed greens.

You will find sagebrush and juniper trees blending in with the yellow, blue sunshine skies.

Doughlas Fir and Limber Pines dominate the woodland, while the Western corners abound in groves of Aspen trees.

The Peak is fantastic for undertaking treks and trails, with great roads connected to mainstream transport pathways.

They make sure you do not run out of supplies while touring the natural setting.

Golfing in the Disc Golf Courses

Does your idea of recreation have anything to do with tossing balls into crispy summer skies?

If yes, you are obligated not to miss the disc golf courses in the city, such as Ann Morrison Park Disc Golf Course, the Farragut Disc Golf Course, the Baldfoot Disc Golf Course, and Corbin Park DGC.

Take your kids along, and they will love it.

In fact, many of these places have special courses meant only for professional or recreational disc golf training for children.

Dining in the Portneuf Grill and Lounge

This place will count among the best eateries in Lava Hot Springs, and here's why.

First, it has a strong attachment to history and is a reformation of old buildings that were focal points of food discovery and experimentation.

It's built on the remnants of what was once a famous confectionary and sandwich shop.

The Grill is located in the Riverside Hot Springs Inn and Spa, with the lounge standing right where the hotel's carriage house was erected.

Second, the food is mind-blowing.

Be it the mussels or the steaks, the salmon or the Caesar Salads, everything served here is delicious.

They do have a good assortment of wines to choose from.

Relaxing in the Spas

Sometimes you might want to soak up and unwind in a more private place than a public hot mineral spring.

In that case, the Riverside Hot Springs Inn and Spa makes for an amazing choice.

This quaint little historic building is located close to other sightseeing locations in Idaho and offers you complimentary breakfast and pet allowances.

The place is registered in the National Register of Historic Places.

You might find yourself getting confused about whether it's a hotel or a historic site as you marvel at its incredibly unique architecture and vibe.

Well, it's both and more too.

Enjoy Fishing with Your Kids at Smith's Trout Haven

Smith's Trout Haven is a campsite that welcomes children and families.

This location is ideal for a family reunion or a weekend getaway with the kids.

There are 60 RV hookup sites, 14 tent sites, and four group sites.

It's a great place to unwind and have fun while away from home.

In addition to being just approximately a mile west of the hustle and bustle of downtown, its location makes it very handy.

You can go away to the countryside, yet be near to all the action at Lava Hot Springs.

There are two playgrounds with plenty of open grassy spaces for running about and having a good time.

The best highlight of this campsite is its trout, where campers of all ages may go fishing.

Bring Home Souvenirs from The Purple Moon

The Purple Moon became a mainstay in the little hamlet of Lava Hot Springs, California.

Come on by and check out the wildly varied and one-of-a-kind selection.

The Purple Moon offers gemstones of all sizes, other textiles, swords, knives, martial arts equipment, jewelry of all types, candles, incense, and fragrances made locally and abroad.

It also sells Indonesian furniture and carvings, books, music, divination decks, rugs, tapestries, altar cloths, prayer flags, bells, and singing bowls.

If you're looking for unusual knickknacks, spiritual aids, and more, go no farther than The Purple Moon.

Grab Deli and Stock Up with Mike's Market

If you're looking for deli food in Lava Hot Springs, Mike's Market got your back.

It has a stellar reputation as a top deli.

It is a full-service grocery shop with a hot deli, freshly cut meats, and an array of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Beverages, including ice cold beer, soda pop, and basic groceries, are constantly in stock.

Established in 1975 as Mike's Market, the location was once known as Lew and Dan's.

It is conveniently close to the "tourist" part of Lava Hot Springs.

This spot is just down the street from the hot springs and a short stroll up the street from the swimming pool.

If you missed something essential at home or want to restock, here is the place to go.

Visitors from out of town may also peruse a variety of gifts.

Chill at The Rooftop Bar

Are you and your pals in need of an evening hangout?

Although there are many places to chill in Lava Hot Springs, the experience at The Rooftop Bar is unrivaled.

It's perched 75 feet above Main Street atop the Lava Hillside Suites in the heart of town.

It looks out over the river, the mountains, and Lava Hot Springs downtown and offers the best vantage point in town.

Watch the sunset while you gulp a drink!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Animal Watching at the Pocatello Zoo

The Pocatello Zoo also goes by the name of Zoo Idaho or Ross Park Zoo.

They have established a new contact yard, which helps you discover and enjoy the animals closely.

You might be able to interact with them too, in case you get lucky.

They house two grizzly bears, one of the most popular animals here, as they receive the most tourist traffic.

The park also engages in animal help and conservation by locating injured or troubled animals and taking them under their wing.

Most of the species indigenous or common to Idaho are likely to be found in Pocatello Park, such as cougars, coyotes, bears, bison, deer, elks, eagles, and owls.

Tour in the Chesterfield Village

Located in between the Lava Hot Springs and the Soda springs is the tiny little countryside of Chesterfield.

When Chester Call visited the place in the 1880s to escape from the crowding in the Salt Lake valley, he discovered this place as a probable selection for the establishment of the settlement.

One of the reasons that led him to do so was the availability of ample grazing land.

Soon the number of houses grew, and the place went animate with people.

Visit this scenic location along the Oregon Trail if you are interested in knowing more about traditional habitats' traditions and practices.

This place has preserved Lava Hot Springs’s history, and you can spot that in multiple locations and settings.

Reveling in the Idaho Falls Water Lantern Festival

There are probably about a dozen water festivals in Idaho at various times during the year.

One notable mention is the Idaho Falls Water Lantern Festival.

This celebration marks the importance of hope, cheer, and positivity in the lives of human beings.

The festival authorities provide you with lanterns that you shall launch into the water.

They also offer you a marker to write down all your wishes and goodwill messages on the lantern before tossing it gently into the water.

How breathtaking!

Final Thoughts

Unlike many other cities, Lava Hot Springs has kept its quaint, small-town charm as time has passed.

One may assume that a smaller town in a less populated state region wouldn't be a good choice for a summer or weekend escape, but this is far from the case.

Lava Hot Springs is one of Idaho's best-kept secrets, and it's easy to see why after a visit there.

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