77 miles outside of Boise, beside the South Fork of the Payette River, steams Kirkham Hot Springs. Geothermal heat seeps out the sides of the canyon, supplying the soaking pools with bath-temperature water.
The pools’ bottoms are made up of rock and sand, so sandals are the best choice; going barefoot can be a painful experience.
To those seeking a spot to get away, winter is the best time to go. The summer can be crowded due to the availability of on-site camping.
Hot Springs-goers must park on the far side of the Payette River and cross a bridge to access Kirkham.
The first soaking pool is positioned at the base of the hillside overlooking the campground and picnic area. The pool is large enough to fit several people and is a nice spot to go if the lower ones are occupied.
But the best soaking pools are by the river. A small path winds its way through the campground and down to the Payette.
Two large pools are nestled in rock outcroppings that sit beside the river. Hot waterfalls feed these pools and add to the sound of rushing water that fills the air. Several smaller pools are positioned downstream from the larger two.
Big boulders flank the rims of these pools, which are ideal for small groups.
“It’s a short getaway to a one of mother nature’s best gifts,” said Nathan Swift, a business major who wanted to enjoy a little time away from studying.
Year-round access and a reasonable-length drive make Kirkham an easy and fun weekend adventure with friends.
A simple search on Google Maps will bring up its location. Make sure to have the directions loaded before you leave because cell-phone coverage is spotty.
“I can’t wait for the campground to open. I really want to try to camp there this summer,” said Swift.
To see a video about the Kirkham Hot Springs visit our website at arbiteronline.com.