Idaho is known for its deep rivers, surrounded by canyons and mountains. Sand dunes here and there, and alpine lakes that shimmer in the sun. What most travelers don’t know is there are hidden paradises within these desert canyons. Aqua blue, crystal clear, and freezing cold lakes appear scattered throughout Southern Idaho!
The most known of these bodies of water is called Box Canyon State Park, located near Buhl, Idaho. Box Canyon has a few different blue lakes that make up the State Park. The first lookout is about a mile walk from the roadside parking, but just added the option to drive up to the lookout! The hike continues down all the way to the Snake River, totaling about 3 miles long. There is a waterfall another mile from the lookout – after hiking down the canyon. There is another large pool of water just after the falls that locals love to swim in!
Ritter Island is another gorgeous place to swim, kayak, and view this incredible water! The grade to Ritter Island is located near Hagerman, Idaho. Just before the bridge to the island, there is a parking lot. Here, you can park your vehicle and walk to a gorgeous waterfall called Lemon Falls. Flowing around Island is aqua blue water with lime green plants blooming from below. Fishing is allowed in this crystal clear water. There is lodging available on Ritter Island, and hosts an amazing festival every fall called Thousand Springs Festival of the Arts.
Blue Heart Springs
Blue Heart Springs is the most difficult to access of these hidden gems – also located near Buhl. The only way to see the gorgeous waters of Blue Heart is by kayaking or paddle boarding a mile down the Snake River! Head to Banbury Hot Springs to rent a kayak or paddle board. From here, paddle downstream to a caved-in area on the canyon wall. Below is a hidden oasis of bubbling blue water!
Crystal Springs Lake
Niagara Springs State Park is most known for its waterfall, but also has a year round fishing area with the amazing blue water. This is near Wendell, Idaho. Walk away from the gorgeous spring waterfall, and under the bridge located nearby. Here, you will discover a small pool! Be careful driving down this canyon grade, it is a steep and narrow road!
Malad Gorge State Park
Malad Gorge is located off the Bliss Exit when traveling on 1-80 from Boise to Twin Falls. The parking lot is located on the east side of a giant canyon, where you can walk over on a foot traffic bridge. Keep walking past this canyon to discover another one! In the furthest west canyon, you’ll find a gorgeous pool of blue water.
Billingsley Creek is located in Hagerman. The easiest way to enjoy it is by lodging at Billingsley Creek Lodge. The blue water runs through the property and makes for the perfect spot for a family gathering.
Devil’s Corral Springs
Devil’s Corral is currently closed to the public, but has plans to reopen soon. It is under construction to provide easier access to the public. The area is north of the Snake River, and has incredible depth from the top of the canyon to the bottom. Inside this history filled canyon is Devil’s Corral Springs, a beautiful blue water paradise. Watch for porcupines when hiking around the blue water!
Blue Lakes Country Club holds an oasis of its own. This golf course is private, but the lakes can be viewed from above! Drive over the Perrine Bridge leading out of Twin Falls. Turn on golf course road, just north of the bridge, and the first turn-off has a great view of the immersion site. Take in the view of the Snake River Canyon, and the gorgeous lakes that names the Blue Lakes Golf Course and a popular road in Twin Falls!
Banbury Wetlands is unique compared to the others. It is located on the Snake near Hagerman and Buhl. You will pass it on the way kayaking to Blue Heart, and can access it by a hike down the canyon! The blue water actually flows into the Snake River, and blends to create cool designs in the water. A marbling effect occurs when the bright blue water mixes with the greenish Snake River! Kayak to Blue Heart to truly see it run into the river.