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Escape the Chill in Hot Springs Heaven

Steve Stuebner

Take advantage of Southern Idaho’s shoulder season while you’re doing the snow dance and praying for more powder. There might not be quite enough of the fluffy stuff yet for many winter activities, but there are hot springs to explore, colorful birds to check off your list, and plenty of relaxation to be had. For the perfect shoulder season retreat, head down to the Snake River Canyon town of Hagerman.

Escape the chill in hot springs. Savvy travelers have been making the pilgrimage to Hagerman for its mineral hot springs for generations. Miracle and Banbury Hot Springs are located just 1.5 miles away from each other and offer plenty of family-friendly deals and cozy accommodations. During the month of December, pick up a $50 swim card for only $35. With soaks priced at only $10 per adult, that’s five muscle-melting sessions.

You’ll have plenty of options, too, from private soaking pools at Miracle to the kid-friendly giant swimming pool at Banbury. Massage therapists are on hand to add an even deeper level of relaxation.


Find a weekend home-away-from-home. Miracle offers RV hookups, but for a true Hagerman experience, book one of the geothermally heated camping domes at Miracle or the cozy cabin or convenient poolside rooms at Banbury.

Solace seekers have long turned to the quiet of Billingsley Creek Lodge. Now under the management of Olin and Shelley Gardner, this quaint collection of welcoming rooms and cabins is nestled under the trees along Billingsley Creek. Tip: Book the Creekside Cottage and enjoy its hot tub while watching the snow fall.


Explore birders’ paradise. Birds, attracted by the shelter and warm water from Hagerman’s many hot springs, make this area a favorite for bird watchers all year round. Grab a pair of binoculars and a trusty field guide and check out the raptors, shorebirds, songbirds, upland birds, waterbirds, and waterfowl that call this area home.


Check out Hagerman’s famous horse. Did you know that Idaho’s state fossil hails from Hagerman? The Hagerman Horse, or Equus simplicidens, was a forebear of modern-day horses. The Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Hagerman is home to the Hagerman Horse Quarry, an internationally recognized cache of important Pliocene fossils. Check out fossil displays and learn about the significance of the area at the Hagerman Fossil Beds Visitor Center.


Grab some adventurous grub. The Snake River Grill has made a name for itself with chef Kirt Martin’s takes on some meats you won’t likely find in the local supermarket. Here, you can try an alligator appetizer, feast on sturgeon nuggets, or try more traditional fare like local trout and catfish.

Check out Southern Idaho Tourism’s Adventure Map for even more ideas for a fun Hagerman getaway!