Kayaking to Blue Heart Springs in Autumn or Winter!

Blue Heart Springs is an incredible destination in the summer, but it can get extremely crowded. We recommend visiting in autumn instead! Beat the crowds and that high desert heat to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on earth. Start your trip by heading to Buhl or Hagerman, Idaho.

Photograph by Brayden Weeks

Directions to get there

The fall season brings colors all over the Hagerman Valley. To find Blue Heart Springs you will drive the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway. All along the road will be trees and bushes turning all shades of yellow and orange. The views are beautiful, and your destination is either Banbury Hot Springs – adjacent to Miracle Hot Springs, or Blue Heart Kayaking just down the road. You must rent kayaks from Banbury Hot Springs or use one of their other services in order to use their boat launch. You can either rent kayaks from Blue Heart Kayaking or pay a fee to park on their property and launch your own kayaks here. Blue Heart Kayaking is a shorter paddle than from Banbury Hot Springs, but not by much!

**Banbury Hot Springs CLOSED for updates Oct 3rd, 2022 (no re-open date set yet.)

After you’ve hit the water head north! The paddle is either just under a mile, or just more than a mile. You will have the current with you on the way there. Kayak north, and a big island of trees in the middle of the river. Stay to the right (east) of the island for the quickest paddle. 

On the way you will pass multiple little waterfalls on the river. These are also the gorgeous aqua blue water that you’ll find at Blue Heart. One of the waterfall outlets spilling into the river is Box Canyon.

Continue on after viewing the pretty blue water outlets and look for the river veering left (west.)  On the right you will see the entrance to Blue Heart. The canyon walls look like a giant rock slide, falling down behind trees and bushes. There is an opening into the trees that will lead you to the springs. It is located on your right (east) side.

Blue Heart Springs

Once you paddle through the shrubs the canyon opens up to the most beautiful clear blue water you’ve ever seen! Welcome to the magical Blue Heart Springs. Take a dip if you dare in the freezing cold water, or climb onto the rocks to get the perfect photo of the kayaks floating on the water. Peer below the surface to see bubbling white sand. This is where the spring water emerges! 

The paddle back is a bit more difficult as you’re going against the current, but being here in the fall is much more helpful so you don’t have to fight the boiling summer sun. The weather is beautiful this time of year, ranging from the 60s to 70s. Enjoy being out on the water and soaking up the last of the warm sun. We also enjoying paddling the Snake River in the winter, and Blue Heart is just as stunning with snow flakes falling as it is with the summer sun beating. We definitely recommend taking a trip out on the water on a chilly day – make sure to be all bundled up and experienced to assure you will not fall in the water.

Hot Spring Soaking

Once you’ve made it back, treat yourself to some wonderful self care. Banbury Hot Springs has new VIP soaking rooms! These private rooms will give you privacy and tranquillity. Banbury is generally less busy than Miracle Hot Springs. Miracle Hot Springs is another great hot spring to soak in where they have VIP pools and general admission. After the soak you’ll be ready for delicious food so head back to Buhl. We recommend trying out Magic Valley Brewing for a variety of food, from comfort to healthy options. They brew their own beer and soda as well. 

**Banbury Hot Springs CLOSED for updates Oct 3rd, 2022 (no re-open date set yet.)

Lastly,  no kayak trip would be complete without ice cream! Grab some at Cloverleaf Creamery to try locally sourced products and flavors. Accommodations nearby include Billingsley Creek Lodge, which is a beautiful option to lodge in cabins near a vibrant blue creek, similar to Blue Heart Springs!

Photo by Brayden Weeks