Imagine yourself totally immersed in nature. Floating on your inflatable tube or kayak, watching the blue water waves lap up next to you. The water is chilly but the air is hot making you feel refreshed. The clouds above drift by and all your worries melt away because you know the next stop on your travel bucket-list is pizza and ice cream.
This is a typical weekend in Southern Idaho! There are three blue water pools that provide a picture-perfect relaxing place all about a 45 minute drive from Twin Falls, or a 15-25 minute drive from Hagerman. Check out our guide on how to find 3 parks with blue water in Southern Idaho. These include; Niagara Springs, Ritter Island, and Box Canyon, all units within Thousand Springs State Parks.
1. Niagara Springs
This shockingly blue water park is a National Natural Landmark! Before visiting, be sure to plan accordingly for the 350-foot-deep Snake River Canyon narrow road. Leave the RV or trailer behind when entering. Once inside the canyon, you’ll find Crystal Springs Lake where there is plenty of opportunity to fish, have a picnic, and float in the lake. Crystal Springs Lake has a handicapped accessible area and a few docks to lounge on all day.
*Bonus Tip for visiting Niagara Springs*
After driving down the canyon grade and towards Crystal Springs Lake look north and drive slow! You’ll spot an incredible blue waterfall cascading through lush vegetation straight out of the canyon wall. Below the waterfall is a nice park area to enjoy the view. There is no swimming permitted in this park area.
2. Ritter Island
The natural springs at Ritter Island are absolutely stunning. The blue water stream flows beside Ritter Island where you can jump in and float the current on a tube or kayak. Hike all around the island to find stunning waterfalls like Lemon Falls and Minnie Miller Springs. Ritter Island is open Memorial Day to Labor Day where you can walk through historic buildings preserved and updated with educational displays. There are two overnight rental properties available for your family to stay right on the island.
*Bonus Tip on Visiting Ritter Island*
Visit the park around the third week of September. Every fall, Ritter Island hosts the popular Thousand Springs Festival of the Arts featuring arts and crafts, music, and food and drink. It is an incredible event to support local business and creators.
2. Box Canyon
Box Canyon is a tropical escape right here in Southern Idaho. The lookout will boast views of gorgeous blue spring water in a jarring canyon. There is a 2 mile trail that follows the canyon rim and will eventually lead you down the canyon. From here you will see a 30-foot tall waterfall that flows into another blue water pool. Hiking even further will lead you to the largest and easiest to access pool. You can float around in your inflatable tube and enjoy the sunshine!
Where to Eat and Stay to Visit all 3 Blue Water Parks
Hagerman is the perfect town to stay at. The Hagerman Valley Inn is a quaint hotel with beautifully updated rooms. You get the small town feel with modern amenities. This hotel is located 15-25 minutes away from every park! Their neighbor just happens to be a local restaurant named Snake River Grill. Here you can try locally sourced fish and game. Another option for food is Fire Pie Pizza, Pasta and Subs. Their pizza is wood-fired and tastes delicious after a day adventuring. Lastly, its always a good idea to eat locally made ice cream! Drive to Buhl on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway and stop at Cloverleaf Creamery. Cloverleaf provides rich and creamy ice cream sourced right from their family dairy. It is the perfect way to get a taste of Idaho and cool off after a hot day on the blue water.