• Kirkham Hot Springs is a scenic geothermal area just off Highway 21
• The site features multiple hot pools and waterfalls at the river's edge
Kirkham Hot Springs sits on the South Fork of the Payette River across Highway 21, five miles east of Lowman. This spectacular recreation area and interpretive site for volcanic activity allows not only to soak in the healing mineral water or take the hot shower in a river's cave but also let visitors to learn about the hot springs geology and local history.
If you driving from Lowman, you can stop at a large pullout on the right, just before the Kirkham parking area, and enjoy the scenic view of colorful hills with hot water coming from multiple sources, steaming waterfalls cascading down to pools, and the river rushing its turquoise water over rocks.
If you want to see this fabulous geothermal area closer and soak in its mineral water, travel 400 feet east to the bridge across the river. The bridge is closed for vehicles at this time. The 0.3-mile trail leading to the waterfalls and soaking pools starts at the bridge and runs through the site to a viewing platform and then down to the river. Be careful walking down to the hot springs. Rock surfaces are uneven and can be slippery when wet.
Kirkham mineral water emerges from numerous seeping spots, creating small puddles and larger pools and even cascading as a waterfall. Water comes out of the source at temperatures between 120°F (49°C) and 135°F (57°C) and flows into the multiple man-made soaking pools. The pool temperatures range from 95°F (35°C) to 110°F (43°C).
You will see the first pools at a picnic area near the bridge. Other two small pools at the viewing platform are good for small children. However, hot waterfalls with multiple rock-and-sand pools by the river are considered the best spot at Kirkham Hot Springs.
The river might wash off some bank pools during the high water season.
Please remember that nude soaking and soap at the springs are prohibited in the Lowman Ranger District of the Boise National Forest. Pets should be leashed at all times kept away from the hot spring pools and runoff areas. No glass containers are allowed at or near the spring.
Note: This is a popular soaking spot and can get crowded on the summer weekends and holidays.
Amenities & Other Features
Kirkham is a day-use area with a $5 parking fee. There are only vault toilets at the parking and no drinking water source. There is a beautiful picnic area shaded with Ponderosa pines.
Lowman Ranger District is popular among hikers. One of the premier trails, the 35-mile Kirkham Ridge Trail starts a quarter-mile away.
The area along Highway 21 and 17 is popular and known for its many natural hot springs, also known as the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway and the Banks-Lowman HighwayBoth byways offer scenic views, wildlife watching, historical information kiosks and several trail options.
Whitewater rafting, kayaking, trout fishing are popular ventures on the South Fork Payette River.
Kirkham Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 4 miles east of Lowman • Central Idaho • USA
Open: All year, daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
Amenities: Vault toilet
Hiking distance: Short
Road access: Any vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Honored Pass
Managed by: US Forest Service
Elevation: 4,030 ft (1,228 m)
Directions to Kirkham Hot Springs
- Head northeast on ID-21 North for 4.3 miles to the bridge at milepost 77 on the right.