Lava Hot Springs in Bannock County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
Lava Hot Springs' healing waters
Idaho's hot springs have drawn people to them for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Long before indoor plumbing and hot water heaters, bubbling hot springs provided places to bathe and rejuvenate tired muscles. What could have felt better after a hard day hunting buffalo, a freezing day checking a trap line, or a long dusty day's work on the farm? A soak in these natural hot tubs provided rest, relaxation and even spiritual renewal.
(photo: top center)
Native Americans from many tribes frequented this area for centuries before Euro-Americans arrived. They fished the streams, hunted wildlife, and enjoyed the natural hot springs.
Shoshone-Bannock Indians refer to the hot springs as "Poha-Ba" or "medicine water." They sought healing and spiritual renewal from the springs. Minerals and lava rocks found around the thermal pools are still used for ceremonial purposes.
(photo: center, 2nd from top)
The early hot pools were not much more than shallow mud puddles. Bathers lay in the mud, and the waters trickled over them. When these pools were deepened, the forerunners of the present pools were called "Dempsey's Bathtub."
(photo: center, 2nd from bottom)
In the early years, men and women took one-hour turns using a single pool. Men bathed in the nude while women wore bathing suits. (Bath house sign: Splashing and Rowdyism strictly prohibited! Any party or parties found guilty of same will be prosecuted.)
(photo: center, bottom)
By the late 1920s facilities in Lava Hot Springs included an enclosed natatorium, an open-air pool with a high diving tower, a sanitarium with two pools, for men and women, and a mud bath. The city's Spa Mineral Plunge (left) was a popular pool..
Although the science about the healing properties of these mineral-laden waters is a little turkey, few dispute the fact that you feel better after a soak in the hot pools!
(side-bar on right)
The Lava Hot Springs area contains several hot springs. They occur along a north-sour fault southwest of town, and an east-west fault which follows the Portneuf River canyon.
Hot springs are produced by a very slow circulation of rain water to depths of 8,000-10,000 feet. Here, molten rock or other subterranean geologic activity heats the water in underground reservoirs.
Bubbling to the surface, the warm waters keep a constant temperature of 102º-112º Fahrenheit (39º-44º Celsius). Lava Hot Springs water contains over 16 different minerals.
The springs here are odorless (thanks to a lack of sulphur), colorless and constantly flowing as they have been for 50 million years. Nearly 3 million gallons of fresh water pass through the pools daily and into the Portneuf River.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Native Americans • Natural Features.
Location. 42° 37.158′ N, 112° 0.336′ W. Marker is in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, in Bannock County. Marker is on Main Street near U.S. 30, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 430 Main Street, Lava Hot Springs ID 83246, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 milesLava Hot Springs (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Lava Hot Springs (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Furs and farms, fire and floods... (approx. ¼ mile away); Lead Bell Mining Company (approx. ¼ mile away); Hudspeth's Cutoff (approx. 4½ miles away); Chesterfield (approx. 6.8 miles away); Bancroft's First School (approx. 9.2 miles away); Oneida Station (approx. 9½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lava Hot Springs.
Also see . . . Lava Hot Spring.com. Bubbling out of natural underground springs, the hot water is laden with minerals, but has no sulfur and therefore no bad odor. Over 2.5 million gallons a day course through the hot springs and are diverted into the Portneuf River keeping the springs ever changing and clean. The spring's temperatures range from approximately 102˚ to 112˚ degrees. (Submitted on September 13, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2017. It was originally submitted on September 13, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 540 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 13, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.