3 Fun Things To Do in Lowman, Idaho: A Perfect Weekend Trip From Boise
July 30, 2022
Lowman, Idaho is a small, unincorporated community in Boise National Forest. If you take the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway between Boise and Stanley, you’ll pass by this area. It’s a great area to stay for a night or two and enjoy white water rafting, soaking in hot springs and taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery.
Lowman also makes for a great day trip from Boise! No matter how long you stay, I highly recommend making time for hot springs and rafting during your trip.
Lowman Quick Info:
- Population of 14
- 1 hr, 40 min from Boise
- 1 hr, 5 min from Stanley
- Spotty cell service
If you would like to experience the white water rafting, visit Lowman between May and September. May and September are your best months to avoid the crowds and enjoy the cool, crisp air while you’re soaking in hot springs.
If you visit between October and April, you can definitely enjoy the hot springs but will likely miss out on white water rafting.
Southfork Lodge is centrally located in Lowman between the activities listed below. The hotel sits next to the river and has some picnic tables outside where you can enjoy the views.
The rooms are clean and have all of the classic hotel amenities.
The hotel also has a restaurant and a convenience store where you can get snacks and drinks. It’s a great location to base yourself for outdoor adventures around Lowman.
Lowman Inn: A great place to enjoy pizza and a drink.
Sourdough Lodge: The only year round restaurant in the area. They serve a variety of items from burgers to pancakes.
Southfork Lodge: A restaurant with a rotating seasonal menu with items like elk burgers and a Huckleberry Bake.
- Pit Toilet at Campground
- $5 fee
- Requires a short hike
- Located 10 minutes from Lowman
Pine Flat Hot Springs is a beautiful hot spring area that requires a short hike to reach. To find the hot springs, you will park at the Pine Flats Campground. There is a parking area for just a few cars right at the trailhead and a slightly larger parking area next to the campground toilets.
You will need to pay a $5 day use fee or you can display your America the Beautiful Pass. The area is maintained by the US Forest Service.
The trail to reach the hot springs is relatively short and easy, but I recommend downloading the All Trails map so you know exactly where to go. It is 0.6 miles and less than 100 feet of elevation gain to reach the springs.
There are several pools to soak in. You will first pass one that is up on a hill. If you continue past it, there are some pools right next to the river and one up a cliff that a waterfall flows into. The hot spring waterfall was definitely a highlight!
To reach the pool with the waterfall, you’ll need to scramble up some wet rocks. Be sure to exercise caution and you will likely find this much easier with proper hiking boots.
Depending on the weather and temperature preferences, you can switch between the river and the hot spring pools or just enjoy one of the pools.
This area can get crowded during peak times, so it is best to go during an off-time. However, there is plenty of space to spread out even if there are a couple other groups.
During my visit, you could reach a couple more hot spring pools by walking waist deep in the Payette River along the rock face. Including these harder to reach pools, we counted 6 separate hot spring pools.
Overall, Pine Flat Hot Springs is such a unique and beautiful place that should be on your Idaho bucket list!
- Pit toilets available
- $5 parking fee
- Located 6 minutes from Lowman
Kirkman Hot Springs is a popular hot spring in Idaho for good reason. It’s a beautiful site to explore the hot springs with views of the Payette River.
There is a bridge that goes across the Payette River and leads to the hot spring area. You will park along Highway 21 (the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway) and then cross the bridge by foot.
Just like Pine Flat Hot Springs, there is a $5 parking/day-use fee. You can also display your America the Beautiful Pass if you have one.
The area has pit toilets and some picnic tables. It used to be a campground but the area is currently available only for day use.
This hot springs area includes several pools, some next to the river and some further away. The main attraction is the area of multiple hot springs along the rocks next to the Payette River. To reach this area, you will need to hike down a short but narrow path and climb over wet rocks. The rocks can get very slippery and I actually fell, be sure to watch your step.
There is another beautiful hot spring waterfall here that you can step under and feel the warm water cascading down.
This area is very popular and can be very crowded during peak times. During the summer, there were several big groups that set up chairs and coolers for the day. The hot weather also meant that most people were swimming in the river. Go early if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
- Be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time.
- Prices are typically in the $60s for a half day and in the $120s for a full day. Be sure to also tip your guide.
- Helmets and life jackets will be provided.
There is incredible white water rafting near Lowman! A few different outfitters offer half day or full day trips of varying difficulties. Check the offerings of Payette River Company, Cascade Rafting or Bear Valley Rafting. Some companies offer multi-day overnight adventures as well.
I did the Staircase section of the South Fork Payette River with Bear Valley Rafting. This section of the river includes Class III & IV rapids. It was our first time white water rafting and it was quite a thrilling adventure.
This section of the river took about 2 hours and we went out in a group of 3 rafts with someone on a kayak monitoring safety. This was a great section to learn because we started with class III rapids and then reached the class IV rapids during the second half of the trip.
During the adventure, we also had the opportunity to swim or cliff jump for those interested. Plus, we did some fun things with the raft that included “surfing” a wave. It was so much fun going over the rapids and we really loved our guide.
One of the most important things to do while water rafting over rapids is listening to your guide and paddling at the right times. After some practice on the easier rapids, even beginners can navigate the class IV rapids safely with the guide’s directions.
Lowman is a great area in Idaho for water thrills and hot springs! It makes for a great day trip or weekend trip from Boise. If you’re spending more time in Boise, check out my 3 day itinerary for hiking trails, food and more.
If you have more time for exploring the Sawtooth Mountains, continue on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway up to Stanley, Idaho and explore the many hiking trails in the area! Check out my guide to visiting Stanley for more details.
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