Looking for the ultimate getaway or maybe a staycation in Idaho? I have exactly what you are looking for with this ultimate getaway to Idaho City. Idaho City is a quick 45-minute to one-hour drive from Boise. Travel time fluctuates depending on how fast you drive and the road conditions. A small historic town founded in 1862 during the Gold rush era. Idaho City might be small, but it holds so much history and offers so much to see, drink, eat, and enjoy!
With Idaho City being so close to Boise, it could easily be a day trip to enjoy everything it has to offer. We decided to make it a quick getaway to really be able to soak it all in. My husband and I love to visit hot springs, eat, drink, and really enjoy ourselves on our trips. If you follow me on Instagram / @sproutingvitality, you know that our dog Finley comes on our adventures too! So I also will be including dog-friendly places for anyone that has a fur baby too!
Idaho City History
Experience the Queen of the Gold Camps
“The year was 1862. In the eastern United States, brothers fought brothers in the bloody battles of the Civil War. But in the Idaho Territory, men had something different on their minds.
Gold had just been discovered in the Boise Basin. Drawn by the lure of instant wealth, prospectors poured into the area by the thousands. Towns sprang up everywhere, like mushrooms. The development of the State of Idaho was underway.
Almost overnight Idaho City became the largest town in the territory. It was a beehive of commercial activity. In its heyday, the city boasted more than 250 businesses, including such amenities as opera and theater houses, music stores, tailors, breweries, bowling alleys, barber shops and bakeries, pool halls, and drug stores. And, of course, numerous saloons.
It was a bawdy, lusty town where whiskey was cheaper than water. Life was cheap, too. Men went armed at all times and were quick to defend themselves. Winners in disputes often spent time in the stout log jail. Losers were carted off to Pioneer Cemetery.
Despite the atmosphere of lawlessness, Idaho City flourished. Within three years of its founding, the city had surpassed Portland, Oregon, as the most populous in the Northwest. And no wonder: during the gold rush more than $250,000,000.00 worth of the precious yellow metal was taken from the Boise Basin.
From boom to bust.
Within a few years of the strike, the gold had become harder to find and more difficult to mine. With fortunes no longer to be made, the prospectors left in droves.
Fires also ravaged the community. The first, in 1865, wiped out eighty percent of the buildings in town. Others, in 1867,1868, and 1871, were similarly destructive. Luckily, due to the extraordinary wealth of the gold strike, the town was speedily rebuilt each time. Today some of the best examples of early brickwork and wooden architecture still exist in Idaho City. Many structures erected in the 1860s remain standing and represent some of Idaho’s most important historical buildings.
An experience you’ll treasure.
In spite of adversity, Idaho City still thrives more than 100 years after its founding. And while the gold rush days are gone forever, much of the boom town flavor remains ready to be experienced during a fascinating, insightful walking tour of the area.
Stroll along the planked boardwalks that formerly rang beneath the boots of rough-and-tumble miners. Drop into the “Merc”, where it once cost a pinch of gold to buy an apple. Peek through the bars of the old jail, where desperados carved their names on the thick wooden walls. Gain a new understanding of the way it was in the 1860s by examining the Boise Basin Museum’s excellent collection of gold rush memorabilia. Visit the Idaho World Building, the old schoolhouse, and all the other absorbing landmarks that fully recapture the unique character of a bygone era. And don’t miss Pioneer Cemetery, full of ancient headboards that tell intriguing tales from the past.
Still lively after all these years.
Idaho City is much more than simply the remnants of a glorious history. It’s also the headquarters for year-round recreation with food, drink, and overnight accommodations readily available!
The entire Boise Basin is surrounded by the Boise National Forest, which offers timbered mountains, crystal-clear creeks, rivers, photogenic dams, and bridges. The Ponderosa Pine Scenic Drive winds through it to the beautiful Sawtooth National Recreation Area, where you’ll find some of the most spectacular, unspoiled scenery in the world.
Visit any time of year. You’ll discover numerous opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation whenever you arrive.
Four seasons of fun.
Spring and summer come to the Basin accompanied by brilliant wildflowers, sparkling streams, and bright days — the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities.
The adventurous can take side trips to other nearby “ghost towns”, such as Placerville, Pioneerville, and Centerville for an overview of the huge mining operations that once existed. Hikers will enjoy the many trails which allow glimpses of the abundant flora and fauna. Equestrian trails present breathtaking vistas. Fishing, particularly for rainbow and brook trout, is especially good. There are ideal spots for camping and picnicking everywhere.
Fall and winter present the area in an entirely different light and permit a wide new range of activities: Hunters will find such quarries as elk, deer, and blue grouse plentiful. Snow blankets the Basin by Thanksgiving, signaling the start of winter sports. Just outside Idaho city are 15 cross-country trails crisscrossing the Basin. Skiers from novices to experts will have a field day. Nor are snowmobilers forgotten — they can roam more than 150 miles of Forest Service roads. Snow campers and snowshoers will look forward to winter, too.
Any time of year you can enjoy a swim at Warm Springs Resort. Just 1 1/2 miles from Idaho City and open all year, it has been a popular place for pleasure seekers since the 1860s, thanks to refreshing, geothermally-heated pools.
Need more to do? Try a wagon ride or a tour train ride. How about a shoot-out or some gold panning? There’s never a lack of things to do on a visit to Idaho City.”
I absolutely love hot springs! They are just so magical, and healing, and is the perfect way to spend the day! The Springs is a pay-to-get-in Hot Spring and they have two options for soaking. We have gone to The Springs and enjoyed the large community pool as well as the private pools. If you are looking for more privacy or a more romantic soak, I highly recommend booking the private pools. If you have kids or going with a lot of friends, the community pool is what you are looking for.
2.5 hr soak time
$23 for Adults
$20 for children 12 and under
Please keep in mind that The Springs has a 12-hour cancellation policy on all private tub reservations. We do not charge your credit card at the time of booking. However, if we are not notified of any cancellations 12 hours prior to your scheduled booking, credit card charges will be incurred for the full price of your general soak reservation.
PRIVATE POOLS (18 years or older)
$5/extra person up to four total
for added general admission into the large pool and hot tub please make a separate reservation
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your reservation time to allow for check-in
Each private tub can accommodate up to 4 adults (18+). While making the reservation online, please make sure to only add 1 adult to your reservation and we will update at check-in. If you plan to enjoy the rest of our facilities at The Springs, we encourage you to make a separate reservation by clicking on the “Reservations” tab at the top of our page.
**The Private tubs are clothing optional
Please keep in mind that The Springs has a 12-hour cancellation policy on all private tub reservations. We do not charge your credit card at the time of booking. However, if we are not notified of any cancellations 12 hours prior to your scheduled booking, credit card charges will be incurred for the full price of the private tub reservation.
The Springs is open in a limited capacity. The number of guests will be limited as well as the soak duration. This is not a forever situation, but the way that we must operate in the meantime.
- We currently have no massage available, but it is set to return in the very near future.
- Please bring your own towels as our towel service will be temporarily suspended. We will have towels available for sale, however.
- We will now have our poolside water stations back in service. Please bring an empty water bottle to stay hydrated during your visit.
- We will have a limited menu available with poolside beer and wine service.
Wanting to stay the night after soaking at The Springs?
The Springs now has a seven-room hotel just down the road from the hot springs! These rooms are brand new and are the nicest in town. Enjoy a soak and continue your relaxation with an overnight stay at the Inn.
- Free Wifi
- 42″ flat screen TV
- Direct TV
- In-room Keurig coffee maker
- Room refrigerator
- Alarm Clock with phone charging station
- Complimentary Shampoo & Conditioner, Shower gel, and body lotion
- Hair Dryer
- ** Discounted Springs admission for all hotel guests
“Designed to be a sanctuary in the middle of the Boise National Forest, the Smoke Jumper still knows that a little comfort goes a long way. It’s our goal with our little tiny home community, to bring people to a little secret town that we’ve fallen in love with. The people, the history, and bringing our version of modern in contrast to the authenticity and history in a town that was once the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest. Albeit a long time ago – like 1862.”
Oh my goodness where do I even begin with these incredible tiny homes? They are tucked in the middle of town and offer so much in a small space. We loved our night in these tiny homes and I can’t wait for you to experience it too!
“We’ve done our best to try to make your tiny home experience enjoyable. That means features like “smart glass” for privacy, where at the touch of a button your glass will go from clear to frost. Right outside your door, you will have a chair for seating with a small deck, and 4 Adirondack chairs with your own Solo Smokeless Firestone with a cooktop.”
“We know staying in a tiny home doesn’t mean you should have to lose all functionality. We’ve equipped these with full mini-kitchens that feature a Nespresso machine for your morning coffee, an induction cooktop, a microwave, and all the necessary pots, pans, plates, and utensils. Bring your own food to make a lovely meal at home. Sleeping four with a King Size Loft Bedroom with a full pullout sofa from Room and Board.”
Solo Stove Fire Under The Star Lit Night
One of my favorite things about being out in the wilderness is the ability to have a wood-burning fire. I loved the Solo Stoves that were offered by Smoke Jumper Tiny Home Resort. You had your very own Solo Stove for each tiny home which I thought was super cool. We sat outside at hours for hours just enjoying the stars and listening to the fire crackle. We have personally bought a solo stove because we love them so much. Such an easy way to enjoy an epic fire.
“Trudy’s Kitchen offers incredible homemade meals, exceptional service, and of course our world-famous Huckleberry Cheesecake. Come enjoy a burger made with house-made ground beef or our hand-cut finger steaks that were in USA Today. Try something on our new homemade Gluten Free menu. We have something for everyone. “
Real ingredients with a true passion for quality flavor.
We have eaten at Trudy’s Kitchen so many times, it is one of our favorites in town. We love to stop here after long ski days or before heading to the hot springs. They make incredible food and their pies and cheesecakes should not be missed. They always have daily specials and will accommodate any request to get your food exactly how you want it. The burgers should not be missed and my personal favorite dessert is the huckleberry cheesecake.
The Gold Mine Hotel is strategically located next to the Gold Mine Grill & Saloon. Here, you will find Idaho City’s hub for entertainment and the best food. Enjoy free live music every weekend!
We wandered over to the Gold Mine Saloon after dinner from Trudy’s Kitchen. We’d never been and were wanting a nice drink and live music to enjoy the evening. We were pleasantly surprised when we walked in to find it packed with locals and a great band playing. Gold Mine Saloon offers a full menu of food, drinks, games to play and on most nights live music. It definitely isn’t a place you want to miss. Gold Mine also offers a hotel right next to the grill and saloon.
We were told that Diamond Lil’s serves up one of the best breakfasts in Idaho City, so of course, we went! I wasn’t prepared for this incredible place! As soon as you walk in you are surrounded by history, photos, and money from all over the world. The money bar at Diamon Lil’s Steakhouse and Saloon is the largest collection of pre-1928 money in the world!
We had the greatest time meeting the owner Holly and being able to hear the stories of this incredible place over the years. We had a blast sitting at the money bar and picking songs from the jukebox. Diamond Lil’s is seriously a hidden gem in Idaho City. I highly suggest making time to stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a quick drink at the bar. They have shuffleboard, pool tables, and jukeboxes to enjoy while you visit.
This darling ice cream parlor is serving up great espresso, ice cream of all flavors, and some local gifts! Be sure to stop in for a morning coffee or afternoon treat! We popped in for a lovely americano with fresh whipped cream on top, one of my personal favorite things to order. Felt like we were needing a little caffeine kick before hitting the road.
Be sure to go check out my full bucket list trip to Idaho City Reel that I did with Visit Idaho. You can watch the reel on my page @sproutingvitality & if we aren’t friends on there already, let’s change that today!
I hope you have enjoyed learning all about Idaho City and making plans to visit yourself! I always love hearing about your adventures so please reach out and tell me all about your trip!