Winter is a great time of year to pack a lunch and make plans to spend an afternoon soaking at one of southern Idaho's many natural hot springs. For those that don't mind leaving the Twin Falls area and heading north to Ketchum for the day, the area is surrounded by some of the most beautiful springs one would find anywhere.

The Wood River Valley region of Idaho is a truly amazing part of the state. Ketchum, Stanley and Hailey, in particular, offer some of the most unique hot springs you'll find anywhere.

I recently wrote about the Mountain Village Resort Hot Spring, which is located in Stanley, just an 80-mile drive north of Twin Falls. It's just one example of what awaits those who don't mind straying off the beaten path. An extension of the resort, its location right along the bank of a river offers a view that is hard to get elsewhere.

Not too far from this hot spring in Stanley lies another great spot to relax and take in some beautiful scenery. Frenchman's Bend / Warfield Hot Spring is located 11 miles west of Ketchum. This remote area of Warm Springs Creek takes some searching to locate, but the three springs that pump warm water into this area make the efforts worth it.

Some of the springs found in the Wood River Valley don't offer any sort of nearby facilities, and can only be safely accessed at certain times of the year. It's just you, and your natural surroundings, so be prepared to possibly encounter some wildlife during your visit.

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