The first time I saw a photo of Blue Heart Springs in Idaho, I quickly assumed the vibrant blue colors were heavily edited. There was no way that such a place could exist in Twin Falls, a town I had come to know for its expansive farmland and sagebrush covered flatlands, but Caribbean colored lagoons? No way! While living nearby in Idaho Falls, I decided I had to see for myself, and planned a solo kayaking trip to Blue Heart Springs. When I arrived at the springs, I was shocked and perplexed to find that the colors really are that blue. But don’t just take my word for it! In this article, I’ve compiled everything you need to know to plan your own Blue Heart Springs kayak trip, so you can see for yourself.

hanging out on the shores of Blue Heart Springs in Idaho

Hi there! We’re Sarah and Matt, two nomads road tripping across the United States with our cat, Fitzgerald, making a new place our home month to month while working full time and adventuring as much as possible. We spend any free time we can get hiking, camping, backpacking, and exploring new places! We hope that our experiences will help you plan for your next adventure and inspire you to be an outlier!

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Blue Heart Springs in Idaho

Idaho is full of surprises, and Blue Heart Springs is no exception! The aptly named lagoon features vibrant, crystal clear blue water in the shape of a heart.  Although just a half hour drive from Twin Falls, the vibrant blue waters of this hidden lagoon will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the Caribbean. 

Blue Heart Springs is located off the Snake River and is accessible only by boat, so it is not possible to hike here. The most popular way to reach this little slice of paradise is to kayak downriver from Banbury Hot Springs, an excursion that takes around 2 hours roundtrip. It is also possible to visit by motorized boat, entering the Snake River at Banbury Hot Springs or Ritter Island.

If you’re looking to explore one of Idaho’s best hidden gems and spend a half day on the Snake River, add kayaking to Blue Heart Springs to your bucket list!

Leave no trace

Please do your part to help preserve this incredible area for generations to come, and remember to practice the 7 principals of Leave No Trace.

It especially important to remember to stay on the established trail, be well prepared (especially for the high altitude), pack out any food and trash you bring with you, do not feed animals, treat the archaeological site with respect and take only photos and memories with you!


Kayaking to Blue Heart Springs

Quick Stats

  • Location | 30 minutes from Twin Falls, near Hagerman
  • Total cost | $30 per person (kayak rentals)
  • Total time | 2 – 3 hours (1.5 – 2 hours kayaking, 1 hour to hang out at the springs)
  • Kayak Distance | 3 miles (round trip)
  • Epic-ness rating | 7

Highlights

  • Beautiful, tropical blue lagoon
  • Fairly easy kayaking trip from Banbury Hot Springs
  • Awesome spot to hang out on a summer day

Lowlights

  • Gets crowded, especially on weekends
  • Heavy winds can make the trip more difficult
  • No kayak rentals on sight on Sunday

Where is Blue Heart Springs?

Blue Heart Springs is located on the Snake River, west of Twin Falls in southern Idaho. The popular launch points are about 15 to 20 minutes from the smaller towns of Buhl and Hagerman, Idaho.

How to get to Blue Heart Springs

There are a few ways that you can reach Blue Heart Springs by boat. The most popular route is from Banbury Hot Springs, but you can also start from Ritter Island if you’re looking for a longer trip.

From Banbury hot springs

  • 2 hour kayak rental: $15 (single kayak), $25 (tandem kayak) 
  • 4 hour kayak rental: $25 (single kayak), $40 (tandem kayak) 
  • 8 hour kayak rental: $35 (single kayak), $55 (tandem kayak) 
  • Boat launch fee: $10

Banbury Hot Springs is a resort near Hageman, Idaho that offers kayak and paddleboard rentals and a boat launch. Banbury Adventures offers kayak rentals onsite for 2 hours, 4 hours, or 6 hours from Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays!). You can also bring your own kayaks and launch them at the boat launch at Banbury, but note that they do charge a $10 launch fee. 

From Banbury Hot Springs, it’s a 30 to 45 minute kayak downriver for 1.5 miles to reach Blue Heart Springs. The trip back takes a bit longer, between 45 minutes to an hour, as you’ll be paddling downriver. 

Whether you plan to rent kayaks or launch your own, it’s recommended you make reservations online in advance. 

Entering Blue Heart Springs from the Snake River

From Ritter Island

If you’re looking for a longer kayaking trip, you can also reach Blue Heart Springs from Ritter Island, part of the 1000 Springs State Park. From here, the kayaking trip is about twice as long as the route from Banbury Hot Springs. You could either kayak out and back from Ritter Island (7 miles), or launch at Ritter Island and end at Banbury Hot Springs (5 miles) if you have two vehicles available. If you choose to kayak one-way, start at Ritter Island so that you can kayak downriver to Banbury (unless of course, you’re looking for an extra challenge!). 

The abundant waterfalls and crystal clear water around Ritter Island are absolutely beautiful, so I’d highly recommend this route if you have the time and energy!

Minnie Miller Springs from Ritter Island

Can you hike to Blue Heart Springs?

No, Blue Heart Springs is only accessible by water. The little oasis is surrounded by the Snake River on one side and a steep canyon wall on the other, so it’s not possible to hike to Blue Heart Springs.

Blue Heart Springs Map

The map below displays the location of the two launch sites, Banbury Hot Springs or Ritter Island, and Blue Heart Springs. 

How difficult is kayaking to Blue Heart Springs?

As far as kayaking trips go, Blue Heart Springs from Banbury Hot Springs is a fairly easy, half-day trip. The current of the Snake River is generally pretty mild, making for a comfortable 3 mile round trip paddle. Making the journey from Ritter Island is more than twice as long and adds a considerable amount of difficulty, but can still be done easily in one day.  

Conditions on the Snake River change seasonally and depending on recent weather conditions. It’s always a good idea to check current Snake River flow rates, and do not attempt to kayak if conditions are unsafe. Heavy winds can also make the kayaking trip significantly more difficult, so be sure to check the weather before making plans.

When to go

The best time to kayak to Blue Heart Springs is Spring through Fall. Banbury Adventures only offers kayak rentals from April through October. During the winter, you could launch your own kayaks, but it’d be a rather chilly day out on the water!

Banbury Hot Springs is also closed on Sundays, so it’s not possible to rent kayaks OR launch your own boat. You could kayak from Ritter Island on Sunday to enjoy Blue Heart Springs with fewer crowds!

Where to rent kayaks

You have a few choices for renting kayaks to paddle to Blue Heart Springs:

  • Banbury Adventures | The most convenient option if you plan to start from Blue Heart Springs, offering kayak rentals onsite. You don’t have to worry about any of the logistics, as they’ll handling putting in and taking out the kayak for you!
  • Adventure Bros | Adventure Bros started off as just two brothers renting out kayaks, and have turned their side gig into a full time business. They’re very informal (the best way to reach them is by sending a text). We’ve used them for kayak rentals in Twin Falls before and they were super helpful! You can either pick the kayaks up yourself or have them delivered to Banbury Hot Springs for an additional charge.  

Blue Heart Springs packing list

Below are a few important items to make sure you pack for your kayaking trip to Blue Heart Springs:

Blue Heart Springs trip details

In the section below, we’ll give you all the details about the kayaking trip from Banbury Hot Springs to Blue Heart Springs!

My experience

I kayaked to Blue Heart Springs as a solo adventure while living in Idaho Falls, and had an awesome time! I rented a kayak from Banbury Adventures for 4 hours and started my trip at 9am, the first available rental time slot. It took me only about 30 minutes to reach Blue Heart Springs, and when I first arrived it was pretty quiet. 

I climbed up the massive boulder piles for a stunning view of the springs from above, found a nice boulder and basked in the sun for an hour or so. Slowly more and more people started to roll in, on everything from kayaks and SUPs to fishing boats and pontoon boats. By the time I left, the springs were rather crowded. 

Getting to Banbury Hot Springs

When you arrive at Banbury Hot Springs, park in the gravel lot across from the tent camping area. Then make your way downhill to the main office next to the pools. 

Picking up the kayaks

Inside the main office, you’ll check in and then head down to the river to pick up your kayaks. The folks with Banbury Adventures will put the kayak in the water for you and provide you with a paddle and life jacket. 

kayaking from Banbury Hot Springs

Kayaking to the Springs

After acquiring your kayak, hit the water and head to the left from the dock at Banbury Hot Springs. To get to Blue Heart Springs, you’ll be kayaking downriver, which makes for a pretty leisurely paddle! 

Even at this point on the Snake River, the water is a beautiful shade of dark blue, and on a calm morning the reflection over the still water is quite a sight! Along the way to Blue Heart Springs, you will pass by a few small islands and the entrance to Box Canyon Springs, another unit of the 1000 Springs State Park. It’s not possible to enter Box Canyon from the Snake River, but be sure to stop by after your kayaking trip. 

a perfect reflection over the Snake River from a kayak
kayaking on the Snake River towards Blue Heart Springs in Idaho
Box Canyon in the distance on the Snake River

Exploring Blue Heart Springs

Coming from Banbury Hot Springs, Blue Heart Springs is located on the right side of the Snake River, tucked away in a corner just before a sharp bend in the river. It took me about 30 minutes to reach the springs on a calm morning, and I actually kayaked right by it at first, thinking there was no way I had already arrived!

You will paddle in through a narrow passageway before arriving at the stunning Blue Heart Springs. Paddle around and soak up the beauty of the vibrant colors, and then dock your kayak. It’s a bit tricky finding a good spot to get out, as the shore is lined with massive boulders and the water is a bit deep. There’s also a small grassy area to the left and right that may make it easier to get out of your kayak. 

Beside Blue Heart Springs, there is a massive pile of boulders lining the canyon, which make an awesome opportunity to climb up and get an aerial view of the spring. The crystal clear water is even more impressive from above! I’d recommend packing or wearing a pair of shoes with some good traction if you wish to climb around the boulders. Find a nice large boulder and spend as much time as you please hanging out!

kayaking into Blue Heart Springs
Crowds starting to pick up at Blue Heart Springs
crystal clear water at Blue Heart Springs in Idaho
overhead view of Blue Heart Springs in Idaho
Blue Heart Springs from above

Return trip

Remember that to get back to Banbury Hot Springs, you will be paddling upriver so expect the journey to take a little longer. It took me about 45 minutes to return, but it may vary based on wind conditions and river flow rate.

aerial view of Blue Heart Springs in Idaho

Other things to do in Idaho

Looking for more to do near Twin Falls?! Check out these articles for more inspiration:

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For all things Idaho: Idaho Travel Guide

Questions about how to kayak to Blue Heart Springs in southern Idaho? What’re your favorite spots near Twin Falls? Let us know in the comments below!

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