It’s Time to Plan Your Autumn Adventure

It’s Time to Plan Your Autumn Adventure

Summer whizzed by in a flash, but the slower, cozier joys of autumn await in Lava. The town is pulling out the stops for two of its signature events, which will bring plenty of revelers (and fun) to town. But after the party’s over, why not stick around for a few more days of laid-back exploring, soaking, and relaxing? We’ve rounded up a few great ideas to help you plan your trip, but first up: It’s fall festival season!

Break Out the Lederhosen! Oktoberfest is Back

Lava’s Oktoberfest is a weekend of wild fun, with activities ranging from a costume contest to beer tray races to kid-friendly pumpkin painting. Not to mention food and beer — lots of it.

In fact, you better arrive hungry: Local restaurants will be serving up traditional German fare and the Roof Top Bar and Wagon Wheel will be pouring draft beer specials. 

The party kicks off October 6 with music and a yodeling performance at the Community Center. On October 7, the revelry starts early with waffles, sausage, and juice served by the American Legion. The beer garden opens soon after that, where more brats, contests, and music will accompany pints of cold brews. 

Although the beer garden will be open only to those 21 and older, kids don’t have to miss out on the action. The Shack eatery on the corner of Main Street and 2nd East will sponsor and provide supplies for pumpkin painting.

For more information about the schedule and tickets, visit the event’s page on our website. 

Wander Through Three Days of Songs

The action kicks off with the Lava Folk Festival, a three-day event featuring musicians and performers from Idaho and around the country that will take place from September 8-10. During the festival, all of Downtown Lava becomes a stage, with two to three musicians performing at any given time at various venues. 

Enjoy the music of performers like Tahra Charmaine, who performs everything for music for children (her children’s show is syndicated on PBS) to bluesy folk; Will Baxter, a soul and R&B singer from Salt Lake City; Fiddle Express, a bluegrass band; the Shokota Dance Group, who will bring traditional Shoshone-Bannock dances to the stage; and many more.

This year, the festival is expanding to include Arts in the Park from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Lava Hot Springs Inn. A number of artists and craftspeople will be on hand selling their wares, with all the net proceeds going to fund art supplies at Lava Hot Springs Elementary School. 

The Lava Folk Festival was founded in 2016 by the Greater Lava Hot Springs Prosperity Foundation to provide money for musical education at the school, and it has grown steadily ever since. Then, as now, the festival is entirely free and family-friendly. In exchange for three days of music, festival organizers ask that you buy a raffle ticket from one of the ticket sellers stationed throughout town or make a donation. So far, this community event has provided enough funding to pay for instruments and a music teacher at the school — and hopefully encourage the next generation of folk festival musicians. 

Have a Few Extra Days? We Have a Plan For You. 

Here’s a tip: Extending your weekend stay by just a day (or two, or three) will open up some weekday magic. Weekenders will be on the road back home and you’ll be free to enjoy Lava like a local — uncrowded hiking trails, hot pools, and stunning scenic attractions. Here are a few ideas for how to spend extra time in Lava. 

Set Up Camp: After the summer heat, camping in September’s cooler fall weather is an absolute treat. You can choose from a number of campgrounds and RV parks, and there’s something for every type of camper. Would you prefer to leave the tent at home? Check out Lava Campground’s cute, rehabbed retro campers. Bringing the RV or hoping to have a classic tent-and-campfire experience? Try Crystal Springs, Downata Hot Springs, or Portneuf Bend campgrounds. Anglers are fans of Smith’s Trout Haven and campground, while golfers can combine their favorite sport with a stay in the great outdoors at Caribou Highlands. You can read more about each of these campgrounds and book your stay directly by visiting the Camping & RV Parks section of our Lodging page

Loop Through Fall Colors: The gorgeous forests surrounding Lava Hot Springs burst with blazing color from early September through October, so you’ll have a great shot at enjoying the changing leaves whether you’re in town for the folk festival or Oktoberfest. The best way to see them is by taking an easy 2.5-hour loop: From Lava Hot Springs, head east on Highway 30 and then turn north onto South Blaser Highway. Follow the road to the old railroad town of Bancroft, situated in the stunning Caribou Highlands, and continue straight down Old Highway 30 until you reach Highway 34. There, you’ll encounter the valley town of Grace and its Instagram-worthy views of the northernmost part of the Wasatch Range. As you head south, you’ll run into the Niter Ice Cave just north of the town of Niter itself. Drive through nearby Thatcher until you reach Preston, which will be familiar to fans of “Napoleon Dynamite.” 

From there, head northwest on Highway 91 to Swanlake and Downey before connecting to I-15. Turn right onto Highway 30 at Exit 47 for a final swathe of fiery colors before traveling back to Lava Hot Springs.

Try the Taste of Sunshine: Baker Ranch grows some of the most luscious unsprayed raspberries in the state. These plump, red treats are available through mid-September in nearby grocery stores, but you can go directly to the source (just be sure to call ahead to make sure they have some on hand). If you miss out on a basket of berries, don’t fret: Baker Ranch stocks two house-made raspberry jams. Choose from the traditional plain raspberry or sample their jalapeno-spiked version. 

Get Outside: There’s still plenty of time to enjoy some of Lava’s signature outdoor activities. The Lava Zipline Adventure and Ropes Course ensures three hours of thrilling fun, even in the depths of autumn. Fall offers perfect hiking weather; whether you choose to trek up the Centennial Trail to the “L” above Lava or go farther afield, you’re in for a treat (check out Idaho High Country’s great guide to local trails for ideas). If you travel to Lava in September, you’ll even have a chance to float the Portneuf one more time! Most tube rentals close in the fall, but feel free to bring your own tube for a brisk trip.

Soak, Float, Repeat: Of course, no trip to Lava Hot Springs would be complete without a lingering soak in the town’s famous hot pools. The Hot Springs Soaking Complex’s five outdoor pools are extra relaxing when the weather cools; the high concentration of natural minerals is especially soothing for folks who experience seasonal aches and pains. If you’re traveling with kiddos, check out the Indoor Swimming Complex and Portneuf Kiddie Cove at the Olympic Swimming Complex (water slides close Labor Day). Can’t get enough of the waters? Book a stay at Lava Hot Springs Inn & Spa, which has six pools that are open to the public, or try the private pools at The Lava Hotel, the Home Hotel, or Riverside Hot Springs Inn and Spa

Now is a great time to book your autumn adventure! Be sure to browse through the To Do tab on our homepage for a full list of activities, or check out our trip itineraries for seasonal ideas.