When the darkest days of winter hit, Lava Hot Springs blazes with a weekend of wild fun! For nearly 20 years, Lava’s annual Fire & Ice Winterfest has been brightening hearts with freewheeling mirth, impressive pyrotechnics, and completely bonkers competitions. Buckle up, because we’re going to guide you through this wild ride — then show you how to take the fun even further.
One of the ‘Zaniest’ Winter Festivals in the World
Fire & Ice started small 17 years ago and has steadily earned a reputation for its homegrown weirdness. Since USA Today labeled it one of the “10 zaniest winter festivals in the world” several years ago it has also earned international recognition in the Italian newspaper La Stampa — and just last year was named one of the eight best winter festivals in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure.
So, what makes it so crazy? A float through ice-cold water, for starters, a “running of the bulls” through town in swimsuits … and did we mention the abominable snowman?
The balance to all those icy activities will come from — what else? — fire dancers. These skilled artists wield flames and shoot fire into the dark winter sky during spectacularly memorable demonstrations. Fire dancers from all over the West descend on Lava Hot Springs just for this event.
Ready to make the trip? This year’s Fire & Ice Winterfest will take place from February 3-4, kicking off the festivities with a delicious wine tasting. Don’t sleep on making your lodging arrangements, because local facilities fill up fast!
Of course, you don’t need to contain the fun to just Fire & Ice weekend. Whether you arrive a little earlier or stay a little later, you’ll discover plenty of ways to build your own adventure. Just choose the one that’s right for you!
New Year, New You
Recharge your batteries and reset your outlook with fantastic wellness activities at Lava. The town may be small, but it is absolutely bursting with skilled massage therapists and relaxing amenities.
Start by clearing your head and pampering your tired muscles with an aquatic bodywork session in the private naturally heated pool at Lava Hot Springs Inn. Your therapist will support you while guiding you through fluid movements while gently stretching your spine and sending you into contented, sleepy baby-like bliss.
Take the relaxation even further with a mani/pedi at Harkness Salon and Spa. The luxe surroundings in calming neutral colors will immediately put you at ease — luckily, the only choice you need to make is which color to pop on your nails.
From there, indulge in Lava River Rock Therapy at Lava Hotel. This muscle-melting specialty massage uses eight smooth, heated river rocks to unwind knots and break down any lingering stress. It’s an extra-special treat on a cold winter’s day.
When you’ve hit peak bliss, it’s time to hit Downtown Lava! Shop for unique clothes and home goods that match your new outlook at Lava’s welcoming shops before heading off for a final dip in one of the private geothermal pools at Riverside Hot Springs Inn. We guarantee you’ll sleep soundly in your comfy room. While you’re in town, don’t forget to book your reservations for the annual Healing Waters Wellness Fair in May so you can keep the good vibes going.
Fire Up the Sled
Why not make your trip to Fire & Ice an adventure in itself? You can take your snowmobile all the way from nearby Pocatello directly into town and experience peak winter wonders all along the way. Round out your first day in Lava with a trip to the Chuck Wagon Cafe for a hot, homemade meal to warm you after your journey.
After getting a good night’s rest at one of town’s many cabins, hotels, and B&Bs, you’ll be ready to spend the day at Lava’s legendary hot springs. These mineral-rich waters range from 102 to 112 degrees, making them the perfect place to spend a cold, snowy day. Bonus: It’s insanely affordable! A whole day of serious soaking is only $7.50-$8 for adults during the weekday.
downtown for dinner before hitting the dance floor at the Wagon Wheel Lounge. After another night’s rest, you’ll be refreshed and ready to snowmobile home.
Ski ‘n’ Soak
Bring your gear with you and light up the slopes before or after heading to Fire & Ice. Skiers and snowboarders can find some of the best conditions — and most affordable rates — in Idaho at Pebble Creek Ski Area. This family-friendly mountain is open seven days a week, which makes it an easy option for extending your trip.
If Nordic skiing is more your speed, you’ll love the snowmobile-free groomed trails at Baker Ranch. Skiing these private trails is like entering into your own snow globe! All you need is your own equipment and $10 per person for the trail fee. Fat bikes and snowshoes are welcome, too; if you don’t have snowshoes, you can rent them at the ranch.
After all that heart-pumping exercise in the cold, an aprés-ski soak at Lava Hot Springs will be just what the doctor ordered. Finish off your perfect wintry day with the Greystone Dinner Experience, a fantastic four-course extravaganza featuring fresh, seasonal dishes. Don’t forget to add a selection from Greystone’s lovely wine menu to the fun.
We have plenty of additional fun ideas on our website. Book your lodging, pack your craziest costume, and we’ll see you in February!