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Lava Hot Springs nominated for best river tubing location

A town in southeastern Idaho is getting some national recognition for its great river tubing.

That town is Lava Hot Springs.

Lava was the only town in Idaho to be nominated.

Lava is typically known for its hot pools and water park, but recently it was nominated by USA Today as one of the top 20 “Best River for Tubing” locations.

Part of the Portneuf River runs right through downtown Lava, and it’s on this short stretch of river that people come to tube every summer and fall.

Sam Netuschil, who runs a tube rental shop called Mountain Mayhem, said it’s all about the thrill for people. He said while the ride may not be long, it’s a fun experience.

“It’s only a few blocks but it basically keeps you wet through the whole thing,” Netuschil said. “And there’s little challenging areas that will make you gasp for air for a second until you figure out your way through it.”

“It’s just challenging enough that it really gets people going,” he said. “Once they’ve been down it once, they can’t get enough of it.”

Mark Lowe, a member of Lava’s Chamber of Commerce board, said it’s something people will love being able to do over and over again.

“It’s just a fantastic little stream to be able to put in and ride through town, get back up, go back in, and ride it over and over,” Lowe said. “And the really magical part of this is that there are hot spots down through.”

The hot spots along the river are what makes Lava’s tubing experience a little different from others.

Netuschil said people also have a lot of options when it comes to tubing. People can pick tubes fitting from one to four people. The cost is about $10 to $15 per day, with no limit on how many times you can go.

Both Lowe and Netuschil said it’s a lot of fun for little cost.

“People can come and really have a good time here and not break the bank,” Lowe said.

“It’s probably one of the best values you’ll ever find for outdoor activities,” Netuschil said.

Lava’s mayor, T. Paul Davids, said this is a really good thing for Lava and it’s great to be recognized nationally.

“The river, just like the pools around Lava, has become a destination for people and they come to Lava for that reason,” Davids said. “It’s not just a passing-through kind of thing. They come specifically for what we offer and they stay. It’s a fun and affordable experience for anyone.”

Even though USA Today nominated Lava as one of the top 20, the final rankings are up to the public. To vote, the public can go to

People can vote once per day until May 23. As of Tuesday afternoon, Lava and the Portneuf River were in third place.

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