Bear Valley Hot Springs in Idaho Revisited!


Bear Valley Hot Springs

It was great to return to Bear Valley after 2 years and find no trash upon arrival. We had the place to ourselves at night and experienced a steady stream of daytime traffic - some friendly and some not. This large influx of day hiker traffic is probably due in part to Backpacker magazine recently featuring Bear Valley. However, they used the wrong picture for the article (Lower Loon Hot Springs was the actual pic used), directions were lackluster and there was no mention of red spider mites. The Boise National Forest also hands out free publications promoting this hot springs as well - funny how their map looks just like that of Evie Littion's Hiking Hot Springs (2nd Ed.) as do the descriptions.

I was not ecstatic to find out that my buddies, the red spider mites, were still around. Despite careful soaking I still came away with a few bites which multiplied after returning (as usual). They even got on a couple of my friends that didn't even go on this trip!

Changes to note:
A downed large tree has crumbled the fire pit and bisects the flat camp site on the Eastern side of the hot springs complexes. The beach area further East of the downed tree has turned into a human flower farm - yeeech! Come on guys! Crap at least 200ft away!

An overzealous hunter has built a structure near the top of the first source so that he may sit comfortably while shooting animals grazing on the algae at the hot springs - wow that's some sportsman. This area is in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness; it is illegal to build structures in it!

A very positive change to note however - (despite the human flower farm) there was no other trash in the hot springs area. Further downstream though is another story. Quite a bit of trash was found in a fire pit downstream of the hot springs at an (yes again) Angler camp. Burnt hooks, fishing wire, tin cans, preservative packs and more were among the trash found. I'm soooo sick of finding Angler trash... my guess is that the 'flower farm' is more than likely Angler related as well.

Despite the pesky mites and trashy Anglers, this trip was excellent. The pools felt great and the scenery was nothing short of spectacular.
Rating: A

Mile-16 Hot Spring in Idaho Revisited


It's always nice to visit good ol M-16; this visit however was one of my least enjoyed. Upon arrival we picked up more trash than I've ever witnessed here. Plus, someone tinkered with the metal pipe that delivers the hot water into the pool. They diverted the main flow from the pipe that feeds the pool to a lower pool that can only be usable in low-water conditions (spring runoff will destroy anything below the mortar reinforced pool). They did a crap job; the big pool is now below 100º when it used to be a reliable and perfect 102º, and the new lower pool's water temperature is a mere couple degrees above that of the river. Nice going guys. Not only was the environment altered, trashed and trampled, but the housing in which the main pipe 'plugs' into the source has been cracked and damaged. I have a real strong feeling that Chinook anglers are responsible for this as the big fishing season just ended in this area. The anglers always leave the area trashed - every year, never fail. I know there are environmentally friendly anglers out there; but they are too few in number.
Rating C+

New Addition & Large Update in Place!

New Addition to!
The IHS Hot Springs, Backpacking & Camping Guide is further reinforcing our firm belief of preservation through education. The IHS Guide is an ever-evolving project designed as a resource for hot springs, backpacking and camping. It pays special attention to Leave No Trace Principles and the utilization of Low Impact Techniques.

WebCam Area Updated!
The Live Idaho & Northwest WebCams area has been updated with a slightly modified design, old cams have been tested & updated, and new cams were added as well.

Support & Preservation Links Area Update!
New links were added and old links were updated in a very import section of the site. To those of us inclined to use the web as a tool; sign-up with the organizations listed in this area and through-them, your efforts combined with that of thousands of others make this one of our best chances to make a difference!

Traffic & Link Updates in Place

New traffic updates have been added to the following three (3) hot springs:

Hot Springs Campground in Idaho >

Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho >

Skinnydipper Hot Springs in Idaho >

Also, the Fan Sites and Support/Preservation links pages have been updated with new content.

Happy Soaking!
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