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


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