New Winter Hot Springs Access Methodology?

Ktrak - Ride your bike to snowbound soaks...

Many hot springs during the winter have only 3 access options (if any): snowmobile, cross-country ski and snowshoe. Am I going to have to add Ktrak to that list?

Seeking Banks-Loman Bounty: Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho Video


Video 1 (of 2): Round-the-bend pool and Payette River

Pine Flats Hot Springs is located in the Boise National Forest, and is a short hike from the campground of the same name near Lowman, Idaho.

Video 2 (of 2): Unique ice formations on the hot springs source

View the complete listing for Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho

Bronco Billy (Hot Spring) in Idaho Rides Again

After years of speculation about more than ample hot water flow, someone has finally snuck a soak underneath the source of Bronco Billy Hot Spring. Here's the video of the secret soak (trip report w/ pics to follow):

Bronco Billy Hot Spring is located on a slip of BLM land amongst the Boise National Forest just off the Bank-Lowman Highway between Banks and Garden Valley, Idaho.

View the complete listing for Bronco Billy Hot Spring in Idaho

11.26.06 Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho Video


11.26.06 Trail Creek Hot Springs Video

View the Complete Listing for Trail Creek Hot Springs on

One of Idaho's Best Winter Soaks - Trail Creek Hot Springs

Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho

One of the best winter soaks

Pool Condition
The smaller pool of the two is now the largest pool as of 11.20.05. The depth of the pool is approx. 3 ft and width 10 ft; making it suitable for a 10-pack of soakers. This pool is the first thing you see once you make it down the path from the pullout and cross the river via man-made bridge (as of 03.12.06). It is now rocked walled and reinforced with mortar featuring a rock and sand bottom. Hot water slides down a colorful algae laden rocks into the pool from above while cold water comes in from Trail Creek (adjust the temp. via pipe caps).

Plumbing upgrade: adjustable value

The next pool you will come across just past the 1st is also mortar and rock walled. It can accommodate approx. 6 happy soakers and is about 8ft wide and 2.5 feet deep. Hot water enters the pool from below through the sandy bottom and bubbles up. It also enters the pool via green hose that is siphon fed from the source above the 1st pool. Cold water from the creek is piped in via dual intake pipes located in the lower portion of the pool closest to the most upstream point of the creek. Temperature is adjustable by moving the intake hose out of the water and / or adjusting intake / outtake pipe caps.

How Sweet It Is

Seasonal Notes
The lower pool submerges during spring runoff, but the upper pool evades because of tall mortar reinforced walls, which are high enough to resist the seasonally rampant creek. Sometimes during winter a 4x4 vehicle is required to traverse the last leg of the Warm Lake Highway... especially for accessing the pullout area. The Warm Lake HWY on occasion is subject to closure during severe winter weather.

Camping Notes
There is ample, level campsites with fire rings slightly above the springs and below the pullout. Be prepared to share if it's even the slightest bit warm outside. Other Boise National Forest camping areas and campground are nearby, as is Warm Lake and a variety of other hot springs.

The snow is always a nice touch

11.26.06 Trip Report
If I could put a title on this visit it would be "The Best of One World and the Worst of Another". The 2 pools are in the best condition I've ever seen them in, and I've never seen more trash here before. Both pools feature plumbing upgrades with the uppermost pool sporting a shiny valve; allowing for cold water intake control I.E. temperature control. The top pool clocked in between 105 and 107, the lower pool 109 to 112. Both pools have been dug further out, have had mortar reinforcement/repairs and have new/upgraded plumbing. I would have rated this soak A+ all the way but the surge in trash alarmed me; glass and can beer containers were sticking out of Trail Creek, beer and pop cans were smashed and tucked under rocks in the creek, little tea candles were all over the place, cig buts everywhere and even trash in the pool... nice. I know this place sees a lot of traffic, but the usual soaker around here is fairly environmentally conscience. These places are so rare, polluting them with trash is disrespectful to the environment, wildlife and other hot springers. Please pick up all trash you come across wherever you go.
Rating A-

Geothermal Graceland at Granite Creek Hot Spring in Idaho


The right spot can be tricky to find

General Description
Seasonal riverside rock-walled, sandy/gravel/rock bottomed pools right next to the middle fork road. There may or may not be a pool ready depending on the time of your visit. The riverside pools feature a swirling mix of cold and hot water. Often, one might need to continuously stir the pool to maintain adequate soaking temperatures.

Excellent Boise River Views

Seasonal Notes
Submerged during spring runoff: best times to visit are late July through November. Majority of roads into Atlanta close during winter save for one route which is sketchy at best most winters especially given the large amount of deaths that occur on this road during the summer months.

Camping Notes
Plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from.

Ample parking

09.17.06 Trip Report
Granite Creek Hot Spring was a welcome hot soak during the crisp fall morning. The previous night went into single digits early on, which made the hot spring feel that much better. We soaked briefly with a traveler from California on his way to Yellowstone, hitting as many hot springs along the way.
Rating B+

Overview of the pools

2007 Idaho & Northwest Hot Springs Calendars

The 2007 and calendars are in!

All calendar photographs have been taken by the Webmaster, and feature hot springs in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

Calendar #1: Goldbug Hot Springs (1 picture)

Only $4.79
On Sale Until Dec. 3rd! Reg. price $5.99

Calendar #2: Northwest Hot Springs (12 pictures + 1 cover picture)

Only $15.19
On Sale Until Dec. 3rd! Reg. price $18.99

Burgdorf Hot Springs near McCall, Idaho

Burgdorf Hot Springs in Idaho

Founded in the 1870s, Burgdorf is located near the historic town of Warren, Idaho. Burgdorf features a 6x6 ft spring box pool (113°) and a 50x85 ft large pool (100°-104°), both with sandy bottoms. Electricity-free rental cabins are available and come with a wood stove and oil lamp. You will need to bring cooking equipment, food and any other supplies. If you are planning on spending the night. Please call in advance for reservations. Also, according to Becky from, the owners/operators maintain a blacklist that contains the names of unruly visitors. So behave! Keep in mind that Burgdorf is not your typical commercial hot springs; as it is also a ghost town located on private land surrounded by the beautiful Payette National Forest.

Rental Cabins (18 on-site)
Food Services

No Dogs
No Outside Fires
No Outside Smoking

Summer Directions (Mid-May to early November): From McCall, drive 30 miles north on Warren Wagon Road to Burgdorf Junction. Go west (left) at the junction to the parking and camping areas. Winter Directions: Same as above, but via groomed snowmobile or cross-country ski trails. Rentals are available in McCall, Idaho.

Online Driving Directions

View Topo Map

Adults, $5.30
Children, $2.65
Cabins, $27/night

Public: 10am - Dusk
Private: Dusk - 10am

Make Reservations
Contact Melissa K. Wallace
Phone: 208.636.3036


High Desert Soaks in Southeast Oregon

A collection of pictures taken from an Oct. 2002 camping/backpacking trip in the high desert region of Southeast Oregon. We first started out in the Alvord Desert then ventured up Steens Mountain. Included soakable hot springs: Alvord, Willow Creek, Borax Lake and Little Borax plus various other hot springs that were non-soakable.

Juntura Hot Springs Pictures


Bear Valley Hot Springs Pictures

Taken from a July 05 trip to Bear Valley Hot Springs in Idaho near Stanley.

View the complete listing for Bear Valley Hot Springs in Idaho

Soak the Vote

Even though Idaho remains as the most Republican state, America has decided to give the Democrats a turn in the hot seat. There were a few close races here in Idaho, enough to stir things up last night. I was glad to find out that Prop 2 went down in flames; I'm always amazed when covert agenda stuff makes it to a vote.

I used to get extremely frustrated with Idaho Republicans. Here we are, with the majority of us living in this beautiful state because of the outdoors for some reason or another. Yet, even when obvious legislation is enacted that goes directly against our public lands, roadless forests, wildlife and personal health (water quality) the Republican Red rages on. What could be more obvious than the land grab, revoking the roadless rule, attacking the Endangered Species Act, etc...

I just couldn't wrap my mind around why. I finally came to a realization after talking with many of my acquaintances - it all comes down to education. Given the chance and the proper vessel of education, most that live here because of the outdoors make a decision based upon relevant information. That's how I do it. There's no Blue or Red in my mind, just an ideal of environmental stewardship. And, right now, Blue (Democrats) are far better stewards of the environment.

Well, enough of that. Now get out there and go find yourself a hot soak!

More on Idaho's Prop 2

Don't Let Them Fool You

If Prop 2 goes through, Idaho property taxpayers could be forced to pay millions to opportunists and special interests (did you get that?!) in order to protect their property, the environment and wildlife. So, if big business wants to move in next door or into the forest we would have to pay them to stop!

Under Proposition 2 no recourse can be taken if, for example, someone wants to locate a junkyard or gravel pit next to your home, because either property taxes pay the person not to do it or the investment and value in the property declines.

The eminent domain section is included only to distract attention from the initiative’s real purpose - gutting local planning that protects our communities and property values and allowing opportunists to prey on Idaho property tax-payers.

Prop 2 takes planning for growth out of local hands and gives it to opportunists and special interest groups. Millionaires who don’t even live in Idaho should not be able to dictate what local government and Idaho property owners can and cannot do.

Who's behind Prop 2? You won't even believe it, click here to see for yourself!

Don't be fooled, vote for the environment, your property rights and against special interests - vote NO on Proposition 2!

Josh Webmaster

Additional Prop 2 Information

Roaring River Hot Springs in Idaho Revisited

General Description
Steamy, roadside soaking in a variety of rock-walled pools await the intrepid hot springer. The vast complex emanates heat from multiple locations. However, the small and shallow pools have varied temperatures, need rebuilding after spring runoff and relocation after the river lever recedes (too hot!). There may or may not be something worth while to soak in, but there is plenty of opportunity abound.

09.19.06: One of many small, seasonal pools along the MF Boise River

Pool Condition
Pools are typically small, shallow soakers dug out near or at the river edge where hot meets cold. Once a suitable pool is found or designed, soakers can then enjoy a traditional hot/cold swirling soak where it is often necessary to stir the pool to maintain an adequate soaking temperature.

Seasonal Notes
The majority of roads into the Atlanta area close during winter save for one route which is sketchy at best most winters especially given the large amount of accidents that occur on this road during the summer months. Note: The Middle Fork Boise River Road is a rough one - this is one of my least favorite roads to drive on in Idaho due to the insane washboards. Something to keep in mind. During the summer you can cut down on the drive time by taking on of the many FSR off State HWY 21 to the Middle Fork Road.

Camping Notes
Plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from up and down the road.

09.19.06: Pool sizes, temps and locations vary each year and usually need rebuilding after spring runoff

09.19.06 Trip Report
Roaring River was more like a dull roar for me. While very scenic, the majority of the pools were unusable and clearly visible from the Boise Middle Fork Road. The geothermal complex is fairly large, emanating hot spring water from multiple locations. Most of the pools were either freezing, silt-filled, boiling or poorly designed. There was one worthy soak, but not really that worthy. It was hot enough, but small and shallow in addition to having somewhat low water movement. There was however, plenty of potential. Soaking next to a fairly busy forest road in lack-luster pools isn't really my spot of tea, and really why should it be with so many other stellar soaks nearby. This one is worth a check-out though, and you may just luck out and find a big, juicy steamy soak waiting.
Rating: C-

Idaho Prop 2 - Vote NO

I was going to attempt to write a convincing piece on why Proposition 2 is bad news but this website does a great job. Don't forget to vote pro-environment on Tuesday by voting NO on Proposition 2.

30 ft Hot Waterfall-Fed Brown Hot Spring in Idaho


General Description
There is a major river ford to reach Brown's Creek Hot Spring that should only be attempted during low-water conditions, which is usually sometime during the month of August. Once on the far side of the Middle Fork Boise River, soakers are treated to small, shallow, seasonal soaking pools, a hot waterfall shower and a secret shallow soaker nestled in a nook in the rocks (the only one out of view of the road).

Pool Condition
Hot waterfall (approx. 30ft tall) fed shallow pools (only above water late season around August) and hidden two-person rock and mortar pool on the far side of the Boise River.

Seasonal Notes
The majority of roads into the Atlanta area close during winter save for one route which is sketchy at best most winters especially given the large amount of accidents that occur on this road during the summer months. Note: The Middle Fork Boise River Road is a rough one - this is one of my least favorite roads to drive on in Idaho due to the insane washboards. Something to keep in mind. During the summer you can cut down on the drive time by taking on of the many FSR off State HWY 21 to the Middle Fork Road.

Camping Notes
Plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from up and down the road.

09.19.06 Trip Report
What a nice little surprise Brown Hot Spring turned out to be. The river water, freezing, let me tell you. But the soaking, not too shabby. Had there been something a bit deeper I would have been stoked. The dual hot waterfall/showers definitely helped. The best time to visit Brown is late August. Swim during the day and soak at dusk and dawn.
Rating: B

High Desert Hot Springs: Bog Hot Springs Video

Bog Hot Springs
High Desert, Northern Nevada

High Desert Hot Springs: Hart Mountain Video

Hart Mountain (Antelope) Hot Springs
Southwest Oregon, High Desert

Funny Hot Springs Video


Exxon Exxposed - Again & Again

As hot springers, we need to continuously remain educated in regard to sensitive environmental issues. In a shameless display of allegiance to ExxonMobil, Bush's Energy Secretary, Samuel Bodman, has hand-picked former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond to lead an influential study to develop policy solutions to America's energy crisis! has set up an online action campaign directed at Secretary Bodman to urge him to pull the project out from the National Petroleum Council and give it to an independent body that is NOT the mouthpiece of Big Oil. Congress members are being alerted as well. Over 60,000 people have already written Sec. Bodman within a week!

Idaho Hot Springs Video: Granite Creek, Chattanooga & Skillern

More vids! Granite Creek and Chattanooga are near Atlanta, Idaho and the Middle Fork Boise River while Skillern is in the Sawtooth National Forest, northeast of Fairfield, Idaho.

Here's the vids:

Skillern Hot Springs

Chattanooga Hot Springs

Granite Creek Hot Springs

Middle Fork Boise River Hot Springs Video Clips

Middle Fork Boise River Hot Springs Video Clips

Atlanta Hot Springs Video (furthest away from MF Boise River)

  • Approximate drive time from Boise: 2 hours
  • Closest town: Atlanta, Idaho (no services save for pay phone, closest services in Idaho City)
I know these aren't the most exciting of video clips, but they do give a good impression of the hot springs. Trip reports and pictures to follow....

Nada @ Ninemeyer

General Description
Rocky user built pools with sand and rock bottoms on the far side of the Boise River along the Middle Fork Road.

Wildlife Sighted: Deer, Elk & Fox

Seasonal Notes
Fording the river is only advised during low water (late season) conditions, usually late July to November. Majority of roads into Atlanta close during winter save for one route which is sketchy at best most winters especially given the large amount of deaths that occur on this road during the summer months.


Camping Notes
Plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from.

09.16.06 Trip Report
A cold day meant that I wasn't fording the river. From my vantage point I could see some small, shallow soakers along the river's edge, just below the source. Looks pretty sweet, but the access window is small unless you like icy cold, late season river fords.
Rating: X

Round the Bend Revisited

Hot Waterfall-Fed

General Description
Since there is no pool; the best way to enjoy this hot springs is during late summer. At this time you can safely wade the river to the spot where hot meets cold (river should be approx 3ft deep). The hot water, backed by streaks of bright algae, flows down a cliff into the river. There is no pool to soak in at this hot spring.

Wildlife Sighted: Deer, Elk & Fox

Seasonal Notes
The majority of roads into Atlanta close during winter save for one route which is sketchy at best most winters especially given the large amount of deaths that occur on this road during the summer months. Note: The Middle Fork Boise River Road is a rough one - this is one of my least favorite roads to drive on in Idaho due to the insane washboards. Just something to keep in mind. During the summer you can cut down on the drive time by taking on of the many FSR off State HWY 21 to the Middle Fork Road.

Camping Notes
There are plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from.

09.16.06 Trip Report
Not much has changed here, still beautiful. I was too chicken to ford on this brisk autumn day. Maybe when the air temperature is warmer.
Rating: X

Pete Creek Hot Springs Revisited

General Description
Seasonal, user-built rock-walled pools, usually August through October (when the river is low), look on the far side of the Middle Fork of the Boise River for small, rock-walled pools below the waterfall.

Wildlife Sighted: Deer, Elk & Fox

Seasonal Notes
Fording the river is only advised during low water (late season) conditions, usually late July to November. Majority of roads into Atlanta close during winter save for one route which is sketchy at best most winters especially given the large amount of deaths that occur on this road during the summer months.

Hot Waterfall - Cold Soak

Camping Notes
Plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from.

09.16.06 Trip Report
Foiled again! There were no pools below the waterfall as I had hoped, it looks like soaking this one requires a river ford and soak in the cold river just below the waterfall. Hmmm, maybe during the warmer season, but not today... too cold.
Rating: X

Layoff Loftus - Increase in Partying is too Problematic

Main Semi-Cave Pool

General Description
Loftus features two, sturdy user built rock pools (top pool reinforced with mortar) with sandy bottoms located along the Middle Fork of the Boise River Road.

Wildlife Sighted: Deer, Elk & Cougar

Seasonal Notes
Usable all year - note winter access via the only route open (usually) can be very dangerous. Check road conditions with the Forest Service before committing to a winter journey to this area.

Another look at the main pool

Camping Notes
There are a handful of campsites near the hot spring, not to mention plenty of nearby National Forest campgrounds and primitive sites. Expect wild partiers here - at times I've even encountered multiple kegs with groups of 20+ people. This hot springs has become a favorite party spot for young hunters and ATVers.

Lower Pool

09.16.06 Trip Report
I almost ran over a drunken hunter guy on approach to Loftus. After finally finding a spot amongst the myriad of partiers, I realized that there were at least 2 kegs present. The partiers were a combination of hunters and ATVers from Boise. It was around 10am and most everyone was wasted and there was trash everywhere. You can imagine how shocked I was to find the pool empty. I admit that I was a bit skeptical though, trying not to let my mind wander about what went on in the pool the night before. That thought alone was probably why my soak was short. Or, it could have been the cold looks from the inebriated, so called 'outdoor enthusiasts'.
Rating: D

Smith's Cabin Hot Springs in Idaho Revisited

General Description
Smith's Cabin hot springs 1, 2 and 3 all have potential, and are located on both sides of the Middle Fork of the Boise River near Troutdale Campground. The first one is located on the road-side of the river, while the second is on the other side of the river slightly upstream and the third about 100 yards upstream from the second and originates approx. 20 yards above the river (unlike the first two).

Smith's Cabin Hot Springs #2

Seasonal Notes
There are seasonal forest service road closures on the best access roads into this area. However, all-year access is available via the insanely wash boarded Middle Fork Boise River Road - one of the most irritating road I've EVER been on.

Camping Notes
There are 2 excellent primitive sites nearby along with the official Troutdale Campground as well as plenty of other official and primitive camping sites along the Middle Fork of the Boise River.

09.16.06 Trip Report
I found a couple somewhat suitable pools for soaking at the first source of three, but with so many other, sweeter, soaking opportunities nearby this one only warranted a short foot soak. Across the river, #2 and #3 were quite visible during this particularly brisk autumn day. No soaking pools could be found, so I continued up the road - I was in search of something a bit more accommodating to my tastes.
Rating: C-

Sheep Creek Bridge Hot Springs in Idaho - Yuk


Small and shallow rock-walled and tarp dammed pools with a dirt & rock bottoms. Pools are a short hike from one of the points where the Middle Fork Road bridges the Boise River. There are also light to moderate amounts of algae present in the water of all the pools.

Seasonal forest service road closure on best access road, all-year access via Middle Fork Boise River Road off HWY 21.

Plenty of NF camping sites/areas are available nearby.

My high hopes were doused upon arrival, the well-constructed pool that was present during my last visit was dismantled. The only soaking opportunities were two, small silt and mud filled pools with luke-warm water and one riverside pool filled with cold water and silt.
Rating: D

Twenty Hot Springs in Four Days...

That's right, 20 hot springs updates will be up soon complete with pictures, video and trip reports.

A Wrong Righted & Idaho Government Continues a Dark Plight

I was informed earlier today by Jonathan Oppenheimer of the ICL (Idaho Conservation League) that the 2001 Roadless Rule had been reinstated - a monumental victory for the environment and all who enjoy it. A wrong righted.

The 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule was created to establish a nationwide blanket to protect inventoried roadless areas as a whole; it grants the same high level of protection and management to every single roadless area regardless of state legislation (USDA Forest Service, 2005). This approach makes sense because roadless areas often are independent of state and political boundaries, and as such, should be managed as a whole.

The 2001 Roadless Rule was the most supported set of Federal laws ever enacted; 95% of over 1.6 million comments submitted were in support of 2001 Roadless Rule (Wilderness Society, 2005).

Following the news from the ICL, the President of the Wilderness Society issued a formal statement, which can be viewed here. Sadly, on the eve of such great news, and the very same day of the reinstatement, Idaho's Governor announced plans to stay the course - and go against the reinstatement of the nationwide roadless rule. Idaho plans to continue with the grossly unbalanced petition process aimed at building roads into roadless areas for logging, drilling and other invasive and destructive activities. Finally, protections are restored that should have never been revoked in the first place, but yet it matters not to those in power in Idaho.

Interesting facts about Idaho’s roadless areas:
  • Idaho has the most roadless land in the lower 48 with over 9.3 million acres
  • Over 54% of Idaho’s public land is developed; leaving 46% of public land that is considered roadless
  • 74% of Steelhead and Chinook Salmon habitat in roadless areas
  • Steelhead and Salmon fishers spend $60 million annually in Idaho
(Wilderness Society, 2005)

Roadless areas are important because they represent our remaining intact ecosystems, water systems, wildlife areas and open-spaces. Roadless areas represent 2% of land in the entire US (Wilderness Society, 2005). That's all that is left... 2%. If we don't protect our roadless areas now there will be nothing left.

"We simply need wild country available to us, even if we do no more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope." Wallace Stegner

Roadless Rule Background
On May 5th, 2005, the Bush Administration revoked the widely-supported 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule and replaced it with the 2005 Roadless Rule. Under this new rule, approximately 60 million acres of pristine wild forests were now open for logging, drilling, road building and other destructive forms of development (Idaho Conservation League, 2005).

The Bush Administration was able to revoke the 2001 Roadless Rule by focusing on changing federal regulations in order to quietly replace the Roadless Rule. Federal regulations are basically proposals that allow for fundamental changes to be made to roadless management with little media attention and a small amount (if any) of public involvement (Wilderness Society, 2005).

On September 20th, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth LaPorte ruled that the Bush Administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act when it repealed the 2001 Roadless Rule. The court found the Bush Administration acted illegally, and reinstated the original 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Wilderness Society, 2006). Management of our public lands has been given back to the public, and taken away from special interest groups. Tainted, greedy Governors and State Governments remain as the largest threat to roadless areas.

Lunch @ Lunchbreak Warm Springs in Idaho


General Description
A medium sized, lukewarm (not hot) soak on the wrong side of the Salmon River. Lunchbreak features a single pool with rock walls and a sandy / silty bottom which is also the source where warm water percolates up from.

Seasonal Notes
Pool buried under spring runoff. Access road closure during winter.

Camping Notes
Plenty of nearby National Forest primitive sites to choose from along the forest road, and many primitive and official campgrounds along highway 75. There are large, flat sites on the bench above the pool complete with pit toilets.

Trip Report
Not bad for a warm spring on a hot summer day. However, in this area, hot summer days are few and far between and can often mean 70 degrees to the locals. Lunchbreak is near Slate Creek Hot Springs, at the end of a bumpy, single-track road opposite the hwy 75 side of the Salmon river. It's called Lunchbreak because of the pit toilets, picnic tables and sandy beach... add a warm spring and you've got a favorite stop for floaters of all types. I really liked the sandy beach, and the pool felt great in the heat, but the constant traffic on the hwy and river was a little too distracting from the beautiful surroundings.
Rating: B-

Safe Soaking @ Slate Creek - No backpacking though...


After being turned-away from two attempted pack trips to Bear Valley Hot Springs and the Upper Loon Hot Springs due to wildfires, our troupe ended up at one of the only nearby areas not hampered by wildfire... Slate Creek.

The soaking and camping were excellent, and the hot springs featured a nifty valve addition to the plumbing, which allowed for precise control of the temperature of the incoming hot water.
Rating: A

Side Note
Our stay near the hot springs turned out great despite our preference to backpacking. I was really pulling for Bear Valley and Upper Loon. We encountered moderate amounts of traffic at Slate Creek, in fact, all were friendly soakers.

My only beef was with two hybrid bikers on Slate Creek road. These two idiots just sat on their bikes in the middle of the road upon approach. I originally thought they needed help but that wasn't the case. Just as I stopped they moved out of the road, I asked if they needed any help and they just stared at me. Real smart, and to top it off they were just above a ridge in the road - southbound travelers won't have much of a chance to stop once the ridge is crested.

Sunbeam Hot Springs near Stanely, Idaho


Riverside, rock walled, user-built pools that vary in size and temperature with rock, gravel and sand bottoms.

Located just off HWY 75 near Sunbeam. Pools are below the historic Sunbeam bathhouse, next to the river, which does not possess any soaking opportunities. However, this is one of the rare public, non-commercial hot springs that actually has a restroom / changing room.

Seasonal Notes
Pools submerge during spring runoff.

Camping Notes
There are plenty of nearby National Forest primitive and official campgrounds along highway 75 to choose from.

08.19.06 Briefing / Trip Report
Ahh yes, Sunbeam is now officially qualified. This place was just starting to get busy when our group arrived. The pools reminded me of Sacajawea, where torrents of hot and cold swirl around the pool bottoms making it difficult to find just the right mix. There were quite a few pools to choose from, and temps seem to traditionally vary in each pool depending on the time of year you visit. One thing is for sure though, this place is popular - don't forget to bring your suit!
Rating B-

Idaho Hot Springs Fire Access Update

There are currently many fires raging in Idaho that are effecting access to hot springs.

The South Fork Complex Fire in the Payette National Forest has closed down the South Fork Salmon River road which grants access to Yellow Pine and the Mule Hill Trailhead to Kwis Kwis. This road closure will also bar access to Johnson Creek (AKA Hubcap) Warm Spring near Yellow Pine.

Note: The Warm Lake Highway is also closed, barring access to Trail Creek, Mile-16, all of the Mollys, Vulcan, Buckhorn and all of the other hot springs in the region.

View the South Fork Complex Fire Blog for updates.

The Rattlesnake Complex Fire has closed the Forest Service Road north of Crouch and Garden Valley, barring access to the following hot springs (which may be on fire):

Rocky Canyon, Fire Crew, Boiling Springs, Silver Creek Plunge, Bull Rack, Bull Creek, Pine Burl, Moondipper, Groundhog and Butterfly

The fires are really hitting the hot springs hard this season, with fires raging in almost every area with high concentrations of hot springs in Idaho.

Visit the National Interagency Fire Center for fire updates.

Expansion of the Boundary Fire has led to the closure of the trail to Bear Valley hot springs at the trailhead. Note, you can still drive down the forest road to the Blue Bunch Pack Bridge and even camp at Fir Creek campground, but all of the trails leading into the Frank from this area are closed and have been since Aug. 9th.

I tried to make a run for the Upper Loon hot springs but hit road closures at Sunbeam for the same reason and was advised that just about every FSR road was closed around the Stanley and Challis areas due to the Potato and Trail Creek Fires.

View the Boundary Complex Fire Blog for updates.

View the Potato and Trail Creek Fires Blog for updates.

The Middle Fork Complex Fire is currently threatening the Loon Creek Guard Station, Diamond D Ranch, Lost Packer Mine site and Castro Historic Site.

View the Middle Fork Complex Fire Blog for updates.

The above fire information is also viewable in the hot springs forums. If you have any fire information related to hot springs please feel empowered to post it in the forums.

Bear Valley and Upper Loon Hot Springs Fire Update

Access to the two hot springs is currently being effected by the Boundary Fire.

Click here to read about it in the hot springs forums...

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Video

Click here to view both clips of Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Best Wishes & Happy Soaking,

Weir Creek Hot Springs Video Up!

Select video clips of Weir Creek Hot Springs near Central Idaho in the Clearwater National Forest near Lolo, Montana.

Stanley Hot Springs Video

Video Clips of Stanley Hot Springs in Idaho

Clip 1 (of 5)

Trailhead, Rock Creek and Bridge

Clip 2 (of 5)

Hiking through the mountains into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness on Trail 211 towards Stanley Hot Springs.

Clip 3 (of 5)

Just before reaching the hot springs

Clip 4 (of 5)

Stanley Hot Springs in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

Clip 5 (of 5)

A quiet soak in Stanley Hot Springs

View Stanley Hot Springs Complete Listing

More Hot Springs Video

New Trip Reports / Briefings in the Forums

A new trip report / briefing has been added to the hot springs forums for Goldbug and Elkhorn hot springs in Idaho. Their respective links are below.

Goldbug (Elk Bend)

Elkhorn (Boat Box)

Mile-16 Hot Spring Fire (Idaho) Report

Greetings everyone. I just received a report from a fellow hot springer that the fire in the Payette National Forest has reached the opposite bank of the NF of the Payette River from Mile-16 hot spring. The report stated that actual flames were clearly visible from the pool.

With that said, lets hope for the best and be careful if traveling in/to the Payette NF in the Warm Lake and Krassel areas.

If you have updated information please post it in the forums.

Best wishes & happy soaking,

Mile-16 Hot Spring Moonlit Soaking


M16 - One of many in this area

My backpacking partner and I enjoyed a surreal, moonlit soak at M16 after backpacking to Rice Peak Lookout. As we were arriving a family from Montana here for Yellow Pine's annual Harmonica Festival was on their way out after enjoying one of Idaho's best areas for hot springs.
Rating A+

Soaking with the Masses @ Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in Idaho

Source 2, Pool 2

General Description
Three sources, each with their own soaking opportunities, feature pools with rock walls, some with sandy clear bottoms and some with silt. The 1st of 3 sources, known as the waterfall pools, are submerged until late summer (early August), while the other 2 sources have pools that are available for soaking year-round.

Source 1, Pool 1

Seasonal Notes
The waterfall pools from the 1st (of 3) source are best during late summer... they are submerged during spring runoff. Nighttime closure is currently in effect due to overuse and abuse problems stemming from nearby MT colleges that made JJ a party destination. Open from 6am to 8pm.

Source 1 Overhead

Camping Notes
Official campground near the trailhead along with many other nearby official campgrounds and primitive sites nearby. No camping at the hot springs - nighttime closure in effect.

Warm Springs Trail Pack Bridge

Trip Report
Three years later I returned to JJ in hopes of qualifying the waterfall pools... well... almost! I was able to withstand a few minutes with my back to the hot waterfall before heading on to qualify pools from the remaining two sources. My friend and I broke camp at 4am and were at the hot springs no later than 5am. Within 10 minutes of our arrival the crowds started to trickle in. Even though JJ is only a 1 mile flat hike, nudity is the norm here. I was surprised that there was no signs warning would be soakers of oncoming nudity - as most roadside or near roadside hot soaks do.


There was a blend of locals from Missoula, MT and travelers at JJ. The new JJ official campground is now open, and is the only campground along highway 12 without shade. This time of the year shade is most definitely a requirement. I had a great time enjoying the pools and some light banter with fellow soakers... three years has been too long.
Rating A

Protect Wildlife in Wilderness Areas - URGENT

*OK, not this wolf exactly but hundreds of others who are just as cute.

The U.S. Forest Service wants to use an array of poisons, traps and shooting -- including aerial gunning to wipe out wolves and other carnivores in designated wilderness areas.

Under the proposal, federal agents could chase down and kill bears or other carnivores using planes, helicopters, and all-terrain vehicles -- invading areas once safe for these creatures with loud, intrusive machines. The proposal also allows for the use of the controversial pesticide sodium cyanide. Baited devices could be used to shoot the highly toxic gas into a wolf's mouth, causing a horrible death.

Wildlife Services, the agency that would be put in charge, has a grim track record. In 2004 alone, their agents killed more than 37,000 animals -- coyotes, wolves, foxes, and bobcats -- from the air.

Wilderness areas were meant to be wild and free. According to the 1964 Wilderness Act, these special places should be preserved in their natural conditions with little or no human influence. But the Forest Service's plan could fundamentally alter these largely untouched areas, allowing low-flying airplanes, trucks and all-terrain vehicles to hunt down populations of wolves, bears and other carnivores.

Help force the U.S. Forest Service to withdraw this ill-advised proposal by encouraging your friends to submit their personalized comments before September 6!

Hot Water Wanton at Weir Creek Hot Springs in Idaho



As of July 2006 Weir Creek now features an enlarged main pool. The old pool used to fit approx. 4 people, the new one has the capacity to house 8-10 hot potters. Depth has increased as well, although the solid rock bottom is still somewhat "V" shaped. The original soaking plank is still in use, and the outer walls of the pool facing Weir Creek have been reinforced with mortar. The creek-side soaker below the main pool was also enlarged, features rock walls and sandy / gravel bottom and warm water (not hot). The secondary pool is no longer in use as hot water outflow was diverted to the enlarged pool.

Good ol plank

Lower portions of the trail to the hot springs submerge during spring runoff, just stick to the upper trail (which is steep in places) and you'll be fine. A trekking pole or walking stick works great on this brief but slanty hike any time of the year. During low water, the best route begins by following the main path (most worn) above the series of primitive campsites. After you pass the last site in the series the trail drops down to Weir Creek, at this point stay as low as possible (often walking short paths on the creek bottom) until reaching the springs.

There are some nice primitive sites near the trailhead / parking area, but don't expect privacy as the well-used hot springs trail is right next to all of the sites and an alternate trail that leads to the springs passes though each site. Oftentimes, soakers miss the up-portion of the trail on the way back and end up standing in your campsite with a confused look on their face. Beyond the hot springs (continue on the trail further past), directly across from and shortly before are 3 more primitive sites. There are also plenty of official camping options near the trailhead and primitives down the road. Many choose to car-camp at the trailhead and enjoy a fire in the adjoining pit. Tread lightly please - this area has been experiencing an influx of use and abuse.

Looking down on Weir Creek

It has been too long... 3 days of soaking at Weir Creek treated me well. I needed all 3 days to pick up the trash that littered the primitive sites, trail and hot springs area. My friend and I carted out sack after sack of trash. Broken glass was everywhere, diapers, metal cans and glass bottles in fire pits... fish hooks, wire... etc. The most annoying by far was the little, tiny bits of trash that carpeted almost all of the primitives. I even had to ford the creek, follow a fallen tree up to a secluded island on the creek to find the source of a seemingly metal reflection... more trash.

I met and talked with a variety of soaker types on this trip. All were travelers save for a couple semi-locals out of Missoula, MT. I noticed a common thread among the people I observed; they didn't litter, were polite but yet did not pick up anyone else's trash except for one couple from Moscow, Idaho (kudos to you guys)... a sad ordeal indeed. All of us, whether we like it or not, impact these areas despite how light we tread. Thank the environment for use of the hot springs by becoming a steward: pick up others trash, use main trails and set a good example for others. Please only burn wood in the fire pits, other materials don't break down and emit harmful gases into the environment.

Source pool

I qualified Weir Creek multiple times on this trip. Early afternoon to late night / early morning hours lead to consistent temperature readings of 108° (2 degrees higher than that of 2002) while early morning brought about consistent temperatures of 105° (1 degree higher than that of 2002).

The main pool, and only pool (aside from the warm, creek-side soaker) suitable for soaking had been improved since my last visit. Improvements rendered the pool wider and deeper, growing from 4 person capacity to 8+.

Base camp

I actually had a great time meeting and talking with fellow soakers, something that I rarely get to do around hot springs in southern Idaho. People were friendly, and to say the least it was refreshing. Weir Creek was a great place to unwind after a blistering hike to Stanley Hot Springs and beyond the prior 3 days. Before heading back home yet one more trip was to be had in this region, Jerry Johnson.
Rating A

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