Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho Revisited

2.04.2006

Near the entrance


No new scalping updates, incidents (see 07.15.05 briefing) or other dark dealings to report at Kirkham... just excellent soaking (thank goodness)! The roads in were dry until reaching Lowman, with only light amounts of rock on the highway. However, the snow was beginning to come down, and I knew that the way out could get a little dangerous.

A couple miles before the hot springs I came across a herd of elk - trapped on a section of the road with a steep drop-off on one side and vertical incline on the other. They were terrified; and slipped on the icy roads when trying to move too quickly. I followed the herd slowly until they reached a safe spot to get off the road.



Informational sign


Please, give deer and elk a chance to get off the road before losing patience - causing them to panic and run excessively will deplete their energy beyond recovery. They have very little left to survive on until spring.

There was ample parking for 3-4 vehicles in Kirkham's pullout near the gated entrance to the campground, and a nice well-used path through the snow into campground and to the hot springs.



Observation deck


It was slick heading down from the campground towards the river. The jagged rocks have flat, smooth areas and are wet year-round; use a walking stick or trekking pole to ease your semi-steep decent to the hot springs.



Slick hike in


I was stoked to discover a new rock-walled pool built just below the first hot waterfall. It was fairly shallow and had room for about 4 people. My favorite soak is located just around the corner, under the 2nd waterfall. This soak was bliss... a perfect 102ยบ with plenty of room to stretch out.



Pool 1


We soaked for a couple hours while watching the deer and elk graze on what little roots and foliage that could be found across the river. Just as we stirred to begin the dry-off, suit-up process a couple arrived to enjoy Kirkham. We politely greeted each other before hiking in the falling snow back to the pullout.



Ahh yes


The drive out was rough due to rapidly falling snow, but only for the first few miles. After the snow turned to rain it was smooth sailing. I'm not the biggest fan of roadside or 'practically' roadside soaks, but Kirkham was excellent. This is the rare time of year when you can steal a soak to yourself - if you dare to brave the roads!
Rating: A+



Pool 2



Happy Soaking, -HSG

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