Soaking in the Shadows of the White Cloud Mountains at Slate Creek Hot Springs in Idaho


The view from the parking area / trailhead

Ahhh... finally. Multiple soaks were had at a unique hot springs nestled in a wooded valley situated in the White Cloud Mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). This is the same SNRA that politician Mike Simpson wants to secede chunks off to Stanley for trophy home development. Usually, visiting Slate Creek this time of year yields to snow, at least during cold spring nights. However, a few day warm front provided a nice window of opportunity for accessing this popular soaking destination.

Why hello there...

Slate Creek Hot Springs is located at the site of the old Hoodoo Mines, north of Stanley and near Sunbeam. It's actually kinda spooky being able to see abandoned out-buildings and mine shafts from the soaking pool. Further exploration revealed additional mine shafts and metal shacks. Hot seeps are present throughout the area, but the wooden soaking box is primarily fed from a source inside the nearest boarded up mine shaft. At one point while soaking, I watched steam pour out of the center of an old, long-dead stump 50 yards away.

A closer look at the wooden soaking box

The old soaking box still holds water, but takes time to fill up and adjust the temperature. I must be getting a knack for this kind of stuff, because it only took about 30 minutes to achieve optimal soaking conditions, including fill time.


Please make sure to pull the plug and drain the pool upon departure, and don't forget to move the two hot water plastic pipes back out of the pool as to preserve the wood. And, as always, pick up your trash and any other trash you might find. I was ecstatic to not find any trash at the hot springs and parking / trailhead areas. I did end up picking up trash at a couple of the nearby primitive campsites though.

Sparkling hot water

This is a popular hot springs, consider yourself lucky if you are able to enjoy it yourself. Please treat this area with care and respect, and if you value or use this land - oppose any politicians that would give precious public land away in favor of trophy home development.
Rating: A-


Wonko the Sane said...


The Slate Creek soak in Sawtooth National Recreation Area looks wonderful. We're planning on making a couple of trips out to or through Idaho this summer and I've added this one to the itinerary. I had passed it over because the review in "Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest: Third Edition" described the site as one that is under constant threat of wash out and/or landslide. Plus the photo in the book doesn't do the area any justice (couple of heads sticking out of the water). Thanks for your great work, your guides are helpful and the history along with frequent updates on each soak is welcome news to someone who lives so far away from this great shared natural resource.

In the blog post you mentioned that "this is the same SNRA that politician Mike Simpson wants to secede chunks off to Stanley for trophy home development." I can only assume that you mean this Mike Simpson who individually sponsored the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act of 2004.

The bill looks to me to be no more than a land give-a-way to County seats that may then turn around and sell each block conveyance to interested private parties for development.

When will people start to realize that this land, the land in question in this bill, is their land? Visit it or not, its ours! Mike Simpson can't decide to sell it, it is not his. The whole damn Congress shouldn't have that power. When we elect folks who make it plain that they intend to take what is ours and give it away at the first opportunity we jeopardize our future and our legacy. This is not a party problem, and it is not a problem with the political system if you ask me. Plain and simple it is a personal problem. Americans are lazy bastards it's true, but imagine how angry any one of us would get should Mike Simpson come along and give away a chunkk of anyone's back yard? Not my back yard!

Is their no indignation over such foolhardiness because the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act of 2004 doesn't contain a provision for back yards in Boise?

Next soak assignment is to read "Fire on the Mountain" by Ed Abbey. Think about what you have and try to imagine yourself in Vogelin's place as you soak in the comfort of that public hot spring.

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