Roadside Soaking at Elkhorn Hot Spring Near Stanley, Idaho

Elkhorn Hot Spring: Easy-access, wooden soaking box right next to the highway northeast of Stanley.

Good to go!

The wooden soaking tub is usable all year long, and the rock-walled seasonal pools next to the river submerge during spring runoff. You'll have to fill the tub (after you put the stopper in) and adjust the hot temps with a plastic bucket (usually located next to the tub) by carting in cold water from the river. Comes complete with sunken seating.

There are plenty of campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from in the surrounding Sawtooth National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), none next to the hot spring.

This roadside dip was a sweet soak as usual during my last visit. Be careful climbing into the soaking tub as the river level was unusually high for this time of year, compare the pictures from May 03 and 06 to see for yourself (more than likely normal river flows considering years of drought). I like Elkhorn, and my biggest beef is that it is right next to the highway. Good and bad I suppose depending on your position. I favor soaking a little further off the beaten path - wondering if someone might drive off the highway and land in the hot spring is just something I don't want entering my mind during a soak. Yes, the odds are quite low of this occurring, but judging from the strength of the river flows, I'd say there is a higher probability that you might end up enjoying a mobile soaking experience (while the river carries the soaking tub downstream). It'd be one heck of a ride and a stellar soak to boot, complete with years of bragging rights.
Rating: B+


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