Sunrise Soaking at Skinnydipper Hot Springs


Skinnydipper, AKA Mile Marker 4/Deer Creek Hot Springs, is one of just a handful of hot springs that are within 1-2 hours from Boise, Idaho. Drive time from Boise is approximately 1 hour. Skinnydipper is Idaho's most recent hot springs discovery. In the 1990s, Hot Springs Harley found and cultivated the hot springs with Keeper Ken's help into what it is today. The .25 mile hike up from the Banks-Lowman Highway pullout is steep and treacherous at times. A loose-knit group of volunteers labeled "Keepers" maintain the trail, pools and plumbing. Partying can get a bit out of hand, especially on the weekends and during the summer nights. Fights, vandalism and vehicle break-ins have been known to occur during peak usage.

A chain of large and deep, rock and mortar pools are located high above the busy Banks-Lowman highway. Water is piped-in with the ability to quickly adjust the temperature with valves for each pool. Please note, the Keepers request that you leave the plumbing and valves alone.

Be wary of the mud and rock slides that are a common occurrence along the Banks-Lowman Highway, especially during Spring and Fall. The trail up to the pools can get slippery and FAST! The same goes for the winter season, except the trail is layered with thick sheets of ice and snow. Rain gear is always nice to have for 'just in case' reasons. Otherwise, Skinny is accessible virtually all year around! Skinnydipper is no longer posted as having nighttime closure in effect.

There is a small 2-person tent sized spot slightly east of the party pool that is on a flat rock wedged into the mountain side. Falling off this rock ledge could be fatal so sleep cautiously and expect plenty of rowdy nighttime/overnight visitors. There is a slight possibility of camping above the springs as well. I have yet to further investigate this. Boise National Forest campgrounds are abundant in this area. However, the close ones are around 10-15 minutes away from Skinny's pullout.

01.21.07 Trip Report

Too long has it been since my last visit. Our early arrival yielded to a slippery climb up the icy trail to the hot springs pools. We made excellent use out of our trekking poles. All 3 pools were in excellent conditions. In fact, I would have to say they are as clean as I've ever witnessed. The new plumbing in place is definitely being utilized properly. We could have used brighter flashlights as we arrived a couple hours prior to sunrise.

I chatted with a solo-soaker shortly before we began departure preparations. The friendly guy headed down to the lower 'party' pool where he proceeded to line up his brewskies on a rock. This guy was a rockstar, drinking beer at dawn. I hope he's careful on the way down. It was a bit brisk getting out; our coats were adorned with ice crystals on any part of the fabric susceptible to moisture.

After filling two bags with trash I was out of space; this being the most disappointing facet of the trip. It seemed like most of the trash came from one or two individuals the previous night. I found a broken flashlight (the batteries were further down the hill), clothing, full can of chili, full can of sparks and a bunch of other garbage carelessly scattered all over the place between the parking pullout and pools.

All it takes is one.

Rating: A+

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Mr Shife said...

Thanks for the tips about hot springs on my blog. I will definitely take them into consideration.

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