On Steens Mountain Area Hot Springs


"Despite its clarity and simplicity, however, the desert wears at the same time, paradoxically, a veil of mystery. Motionless and silent it evokes in us an elusive hint of something unknown, unknowable, about to be revealed. Since the desert does not act it seems to be waiting-but waiting for what?" - Edward Abbey

I was inspired by this blog post about southeast Oregon's Steens Mountain area to go back and revisit past trips to hot springs in the same region. After realizing that none of my previous visits made it to the blog, aside from a post on Steens Mountain activism, I decided to post pictures, video clips and trip reports from previous visits.

Willow Creek Hot Springs - SE Oregon

HS Description (view map)

Miles away from nowhere, Willow Creek Hot Spring features a single pool out in the middle of southeast Oregon's high desert region. An all-season gravel/dirt road will get you most of the way there, but the last bit is on soft dirt, which is impassible during rain. Choose your season wisely.

Trip Report for October 2002

Willow Creek is the 2nd nicest HS I have visited in SE Oregon. The first being Alvord HS. This HS is located in a BLM managed area and is longtime favorite of the RV crowd. There's plenty of flat, excellent camping and a BLM pit-toilet. Perfect temperature and nice depth were what really made this HS a prime soak. Prepare yourself for a long, dusty, bumpy, long ride as this is located in the middle of nowhere.... perfect!
Rating A

March 2008 Video Clip : Wild Horses and Hot Springs in the Oregon Desert

Clip features two run-ins with real-life wild horses. There are not many of these herds left in the US. The rest of the clip features a high-desert hot springs... Willow Creek. Footage is from the southeast corner of Oregon, approx. 4 hours from Boise Idaho and near Fields Oregon.

View other trip reports for Willow Creek from 2003 through 2008

Bog Hot Springs - NE Nevada

October 2006 Video Clip

Located in the high mountain desert region of northern Nevada 312 miles from Boise. The video clip features a sunset soak, the hot springs at dawn and primitive campsite footage.

Alvord Hot Springs - SE Oregon

HS Description (view map)

Adjacent to the Alvord Desert (and dry lakebed of the same name) and Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon are two large concrete tanks, one with walls the other without (neither with a roof) - a thin layer of algae coats the bottoms and each pool has submerged seating (courtesy of a handful of retired washers) - the pools are surrounded by decking and benches with a covered room off to the side of the walled pool, there is also a garbage can present that locals cart in and out on a regular basis. Please pack out all your own trash.

Trip Reports for September and October 2002

10.14.02, 10.15.02 & 10.16.02
A full week of soaking (in Alvord HS and Willow Creek HS), backpacking and camping in the Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain made for an excellent combination. Sighted and confirmed (with 8 total people in the area) a flying object at approximately 7pm on Monday the 14th above the southern portion of the Steens. This is no joke, I saw this baby as clear as day along with my friend and two others while soaking at Alvord. Ten minutes later we were joined by 3 more people that frantically approached us from the north. They literally ran up to the pools and asked us "Did you guys see that thing in the sky?", apparently one of the fellows said he had lived in this area for over 40 years and had never seen anything like it. The next day we confirmed the sighting with 2 more campers and the owner of the Fields gas station/store. Daytime temps were 70-80º and nighttime temps ran between 9-22º!

(added 12.31.08)
The irony is that the location of the hovering object was directly above where we had originally planned to camp that same night. However, our pack trip was cut short when we misjudged water refilling locations and had to abruptly return from a two-day hike out in mere hours. Which is why we were soaking in Alvord, we were beat! Interestingly enough, we did spend a couple hours hiking around the area in question before our discovery and subsequent dramatic return hike. The only irregularity we noticed while milling about were groupings of rocks that were white as snow, as if something super-heated the color right out of them from above... hmmm. Another mystery of the high desert I suppose.

Rating A

We bagged on Bagby (in OR) because our planned route had been closed because of wildfires. So, we decided on a route through the desert. What a cool soak! Inscriptions from soakers of the past were everywhere. People on their way to Burning Man and other festivals have left insightful messages for all to read while enjoying a shady soak along with many other hot springers. There was some weird stuff however, things that I'd rather not repeat. Shame on you few. Many thanks goes out to those of you many that peacefully enjoy these ancient places. You deserve a stellar soak in my book.
Rating A-

Borax Lake Hot (?) Springs

HS Description (view map)

Borax Lake is a small lake heated by thermal vents, and only feels warm during select parts of the year.

Trip Report for October 2002

Borax Lake HS is right next to an old Borax Works station were Borax was mined and carted by mule train to Winemucca, NV. The remains of the station are still visible. The lake itself takes a bit of dusty, bumpy driving to reach. There are ways to drive all the way in if you are not interested in walking or biking from the gates. Be aware that the tiny sand/clay particles can be rough on your vehicle and will seep into just about everywhere. Even after returning home I had that stuff blasting out of my truck heater for days! Don't forget to bring lots of water either. This HS is located on BLM land and contains extremely high levels of arsenic. Neither one of us did more than stick an arm or leg in the cool water of Borax Lake.
Rating D+

Hart Mountain Hot Springs

October 2006 Video Clip (view map)

So, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed the recap as much as I did - can't wait to go back.

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Party Goers Rescued from Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho


Last Saturday, December 20th, a group of 4 men and 2 women partied it up at Pine Flats Hot Springs in the Boise National Forest, which is located about 1.5 hours north of Boise, Idaho. The source and pools are only about a 0.35 mile hike from the official National Forest campground of the same name.

Pine Flats is a popular summer campground destination and is frequented occasionally during the winter months by locals. The hot springs pools are located in a variety of locations near and around the source, and are typically shallow and too cool for wintertime soaking. Despite being easy to reach, pools located above the river require a steep hike up jagged, loose rocks. These are normally the hottest pools, while the riverside soaks are usually much cooler.

From the way the story reads; the group got tanked, didn't protect their clothes from the elements while soaking and then got disorientated on the hike back. Sadly, I've heard renditions of this same story all too frequently in the past, at least a few times each winter. This group was very fortunate that they all made it out alive.

Just a couple weeks ago I almost got into serious trouble at the very same hot springs. I wasn't drinking, but still somehow managed to fall into the hot springs pool with all of my clothes on. In regard to the news article; there's pretty much only one way in and out of Pine Flats... unless they were able to scale an ice-covered cliff or ford the near-frozen Payette River. My guess is that they missed the path back up to the parking area on the return hike and continued east along the river in Lowman's direction. This is where the river gradually shifts back toward the Banks-Lowman highway. Not so in the other direction.

Long story short; 4 of the group ended up on the Banks-Lowman highway without much clothing on when spotted by a snowplow driver, who in-turn called in the Idaho State Patrol. ISP arrived, tracked down the other two, and brought them back into Boise.

Here's a map of Pine Flats, you can see Lowman to the east. Note where the river moves toward the highway...

I'm really glad that everyone made it out ok. When events like these go bad, hot springs get closed down. Something the story neglects to mention, is that the hot springs pools at Pine Flats are currently NOT warm enough for a soak. I would imagine that they began the hypothermia-like chilling process as soon as they climbed into the pool. I can't stress it enough, reliable (waterproof) water thermometers are a very important tool that should be in every hot springer's arsenal. Optimal soaking conditions exist at 100 to 110 degrees, 102-106 is a great target range. Also, a good rule of thumb when in a hot spring pool: 1 beer = 3.

Read the guide to backcountry hot springs; contains gear list, safety info., etiquette and more...

KTVB actually used a few pictures I've taken of Pine Flats in the story video...

More: view pictures, video clips and past trip reports of Pine Flats Hot Springs

As always, check road reports, weather conditions and be prepared when attempting to visit backcountry hot springs during inclement weather seasons.

Be safe and have fun! Happy Holidays!

[where: Lowman, ID]

Thermometers are Important : Austin Hot Springs in Oregon Scalding


Just another really good reason to carry along a waterproof thermometer when on the soak. These things are pretty handy. You can pick them up a restaurant supply stores locally.

Here a few waterproof thermometers, I especially like the floating ducky...

Strawberry Hot Springs (vid) in Colorado

Looks enticing, and reminds of Gold Fork Hot Springs, near Donnelly and Tamarack in Idaho.

Falling for Pine Flats Hot Springs

Hot Springs Name: Pine Flats Hot Springs
Additional Info: View complete listing on IHS
Near: Lowman, Idaho
Type: Public
NF: Boise National Forest

Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho

Trip Report

It had been a couple months. I was antsy to get out. So, I took off Friday evening for Pine Flats. There's nothing quite like a hot soak under the stars in Idaho's backcountry during winter. The gate into the campground of the same name was open, and I was able to drive down to the trailhead parking area with ease, not much snow/ice here... yet.

Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho

After the brief hike to the 'round the bend' pool I began my routine. First, I started by dropping my non-waterproof digital thermometer into the pool. Then, I finished off by falling into the pool with all of my clothes on, coat, shoes and all. Not so smooth considering the air temperature was below 20 and I still had to hike back out.

Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho

I then proceeded to make another smooth move. I stripped down and immediately climbed into the pool... not fully knowing the temperature. After a few minutes of shivering I decided that it was around 96. Not good. At least my coat was somewhat dry, but my shoes and pants were drenched. Needless to say, I enjoyed my truck's heater after the return speed-hike. All things considered, I ventured out because I needed a break from the norm. It turned out to be a pretty fun trip regardless. My soaking companion thought it was a riot. For some reason I neglected to see the humor in it until a few hours later.

A huge plus to the whole debacle was that I found Pine Flats to be trash-free for the first time in years.

[where: Lowman, ID]

Rocky Canyon Ruckus


It looks like there might be some trouble brewing at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs. According to this forums post, the Boise National Forest has plans to dismantle the improved pools.

Here's the post:

I have had a very disturbing conversation with the district ranger Boise National Forest, area around Crouch. Includes these hot springs. They told me that these rebuilt pools are going to be "dismantled" because there was no permit issued for the building of them. I have written a letter with a copy to his boss. District Ranger attn: John Erickson 1805 Hwy 16 Rm #5 Emmett 83617. His boss is Boise National Forest attn: Ceilia Seesholtz at 1249 Vinnell Way suite 200 Boise 83709 . Above the Social Security office just west of the Wal Mart on Overland. We need H E L P and more people to protest the destruction of these awesome pools. lhp2658@q.com But the pools are still awesome, and today "election day" we had them all to ourselves, with only 3 vehicles on the road!

My thoughts, based on past/present visits and submitted hot springer trip reports:

Before the pools were improved:
  • (-) The terrain was more dangerous to navigate. The best pools to soak in were located near the top of the source; a slick, steep climb.
  • (+) The pools were natural in design, (-) save for tarps used that deteriorated and entered stream systems (tarps have fungi that cannot naturally be broken down, fish eat it, animals eat - then we eat it).
  • (-) Poor pool construction meant poor water flow; pools often contained stagnant water.
After the pools were improved:
  • (+) The overall level of trash at the hot springs and pullout has been dramatically reduced.
  • (-) There is an increased potential for overuse and abuse, which typically leads to vehicle vandalism and other assorted problems that occur at some of the more popular easy-access public hot springs. However, Rocky Canyon is somewhat off the beaten path in regard to typical easy-access classified soaks.
My question to the forest service is why Rocky Canyon? There are many other improved soaking pools in the Boise National Forest that I doubt have permits and are notorious trouble-makers. If you target one, don't you have to go after them all? Maybe I'm missing something.

What are you thoughts? Should Rocky's pools be dismantled or preserved?

[where: Crouch, ID]

A Victory for the Environment and Wildlife

I'm generally not very political these days... except when it comes to the environment. That, I understand better than the many other faucets of our quagmired yet multi-dimensional political system. What I do know, is that many of our current politicians have continuously levied attacks against the environment for no better reason than to make money. Not for the country, not to serve the people, but either for themselves or for political gain. The expense? A few more thin slices are cut from America's last piece of public land pie.

The evidence is overwhelming here in Idaho; the state with the most open space in the lower 48 - the only state not covered by the nationwide Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Even despite the economic viability of fishing, hunting and backpacking - and the combined outcry from these groups; Idaho's roadless land remains virtually unprotected. Keep in mind, less than 2% of all land in the US is roadless (Source: Wilderness Society). That means Idaho and Alaska are about it. I don't know about you, but I'll take summer in Idaho over rainy, cold, mosquito-infested (yet absolutely beautiful) Alaska anytime.

Living in the reddest state of the US has proved enlightening. Aggravating too. Urbanization of Economics depicts that the reason why people live in Idaho is primarily singular - they come for the wilderness. It also teaches that cities (economies) are nothing without a core group of people - the working middle class. But yet, this evidence eludes many. Our political leaders tend to support causes that promise them big business in the future by use of methods that go against what sustains cities to begin with. I'm not saying I want to see Idaho all blue or all red, just a bit more balanced.

Growing your business in Idaho, be you a politician, small business owner, corporate worker or Joe the Plumber, should utilize methodology that supports what makes Idaho - Idaho. Grow in a way that conserves, preserves, promotes and protects Idaho wilderness - instead of making the easy choice to support methodology that undermines the reasoning of why people choose to live in Idaho.

It seems, that once you've lived in a frontier state like Idaho, it's easy to forget that the other 48 states don't have roadless forests, open desert and intact ecosystems that aren't swarming with people and problems. In some states, they just plain don't exist.

Even now, the day after the election, there is hope. Environmental organizations are scrambling to embrace a new forthcoming administration, one that favors protecting the environment in hopes of protecting our future.

That gives me hope.

More info. on Idaho Roadless Rule

Defenders of Wildlife Election 08 Wrap-Up Video:

2008 Election Wrap-Up from Defenders Action Fun on Vimeo.

NWF Bagby Hot Springs in Oregon Video


Bagby Hot Springs in Oregon Field Guide featuring the Northwest Forest Conservancy (NWF)

View Bagby Hot Springs on SoakOregon.com

A Few Quick Updates

Eastern Sierra Hot Springs Goodness

CaliCampBug has a great post up of her latest visit to a few northern California geothermal gems on her stellar blog 'California Camp Bug'. Featuring amazing pictures and corresponding trip report. View the post

Idaho's Roadless Forests in NYT

Idaho is the only state that is not covered by the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Read the article

Boise Larry Lynx Creek Trip Report and Pics

Here's a great hot springs trip report on the elusive Lynx Creek Hot Springs, located a few miles hike from the backcountry mining town of Atlanta. View the trip report

MSN Hot Springer Now on Multiply

Notorious hot springer Kim has migrated his hot springs content to Multiply. Visit her new site

Skinnydipper Hot Springs Feat. The Crappy Old String Band!


Skinnydipper Hot Springs Featuring The Crappy Old String Band - For more funny videos, click here

The hike and hot pools of famed Skinnydipper Hot Springs located in south-central Idaho. Featuring Bluegrass from 'The Crappy Old String Band' with Bart Rayne on Banjo and Vocals.

Other video formats

Visit The Crappy Old String Band on Myspace!

View the complete listing for Skinnydipper Hot Springs

View all Hot Springs video clips

Moose Poached near Worswick Hot Springs in Idaho

A bull moose was killed illegally on Sept. 26 or Sept. 27 north of Fairfield, Idaho in the Rosetta Creek drainage near Worswick Hot Springs, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game. This area is located in Fish and Game Big Game Unit 44, Rosetta Creek is a tributary of Little Smoky Creek.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500 reward to help solve the Idaho moose poaching case.

If any hot springers/outdoor enthusiasts have any information relating to this event please call the Citizen's Against Poaching Hotline at 1 (800) 632-5999 or the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.

Callers can remain anonymous and a reward of $2,500 may be issued for information leading to a conviction.

You may also submit information online with the Idaho Fish and Game 'Report A Poacher' form.

Additional Information

[where: Fairfield, ID]

Most 'Interesting' Pictures

According to Flickriver, which is a nifty web application that breathes extra functionality into Flickr, here are my most 'interesting' pictures on Flickr:

disruptive - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

Skinnydipper Hot Springs Pics


Think Green

From Slightly Above

View from the Pool

True That - Keepers Needed

The Party Pool

Short trip report this time: In a nutshell - a badass trip because of low trash, clean pools and friendly soakers. Usually, a trip to Skinny means hauling down at least a couple bags of trash.
Rating A+

The Rocky Molly Update

Trip Reports for Rocky Canyon and Molly's Tubs Hot Springs in Idaho

09.16.08 Rocky Canyon Hot Springs


A welcome improvement to report at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs; the hot water channel and pool mortaring has been revamped; hot water from the source now travels down an encased tunnel, which helps trap the necessary heat required to keep the pools sizzlin hot. All of the pools feature elevated temperatures. Lately, it's been the opposite, and soaking near the top was a must. Now, it's time to enjoy the lower pools. That creek ford though, it was cold. At least the water is low this time of year, and the pools are waiting to warm your numb feet one way in. On Sunday, this place was slammed, uber-slammed! Come Monday, not a soul.
Rating: A+

09.15.08 Molly's Tubs Hot Springs

Molly's Tubs

Not much new to report here... tubs and temps are in good soaking condition. Check out the video for more. Note: all primitive and official campground are currently closed for restoration purposes. Camping anywhere in the vicinity will be difficult at best.
Rating: B+

Molly's Tubs Hot Springs Northeast of Cascade


A quick look at Molly's Tubs Hot Springs, located in the Boise National Forest, northeast of Cascade, Idaho.

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Molly's Tubs Hot Springs pictures and trip reports

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Weir Creek Hot Springs in Idaho Trip Report

North Idaho Wonder

Unfortunately, my schedule only allowed for a late night run at Weir Creek Hot Springs. Which just means no pics, but some video turned-out. It was a stellar soak under a thick blanket of stars overlooking a dense forest with crystal-clear Weir Creek chatting away in the background. The pool clocked-in at 108! Good thing it was brisk. After observing two shooting stars while eating a wheel of cheese, some peanut butter and trail mix I decided to call it good.

On the way out I crossed paths with a couple and their dog attempting to navigate their way in. I helped them coordinate, and left hoping they took it slow due to their lack of decent flashlights. Even when hiking during daylight, there are still plenty of sharp drops on slick dirt, mysterious trail intersections and skirmishes with Weir Creek to contend with. During spring runoff, access to the hot springs can be quite a challenge. A good trekking pole/hiking staff is handy here year-round.

Camp was pitched nearby; I remembered the location of a handful of nice primitive campsites just down a dirt FSR close to the Jerry Johnson Hot Springs trailhead, tomorrow's agenda.
Rating A

Soaking in the Clearwater National Forest at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs (Trip Report)

JJ Signage

The Clearwater National Forest and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a longtime Idaho favorite for natural, primitive hot springs. Located in north-central Idaho and primarily accessible off State Highway 12, this is the state's lushest region in regard to hot springs hiking and backpacking trips.

I favor this region partially because of the associated diversity of travelers. Sure, there are locals, mostly from across the border in Montana... Missoula is close by with a hearty population of ready and able hot springers. What I've found to be unique is meeting people from not only around the country, but from other countries. All have been, in my experience, friendly, outdoor enthusiasts that possess a pure love the for the wilderness. Most seem to be escaping city life, or just life in general... taking refuge in one of nature's finest. I've been offered to share a meal, campfire and/or beer in this area more times than I can remember.

Jerry Johnson #3

This area was the last place I backpacked with a lifelong friend and backpacking partner before he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. I can always feel his presence around here. It was an amazing last trip... complete with a visit from Stanley's Hot Springs Moose. I've got video, it'll go up... soon I promise. :) I will forever miss our annual backpacking hot springs expeditions.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs was a sight for sore eyes if there ever was one. Even the dirt feels different beneath your feet here. The ground is soft, and crunches slowly under the weight of each footfall. The moist air helps keep the trail dust down and bare legs relatively clean. The hike through the Clearwater National Forest is too short. Early in the morning it is has a medieval like appeal at sunrise, when fragments of light pierce the wooded veil like flashlight beams on a starless night.

Cloud Soakers

Idaho's southern forests in comparison (save for the southeast) are dry. Aside from the mighty Ponderosa Pines, the trees don't always blot out the sky. Easy to bushwhack, forget about it up north. More snakes, less berries. About the same amount of wolves and black bears, but less grizzlies. There's none in the south, and a handful supposedly up north. Nothing to worry about though, the majority of wilderness animals in Idaho have not been exposed to trash. Another good reason to keep a clean camp and pack out everything.

There are 3 sources at Jerry Johnson. The first I had never soaked in until this particular trip; the waterfall-fed pools. Only one pool was prime for soaking, and was well worth it I might add. The 2nd source's primary pool was too cool, clocking in at 98, and the 3rd source's only pool was a perfect 103. It was qualified, and enjoyed immensely.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

East of Jerry Johnson Hot Springs lies a Forest Service operated outfitter camp, typically stocked with a few horses. In the trailhead parking lot was a Forest Service pickup, but it was unclear if it was from the outfitter or a decoy left behind as a reminder of nighttime closure. The previous evening this place was slammed at dusk with 8-10 vehicles and FS personnel. Regardless, a quiet soak was enjoyed early the next morning.

I even made up a Selway-Bitterroot rap, which I unfortunately was singing out loud before encountering a grinning, chuckle-suppressing young lady with a camera just a few feet ahead during the hike out. I remember her in particular because of the vehicle she drove. It was jam-packed with provisions, caked in dirt and a long way from home.... scratched into the mud on the back window read "Free Bird". No wonder her smile was so big.

Rating: A

Make sure you don't jump into a pool that's too hot! Not fun, and easy to do during the winter season. A waterproof thermometer can come in handy.

View the video clip for Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Visit the listing for Jerry Johnson on IdahoHotSprings.com

Map of Commercial Hot Springs in Idaho

The below map features every commercial hot springs in Idaho that I have information on. Please leave a comment if you know of another that should be on the map.

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Clearwater National Forest Hot Springs Video Clip


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Clearwater National Forest Extras

Here's a couple more pics of Jerry Johnson and Weir Creek:

Jerry Johnson #3

Jerry Johnson #1

Rocky Johnson

Jerry and Lochsa

Lost Photos

Here's a few pictures of Skinnydipper Hot Springs, located in the Boise National Forest, that were taken from an unpublished spring trip during May of this year.

MM4 Hot Springs in Idaho

MM4 Hot Springs in Idaho

MM4 Hot Springs in Idaho

MM4 Hot Springs in Idaho

Boise National Forest Sunrise

Hike to Skinnydipper

Pics from Highway 12

Greetings fellow outdoor adventurers!

Here's a few pics from my hot springing travels along Highway 12 in north-central Idaho. Trip reports and video clips to follow once I've got enough time to get everything processed.

The pictures below feature the Clearwater National Forest, Jerry Johnson and Weir Creek Hot Springs.


Jerry #3

Jerry #1

Bridge window

JJ Signage

Warm Springs Bridge

Jerry #2





Latest Updates Before Hitting the Road / Trail / Backcountry

I hope summer has been treating you all well. Here's a little FYI for those of you ISO stellar soaks for the last of the warm season.

Warm Lake Access Road Update

Forest Service Road 474 South, also known as the South Fork (Payette River) Road remains closed until November 1st. The East Fork Road from McCall is currently the only access road will get you to the town of Yellow Pine and the northwestern trailheads of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Area Map showing FSR 474 northwest of Warm Lake

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Hot Springs access restricted by the closure: Penny, Sugah, Lodgepole, Teapot, Buckhorn (1 of 2 trailheads)

View the official news release PDF

Bull Trout Lake Closure

The Fir Creek and Bear Valley areas are now both back open. However, the Bull Trout Lake area is intermittently closed until August 30th.

Bull Trout Lake Map

View Larger Map

Hot Springs access affected: Sitting Bull (trailhead 1 of 2)

View the official Boise National Forest new release

Idaho Wildfires

The last few days have brought some hefty thunder and lightning storms through Idaho. So far, only light wildfires have been reported, and no fire bans have been initiated. Which is really amazing, considering the last 4 years in a row fire bans hit most of Idaho before the start of August.

The best place to keep tabs on Idaho's wildfires is at InciWeb's Idaho Incidents area.

Please remember to pick up your trash, don't bring glass or hassle wildlife. Remember to share, and most of all - enjoy the rest of summer.

Happy Trails!

Side Note: My blogroll has been updated with some incredible blogs: California Camp Bug, Hiker Hell, Idaho Nature Notes, Light Backpacking and the Idaho Incident feed from InciWeb.

Hot Springs Guy Idaho Green Living Video Clip


The above video clip is from KIVI Channel 6's 'Idaho Green Living' segment; where I took a news crew to a natural hot springs. Here a link to the full story...

A special thanks to Lincoln Graves, Cameraman Kevin and KIVI Channel 6 for the hard work and attention to detail. The other local news networks could learn a lot from you guys.

[where: Boise, ID]

Lava Hot Springs Promo Vido


Video clip features various scenes from the Lava Hot Springs Resort located in Idaho

[where: Lava Hot Springs, ID]

Taking Channel 6 to the Hot Springs

Kevin and Lincoln

When KIVI Channel 6 anchor Lincoln Graves approached me a couple months ago in regard to a hot springs venture, I was hesitant. In the same way that I am regarding IdahoHotSprings.com and this blog. Believe it or not, it's not my intention to drive large amounts of people to hot springs. It's actually to educate newbie and veteran soakers alike. However, after I was able to talk with Lincoln, I found out it was for a special segement called "Idaho Green Living", and that I could talk about the environment as well as protecting hot springs. Any hesistation I previously had, dissipated.

Middle Fork Payette River Ford

This morning I took Kevin (photographer/cameraman), Lincoln (anchor) and a longtime fellow hot springer with me to a hot springs in the Boise National Forest. The event went great, Lincoln and Kevin did an excellent job and everyone seemed to have a good time, myself included.

An easy ford, low amounts of trash and beautiful Boise National Forest scenery made the soak just that much more stellar.

The segment is going to air on Wednesday night, July 16th, 10pm and again on Thursday during the morning show. There will be a version on KIVI's website as well.


Due to breaking news the "Idaho Green Living" segment will now air on July 30th.

[where: Boise, ID]

Soaking in the White Cloud Mountains of Central Idaho

White Cloud Mountains and the Hot Springs

I recently had the pleasure of revisiting the White Cloud Mountains, located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) in central Idaho. A visit to this area isn't complete without checking out Hoodoo Lake, Crater Lake, Hoodoo Mines and of course - Slate Creek Hot Springs (AKA, you guessed it, Hoodoo Hot Springs).

This section of my backcountry adventure began when I turned onto FSR 666 off the main highway a few miles past Stanley, Idaho. Which is a good place to score a delicious Huclkeberry Milkshake, another must if you are traveling through Stanley. Normally, Slate Creek Road is a little rough, but this time through it was moderately brutal. Luckily, the scenery is spectacular, and I had a set of fresh tires w/spare. About halfway to the hot springs two kids shot out of the woods and ran along side of my truck for about a mile, grinning wildly. Crazy kids, reminded me of myself back in the day.

BNF Wildflowers

When I finally reached the hot springs I was disappointed to find someone's rig parked in my favorite camping spot. This 'rig' was a little freaky; it looked like half monster truck half RV, and like something from Maximum Overdrive. There wasn't a sole person around either. I really had not intended to soak-it-up until the evening, but a storm was darkening the sky and dropping the temperature. Naturally, I took advantage.

Trash was actually moderate to low, for Slate Creek. Only filled up one small bag. My campsite was an entirelly different story - I actually spent about 3 hours hauling someone's smashed up table out of a creek located in a small revene. Jerks must have threw/kicked it down there - and blocked up the creek, I was pissed! On top of that, there was all kinds of other crap everywhere. This trend unfortunately continued every night of this particular trip. All signs pointed to hunters and anglers very clearly. I know there are some good ones out there that leave a light footprint, but seriously! All of the Forest Service and BLM workers deserve a pay raise for dealing with not only the trash, but the mentality.

Dreary Day at Slate Creek

Slate Creek Hot Springs was a stellar soak, for sure. I wasn't too happy to find the pool filled up upon arrival. This old wooden-box soaking pool structure is weakening, and keeping it water-logged simply accelerates matters. Nonetheless, I was able to enjoy a nice soak (w/o rain) for a couple hours before lightning chased me off. Never did see the monster RV folks, but on my way out I passed multiple fire trucks and two helicopters carrying fire retardant.

Soaking Out the Storm

Video clips are coming soon. Ohh, yes - Sunbeam Hot Springs was still underwater, but there were plenty of people trying! I also tried to reach Bear Valley Hot Springs, but was unsuccessful. :(

Slate Creek Hot Springs Rating: A

View past trip reports, pictures and video clips of Slate Creek Hot Springs

Dreary Day at Slate Creek

Trip report and vid clip coming soon!

Hot Springs Access Road and Area Closure Updates for Idaho

Greetings fellow hot potters (sorry, hadn't used that nick in bit - gotta mix it up)

If you are gearing up to head out into the backcountry please pay attention to the following road and area closures, as they could effect access to your hot springs destination.

Area: NE of Cascade: Warm Lake / Yellow Pine / Krassel District

Closure: Forest Service Road 474 North from August 4th through November 1st (NR)

Hot Springs: Sugah, Penny, Teapot, Buckhorn, Lodgpole, Darling's Cabin

Closure: Stibnite Road in August, Exact Date TBA (NR)

Hot Springs: Kwis Kwis and access to the FCRNRW

Closure: Stolle Meadows (NR)

Hot Springs: None, but near Vulcan

Area: Lowman / Stanley

Closure: Fir Creek Campground until August 30th (NR)

Hot Springs: Bear Valley

Closure: Bull Trout Lake until August 30th (NR)

Hot Springs: Sitting Bull

New Hot Springs Pics on photrade

Greetings, While catching up on the site/blog and preparing for a couple weeks in the backcountry I found time to post some of my hot springs photos on photrade, including a few that have never been published before. Take a gander

Pine Flats Redux


Revisiting one of the first hot springs ever soaked. Features a short hike to secluded pools along the Payette River in the Boise National Forest.

View additional pictures, video clips and trip reports for Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho

[where: Lowman, ID]

Goldbug Hot Springs Temporary Closure: June 25th – June 28th, 2008

Greetings Hot Springers, Soak Seekers, Geothermal Gurus... one of the sweetest soaks around is getting some improvements.

Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho and the corresponding trail will be closed while undergoing improvements from June 25th through June 28th, 2008. Work will include blasting (dynamite) and trail re-route construction.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) respectfully ask that the public not visit Goldbug Hot Springs during this time, and to please keep away from any and all portions of the trail. This is merely a safety issue.

For additional information, please contact: Rob Jaggers, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Bureau of Land Management. (208)756-5466 and/or Send Email.

Any further updates and/or information related to this temporary closure and continuing work at Goldbug will be posted on this blog and the IdahoHotSprings.com listing for Goldbug Hot Springs as part of a joint effort with the BLM to keep the public informed about hot springs related projects.

[where: Elk Bend, ID 83467]

Quick Clip of Sharkey Hot Springs


Sharkey is operated by the BLM - which do an excellent job taking care of the pools and surrounding area. They are the ones that clean up after the trash mongers, and care very much about the well-being of this hot spring. In addition to the two stellar soaking pools, there are changing rooms, toilets, bbq pits and a large fire pit on-site. Please remember to not bring glass, pay your $1 to soak and pick up every bit of trash you see. Sharkey is a rare treat, let's keep it that way.

View the complete listing for Sharkey Hot Springs in Idaho

[where: Tendoy, ID 83468]

Ever Look Up and Wonder? 'What's That?'

It's the time of year when it is often commonplace to stare up into the night sky from campsites, mountain retreats, deserts and even hot springs.

For those of us interested in what lies above, Microsoft has released World Wide Telescope for free. My initial feeling was that is it a definite rival for Google's Sky application, which is now also a part of Google Earth.

According to Microsoft:
"The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope."
Read More

Here's Chris Pirillo's review:

No More Overnight Camping at Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho

Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho

The Salmon-Challis National Forest is no longer allowing overnight camping at Goldbug Hot Springs near Salmon Idaho. This is due to abuse; trash, tp, human flowers (blech!) and destroying of fragile vegetative areas. Let's be honest - this was only a matter of time... especially evident if you've ever visited Goldbug.

Sadly, all easy-access hot springs suffer nearly the same kind of fate. Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho - nighttime closure. Skinnydipper - nighttime closure, Kirkham - nighttime closure. All of these hot springs are stellar soaks, easy to reach and get continuously thrashed. These soaks also have the unfortunate side-effect of giving hot springers that respect others and the environment a bad rap.

I cringe at the thought of the holiday weekend going on right now. Many times have I arrived after to witness the disgusting mess left behind. Oh how many bags of trash I've filled after these 'holiday' weekends.

Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho Trip Report


05.14.08 Trip Report

Not much new to report here... all of the pools were too cool for a soak. The hottest clocked in at 98 degrees. *sigh* I miss the days when Pine Flats was a 5 star soak. I was unable to reach the pool around the bend due to runoff conditions. However, shortly before I left, I heard a report that the 'round the bend' pool was also too cool for soaking.

Upon arrival, the campground was empty save for the newly arrived host that was visiting with people in a Forest Service truck. With approaching temps in the 80s, I imagine this will be the last time until September that you'll find the campground virtually empty.

On a side note, I took a low-clearance car instead of my truck and slammed into a rock the size of a football that came down during a rockslide on the Banks-Lowman Highway (17). Spring thaw brings about conditions ripe for slides, please drive carefully.
Rating C

View additional pictures, video clips, ratings and trip reports for Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho
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