Idaho has increasingly become known as a destination for hot spring lovers. Countless geothermal pools occur naturally throughout the state, providing endless opportunities for enjoyment. Why does Idaho have such a high concentration of hot springs? Its geological location lies on major faults creating numerous vents in the earth’s crust. These vents allow for geothermally heated groundwater to emerge. Cutting through the heart of these faults is the Middle Fork Salmon River. The intersection of the river with thermal springs allows visitors the opportunity to enjoy the warm waters while next to a beautiful, cool river. The unique juxtaposition makes a Middle Fork Salmon River rafting trip a geothermal paradise. Here are just a few springs to enjoy on your trip.
Trail Flat Hot Spring
At mile 7.3, Trail Flat is one of the first hot springs on the Middle Fork. The riverside soaking spot provides a terrific place to eat lunch, relax, and soak in a crystal clear spring.
Sheep Eater Hot Spring
The Sheepeater Hot Spring is made up of a cluster of pools approximately 11 miles from the Boundary Creek put-in. Although not visible from the river, they are conveniently located to several first-night camps. You can hike to these pools and enjoy an evening soak, or wake up early and spend a peaceful morning in pure bliss and solitude.
Sun Flower Hot Spring
It is easy to see why Sunflower is a favorite among guests and guides. Soak in the spring above the river and enjoy a beautiful view of the Middle Fork. Below the pools, a natural hot spring waterfall flows off the cliffs providing a natural shower to stand under.
Loon Creek Hot Spring
The spring at Loon Creek provides the largest hot spring pool on the Middle Fork. Located approximately one mile up Loon Creek, the springs are accessed via a scenic side hike off of the Middle Fork Trail. The easy walk is sweetened by the reward of a deep thermal pool. The rushing waters of Loon Creek provide the opportunity to cool off.
Hospital Bar Hot Spring
The Hospital Bar Hot Spring is unique in its proximity to the river. Only a loosely constructed rock wall separates the thermal waters of the spring from the cool waters of the river. Only a few hundred yards from the Hospital Bar Camp, this tranquil location provides a perfect place to relax under the stars.
Bonus Hot Spring
Sneak an extra soak in before or after your Middle Fork trip at the Mountain Village Hot Spring, available to guests of the Mountain Village Lodge. Stop at their office and reserve a late afternoon soak in their private hot springs. Enjoy the pool while overlooking the town of Stanley, Idaho.