Goldbug Hot Springs General Description
In a remote part of the state,
nestled in rugged backcountry between the small towns of Salmon and
Challis, is Idaho's most majestic high desert hot springs. A chain
of 6 or so waterfall-fed pools are the reward for intrepid soak
seekers willing to endure a grueling 2 mile hike up shade deprived
switchbacks. Pool temperatures vary depending on the time of year
from chilly to toasty. Dipping in a finger or toe is always a good
idea before sticking a leg in. It's not often you encounter
swimsuits given the remoteness of the area, but it might be a good
idea to keep one handy just in case. Sun protection, extra water and
food are a must especially during warmer months.
The last half mile up is the steepest
section of the entire route. While most of the path
is through a desert landscape filled with sagebrush there are brief
cool areas of relief near the creek among the junipers.
well-known, and is used by many different types of soakers. The fairly difficult hike does little to
deter the crowds. However, this hot springs is well cared for. The
norm here is to pick up your trash and leave as little trace as
possible. It is encouraging to encounter a hot springs where the
majority of visitors are stewards. Expect a mostly non-swimsuit wearing crowd
(signed as clothing optional area) that are polite and friendly.
Watch for snakes during the warmer months; this area has many
rattlesnakes and other kinds of snakes - the elevation and
temperatures are just right.
Goldbug Pool Condition
Sand and rock bottomed pools that are rock-walled and are fed by
various sources, some in the form of hot waterfalls.
A Message from the BLM about Goldbug:
Springs is considered a true geothermal gem. While the pools reside
on National Forest Land, the first quarter mile of trail passes
through private land with an easement purchased and held by the
Bureau of Land Management. Due to an overwhelming amount of traffic
to the pools, private lands are being negatively impacted. Remember
to always keep dogs on leashes and reduce noise levels to a minimum.
Parking at the county managed trailhead is limited. Please be
respectful of the surrounding landowners and avoid blocking
driveways. Camping is not permitted at the trailhead.
Goldbug Hot Springs Seasonal Information
During the core of
spring runoff you might be hard pressed to find a soaking pool that
is warm enough... usually there is one - you just
might have to search around a bit. The rest of the time is quite a
different story... depending on the creek flow there can be anywhere
between 2 to 10 soakable pools on each side of the creek. Accessible
Goldbug Hot Springs Camping Information
The 1st quarter mile of the hike in is
on private property, and there are no camping sites at or near the
trailhead aside from a BLM recreation site a few miles down the
highway. Between 1 and 2 miles in, there are a couple primitive
campsites nestled in the junipers near the creek just off the trail
that provide ample seclusion and shade. There are also stepped
camping sites above the hot springs near the 4th bridge on the north
and south sides of the creek. The stepped plots are fairly small,
and would accommodate 2-person tents. They are all
fairly close together, so don't bother unless you don't mind close
company - because there will be company.
South of Salmon and north
of Challis near mile marker 282 on highway 93, take a dirt road east
a short distance to trailhead parking. Follow the marked trail 2
miles mostly up to reach the series of hot pools.