Wildlife Sighted: Mule
Deer, Prairie Falcons, Northern Harriers, Sagebrush Lizards,
Road could turn into muck-pots in rain and deteriorates the closer
you get to the HS (4x4 recommended most times of year). During
winter; once you turn off hwy 20 the road is pretty much snow and
ice covered - don't even attempt without 4x4 and chains. The Malheur
River is impassible during most of runoff.
There are 2 to 3 great sites just before
you cross the river to the hot spring island. Plenty of other
camping opportunities nearby as well.
04.03.07 - 04.04.07 and
Juntura was a rare high-desert treat, as usual. The ford was barley
manageable - on the 3rd Beulah Reservoir was let-out, thus beginning
high-desert spring runoff. I would imagine within a week or two the
water will be moving too swift for a safe ford. On the 3rd the
river was about 3 feet deep, on the 4th close to 3.25 feet and on
the 7th above 3.5 feet. The soaking was great, although
approximately 2 feet of depth in the pool was lost due to someone
dumping a bunch of sand into the pool. The result - no
change in bottom softness, if that was the intended goal. Thousands
of tiny bits of trash litter the hot springs, primitive site and
surrounding area. New are 2 illegal fire pits, both are next to the
pool and river - all fire pits have to be 200 feet from any water
source! Beer trash everywhere and plenty of traffic in and out of
the hot springs.
Now I know why I've heard this place referred to as 'Hunter's Hot
Springs' many times. Note: Not to be confused with the commercial
hot springs of the same name further south. There were pop-tents,
RVs, canvas tents with stoves and a hoard of trucks. I've never seen
so many here before... Needless to say I wasn't around long.
01.15.05 News Update
A Nampa man drowned in Juntura Hot Springs today (click for full
It has been too long since my last visit to this stellar soak.
Albeit; the road (once off the hwy) was pretty icy with a couple
inches of snow to boot, and the drive out of the area was somewhat
sketchy in a few spots due to rapid snowfall and temps below
freezing. Near Mile Marker 207 on Highway 20 (between Vale and
Juntura) is where the shoe tree stands -
see picture >
I would not recommend
driving across the semi-frozen river to access the hot springs
island - while most of the path was frozen there were wet spots
where the ice was broken that clearly revealed water beneath.
See picture to
view conditions >
The soaking was awesome!
The cold weather has most definitely tempered the usually toasty water; I got
consistent 105° readings from different places in the pool. The
worst thing about the whole trip (besides all the frozen trash to
pick up) was getting out. While we were in the pool ice would form
on hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and even skin exposed in the direction
of the wind. Soaking in the snow was awesome, but the downside was
that it covered everything... no big deal - just made life a little
Juntura doesn't disappoint during winter. In fact, this is the best
time of the year to soak in the big pool because of it's hot temps.
We had this baby to ourselves for the 1st half-hour then were joined
by 2 girls and a guy from Caldwell, all of which were very nice.
Then, moments later 2 trucks rolled in, both crashing through the
icy water to reach the island and park right next to the pool. The
guys from the truck seemed somewhat nice, but they kept staring at
everyone until some of us decided to leave, then they stared at us
while we got dressed... which was a little much. Dem boys need to be
learned some manners. That's the thing with hot springing, you never
know who you'll run into. Besides all of the drama, we all left
feeling completely refreshed from the full-body soak in Juntura's
bubbling hot water.
09.11.03 - 09.13.03
It's tough to beat this desert hot springs retreat. Last time I was
here I saw no one, this time each day brought a steady flow of
visitors. However, almost everyone who visited only soaked only for
a half hour before leaving (I strongly believe this is due to the
hot temp. of the source pool). In fact, we were the only
campers/hikers in the vicinity.
There are a couple of great
campsites just a few paces away from the hot springs that both sport
nicely designed fire rings. Be cautious of visiting this HS during
hunting season as this is a popular and favorite spot for hunters.
There is also a small tunnel nearby that once was for trains but is
now partially collapsed that makes for a cool excursion from Juntura.
What's better than a hot soak next to a river? ...A hot soak on an
island in the river!! This HS was pretty nice even despite the light
amount of trash and hot source pool (108°). This HS is labeled as a
warm spring in a few other listings, but it has been my experience
that warm springs are typically in the 80s and maybe low 90s (temp.
wise). Just in case, I would bring a bucket or one of those
collapsible buckets so you can cart in some cold river water and at
the very least enjoy a short soak if the source pool temp. is on the
hot side or if you plan to enjoy this pool during warmer weather.
I'm estimating Juntura's prime soaking season to be from November
through February. From the looks of it some kind people keep a stock
of wood in a box near the pool for nights when the pool is too hot
and the outside air is too cold. The 2 wood benches are a nice
complement to this HS and are relatively new. They have replaced the
decaying car seats that adjoined the pool in previous years.
We tried to soak in Juntura on our way back to Idaho from the Oregon
Cascades, but the Malheur River was raging! It was moving swift and
the water level was as high as I've ever seen. It could be possible
to cross as long as you know what you are doing.