Wildlife Sighted: Deer,
What more can I say that hasn’t already been said about Kirkham
Hot Springs? Which is excellent, in terms of textile soaking.
When driving past the full pullout for
Skinnydipper on the way
in, I noticed that even the pullouts before and after were akin
to overflow parking.
Pine Flats and
Hot Springs campground had a
couple vehicles and sole campers each. Timing for Kirkham was
just right, as four groups of people all left upon approach. Two
other groups pulled-up and parked as my ride sped off down
highway 21, long after a great soak was had.
Minimal trash was a
welcome surprise and all people encountered were of the friendly
lot. There was about four pools prime for soaking. The largest
pool had some nice depth to it as well. Watching the sun set and
moon rise from the hot springs was the icing on the cake.
Sadly, just like the
rest of Idaho and the northwest, there was a severe lack of snow
evident for this time of the year. It practically looked like
September outside. Unless paramount snowfall occurs, this summer
will see a multitude of wildfires.
The gate to the campground was still closed despite the lack of
snow. A walk through the campground and surrounding area
revealed minimal trash, very nice. Usually, this time of year,
it's bad news. I ran into a couple young ladies that were
setting up camp for the night after hiking the interpretive
trail. Best time of the year for that. No campground host + No
other campers = No competition for the soak. For the first time
ever, the soaking pool was actually too hot, clocking in at 111
degrees! It took less than a second for me to find the newly
constructed lower pool, right next to the river's water line. As
spring runoff kicks - this baby will submerge. The lower pool
was awesome, clocking in at 108 degrees. The only drawback was
the presence of a large number of medium sized gray spiders.
These little buggars would actually dart across the water at top
speed - straight at you! I had thought I avoided all of them
until I put my sock on. One snuck in and bit the crap out of
me... the first bite is still oozing blood, very swollen and it
has been over 4 days since it occurred as I write this. One the
way out I came across a fellow backpacking across America,
except, he was hitchhiking as well. Maybe he needed a break,
there was snow in the forecast that night and he was heading
towards Stanley, Idaho - one of the coldest places in the word.
Lots of trash in the campground area, someone crapped all over
the public restrooms - literally! Light amounts of trash near
the hot springs pools. The pool was in great shape, deepest yet!
I watched a group of whitetail deer meander down to the river
for a drink while I enjoyed a steamy soak.
Good news all around. Low trash, great temperature and scenic
views of a forest in the re-vegetative stage covered in snow.
The roads were somewhat icy and the drive slow. Luckily there's
plenty to look at.
No new scalping updates, incidents (see 07.15.05 briefing) or
other dark dealings to report at Kirkham... just excellent
soaking (thank goodness)! The roads in were dry until reaching
Lowman, with only light amounts of rock on the highway. However,
the snow was beginning to come down, and I knew that the way out
could get a little dangerous.
A couple miles before the hot springs
I came across a herd of elk - trapped on a section of the road
with a steep drop-off on one side and vertical incline on the
other. They were terrified; and slipped on the icy roads when
trying to move too quickly. I followed the herd slowly until
they reached a safe spot to get off the road.
Please, give deer and elk a chance to
get off the road before losing patience - causing them to panic
and run excessively will deplete their energy beyond recovery.
They have very little left to survive on until spring.
There was ample parking for 3-4
vehicles in Kirkham's pullout near the gated entrance to the
campground, and a nice well-used path through the snow into
campground and to the hot springs.
It was slick heading down from the
campground towards the river. The jagged rocks have flat, smooth
areas and are wet year-round; use a walking stick or trekking
pole to ease your semi-steep decent to the hot springs.
I was stoked to discover a new
rock-walled pool built just below the first hot waterfall. It
was fairly shallow and had room for about 4 people. My favorite
soak is located just around the corner, under the 2nd waterfall.
This soak was bliss... a perfect 102º with plenty of room to
We soaked for a couple hours while
watching the deer and elk graze on what little roots and foliage
that could be found across the river. Just as we stirred to
begin the dry-off, suit-up process a couple arrived to enjoy
Kirkham. We politely greeted each other before hiking in the
falling snow back to the pullout.
The drive out was rough due to rapidly
falling snow, but only for the first few miles. After the snow
turned to rain it was smooth sailing. I'm not the biggest fan of
roadside or 'practically' roadside soaks, but Kirkham was
excellent. This is the rare time of year when you can steal a
soak to yourself - if you dare to brave the roads!
07.15.05 Scalping @ Kirkham Hot Springs Update
A lesbian-gang/clique related scalping took place at Kirkham Hot
Springs near Lowman, Idaho on January 18th, 2005. This story
made nationwide televised news in early February 2005 because of
the urgent search for the scalping suspect. Follow up articles (non-televised) were released
in February, March, April and finally July. The links to the
articles and full story can be found on the
What a great way to start Halloween! We arrived on the scene
semi-early in the morning, there was a slight delay driving through
the blizzard and fresh snow on highway 21 between Idaho City and
Lowman. We were totally surprised to have this well-known soak to
ourselves the whole time we were there. Excellent temps, low amounts
of trash and hot hot hot water made this an excellent trip -
especially soaking in the snow!
Ahhhh.... nice and hot! This is the best time of the year to soak
Kirkham because nobody is here! The pool was hot hot hot... we couldn't
stand to submerge for too long before cooling off. No one else was
around but evidence of moderate abuse was visible.
Kirkham was great, with no one else at the pool early in the am. If you know Kirkham, then you know that this is a rare occasion. I didn't even find any trash to pick up... this made me quite happy as I have seen Kirkham trashed many times. The land near the springs is still scorched and black from a fire a couple years back. FYI, this little soaker (along with
Pine Flats HS and Skinnydipper
HS) is visited year-around by BSU students and other partiers from Boise and the Treasure Valley
area mainly late at night.
Well whadda you know... Kirkham was empty when cruising by in the
afternoon! Except for the campground host. A rare sight anytime of
the year when snow isn't on the ground.
Giddyup! There was a traveling group of younger looking people
inhabiting the campground, it looked like a mini tent-city. This in
addition to a couple other vehicles full of day-soakers. Luckily, I
qualified at Bonneville
earlier - I just had to see what all the fuss was about at Kirkham.
The was a single truck parked at Kirkham's gates although I didn't
spot any soakers. Could be that the truck was broke down.
I was shocked to see the entire campground vacant save for the hosts
as we passed on by; it was soooo tempting to stop but it was quickly
becoming dark and the hosts enforce nighttime closure.
The campground entrance was gated with only one blue jeep cherokee
parked in front around 11:00am.
Quite a few people were enjoying Kirkham on this day.
Just a few soakers here today.
We tried for a late night stop @ Kirkham but were greeted by a sign
posting "Nighttime Closure". These hot springs are now closed from 10pm to
6am. We proceeded to the parking area because I wanted to take a couple
pictures but quickly left as we spotted a parked patrol truck.
No one was @ Kirkham CG or HS.
There was about 3 RVs parked in the
campground and the pools were actually vacant.
07.01.02 & 11.25.02
When driving by there was so
many people crowded around that Kirkham wasn't even visible... just a
huge throng of humans.