Wildlife Sighted: Deer, Elk,
Moose, Fox and Black Bear
during spring runoff, sometimes stranded late summer/early fall (too
There are a couple great
campsites roughly .5 to .75 miles from the hot spring - there is
also plenty of other Boise National Forest camping opportunities
Aside from the guy asleep sitting up in his flatbed pickup in the
parking area (been there minus the flatbed), the trip was fairly
uneventful. No trash too!! I was really happy about this fact after
the rampage I witnessed here during the July South Fork Payette
River fishing destruction derby. Major Kudos to the Krassel work
crews for taking good care of such a special place.
The entire area surrounding Penny burned in the summer of 2007. And,
as such, is posted "no overnight camping" in the pullout due to
Still too soon! Penny was submerged! Better luck next time I
suppose. I was however, able to track down 2 other hot springs
(Penny #2 & #3) in the same area Penny resides in. I also bore
witness to a few mighty Salmon navigating the river, I was amazed at
their size while watching them from a spot above.
Penny #2 is located
roughly 30 yards south of Penny #1 along the river and is only
accessible during low water conditions. There is a small 1 person
soaker at the base of a rock cliff from which the hot water emanates
from into the pool. Penny #3 is roughly another 30 yards south of
Penny #2 but on the other side of the river. There are two pools,
although 1 has potential really neither of them should be soaked in.
The flow is slow and there are lots of goobers and sludge.
Penny #1 (AKA New Penny) Rating X
Penny #2 (AKA Penny) Rating C- (cool
temps, hard to find a good pool spot)
Penny #3 Rating C- (shallow,
goobers, algae, cool temps)
I figured as much, Penny was submerged under the remnants of spring
runoff upon arrival. The source was poking out of the water, but way
too hot for soaking!
This trip to Penny yielded some new changes to the area around the hot
springs. The small spur road pullout is now completely gone, in its
place lies a huge oil coated gravel parking lot. Now, the entrance to
the trailhead is a huge beacon to all traveling the paved FSR. The other
noted change is that there is a wood staircase leading from the trail
down to the hot spring near the riverbank. While this surely aids in the
short but steep decent, it is also another calling card which will
eventually lead to more use of this sweet little hot spring. We didn't
soak this time, too lazy to scoop out all the silt, and too distracted
by the other enticing hot springs in the area. There are excellent
camping spots all around this hot spring.
It's nearing the end of what
I consider to be the best time of the year to visit Penny HS. The temperature
and pool conditions were excellent. And, while you can continue down the
paved forest road to Mile-16 HS
to a grade 'A' pool, you should also expect to be sharing that pool too.
The other pool at Penny
is smaller and lies adjacent to the main pool, it was way too cool
for dipping. However, as the river lowers this pool may come into play
and could possibly extend Penny's usage time frame... which isn't very
long to begin with. Penny HS submerges during spring runoff and gets
landlocked and is just too darn hot later in the year. Note the copper
color of the algae on the source, could that be the reason for this
particular HS's name? I didn't run into anyone while enjoying Penny HS. It was a great way to
spend a couple hours in the morning. I'd recommend a cup of hot coffee
or chocolate for a venture like this.
If you are feeling adventurous ford the South Fork Salmon River, cut
across to Dollar Creek and look for a pool (Dollar Creek Warm Spring).
Average Rating (Penny
#1/New Penny): B+
Average Rating (Penny #2/Penny): C-
Average Rating (Penny #3/Twopenny): C-
08.05.06 & 08.06.06
No vehicles were present both times I passed the pullout, which
leaves me to believe Penny is still somewhat underwater or there
hasn't been a pool built yet.
The pullout at the trailhead was empty when driving S on FSR 474
towards Warm Lake.