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Home: Idaho Hot Springs: Weir Creek Hot Springs
  Public Hot Springs

Weir Creek Hot Springs in Idaho


Season: All Type: H (hike)
Clearwater National Forest Overall Rating: A
Lochsa Ranger District Water Temperature: 105 to 108
2,900 ft Usage Level: Heavy
Near Lolo, MT pH: 5

Picture Viewer

Weir Creek Exposed


05.02.09
Photo Courtesy Brent


07.27.06: Weir Creek


07.27.06: Old school plank


07.27.06


07.27.06: Looking over the cliff, down on Weir Creek


07.27.06: My dog watching (not chasing) woodland deer


07.27.06: Weir Creek source pool


07.26.06: Weir Creek base camp


09.06.02: Crystal-clear spring water


09.06.02: Is this for real?
 


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[ View 07.20.11 - 07.22.11 Weir Creek Hot Springs Video Clip ]
[View 08.10.08 / 08.11.08 Jerry Johnson and Weir Creek Hot Springs Video Clip]
[ View 07.25.06 - 07.27.06 Weir Creek Hot Springs Video Clips ]
 

Pool Condition

As of July 2006 Weir Creek now features an enlarged main pool. The old pool used to fit approx. 4 people, the new one has the capacity to house 8-10 hot potters. Depth has increased as well, although the solid rock bottom is still somewhat "V" shaped. The original soaking plank is still in use, and the outer walls of the pool facing Weir Creek have been reinforced with mortar. The creek-side soaker below the main pool was also enlarged, features rock walls and sandy / gravel bottom and warm water (not hot). The secondary pool is no longer in use as hot water outflow was diverted to the enlarged pool.
 

Dates Visited: Trash Levels: Bug Levels:
07.20.11 - 07.22.11 Moderate Moderate
08.10.08 Low Low
07.25.06 - 07.27.06 Moderate-Heavy Heavy-Extreme (daytime biting flies)
09.06.02 Light-Moderate None

Water Clarity:
Crystal-Clear

Visibility:
Moderate-Low

Odor(s):
None

Wildlife Sighted: Deer and elk

Seasonal Notes

Lower portions of the trail to the hot springs submerge during spring runoff, just stick to the upper trail (which is steep in places) and you'll be fine. A trekking pole or walking stick works great on this brief but slanty hike any time of the year. During low water, the best route begins by following the main path (most worn) above the series of primitive campsites. After you pass the last site in the series the trail drops down to Weir Creek, at this point stay as low as possible (often walking short paths on the creek bottom) until reaching the springs.

Camping Notes

There are some nice primitive sites near the trailhead / parking area, but don't expect privacy as the well-used hot springs trail is right next to all of the sites and an alternate trail that leads to the springs passes though each site. Oftentimes, soakers miss the up-portion of the trail on the way back and end up standing in your campsite with a confused look on their face. Beyond the hot springs (continue on the trail further past), directly across from and shortly before are 3 more primitive sites. There are also plenty of official camping options near the trailhead and primitives down the road. Many choose to car-camp at the trailhead and enjoy a fire in the adjoining pit. Tread lightly please - this area has been experiencing an influx of use and abuse.

Weir Creek Hot Springs Trip Reports

07.20.11 - 07.22.11
Ole Weir Creek can be a crap shoot this time of the year. A time when many geothermal brethren answer the call of spending warm summer nights amidst a thick forest veil and star filled sky, soaking away life's pain in a natural hot spring. As do I.

Upon arrival, our party encountered a mix of folks camping at the trailhead and primitive sites (along the access trail nearest to the parking lot). Some nice, others, not so nice. We counted 14 overnighters, all crammed into the small primitive sites along the trail except for 3 sleeping in the parking lot. The second night, aside from our group, saw only 2 trailhead campers. Whew! The hot springs saw a steady stream of traffic on all 3 days.

I detected 3 types of recreational users that were present; the traveling folks, road bicyclists and straight-up hot springers.

The traveling folks let their dogs run amok, crap all over the trail and didn't bother to call them off whenever someone wanted to hike past to reach the hot springs. These folks knew or cared little of camping, backpacking, traveling and hot springing. The kind with no respect for the land. My party ended up picking up all of their trash once they finally left. This included a sopping wet mattress. Yep. They dragged mattresses from their ride out into the forest before it rained on them heavily. Brilliant.

I'm not entirely sure they knew about Weir Creek. These folks were creepy, and would try to hide when people passed by on the trail. The only decent thing I can say about the jackholes is that one of them was an alright guitarist.

The road bicyclists and soak seekers treated this area with a great deal more respect. They even helped clean up after the poser-jackholes. Which, unfortunately, took the liberty of depositing human flowers directly on the trail to Weir Creek, with TP strewn all about... it was so nasty... the image is still burned into my mind.

Prior to arriving, we had just finished up a full day of backpacking 10+ miles in heavy rain through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, and needless to say were very ready for a hot soak. After parking, we strapped on the packs and got as far away from everyone as possible before setting up camp for 2 nights.

All camping and soaking was excellent. There was little to none in regard to trash at the pool, plenty of friendly hot springers - and was exactly what summers in Idaho are all about. Minus the traveling, poser-jackholes. ;) Long live the Clearwater National Forest.
Rating A

Guest Update! Courtesy Brent and Dawnna, many thanks guys!

On May 2, 2009, Dawnna, my sweetie, and I ventured up the snow-covered trail to Weir Creek, after soaking the night before in the lone pool available, we got enthusiastic about making a new pool to the north of the original pool.

Maybe, because as kids, we both played in streams and had early introductions to hot springs. We also thought it would be a nice treat to the every increasing crowds that exist at this spring. With only one pool, it can get a little crowded as more people discover Weir Creek through various avenues.

A seep of hot water at approximately 106-degrees was being underutilized and someone had made a pool, which was stagnant, mucky and sandy and also too far downslope to be warmed sufficiently by the hot seep or to keep it clean.

So, we went to work on the new Weir Creek pool. Dawnna had packed in a 4-inch diameter pipe about 4-feet long that we had picked up as trash along side Highway 12 and decided it would make a great little shower into the new pool. Now, that's recycling.

I had chain saw in tow, tarp and another shorter piece of pipe in my backpack. I added the shorter piece to the main pool to add the ambience of falling water and place to soak the melon. We dismantled the nasty pool below and began stacking in large boulders on either side of the spring closer to the source.

Next, the chain saw got fired up and we found some deadfall logs approximately 7-10 inches in diameter and began keying them into the boulder stack at the properly cut length and making a wall to hold back the water. We added shorter pieces of log to the sides.

After finding a limb that forked, we placed the shower pipe into the hot water, added another limb as a stabilizer and laid in the tarp and let 'er fill up. The shower worked well to keep the pool clean of floating material. Hopefully, people won't disturb the ground upslope and kick more debris into the pool.

The pool wasn't quite as hot as the old pool, but with approximately 20 people at the spring waiting for a rotation into the spring when we arrived, the extra pool should be great for another party of 2-4 people and allow for a little privacy from the main pool. Didn't have a thermometer to get a temp, but it was hovering around 100 degrees.

We were going to enjoy the pool some more, but I sliced open my foot on a sharp rock or piece of glass. Dawnna, a former medic, and I were quick to cut up a shirt to make a makeshift bandage out of. Not a fun walk out at all in the sandals on snow. Didn't want to ruin my boots. NEVER BRING GLASS TO HOT SPRINGS! AND IF YOU SEE SOMEONE DOING IT, REMIND THEM NOT TO OR OFFER THEM YOUR PLASTIC GATORADE BOTTLE!

We plan to return and possibly add another tarp layer; strengthen the pool with some additonal rock work; and add our "Made by" stamp to it, but only after my foot heals sufficiently.

For those of you that find the new pool, enjoy and hopefully add amenities (another tarp layer) or strengthen the existing structure with additional boulders.

Another pool exists farther upstream from the main pool about 100 yards, but the water is at about 94-degrees. This would be another great project for another hot spring engineer. The pool has a drain, which works well for cleaning out the pool, but it lacks sufficient depth. A few proper placed logs and a new tarp would work great here as well. Don't bring the lightweight (6 mil) clear plastic sheeting, it biodegrades too quickly and becomes litter. Go with a durable poly tarp, which has a longer life in the hot sun and water.

I've found this upper pool to be relaxing during the heat of the day during the summer soaking season and then move to the main pool as the temperatures cool.

Enjoy the new Weir Creek pool!

Fix up a spring - Brent and Dawnna

08.10.08
Unfortunately, my schedule only allowed for a late night run at Weir Creek Hot Springs. Which just means no pics, but some video turned-out. It was a stellar soak under a thick blanket of stars overlooking a dense forest with crystal-clear Weir Creek chatting away in the background. The pool clocked-in at 108! Good thing it was brisk. After observing two shooting stars while eating a wheel of cheese, some peanut butter and trail mix I decided to call it good.

On the way out I crossed paths with a couple and their dog attempting to navigate their way in. I helped them coordinate, and left hoping they took it slow due to their lack of decent flashlights. Even when hiking during daylight, there are still plenty of sharp drops on slick dirt, mysterious trail intersections and skirmishes with Weir Creek itself to contend with. During spring runoff, access to the hot springs can be quite a challenge. A good trekking pole/hiking staff is handy here year-round.

Camp was pitched nearby; I remembered the location of a handful of nice primitive campsites just down a dirt FSR close to the Jerry Johnson Hot Springs trailhead, tomorrow's agenda.
Rating A

07.25.06 - 07.27.06
It has been too long... 3 days of soaking at Weir Creek treated me well. I needed all 3 days to pick up the trash that littered the primitive sites, trail and hot springs area. My friend and I carted out sack after sack of trash. Broken glass was everywhere, diapers, metal cans and glass bottles in fire pits... fish hooks, wire... etc. The most annoying by far was the little, tiny bits of trash that carpeted almost all of the primitives. I even had to ford the creek, follow a fallen tree up to a secluded island on the creek to find the source of a seemingly metal reflection... more trash.

I met and talked with a variety of soaker types on this trip. All were travelers save for a couple semi-locals out of Missoula, MT. I noticed a common thread among the people I observed; they didn't litter, were polite but yet did not pick up anyone else's trash except for one couple from Moscow, Idaho (kudos to you guys)... a sad ordeal indeed. All of us, whether we like it or not, impact these areas despite how light we tread. Thank the environment for use of the hot springs by becoming a steward: pick up others trash, use main trails and set a good example for others. Please only burn wood in the fire pits, other materials don't break down and emit harmful gases into the environment.

I qualified Weir Creek multiple times on this trip. Early afternoon to late night / early morning hours lead to consistent temperature readings of 108 (2 degrees higher than that of 2002) while early morning brought about consistent temperatures of 105 (1 degree higher than that of 2002).

The main pool, and only pool (aside from the warm, creek-side soaker) suitable for soaking had been improved since my last visit. Improvements rendered the pool wider and deeper, growing from 4 person capacity to 8+.

I actually had a great time meeting and talking with fellow soakers, something that I rarely get to do around hot springs in southern Idaho. People were friendly, and to say the least it was refreshing. Weir Creek was a great place to unwind after a blistering hike to Stanley Hot Springs and beyond the prior 3 days. Before heading back home yet one more trip was to be had in this region, Jerry Johnson.
Rating A

09.06.02
We arrived to find an empty pullout on a Friday afternoon. The short hike to WC through the lush forest was beautiful. It was raining and continued to rain throughout the duration of our trip. It was the 1st time I got good use out of my $1.99 plastic bag rain parka, mainly because I actually remembered to bring it this trip (and boy am I glad I did).

This HS was a total treat. I feel in love... There was the main pool (pictured above), a two-seater pool to the side of the main pool that had murky, stagnant waters and a mucky bottom and a small 1 person pool located below the main pool nestled in the side of the small cliff that overlooks Weir Creek. The main pool was a toasty soak for sure. If you get too hot just pull the plug to release some of the hot water into the 1 person pool below.

We soaked for about 10 minutes in private before we noticed a small group wandering around and peeping in on us. They wouldn't approach the springs so we enjoyed them by ourselves for another 45 minutes or so before heading out. The peepers seemed friendly enough during a brief walk-by chat, and were quite intoxicated but not via alcohol. On the way back we passed 3 more groups en-route to the springs and as we left the parking lot another van full of people arrived. Whew! That's a lot of people and only 1 good pool. Do what you should always do everywhere you go in the outdoors and LEAVE NO TRACE. Our next visit won't be on a weekend.

Usage surges at night because of the clamp-down (nighttime closure) put on Jerry Johnson HS which is only 10 miles away. The primary abusers are partiers from the college located in Missoula, MT. Unfortunately, cases of vehicle break-ins are on the rise in this remote area as well.

Rating A

Average Rating: A

Traffic Updates

05.15.03 (PM) & 05.16.03 (AM)
The pullout for Weir Creek was packed! I believe this had something to do with the season; this time of year is the best time to raft or kayak the Lochsa River. All of the parked vehicles had rafts and kayaks on board, in fact, there was absolutely no where to park in the huge pullout.

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PUBLIC BATHING NOTICE

No Soap, Shampoo or BIO-Soap/Shampoo Allowed in Hot Springs! Avoid Being Fined!

Public hot springs are not bathing facilities and do not have 'plumbing' like that of commercial, improved hot springs. Soap and shampoo (including biodegradable soap and shampoo) do not completely breakdown naturally. This pollutes our water systems (ingested by fish, animals, humans) at or near the source. This is also illegal in most wilderness and public lands areas.

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