Wildlife Sighted: Deer
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.
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
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
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.
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.
3 types of recreational users that were present; the traveling
folks, road bicyclists and straight-up hot springers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
of you that find the new pool, enjoy and hopefully add amenities
(another tarp layer) or strengthen the existing structure with
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.
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
new Weir Creek pool!
Fix up a
spring - Brent and Dawnna
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.