Need a relaxing soak in mineral-rich waters that are believed to have healing properties? The area surrounding River's Fork Lodge provides several opportunities to visit both developed and off the grid hot springs. Keep in mind that if you're going to hike to some of these destinations, you'll want to come prepared with water, snacks, and clothing suitable for changing weather conditions.
Many travelers visit the area just to hike Goldbug Hot Springs. It's not uncommon to meet people who are doing a hot springs pilgrimage, a road trip with an itinerary that consists of several geothermal stops. Goldbug is usually at the top of these visitors' bucket lists.
The beautiful drive from the lodge to the trailhead in Elk Bend is about 45 minutes and parallels the Salmon River the entire way. The hike is about four miles round trip, but you'll gain 900 feet in elevation so we wouldn't call it easy. Be advised that there are two steep sections that might prove too difficult for little children. Additionally, the hike begins on private property so please be respectful and stay on the path.
The springs at the top are wonderful and well worth the effort. There isn't anything much more relaxing than sitting in a hot spring surrounded by towering mountains with views of a breathtaking canyon below. Depending on the season, the creek that runs through the springs might be at high water and very powerful so be careful when crossing between the pools. You'll likely be sharing the springs with other hikers so don't forget your bathing suit!
We'd recommend Goldbug to all guests, but if you're not in the mood for a hike and need a good soak, there are other options as well. Sharkey Hot Springs is managed by the BLM and is a 50 minute drive from the lodge. There are two developed tubs similar to what you'd find at a hotel... minus the chlorine.
Panther Creek Hot Springs is located in Salmon-Challis National Forest. It's not easy to get to and even harder if there is snow, but it is an interesting sight. The pools aren't really suitable for soaking because they are filled with mud instead of rocks, and they're more similar to something you'd see in Yellowstone National Park. We'd really only recommend visiting Panther Creek if you have an ATV, side by side, or 4WD truck, and you're interested in exploring the surrounding wilderness.
Lost Trail Hot Springs is a 35 minute drive from the lodge and features a small developed swimming pool.
Want to visit hot springs and need a great place to stay? Plan your stay with us today!