Sawtooth National Forest

On June 28th we arrived in Stanley, Idaho, from Caldwell, staying at the Mountain Village RV Resort. There are only 6 sites available and only 2 with 50 AMP service, so we had to book early to get a spot and I was only able to get 3 nights here. The drive along the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway was beautiful. Winding through the Boise National Forest, passing through dense forests of pine, across high mountain valleys, and along the Boise River until we finally arrived in Stanley. We settled into our site #5, and then drove to Redfish Lake for a fabulous dinner in the Redfish Lodge. A great place to stay, especially for weddings and special occasions.

Hell Roaring Lake Hike

The next day we drove to the trailhead for the Hell Roaring Lake hike, 10 mile R/T. The hike was enjoyable with several openings along the Hell Roaring Creek to stop and take photos. Hell Roaring Lake is nestled among thick trees at 7,407 feet, where we stopped for lunch on the shores of the lake with a great view of the Finger of Fate, an elegant tower of granite. When we arrived we went for a quick swim in the refreshing mountain lake, to cool off, and then enjoyed a peaceful lunch. Stayed here for awhile just enjoying the peace and beauty of Hell Roaring Lake. The 5 mile hike out was hot and long, and we were glad when we reached the Jeep. While we were hiking we met hikers who told us about the upper trailhead that we could drive to in the Jeep to reduce the hike by 6 miles. We will save this for our next visit and go to Imogene Lake, 4 miles past Hell Roaring Lake. Click on thumbnail to view images

Sights and Hot Springs Around Stanley Idaho

The next day we drove 20 minutes from Stanley to the Sunbeam Hot Springs along the Salmon River. It is located right next to Highway 75 and is a short walk down to the hot springs. Sunbeam Hot Springs has a source of over 160 degrees that comes from the hillside. The geothermal water cascades down into the Salmon River where there are hot spring pools. We soaked in the warm water for several hours while talking to another couple who were also enjoying the hot springs. It was not crowded at all, so we could stay in as long as we wanted to. The temperature of the hot spring rock walled pools depend on the season and the flow of the river. We found a perfect rock pool where the hot water was  mixed with the cold water from the river. Finally after 2 hours it was time to leave and we drove to the Sunbeam Dam just north of the hot springs.The dam, built in 1910 to power a local mine, was only used for power for about a year, but blocked the flow of the Salmon River for two decades. Then we drove out to see Stanley Lake a great place to fish, kayak or paddle board. There are nice campsites on the lake where you can stay to experience the lake. We returned to Stanley where we had dinner at Lucy’s, a great hidden away gem of a restaurant in Stanley.

The next morning I went for a dip in the Boat Box Hot Springs, only 3 miles from Stanley and right beside the highway, but with no signs it is hard to find. It only fits two people, and it’s one of the smallest and most unique hot springs in Idaho. The history of Boat Box Hot Springs is that it was built “For the community by the community”. Once called Elkhart Hot Springs, this tiny tub is a local favorite. It got its name “Boat Box” from the old wooden box that once stood in the place of the newer metal cauldron. After the untamable river swept away the old pool, it was replaced by the metal one today. It was used by the rafters after a long day on the Salmon River, and to enjoy the scenery and gorgeous setting. We went at 8:30 am and there was only one couple there on there their way out, so I had it all to myself. Bob didn’t join me but he took photos while I soaked in the warm water. The water coming out of the pipe was too hot, so you had to mix it with the cold river water to make it a perfect temperature. What a great spot to experience, just another fun adventure on our journey. Click on thumbnail to view images

Gold Bug Hot Springs

While staying in Challis, Idaho, we visited the Goldbug Hot Springs, located south of Salmon and north of Challis on Highway 93. The two-mile hike from the trailhead was easy to navigate, climbing a total of 1,350 feet to the top of the hot springs. As we neared the top the trail turned into wooden steps, and on the left through the trees we saw a naked lady under a waterfall with a cave behind it. We crossed a small wooden bridge, and we came to a large pool at the very top of the cliff that is fed by a creek. The water cascades over the cliff and creates a 15-foot waterfall of hot water to feed two more pools below. We sat in the pool at the top of the waterfall with a view looking over the valley that we just hiked all the way up. After awhile we were fortunate to have the hot springs all to ourselves except for a couple of girls from Stanley. This is a magical place and we were so glad that we had the day to visit the Goldbug Hot Springs. After a couple of hours we hiked back down and continued our drive to Salmon where we had a late lunch at the Junkyard Bistro. Click on thumbnail to view images