Boat Box Hot Spring, formerly known as Elkhart Hot Spring, is a community-built pool in Stanley, Idaho. The spring, a popular stopping-off location for rafters over the years, is one of many hot springs located along the Salmon River.
Maintained by the local community, who are happy to provide the oasis for free, this quaint paradise must be visited during your Idaho vacation.
Natural Hot Spring Pool
Boat Box Hot Spring’s name originates from its original design. Built from wood in a square shape, the spring pool had to be replaced with a studier design due to flooding and damage. The newly created pool was constructed from an ocean buoy and is securely cabled to existing large rocks on the river’s shore.
From the highway, the spring looks like a witches cauldron situated next to the river.
A large, plastic pipe supplies a constant trickle of geothermally heated water to the tub from the spring nearby. The 110° Fahrenheit water can easily be cooled to a comfortable temperature by pouring cool water from the river into the pool using the bucket attached to the tub.
A valve lets water out when you are finished with your soak, providing each visitor with fresh, clean water to enjoy.
Nearby Activities and Camping
While visiting Boat Box, make sure you venture to a few more of Idaho’s famous hot springs in the vicinity.
A few miles down the road from Boat Box is a larger natural spring called Sunbeam Hot Springs. Stanley’s Mountain Village Hot Springs is also nearby and, although it has an entrance fee, the views are well worth your time and money.
The closest campground to Boat Box Hot Spring is the Salmon River Campground in the Sawtooth National Forest. The campground is open from May-September and is first-come, first-serve. There are 30 sites available to rent providing both a bathroom and drinking water.
From the small town of Stanley, Idaho, you can take a short drive to discover many hot springs near the river. To specifically locate Boat Box, look for the steam rising from the roadside after you have traveled the unmarked road for 4 miles east on Highway 75.
If you have difficulties finding the location, use the exact coordinates, 44.2448°N 114.8859°W, and track yourself on your mobile device. Make sure Boat Box’s address is saved ‘offline’ just in case you lose cell reception.
Location: State Highway 75 S, Stanley, Idaho 83278
GPS Coordinates: 44.2448° N, 114.8861° W