Anyone who enjoys lush scenery, inviting hot spring pools, and plenty of outdoor activities should check out the 5th generation family-owned Challis Hot Springs. It’s secluded in the small town of Challis in Central Idaho.
Found within the Round Valley and strategically located along the banks of the Salmon River, Challis Hot Springs is a getaway that cures the itch for nature lovers seeking a rustic escape surrounded by Mother Earth. There’s camping on-site with sites for both tents and travel trailers.
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area who were drawn to the abundant fishing and hunting opportunities, as well as the healing natural hot spring waters. In 1822, Michael Bourdon and his party came to the valley searching for beaver pelts.
Gold was discovered soon after in 1873, causing a sudden mining boom that would dwindle shortly after. Today, many of the ghost mining towns are available for visitation, plenty of which are less than an hour’s drive from Challis Hot Springs.
Natural Hot Spring Pools
Challis Hot Springs offer two natural hot mineral spring pools to choose from, both of which are fed continuously from an underground geothermal source at three cubic feet per second. The river rock bottoms allow for mineral water to create a constant circulation of fresh water. This ensures a refreshing and soothing experience for all lucky enough to step foot into the pools.
The larger pool is known as the “family-friendly” pool and is suitable for guests of all ages (adult supervision required for those 14 and under). The impressive pool stands 100 feet by 30 feet wide, allowing plenty of space for everyone to have a good time.
The piping hot temps range from 96°F to 100°F. Splishing, splashing, pool toys, and floaties are permitted, so don’t forget to bring your playthings.
The other pool is a smaller, adult-only option known as the “hot pool.” Here, temps get as high as 105°F. The primary goal is to rest and rejuvenate in the healing waters. No floaties, toys, or loud noises are allowed at the hot pool.
Regardless of which pool you spend your morning, afternoon, or evening in, you’ll be met with stunning views of the geologically exciting mountain sitting to the east. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll see sights of wild sheep, deer, eagles, hawks, or other wildlife in the distance.
Due to the premier location of the Challis Hot Springs, a visit to this destination means more than a soak in the mineral pools (although that can be your sole activity if desired). Those who enjoy outdoor adventures and explorations will appreciate the many amenities surrounding these grounds.
Located on the bank of the Salmon River (approximately 70 miles from the “River of No Return”), Challis Hot Springs presents the perfect opportunity for fishing. You will find a wide assortment of species, from steelhead to rainbow trout.
Hunting enthusiasts will find a slew of game in the surrounding area, including elk and deer. Keep in mind that a hunting permit is required before engaging in this activity.
Rafting and Kayaking
Fishing isn’t the only activity that the Salmon River provides to guests. Those who prefer something more thrilling and exciting will appreciate the rafting and kayaking experiences, which offer invigorating adventure and plenty of jaw-dropping scenery.
Many hiking trails are sprinkled around Challis Hot Springs. If you’re willing to travel a little further out, you can even take an excursion through Idaho’s tallest mountain, Mt. Borah. When you’re done touring, you can come back and rest your aching muscles and joints in the soothing hot spring pools.
Don’t want to walk? Consider exploring on horseback instead.
While Challis Hot Springs does not provide ATV rentals, many visitors bring their big toys along to have some fun. Guests can stroll through the various ATV trails and gravel mountain roads surrounding the campground.
Challis Hot Springs offers a lush campground lined with mature trees and beautiful irrigated grass sites. There are two camping accommodations to suit your needs: RV and tent.
Challis Hot Springs offers 30-amp and 50-amp RV accommodations. There are also “dry camping” spots (no water or power hookups). Each site is allowed a single tent and a maximum of eight campers. Campsites come complete with a fire ring and picnic table for your enjoyment.
No RV? No problem. The resort also allows for tent camping. All campsites have a fire ring and picnic table to enhance your experience. Wood and kindle can be purchased on-site.
Address: 5025 Hot Springs Rd, Challis, Idaho 83226