Stanley, Idaho, is home to Cove Creek Hot Springs, which can be found in Sawtooth National Forest along the Salmon River. These natural geothermal springs, located on the riverbank, are also known as the Basin Creek Hot Springs.
Sightseers and volunteers built the main spring pool, so its shape might change every time you visit. There is enough space for one or two small pools that fit a couple of people. Between the river rocks, the geothermal energy slowly seeps out at a temperature of about 140 °F, and the hot water can be mixed with the river water to create the perfect soaking pool.
These thermal waters are very rural but are also in close proximity to the highway. Clothing is optional, but being so close to roads, the area sees a lot of foot traffic. After parking on the wide shoulder off highway 75, visitors can walk down a small dirt path leading down to the river’s edge.
The water levels can depend on the season and weather. During certain times of the year, the pools might be submerged.
Basin Creek Campground
There is no camping at the hot springs site, but the Basin Creek Campground is about 1.5 miles away and a great place to spend a night or two outdoors.
Basin Creek Campground, located a few miles east of Stanley, is within walking distance of the Cove Creek Hot Springs, also referred to as “Basin Creek Hot Springs.” From site #4, you may access the geothermal pools by a well-marked path.
This used to be a campsite maintained by the forest service, but now it has fallen into disrepair, which means no campground host, plenty of free fuel, and no cost. There was a flood and fire about 2006, so tread carefully. The last few sites include a picnic table, a metal fire ring, and an outhouse, but few are left to choose from.
The hot springs are about 1.5 miles away from the primitive campground, but during certain seasons the river can be high enough to submerge the rock-walled pools.
Address: Situated off Highway 75, about nine miles from downtown Stanley, Idaho
Season: Year-round, water level pending (spring may be too high)