Situated two hours southwest of Missoula, MT in northern Idaho, the Stanley Hot Springs is a series of undeveloped natural pools lined by stone walls that go down to Huckleberry Creek. To get to them, a challenging five-mile one-way trip takes you through the scenic Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to the water, where you can soak in the hot springs.
Stanely Hot Springs is located about 26 miles northeast of the small town of Lowell, ID.
Natural Hot Springs Pools
The several make-shift primitive pools are set in a gorgeous wooded setting, perfect for reconnecting with nature. Each natural bath is defined by rocks and logs to collect the water, making it obvious where to soak.
The geothermal water is about 106°F, but it varies slightly with the season. Clothing is optional, but the area is lightly trafficked, so you might see a person or two.
Because of its rural location, there are many excellent wildlife viewing opportunities while soaking and trekking to the pools. Dogs are allowed on the trail but not in the water. The best time of year to go is in the springtime after runoff is done, about June through September.
Around the hot springs, primitive camping is possible. In the vicinity of the pools, there is plenty of room to pitch a tent under the shade of some trees. The astronomy in this area is incredible, so keep your eyes peeled if you plan on spending the night here.
The Wilderness Gateway Campground is located about 26 miles (42 km) from the town of Lowell, and parking at the trailhead is free. Look for trailhead #211 to start the journey to the hot springs.
There aren’t any directional signs pointing the way to the hot springs, but there are two splits in the road, and at both, you should go straight. Then, there’s a stream with no bridge that must be traversed approximately half a mile before arrival. During the winter, the water level rises a lot, making the crossing more difficult than usual.
Address: Located by milepost 122.5 off of US-12, Idaho 83539 (Wilderness Gateway Campground)
Season: Year-round, but summer to early fall is best