The Salmon River, which can be found in central Idaho just off Interstate 75, is famous for its abundance of natural hot springs. Sunbeam Hot Springs, which is east of Stanley, is one of the most popular and easy to get to.
The two nearest major cities to Stanley are Boise (approximately 130 miles) and Salt Lake City (about 380 miles away).
The people of Idaho have relied on Sunbeam Hot Springs for quite some time. Lemhi-Shoshone people have been going to Sunbeam Hot Springs for hundreds of years to treat various illnesses.
However, it wasn’t until October 21, 1821, that anybody was formally documented as having visited the pools, thanks to a discovered journal. The Hudson Bay Fur Trappers, led by Alexander Ross, stopped at a “boiling fountain,” which was later found to be Sunbeam Hot Springs.
The CCC built the Sunbeam Hot Springs bathhouse, which was constructed in 1937. Over the years, it has been kept in its original condition and is now used as a changing room.
Natural Hot Springs Pools
Stanley, Idaho, is a unique outdoorsy town by the Sawtooth Mountains, and Sunbeam Hot Springs are among the nearest geothermal springs. Soaking pools have been carved out of the rocks and boulders by volunteers at the river’s bank.
They are fed by water as hot as 160 degrees Fahrenheit that flows down a neighboring slope, after it mixes with the river water, it creates the perfect soaking temperature.
No clothes are needed, but a swimsuit is recommended because there are a lot of people walking around, and the area is right next to the freeway.
The riverbank with the thermal springs pools is just next to the roadway. The rock-enclosed ponds of varying temperatures are maintained by the spring and river’s temperature and flow. During the spring floods, the geothermal pools can get flooded and disappear.
After soaking in the river’s rock pools, venture off to the left side of the bathhouse to find two tubs. Each one could comfortably accommodate two average-sized adults. Guests may fill them with a combination of hot water from the pipe and cold water from the river. The water in the tub is boiling, so use caution while filling it.
Filling it is good exercise, and it takes approximately 20 minutes to add enough water to get in. If you’re not feeling particularly motivated, utilize the other pools by the river instead. The whole spot is tranquil and beautiful, making it ideal for a relaxing dip.
Know Before You Go
The volunteers work hard to maintain this space for nature lovers to enjoy. Always take your trash home, and don’t urinate or defecate in the pools. Even though this is a wild environment, visitors are asked not to bring their dogs down to the water areas.
Address: State Hwy 75-S, Stanley, Idaho 83278 –> 1 mile to the west of White Otter Outdoor Adventures: Sunbeam Village, 100 Yankee Fork Rd, Stanely