Just a short drive from the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho, is one of the nicest of several hot springs along the Salmon River. It is called Boat Box Hot Spring because it historically consisted of a large wooden box and was a very popular stop for rafters going by. The wooden box was frequently dislodged by spring floods and eventually destroyed, but was replaced by a very serviceable tub made from an ocean buoy that was nicely sliced and welded together. Today’s tub is solidly cabled to rocks on the shore.
The hot water for this tub comes from a large plastic pipe stuck into the riverbank and draped over the tub’s wooded rim. For more hot water, the pipe is pulled over to spill into the tub. For cooler water, a plastic bucket is nearby for adding river water. The water straight from the spring is quite hot, so caution is advised. There is a valve to let water out, which trickles constantly, so the water is generally fresh and clean.
This spot is popular, though unmarked, and during the summer there are almost always a few cars parked at the turnout (located at the first 30 mph warning sign on the road driving from Stanley).