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Gold Bug Hot Springs

Salmon River + Mountains, Idaho

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Gold Bug Hot Springs

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  • The exposed trail.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • The first bridge over the creek.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • The trail follows the creek for some of the way.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • Approaching Gold Bug Hot Springs.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • The trail becomes more difficult after the second bridge.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • Loose rocks on sections of the trail.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • The stairs approaching Gold Bug Hot Springs.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • View from the top pool at Gold Bug Hot Springs.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
  • Gold Bug Hot Springs with a warm pool and a cold waterfall inlet.- Gold Bug Hot Springs
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Cold and hot water. Multiple pools.
Cons: 
Little shade. No signage to the trailhead. Rocky trail.
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Region:
Salmon River + Mountains, ID
Access: 
Hike-in
Congestion: 
Low
Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Number of pools: 
4
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
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Hot Spring Description

Hot Spring Description

Contributor

The trail to Gold Bug Hot Springs starts with some switchbacks before reaching a wire fence that lets you know you are leaving private property and exploring on BLM land. From here you will cross the first bridge and continue on a flat and rocky path. There is very little shade throughout the trail, but the portions of the trail that flank the river do provide some relief from the summer heat.

You will reach a second bridge on the trail, and from here you need to prepare yourself, grab a drink, and start your climb. From the second bridge the remaining half-mile or more consists of some scrambling, crossing over loose rocks, and climbing some man-made wooden steps. At the top you will be greeted by a decaying bridge, and from there you have an option of enjoying multiple pools.

While some pools are just hot water, try to find ones that have both a cold stream and hot springs. The top pool, located to the right of the bridge, has a waterfall of cold water to the left and a warm/hot water inlet on the right. Enjoying both the cold and hot water in the pool is the perfect reward after the tough hike in.

Since your descent is mostly downhill, it is much less difficult, but watching your footing is still necessary. The loose rocks and rocky staircases can be a challenge. Taking a final dip in the cold water and starting your journey back makes it much more pleasant.

Note that the trailhead can be difficult to find. When looking for Gold Bug, be sure to use your turn by turn GPS, as the road to the trailhead is not marked. The map will show that you are looking for Warm Springs Road, but there is no sign. Coming south from Salmon, you will turn left onto the small road that takes you to the trailhead. There is a vault toilet at the trailhead along with reminders that the first portion of the trail is on private property, so be mindful.

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