Jerry Johnson is considered to be one of Idaho's most popular hot springs. There are three hot spring sources that are tucked away in the beautiful mountains of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. An easy, 1-mile hike with 150 feet in elevation gain is all it takes to reach Jerry Johnson's natural soaking pools. To begin the hike, cross the impressive suspension bridge across Lochsa River just to the south of the parking area. At the trailhead, take a right and continue up the valley along Warm Springs Creek and through a forest of lush cedar and grand fir. In early summer, wildflowers pop up sporadically on the trail and around the hot springs.
To reach the first pool, take a little side trail to the edge of Warm Springs Creek. Called the "Waterfall Pool," it has 115-degree water that flows from the bank down into the river. This hot spring is only accessible in late summer when Warm Springs Creek's water level drops below the level of the spring. The second hot spring creates few soaking pools along the rocky river bank past the waterfall pools. These pools vary in size and temperature, so it's easy to find the one that's just right for you, and there is a lovely view of the river and wildflowers. Just beyond these pools, the third hot spring is nestled in a meadow with mountain peaks visible above the surrounding trees. This hot spring is knee deep and averages 100-104 degrees. The lavish meadow offers a great wildlife viewing opportunity, as moose and deer have been known to wander through.
Due to the popularity and abuse of these hot springs, the Forest Service has turned Jerry Johnson Hot Springs into a day use only area that is open from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Breaking these rules can result in a $200 fine. The area is a very popular destination for families; clothing is optional at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, but please use good judgment and be flexible for the sake of fellow users of all ages. And contrary to rumors, Jerry Johnson Hot Springs were undamaged by a nearby wildfire in 2012.