Jerry Johnson Hot Springs – Idaho
Out in the wilderness of Idaho lies a well kept local secrete called Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. This primitive natural pool is nestled along Warms Springs Creek in Clearwater National Forest. With the flowing waters and forest backdrop, you will feel like you went back in time where it’s just you and mother nature. This is one of those magical hot springs only a few states can boast about.
Details about Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
The Jerry Johnson Hot Springs are made up of three separate pools that are fed by underground geothermal sources. The first pool is the largest and directly connected to the river creek formed by a rock wall keeping the hot mineral waters in. It’s by far the hottest of all three averaging around 106 degrees, but can be adjusted by moving a few rocks to let some of the colder waters in.
The second springs pool is a little down river and is a pocket of a few different smaller rock walled pool areas. Again, depending on the amount of water coming in from the creek will determine the temperature of the hot springs tubs, but normally it hovers around 98 degrees.
The last option is off the river and smack dab in the middle of a meadow. This comes with unbelievable views of the wilderness as well as the flowing creek. Unlike the first two where the temperature can be controlled, this one maintains an average around 102 degrees.
The area around Jerry Johnson Hot Springs adds to the experience with surrounding pine trees and other evergreens. The nearby creek also provides a soothing sound as you relax in the warm waters. It’s easy to see why many people consider this primitive hot spring as one of Idaho’s best kept secrets! In addition to being naturally heated, Jerry Johnson Hot Springs maintains its cleanliness through regular maintenance and cleaning efforts by local volunteers who work hard to keep it pristine all year round.
For those looking for something more adventurous than lounging around in hot springs all day, there are plenty of hiking trails nearby that lead into some spectacular views overlooking Salmon River Valley below.
Location and Map of Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, Idaho 83539
During the summer months, Jerry Johnson Hot Springs can get a little crowded, but not too bad. Clothing is optional an you may see some naked people if nobody else is around. There isn’t camping allowed at the location, but there is a campsite roughly a mile away.
Directions to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
From Grangerville, Idaho – Map
1. Start on ID-13 Business East for a mile
2. Make a right onto US-12 East and travel for approximately 75 miles
3. You will reach your destination at MP 152 which has a parking lot and the trailhead to get you to the springs.
From Missoula, Montana – Map
Once you park you will cross the highway and over a bridge, where the Lochsa River runs under. You will see a sign and trailhead called Warm Springs Trail which winds very close to the creek. It’s about a one mile hike, but extremely easy and gives you some epic views of Clearwater National Forest. Happy Soaking!
Hiking Trails around Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
The best part about visiting this spring is the hiking trails to and around the area. The 1 mile trek from where you park to Jerry Johnson hot springs is a very easy and scenic path. There is a great chance you will see wildlife around every turn while you also enjoy breathtaking views of Idaho’s mountain ranges. If that isn’t enough here are a couple other great hiking trails worth doing.
The Clearwater Trail #10 is a popular choice that follows the North Fork of the Clearwater River through old growth forests. It offers moderate elevation changes with some sections suitable for mountain biking or horseback riding. This trail can be taken as either a day hike or extended into overnight camping trip.
Canyon Creek Trail #218 which winds up steep switchbacks before emerging onto an open ridge line with scenic views of the surrounding area. The trail then descends down into canyon country where you’ll find a few waterfalls.
Nez Perce National Historic Trail #216 passes through many areas within Clearwater National Forest including Lolo Pass and Monumental Summit on its way from Montana to Oregon along the Lewis & Clark’s historic route.
Camping around Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
The only option near this attraction is Jerry Johnson Campground. There are 20 sites available on a first come first serve basis and the perfect place to enjoy a night under the stars. If you plan on continuing into Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness there are several more options for dispersed camping.
Other Attractions near Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
It’s best if you can carve out 2-3 days of your life to truly experience Idaho’s amazing wilderness and all the things the area has to offer. Jerry Johnson is an amazing attraction by itself, but so are the countless nearby hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Travelers will often continue on the hike and being a new journey through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
In this part of Idaho’s landscape you can check off a few other hot springs:
There are also several waterfalls, rivers, campsites, and cities along the way. There is nothing better than disconnecting from the world for a bit and reconnecting with yourself.