Gold Bug Hot Springs
Merriam Lake - Lost River Range, Idaho - Challis National Forest
One of the pools at Gold Bug Hot Springs out of Salmon, Idaho
Fred and I have found that "Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest" is necessary guide to take with us on our extended Idaho adventures. This time, we camped 4 days at Challis Hot Springs in Challis with our tent trailer. One day we drove north of Challis and walked on a dusty trail to Gold Bug Hot Springs, and to our delight found glorious warm waterfalls and hot pools. After a HOT and STEEP two mile hike up a scenic canyon, we came upon a paradise of old cedar trees, hot waterfalls and multiple pools of varying temperature, all dammed with rocks. Mixtures of the hot springs and cold creek water have been craftily captured into clear pools for the enjoyment of all. Lucky for us, there were only 4 other people up there, so we splashed and hopped from one pool to the next.
After this soak, we drove to Salmon and hung out in the library for a couple of hours to cool off.
Merriam Lake, elevation 9,590 feet at the base of Mount Idaho, Idaho's 7th tallest mountain at
12, 065 feet
One day we decided to hike up to Merriam Lake, at almost 10,000 feet. Getting to the trailhead to start the hike was an adventure in itself! You drive on Doublespring Pass, which is a good gravel road that connects 2 valleys on either side of the Lost River Mountain Range. A network of somewhat confusing 4 wheel drive roads branch off from this, and although we became temporarily bewildered (not lost), we kept heading toward the mountains. We saw some cowboys herding cattle through the sagebrush and asked them if we were heading in the right direction.
Pahsimeroi Valley, near Mt. Borah, Idaho
There were 3 generations of cowboys present, and the old cowboy answered our questions as he sat on top of his horse. It was so hot that we had seen one of their dogs under some willows at the creek about 1/2 mile back. Apparently, one of the cowboys told us the dog “won’t come on”.
Eventually, we found our way to Merriam Lake trailhead and hiked to it, but by then the monsoonal weather had come in and we ended up in thunder, rain, and then our truck slid almost sideways out of control down a saturated clay road – but that story will have to wait until later.
According to Dr. Sven Liljeblad from the Historical Society, Idaho State, Pahsimeroi is the Shoshoni name for tall grass which is found in some of the meadows of the Pahsimeroi country.
About this blog
– "explorumentaries" list trip stats and highlights of each hike or bike ride, often with some interesting history or geology. Years ago, I wrote these for friends and family to let them know what my husband, Fred and I were up to on weekends, and also to showcase the incredible land of the west. I hope to hear about your adventures!
The Habitat Restoration page lists organizations that welcome volunteers for various land care and restoration activities.
A schedule of current restoration volunteer activities is available on this page.
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