Samuels Hot Springs in Idaho

Samuels Hot Springs in Idaho




Samuels Hot Springs in Idaho

We learned about Samuels Hot Springs (also known as Trail Creek Hot Springs) from a group of locals that we met during our epic Idaho Hot Springs Road Trip, and are we ever glad we decided to go here! This is a special spot with a few different hot springs built up near to a creek at the end of a road about 30 minutes from the town of Cascade, Idaho. We found this spot to be quiet and quaint, and the locals extremely welcoming and respectful. Read on to learn about visiting Samuels Hot Spring yourself!

Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA

Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA

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Facts about Samuels Hot Springs:

These hot springs came across as more of a “local secret” to me than most of the other hot springs we visited on this trip. Perhaps it was the amount of snow falling and already sticking to the ground, or perhaps it was the fact that it was a random Thursday morning, but there were only a few cars at the parking lot of these hot springs, despite their easy accessibility, private setting and natural beauty on the forest floor.

Along the creek down at the bottom of the hill below the parking lot lie a series of pools, dammed by boulders, and connected by a series of wooden catwalks that help you to cross the river. They also feature valves to pipe in hot and cold water to help you to regulate the temperature.

Hot Spring Temperature: HOT (with the option to add cold creek water to your liking)

Hot Spring Floor: The hot springs have a gravel bottom and are dammed by large borders.

Note: Be extremely careful crossing the shanty little bridge to the first hot spring (not pictured, but at the end of the catwalk out of frame); it is very unstable and people told us that they have personally fallen off of it before and gotten hurt.

Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA

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How do you get to Samuels Hot Springs?

Getting to Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs is pretty straight forward, and a nice drive. The road seems to go on forever and you may feel as if you’ve missed the trailhead! The Google Map below shows the location of the trail head we parked at and should be accurate for you as well. (In Google Maps, search for Samuels Hot Springs, not Trail Creek).

From Boise, drive to Cascade, and pass through the town. Take the right turn after the bridge at the end of town, and drive 19.3 miles. (Tip: reset the odometer – it really helps here) You will come to a turnout on the right side of the road that is fairly large and noticeable, especially if there are other vehicles parked there.

This road is maintained and fairly decent to travel in winter, though not as good as the highways, so be prepared with winter tires if travelling in the winter. Be aware that winter storms can pass through here quickly and change road conditions quickly, as this area does receive a substantial amount of snow.

See below for a map of the location of the parking lot and trailhead:

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The Hike to Samuels Hot Springs:

The hike to Samuels Hot Springs isn’t really a hike at all, but rather, a steep and very short wander through the trees and down to the creek below!

What to Expect: The trail, as mentioned, is very short – but also steep. There are some areas where ropes were tied to trees, making going up and down the steep side of the hill easier. If you are visiting in winter, make sure to bring ice cleats. When we visited, the snow was extremely slippery and covered in ice, and we saw a few people without micro-spikes falling and slipping.

Once you come to the first hot spring (pictured), there are another couple of hot springs if you continue along the trail.

These hot springs are small and we didn’t notice strangers sharing the tubs together – rather, people would wait for the bathers to finish before taking their turn.

We did see nudity while we were at these hot springs – not an issue, just a heads up!

Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA

Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA

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Photography Tips

As always, if you’re looking for prime photography opportunity, consider enjoying the hot springs around the hours surrounding sunrise and sunset. The springs will be their least busy, and the light at its optimum for magical photos.

Also, consider using a polarizing filter to decrease glare in the water reflection.

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Where to Stay Near Samuels Hot Springs:

Accommodation in this area is somewhat limited, but here are some options on where to stay close to Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs. Perfect if you want an early or late start to beat the crowds!

Explore hotels near Goldbug Hot Springs here

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Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA
Hot Spring Etiquette:

Following proper hot spring etiquette and Leave No Trace principles are incredibly important, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for years to come. Thank you for continuing to read and educating yourself on these important principles!

Hot Spring Etiquette:

Follow Leave No Trace Principles:  you can find out more about them here.
Respect Nudity: Plenty of backcountry hot springs are clothing-optional. Research this before you go and follow the rules accordingly. Be respectful of those who do decide to bathe nude.
Do Not Bathe: Natural hot springs are both your own personal bathtub. If possible, bathe or shower before entering any geothermal pools to reduce the spread of bacteria. Soaps and shampoos are now allowed in or near hot springs, to do your bathing elsewhere.
Take Turns: Natural hot springs are usually smaller pools of water and can get congested with people quite easily. Be respectful of others who are sharing this experience with you. A good rule of thumb is to feel comfortable asking others when they anticipate their turn to be done, if there is limited room remaining in a hot spring. Be patient and wait your turn.
Test The Water: Always test the water before hopping in to make sure it isn’t scalding. Remember, this is a natural hot pool and the temperature is not regulated like a man-made pool.
No Camping: In the backcountry,  do not set up camp right next to a pool and claim it as your own. Rule of thumb is that you should try to set up camp at least 200 yards away. Check the rules of each hot spring location to ensure that camping is allowed.
Dogs Are Not Allowed: Hot springs are usually too hot for dogs, and not especially healthy for them to drink from. Many strangers will also not appreciate bathing in the same pool as your pup. Each hot springs has its own particular rules, but consider leaving the pooches at home for these trips!
Drink Plenty of Water: Hot springs can induce heat stroke or fainting spells in those who are dehydrated, especially the hottest springs. Always carry and drink lots of water when enjoying hot springs. If you begin to feel lightheaded or too hot, listen to your body and take a break

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What To Bring to Natural Hot Springs:
BACKPACK:

Bring one with plenty of room to stash towels, change of clothes, water, food, camera, the rest of your gear, etc.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND:

Osprey Packs Ariel AG 55L Backpack – Women’s
Mammut Trion Guide 45+7L Backpack
Deuter Aircontact Lite SL 45+10L Backpack – Women’s
Gregory Maven 45L Backpack – Women’s
Arc’teryx Bora AR 50L Backpack – Men’s
The North Face Cobra 60L Backpack
Gregory Stout 45L Backpack
Osprey Packs Eja 48L Backpack – Women’s

Osprey Packs Ariel AG 55L Backpack – Women’sOsprey Packs Ariel AG 55L Backpack – Women’s
Mammut Trion Guide 45+7L BackpackMammut Trion Guide 45+7L Backpack
Deuter Aircontact Lite SL 45+10L Backpack – Women’sDeuter Aircontact Lite SL 45+10L Backpack – Women’s
Gregory Maven 45L Backpack – Women’sGregory Maven 45L Backpack – Women’s
Arc’teryx Bora AR 50L Backpack – Men’sArc’teryx Bora AR 50L Backpack – Men’s
The North Face Cobra 60L BackpackThe North Face Cobra 60L Backpack
Gregory Stout 45L BackpackGregory Stout 45L Backpack
Osprey Packs Eja 48L Backpack – Women’s

 

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HIKING SHOES:

Here are some fantastic options to begin with if you’re looking for a new pair of hiking shoes:

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND:

KEEN Oakridge Hiking Shoe – Women’s
Merrell Moab FST 2 Hiking Shoe – Women’s
Merrell Chameleon 7 Stretch Waterproof Hiking Shoe – Men’s
KEEN Targhee ll Waterproof Hiking Shoe – Men’s

KEEN Oakridge Hiking Shoe – Women’sKEEN Oakridge Hiking Shoe – Women’s
Merrell Moab FST 2 Hiking Shoe – Women’sMerrell Moab FST 2 Hiking Shoe – Women’sMerrell Moab FST 2 Hiking Shoe – Women’sMerrell Moab FST 2 Hiking Shoe – Women’s
Merrell Chameleon 7 Stretch Waterproof Hiking Shoe – Men’sMerrell Chameleon 7 Stretch Waterproof Hiking Shoe – Men’s
KEEN Targhee ll Waterproof Hiking Shoe – Men’sKEEN Targhee ll Waterproof Hiking Shoe – Men’s

hot springs
HIKING POLES:

Not everyone will require hiking poles, but they can definitely come in handy for those steep descents, or if your knees aren’t the best and you’d like a little extra support! Here are some great options:

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND:

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles
LEKI Legacy Lite Cor-Tec Trekking Poles – Women’s




hot springs
HEADLAMP:

Even if you don’t plan to hike in or out in the dark, a headlamp is a necessity, just in case. And don’t forget extra batteries. Here are some awesome options:

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND:

Petzl Reactik + Headlamp
Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp

Petzl Reactik + HeadlampPetzl Reactik + Headlamp

Black Diamond ReVolt HeadlampBlack Diamond ReVolt Headlamp

hot springs
Other Items to Pack:

Hiking clothes and layers proper to the season you’re in (shorts, tank tops, warm layers, extra socks, sports bras, underwear, etc.)
Swimsuit
Towel
Water shoes (helpful for walking in and out of the water with rocky bottoms)
Waterproof phone case or camera
A bag to pack out your garbage (everything you hike in MUST be hiked out)
Packing cubes for keeping your personal items organized (I love EagleCreek brand)
First-Aid kid (for blisters, injuries, headaches/pain, illnesses etc)
Water bottle(s) – I prefer Nalgene brand
Adequate food / snacks and water for the day

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Samuels / Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho, USA

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