Goldbug ( Elk Bend) Hot Springs

General Description: A gem in a beautiful valley next to Goldbug Ridge
General Location: Eastern Idaho south of Salmon
Pool Type: Rock and Sand and Gravel
Pool Temps: Extremely Hot (106° - 110° F), Very Hot (104° - 106° F), Hot (102° - 104° F), Slightly Hot (100° - 102° F), Warm (Below 100° F)
(Click to enlarge.)
Accessibility: year round
Restrictions: No camping within 500 feet of the springs
Elevation: 5200 feet.
Distance from road: 2.00 miles.
Map Reference: Salmon-Challis National Forest (springs not marked) or Goldbug Ridge ID USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle (springs not marked)


The Hot Spring:

  Goldbug Hot Spring is a gem at the end of a strenuous 2 mile hike with a beautiful view of a desert valley.  People told us about these springs all over the western US before we visited and after soaking for 4 hours we know why.  This is one of those springs that make you feel good afterward and its one of the few places that has hot, warm, and cold water in one place.  Therefore you can do hot-cold therapy by rotating between the extremely hot, the cold, and the warm pool with an amazing view.  Because of Goldbug's popularity there is no camping within 500 feet of the springs and the parking area is surrounded by residential homes so camping is not allowed there either.

  The hot springs emerge on both sides of Warm Springs Creek in a very steep portion of the valley where the cold water is cascading down.  The first hot spring is on the trail side of the creek and has the lowest flow but is the hottest keeping the water temperature at about 110 degrees F.  The pool is kinda shallow with about one foot of water and is 7 feet long by 5 feet wide.  The other springs are on the opposite side of the creek and have very heavy flow.  The hot water mixes with the cold water and fills multiple large pools with about 101 degree F water.  This water continues down the valley creating several warm pools and warm waterfalls.  Between the hot pools is the cascading cold water where there are a couple places to emerge you body in the cold water or have it shower over you from a waterfall.  Combine all the different water temperatures and you can soak for hours and feel rejuvenated afterward.

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Thank you for the beautiful

Thank you for the beautiful write up...I am a weekly "gold Bug" soaker. Recently, My fiance' and I were soaking and a young couple hopped in with us, but unfortunately, they included their dog. While some people find this perfectly ok, they didn't bother to ask those who were already in the pool. Although we pointed out that there was several other pools (downstream), they insisted on allowing the dog in the pool. Please help bring awareness to the risks of those actions. If you weren't aware of any risks, Please visit the link and decide for yourself. I highly recommend all health-minded fellow hot springs lovers to speak out about this disgusting, disrespectful behavior. P.S. I am a dog lover and owner of 3.

I am about to take a weekend

I am about to take a weekend trip to Salmon, ID this weekend (4/27/2013). I am just wondering if the trail is hike-able this time of year. I also saw on some websites that the water temperatures vary throughout the year, does anyone know if they are warm enough to soak at this point in the year? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!


Do you think the temps and

Do you think the temps and trail will be ok for a trip this weekend?

I own and reside on the first

I own and reside on the first 1/4 mile of the Goldbug trail.  Your post speaks to the biggest problem I have regarding living next to a heavily used trail: dogs that are brought to the springs by hikers.  The rule that all pets must be on leads in the parking area and while crossing private property is not regularly followed.  Pets frequently leave the trail on private property (my yard), course up and down the hillside reflecting the often excited state of mind that the dog owners are experiencing as they anticipate the hot soak ahead.  These frenzied pets then get my own two dogs excited (acoustics in the canyon allow quiet conversations on the trail to be heard clearly inside my home...the dogs hear also).  Earlier this summer (2014), while I was soaking at the springs, a pet owner brought his black lab into the hot pool.  Much to my dismay, this dog bit me as I was soaking!  This was a totally unprovoked attack.  I immediately realized that I should forbid dogs from crossing my private property, as it is within my legal right to do so.  With this idea in mind I called a meeting with the FS, BLM and the Lemhi County Sheriff to discuss this change.  I was urged at this meeting to proceed slowly and the final outcome of this meeting is yet to be known.  But, the Sheriff said that hikers who cross private property without leads for their pets were trespassing and that I could prosecute.  Prosecution is not what I want.  I am fine with hikers crossing the trail in my yard, but I want them to cross quietly without getting my pets excited.  Is this too much to ask?  Beware that a move to prohibit dogs on the trail is in motion.  Further disregard of the dog-lead rule will only speed this process.  Thanks for reading... David   

Thanks for the post David. I

Thanks for the post David. I don't know what possesses some people that they think it's ok to bring their dogs into a hot spring. I love dogs, but that's just not ok. I think I'd ask the people if they allow their dog into the bath with them at home while they're soaking! Looking forward to a trip out there this summer on the way to Yellowstone with my wife and daughter.

Is camping outside of 500'

Is camping outside of 500' from the water still allowed up there? We were going to tent at the Salmon River RV Park, but it would be better to tent closer and get more soak time in.

Any new movement on the

Any new movement on the prohibition of dogs at Elk Bend? I completely understand if it moves forward with the experiences shared, but what about folks who actually follow the rules? I admit I'm a dog person who brings the beast most places. Some might think it's appalling that I bring my dog with me to undeveloped hot springs. He sits in the water with me, we mind our own business, we've never had a confrontation, and we hang out for a few hours then jet. I've experienced rude dog owners myself and I too question their decisions to bring the beasts if they know they aren't well behaved or if they aren't going to clean up after them. If decided dogs are no longer allowed here, we'll be bummed but such as life and it will go on.

Yeah, the doggie/ doo-doo

Yeah, the doggie/ doo-doo issue has come to critical point here in Jackson. The doggers that have inundated the towns local hot spot for recreating,Cache creek, have been issued a 7 day time out by the FS because of the continued abuse of properly controlling fur babies around native wildlife and fellow trail users, picking up the deposited poops etc.. just all around exhibiting the kind of insensitive behavior normally associated with self centered, poorly parented children. Lets preserve the sanctity of this precious place where sentient hominids can come to restore themselves amidst the healing waters and beautiful natural environs free from being tyrannized from the infantile fur baby hordes.

Goldbug Hot Springs is

Goldbug Hot Springs is considered a true geothermal gem. While the pools reside on National Forest Land, the first quarter mile of trail passes through private land with an easement purchased and held by the Bureau of Land Management. Due to an overwhelming amount of traffic to the pools, private lands are being negatively impacted. Remember to keep dogs on leashes for the first quarter mile and reduce noise levels to a minimum. Parking at the county managed trailhead is limited. Please be respectful of the surrounding landowners and avoid blocking driveways. Camping is not permitted at the trailhead.

Will early May be a good time

Will early May be a good time to visit the springs? Dogs allowed these days, on leash? Look forward to checking out this gem! Any concern about bears in this area?

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