Panther (Big Creek) Hot springs

General Description: A small walk to lots of very hot water and a primitive sauna
General Location: Central Idaho outside of North Fork
Pool Type: Rock and Mud Sauna, and Sand and Gravel Pools
Pool Temps: Extremely Hot (106° - 110° F)
(Click to enlarge.)
Accessibility: Year round, But the last half mile of the road may be icy in the winter
Restrictions: None
Elevation: 4300 feet.
Distance from road: 0.25 mile.
Map Reference: Salmon National Forest Map, or Pine Creek Rapids ID USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle


The Hot Spring:

  Hot water over 180 degrees F is abundant at Panther Hot Springs but cold water is not.  Big Creek only has a significant amount of water during spring runoff and the rest of year it is just a trickle.  Several Hot spring emerge an the bank of the creek and make it a hot creek after the first spring.  At the first spring there is a sand and gravel pool where the cold and hot water mix and a good soakable temperature is attainable.  Unfortunately when we were cleaning this pool (it was filled with silt and needed to be dug out) the largest black widow we have ever seen had made its home in the rocks along the wall of the pool, so we decided not to soak.  All of the pools below this are quite large and nice in a small canyon but way too hot to soak in.  If the cold water was harnessed better these pools might be soakable year round.

  Instead of pools the hot water is used for a really cool rock and mud sauna.  Several mineral springs created a calcite rock mound next Big Creek, and flow down the mound to the creek and all the pools.  Up on the mound near the springs the boiling water flows under the sauna.  The sauna has rock walls with mud in the cracks and the roof is made of logs and tarps.  The floor is made of wooden palates to protect you from the hot water and the abundant steam makes for a good sweat.

  In the past a very nice rock and cement pool built by the Sterlings in 1987 was located in the creek.  The pool was large enough for a dozen people and the hot water was piped in and controlled with a valve.  The cold water was channeled into a concrete trough on the opposite side of the creek as the hot springs and could be utilized in all the pools down the creek.  Unfortunately in 2003 a forest fire in the valley followed by a large flood destroyed all the pools and concrete trough.  An ash and mud flow went down Big Creek Valley all the way to Panther Creek destroying everything in its path.  The area is still not re-built to its old glory but the sauna survived the chaos and is worth the journey.

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Thank you to whomever posted

Thank you to whomever posted this.

Well, as the wife and woman

Well, as the wife and woman who not only watched my dogs burn to death but also my husband almost lose his life, I will tell you that you need to remind yourself of the area we were in before you spout off your opinion about how "unsafe" or "preventable" this really was. Thanks for your prayers but they don't hold a lot of weight followed by slander. No posted signs, no reason to believe our dogs nor ourselves would be unsafe due to the fact a cold water input is claimed to be in place in multiple backpacking/hotsprings guides. Our lack of protecting our dogs or being responsible dog owners or dog parents shouldn't be questioned. The fact that their is no indication that this was something to fear should be. Land management? Posted signs like every other damn forest service hot springs we paid to visit had, maybe someone else dropped the ball. Continue to point fingers "friends", thank god this tragedy disn't happen to your family. Keep your kids on leashes too if this is your theory in the woods.

hind sight is always 120.

hind sight is always 120. Could a would a should shit happens kids or dogs life is all precious!!

Prayers to the injured man

Prayers to the injured man and his wife.

Panther Hot Springs have many 125 to 180 degree sources that flow into Panther Creek.

If one thinks first, this could be dangerous!

People should not bring their dogs here, on or off leash.  Same goes with children.

These types of incidents are tragect, but preventable.

Letting ones dogs run around off leash has many consequences.

At Hot Creek, California a similar incident happened. The water is 190 to 210 degrees. A man let his dog off leash.

The dog has a natural instint to jump into the water.

The dog jumped into the water, yelped and cried from it's injuries, thrashing about helplessly.

The man then has the instint to save his dog.

The man then jumped in to the scading water to save his dog.

Both the dog and the dog's "keeper " died a painful death.

If you love your dog and children and want to protect them from harm, think before allowing them to run around free.

You will never know how much trouble they can encounter until it is too late.

As an adult, you are responsible for their safety.

When allowing " anything goes ",  anything is possible including death.

Our dogs and our children need us to protect them from harm.

8/21/2015 Last night some

8/21/2015 Last night some friends of mine went to this hot springs. Their dogs (labs) bounded into the scalding water, and when their owner tried to rescue them he was severely burned. Both dogs died, and he was life flighted to Seattle. Please be cautious, and always leash your dogs. It is a very sad day in their house.

Would anyone know the of it's

Would anyone know the of it's allowable to rebuild the hot spring here?

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