Idaho. Remote, beautiful, and during our trip... WHITE! I had very little experience prior to this road trip, only ever driving through Idaho to reach Glacier National Park— so when we set out to hit as many hot springs as possible we spent a lot of hours scouring blog posts. I hope this road trip itinerary helps you slim down your planning if you are trying to make a road trip from around Seattle to the Hot Springs in Idaho!
Four Night/Five Day Itinerary:
Day 1. Seattle to La Grande
Day 2. La Grande to McCall
Day 3. McCall to Gold Fork Hot Springs to Kamiah
Day 4. Kamiah to Weir Hot Springs to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs to Missoula
These hot springs we couldn’t visit due to road closures… but will next time!
Goldbug Hot Springs
Burgdorf Hot Springs
Pine Creek Hot Springs
Kirkham Hot Springs
Luckily… I’m a road trip planning pro. If you look at my google maps you will find countless stars and pins from places I’ve been recommended to check out, but Idaho was pretty bare before this trip! This is what it looks like now :)
Day/Night 1: Late Night Drives to La Grande
We headed out of Seattle with a strong desire to hit up some hot springs for Valentines Day after Dillon got called off work due to the snow. (Thanks, #snowmaggedon2019) We decided to take advantage of the days off we both had and left Wednesday evening towards La Grande where we stayed at The Landing Hotel, one of my personal favorite local places to travel to. I just feel HOME there, and always try to make a stop when adventuring to the Wallowas, Sun Valley, or in this case, on our Hot Springs Road Trip!
Day 2: Valentines Day in McCall
We woke up from our extremely comfy bed in La Grande (About 5 hours from Seattle) and headed downstairs for breakfast. Don’t take my word for it, here are some of the cozy vibes from this adorable boutique hotel. We were happy to have the head start and already be on the road. Until…
Road closures. Lots of them.
Well, not a lot, but the highway 21 had avalanche danger— not only this day but the entire FIVE DAYS we were gone… and it majorly inhibited us from heading to Pine Creek Hot Springs and Kirkham Hot Springs. So, we got a recommendation to check out McCall, ID and in under 20 minutes we booked a night at Shore Lodge.
We paid over $200 for a room here after seeing how beautiful this place looked, including their steamy hot tubs, soaking pools, and outdoor heated pool. Upon check in, we got wine. At dinner I was given a rose. We were served by some AMAZING wait staff—but we had so many mishaps during our stay (like his steak coming out well done, and then completely cold at dinner… and someone entering our room while we were asleep and booking it out the door before we could know if it was an intruder or hotel staff) that by the end of it we just found it comical that nothing was going right.
Helpful Tip: Tom, our bartender showed us the Hot Springs USA App which helped navigate us to some secret hot springs during our trip that were a little more off the beaten track. The app is only .99 and totally worth it! We were a little discouraged from not being able to take our original route to some of Idaho’s most beautiful springs, but luckily we have another stay at Shore Lodge comped… so we will be returning! Here are some fun memories from our stay:
Day 3: Gold Fork Hot Springs… and more Road Closures
FINALLY got to some hot springs… and I was a happy soul about it! We drove out to Gold Folk Hot Springs, and thankfully the road was pretty well-plowed so the snow didn’t make it too difficult to get up the 4-mile forest road. Admission is 10 dollars—make sure to bring cash! They have four different pools, with the top being the hottest around 108°. The sun even came out for a bit here, and we soaked until I turned into a Raison and we headed back to McCall for some lunch at Southside Grill. (I have a unhealthy obsession with chips and salsa)
Here we were still unable to get to Stanley with Highway 21 still closer to avalanche danger, so we talked to the locals at the bar here and they recommended we stop in Riggins. This town was mega cute. Beautiful rolling hills kissed both sides of the town, and I could see myself coming back here in the summer time and lounging at Riggins City Park.
“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… somewhere else.” — this cracked me up!
Along the drive I kept gazing wide-eyed out the window at Idaho’s beauty. The jutting mountain peaks and rolling hills followed us up to Riggins, where we were hoping to find some more springs. Unfortunately, we learned that Riggins Hot Springs is on private land, and Cow Flats Hot Springs requires a river crossing, so at this point we decided that if Idaho wasn’t going to let us enjoy ourselves, we’d carry on to Missoula. We made a late night stop in Kamiah, where we found a cute bowling alley at The Hub Bar and Grill and a very nice motel for only $60 called the Clearwater 12 Motel. (Great service, free breakfast in the morning, and super comfy king bed!)
Day 4: Kamiah to Missoula
We hopped onto Highway 12 to visit Weir Hot Springs and Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. I don’t have many photos from this part of the trip because at this point I kind of just let nature take me away. Jerry Johnson was a perfect temperature, and we probably soaked for two hours. Tramping out back to the truck we continued our road trip to Missoula, ate some killer BBQ at The Notorious PIG, and then went to the Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park.
This was the sunset that took us back home. No complaints. <3