Post Summary: Stanley, Idaho in the winter and activities around the area.
Lately, it’s been the place that Berty and I are most excited to visit. There’s so much to see and every place feels like a hidden gem!
We knew we wanted to go through Idaho for our big road trip this month, so we routed our way to see some new hot springs, mountain ranges, and Idaho towns that have been on our list for a while!
For this trip, we decided to drive down from Spokane to Stanley, Idaho.
We had a few different hot springs in Idaho we wanted to see along that particular route, so we drove through the Sawtooth mountains to find them.
Our trip to Stanley didn’t play out like we envisioned, though it turned out to be a better trip than we were dreaming of ourselves!
In this post, we’re sharing about short our time in Stanley, Idaho and why it’s worth a visit!
Pssst, follow us on Instagram (@themandagies) to watch our stories and see some behind the scenes details of our trip!
A COZY WINTER ESCAPE IN STANLEY, IDAHO
EN ROUTE FROM SPOKANE TO STANLEY
We started driving early in the morning from Spokane.
In total, it was an 8-hour drive to Stanley, Idaho, so we broke up the time and saw things along the way. One of our most anticipated stops was Kirkham Hot Springs.
This place near Lowman is a popular spot for Boise dwellers to come and escape to the mountains. Kirkham Hot Springs has several pools, each with a different temperature to enjoy.
We were impressed by the number of people this place could accommodate – there were already about 12 people here, but we didn’t feel like it was crowded at all!
The place was clean, the water was clear, and we enjoyed the hot springs for the afternoon.
There is a $5 fee to park your car, and there are bathrooms on site and a campground as well if you want to extend your stay.
Read More About This Place: What To Expect At Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho
We liked this place so much we decided to go back to our car, change clothes, and return to take some photos in front of the steaming river that fed the hot springs.
On trips like this, we work with companies to shoot adventurous content, so this photo was for one of our clients! We always have fun scouting new locations and dreaming up creative ways to showcase brands we love.
Here are just a few from a set for Paige, a clothing company we love to work with!
ARRIVING IN STANLEY, IDAHO
This was our second night on the road. We had plans to sleep in our car but we got spooked looking at the forecast (sub-zero temperatures and wind chills up to -11 degrees!). Winter road trips can be a little dicey, so make sure to plan for warm stops every evening!
At the last minute decided to get a room at a local lodge. Honestly, it was the best decision we could have made.
Not only was the room fairly cheap (we came during the shoulder season) but the temperature outside dropped to bone-chilling cold.
We knew we would have been miserable sleeping in the car and we felt really good about the decision to pay a little extra to sleep in a warm room!
We were able to take a shower, get a LOT of work done on our laptops, and edit some photos we took earlier that day. It was a great time to prepare for days ahead, confirm details and in general get all our ducks in a row.
As we were checking in, we saw that the lodge had a hot springs “hot tub” which was a wooden shed by the river. Hotel guests were able to visit for free!
We signed up for the earliest time the next morning to catch a sunrise soak…keep reading to see pictures from this gorgeous location!
Read More: Car Camping 101: The Complete Guide To Sleeping In Your Car
THE NEXT MORNING
MOUNTAIN VILLAGE HOT SPRINGS
We woke up at 6:00 am to grab some towels and head down to the resort-owned hot springs.
It was ZERO degrees when were started our walk down to the river. We were so thankful we decided to sleep inside!
After a cold morning walk, we were welcomed by a cozy steaming shed on the side of the water.
Taking off our clothes down to our bathing suits was painfully cold! Our frozen fingers stung like needles as we lowered ourselves into the pool.
This hot tub is fed and heated by the hot springs along the river and the barn-style doors of the shed opened up to the iconic view of the Sawtooth Mountains of Stanley, Idaho.
It was one of the most beautiful Idaho hot springs we’ve experiences!
We spent a relaxing hour watching the sunrise and taking photos.
Read More: 5 Pacific Northwest Hot Springs You Must Visit
Berty’s shorts froze SOLID on the walk back!!
BOAT BOX HOT SPRINGS
Pretty much right after the hot springs at Mountain Village Resort, we turned back around to visit Boat Box Hot Springs.
To be honest, from our freezing cold morning it was hard for me to psych myself back up to go nearly bare in the ice-cold morning again!
To get there, we drove a few miles outside of Stanley, Idaho. This isn’t a typical place for a soak – it’s literally right off the highway and into the Salmon River.
If you aren’t looking well enough you could easily miss it! On a busy day, we assume that parking your car could be a challenge – there’s a tiny pullout with just enough for maybe 3 cars.
This hot spring is a metal tub with built-in wooden ledges and a pipe that feeds hot water into the basin.
The tub is small – you can probably only fit three people comfortably. Here, it’s essential to follow proper hot springs protocol and etiquette – even the tiniest bit of damage here can make a huge impact.
Getting there around 8:30 am, we had it to ourselves in the early morning. We were able to watch the river flow by and enjoy the VERY HOT water!
Be extremely courteous at this hot springs. It is run and maintained by locals, and even the slightest misuse can have a major effect on the community. You can read more about hot springs etiquette at this post here.
Read More: 15 Incredible Idaho Hot Springs You Must Experience
LEAVING STANLEY, IDAHO
We quickly realized that we need to return to Stanley, Idaho because there is so much more to do! Thankfully, Stanley is just a short weekend getaway from Boise, so it will be easy for us to make a return trip time and time again.
We got so many good recommendations and didn’t have time to do and see them all! We heard a lot of good things about Redfish Lake, various backpacking trails, and lots of camping stops to explore…next time.
We checked out of our room, and began our journey Southeast to Jackson, Wyoming! We were very excited to explore all the things to do in the Grand Teton National Park in winter!
(Also, check out this amazing flight Berty took around the Grand Tetons!)
Read More: 30 Necessary Road Trip Essentials You Need To Be Packing
Have you ever been to Stanley, Idaho? What are some other places you would suggest to people traveling to the area? Let readers know in the comments below!
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Follow our adventure boards on Pinterest for more inspiration from Stanley, Idaho and other locations!
4 thoughts on “A Winter Escape in Stanley, Idaho (+ 3 Hot Springs To Explore!)”
Your photos are so gorgeous! I love hot springs and Idaho is a fun road trip for us, so I added the Kirkham Hot Springs to mine and my husband’s list for spontaneous adventures!
Thanks Jess! Kirkham is totally worth checking out! I’m glad we could give you inspiration for a spontaneous adventure!!
These are some incredible places! Lovely captures as well! Love your blog, Emily!
Thank you so much! That means a lot! I’m really glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
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