What To Expect At Trail Creek Hot Springs In Idaho (+ 4 epic adventures nearby)

Post Summary: Visiting Trail Creek Hot Springs In Idaho (And What To Expect)

No doubt you’ve seen them.

The plethora of Idaho hot springs, from commercial to natural to backcountry soaks, are hard to ignore!

Each one comes with its own beauty and unique experience, but one of our favorites has to be Trail Creek Hot Springs.

Also called Samuel’s Hot Springs, this natural soak is about 2 hours from Boise, Idaho near a town called Cascade tucked away in the nearby mountain area.

In this post, we’re sharing directions to get here, what to expect, and tips on how to make the most of your stay at this amazing hot springs in Idaho!

Let’s get soaking!

Emily Miller and Emily Mandagie sitting in Trail Creek Hot Springs soaking pools

Experience Trail Creek Hot Springs In Central Idaho

Tell Me More About Trail Creek Hot Springs…

Trail Creek Hot Springs also goes by the popular name Samuel’s Hot Springs.

It’s a local favorite of Southwest Idaho residents of nearby towns like Cascade, McCall, and Garden Valley. 

Located in the Payette National Forest, Trail Creek Hot Springs is a natural spring, blocked off by boulders and cement to create pools that sit right next to the river.

This is a year-round hot spring, but be prepared in the winter for heavy snow and icy road conditions.

The short footpath to the pools is very steep and acts as a slide in the winter season, with compacted snow and ice from heavy use. 🙂

Emily sitting in Samuel's Hot Springs

What To Pack For A Trail Creek Hot Springs Trip

Read our full hot springs packing list, or keep scrolling for Trail Creek specific items to consider!

Slip-On/Off Shoes: Trail Creek Hot Springs is not far from the parking lot. Pack and wear shoes you can easily slip on and off for minimal fussing and maximum soaking. Grab yourself a pair of Teva Universal sandals to wear in and out of the water, or our reader-favorite Ember Mocs for easy outdoor slippers in the winter!

Towel: Choose a lightweight & quick-dry towel that isn’t bulky or heavy. We prefer ones by Nomadix, but also love these stylish ones by Slowtide!

Water Bottle: Water is essential when soaking in hot springs! The temperature of the pools can potentially bring negative effects, so make sure to hydrate often!

Dry Bag: With a river crossing and lots of sloped rocks, there is always a risk for items rolling into the water. Pack a dry bag to stow away your important items like keys, cell phones, and cameras. You can also bring a big canvas tote, to hold bulky items like towels and coats.

Snacks: Bring easy-to-eat snacks to keep up your energy when soaking. Remember to pack out all your trash, including orange peels and apple cores!

Coming in the winter? Bring microspikes, a big parka, and a trash bag (or a big dry bag!) to stuff everything in to keep it from getting wet on the snowy ground. 

Berty in the soaking pool at Trail Creek Hot Springs

Directions to Trail Creek Hot Springs

Trail Creek Hot Springs is located off Warm Lake Road (NF-22), just east of the town of Cascade, Idaho.

From Cascade, you need to drive about 40 minutes east from Highway 55 to reach your destination. Here are other driving times from other popular locations nearby:

Trail Creek Hot Springs Directions:

  • Directions From McCall, Idaho : 49 miles, 1-hour drive
  • Directions From Boise, Idaho: 98 miles, 2-hour 10-minute drive
  • Kirkham Hot Springs to Trail Creek Hot Springs: 94 miles, 2-hour 5-minute drive

The hot springs are very easy to miss as you drive by because there is no signage and no official parking lot.

To make sure you reach Trail Creek Hot Springs, we recommend saving these coordinates on Google Maps and downloading an offline map of the area (directions on how to do that in this post) to assist in locating it. 

Emily Mandagie close up in Idaho hot springs

The ‘parking lot’ is just a wide dirt pullout on the south side of the road. Once parked, locate the trail from the pullout, and head down the sloping path to reach Trail Creek Hot Springs.

The path is extremely icy in the winter months, so come prepared with micro-spikes if planning a cold-weather dip.

There is also a rope tied between the trees, to help assist you as you go up and down the steep trail. 

Enjoying Trail Creek Springs

Trail Creek Hot Springs has a series of pools to choose from, each with its own varying features and sizes.

They have been dammed by boulders, and include valves to introduce river water into the pools to regulate the temperature. Please follow these hot springs etiquette tips, and leave these essential structures in place!

There are also boards that help you cross the creek without having to step in the water. Just be cautious in icy conditions!

Upper pools at Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho

The source of Trail Creek Hot Springs (Samuel’s Hot Springs) can be up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. (YIKES!)

Thankfully, the hot springs are regulated by human-built PVC piping that connects the cold river waters to the pools. 

This way, you can regulate not only the temperature of your certain pool, but the volume of the water as well. The hot spring pools average between 100 – 110 degrees. 

The soaking pools are semi-deep, (especially the upper pool) which means you can enjoy the full experience of the springs and not get too chilly in the winter air. Win! When sitting down, we were immersed up to our stomachs.

Winter at Trail Creek Hot Springs

Other Things To Do Near Cascades, Idaho

Is Samuels Hot Springs just one of many stops on a weekend trip from Boise?

(Or are you planning your own epic Idaho road trip?) No matter what your reason is for visiting, here are some other cool things to do near Cascade, Idaho:

Burgdorf Hot Springs: Burgdorf Hot Springs is a historic hot springs destination, dedicated to preserving history in their structures, pools, cabins, and experience. Visitors stay in firewood heated cabins, snowmobile in during the winter, and enjoy authentic pools from the 1800s.

McCall, Idaho: This Idaho getaway town is known for its lake culture, outdoor activities, and dreamy escapes from the city. Come any season of the year, and be prepared to enjoy the outdoors! (Although, we especially love visiting McCall in the winter season!)

Hells Canyon: Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in the United States, even deeper than the Grand Canyon! Managed by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest the park boasts 652,488 acres of natural beauty waiting to be explored!

Boise, Idaho: As the most populated city in Idaho, there are so many amazing things to do in Boise! From amazing restaurants, romantic Idaho wineries, and a lively downtown scene, there’s a little something for everyone here.

Kirkham Hot Springs: Kirkham Hot Springs is one of the most popular hot springs in Idaho, especially as a day trip from Boise! Come early in the day for a chance at getting it to yourself, or stay overnight at the adjacent campground for 24-hour use.

Have you visited Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comment section below!


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