Trail Creek Hot Springs: The Gem of the Northwest

Trail Creek Hot Springs is a hidden oasis tucked away in the heart of the mountains of Idaho, just 19 miles east of Cascade. Also known as Samuel’s Hot Springs, this natural wonder is a bit of a challenge to find, but that’s what makes it all the more special.

With its naturally heated mineral-rich waters from geothermal activity deep beneath the earth’s surface, Trail Creek Hot Springs provides a unique opportunity to rejuvenate both body and mind. Surrounded by stunning views of the mountains and a blanket of white snow in the winter, the two natural pools offer a magical and peaceful escape. 

So why settle for an ordinary spa when you can experience the pure magic of Trail Creek Hot Springs?

AddressCascade, Idaho 83611, USA
DirectionsFrom Cascade, Idaho, drive east on Warm Lake Road for 19 miles until you reach a turnout on the left.
PetsAllowed in the area, not in the pools.
Road AccessAny vehicle,
A 4×4 drive might be needed in winter.

Trail Creek Hot Springs: Location and Accessibility

Nestled in the heart of the Payette National Forest, Trail Creek Hot Springs is a natural oasis located just a 30-minute drive from Cascade city, Valley County, Idaho. Cascade is a little city situated amongst stunning mountains on the shores of Cascade Lake.

To get to the springs from Cascade, Idaho, drive east on Warm Lake Road for 19 miles until you reach a turnout on the left. 

There’s also an alternative route that enables you to reach the pools from Boise in under a 2-hour drive.

Although there is neither a designated parking lot nor a sign pointing the way, a steep trail that winds down an embankment will bring you to the hot springs in no time. 

We highly recommend pinning the location on a map ahead of time and downloading offline options, as cell service can be spotty in the area (which is to be expected).

Also, the Warm Lake Highway may close during extreme winter conditions, making a 4×4 drive essential to reach the parking place. 

Situated alongside a picturesque river, this natural spa with two relaxing pools is built with rocks and cement to trap the thermal mineral waters.

Jenn sharing her journey in Trail Creek Hot Springs

What’s the Route Like at Trail Creek Hot Springs?

The hike to Trail Creek Hot Springs is only 0.2 miles and doesn’t call for any special gear or expertise on your part. It starts from the Trail Creek Campground and quickly leads to the pools situated in the wilderness. The only tricky element is a steep slope, which tourists in winter typically choose to slide down on their bottoms since the compressed snow and icy surface make it challenging not to fall. In case you’re scared of sliding, come prepared and grab some trekking poles.

Kevin Sharing his thoughts about Trail Creek Hot Springs //Google Reviews

Trail Creek Hot Springs remains one of the most easily accessible and enchanting natural hot springs in the region, and the reward of soaking in this paradise is well worth some falls over the route!

Trail Creek Hot Springs: First Impressions

Trail Creek Hot Springs boasts two stunning, clothing-optional rock and sand-soaking pools situated in a picturesque setting surrounded by breathtaking mountain views. 

These natural springs are practically a hidden gem, often less crowded than the usual spa resorts, and offer the perfect conditions for an unforgettable soaking experience. 

The pools are located at the bottom of Trail Creek, right off the paved road, and are fed by a fissure in the rocks above, where hot water trickles down to mix with cold water from the creek. This blend of temperatures ensures a comfortable soak, regardless of the season.

What are the Pools Like?

The largest pool is easily accessible via a manufactured bridge and features a rock and sand bottom with reinforced mortar walls. Water cascades into the pool from the colorful algae-laden rocks above, while cold water flows in from the creek. This pool is roughly eight ft. by twelve ft, and can easily accommodate up to ten people, so feel free to gather your people and enjoy a nice joint soaking session.

The second pool is just past the first one and is also reinforced with mortar and rock walls. It can accommodate about six happy soakers and consists of hot water that enters the pool from below through the sandy bottom, and from a white plastic PVC pipe fed from the source above the first pool. 

The water temperature at its source reaches 125 F, which is pretty hot, yes. But as said, a valve on the PVC pipe near the source allows you to adjust the temperature to your own personal preference. 

Trail Creek Hot Springs’ details captured by Mike Kauspedas and Mandy Ritenour

The lower pool overflows during spring runoff, but the upper pool remains available due to its tall mortar-reinforced walls, which are high enough to resist the seasonally rampant creek. 

Overall, both pools are in excellent condition – sparkle-clean water, no strong sulfur odor, well-constructed walls, and adjustable temperature. And the natural beauty of the location makes Trail Creek Hot Springs a truly magical place to experience.

Cara M. Review on Yelp

Camping and Accommodation

If you plan on spending the night near Trail Creek Hot Springs, plenty of options are available. You can find several campsites located near the hot springs, with fire rings available for your convenience. During peak season, these sites fill up quickly, so be sure to arrive early to snag a spot.

Gorgeous shots of snowy camping zones at Trail Creek Hot Springs

If you’re not in the mood for camping, however, you can always head to Warm Lake, which is only a 13-minute drive from the pools, and book accommodation of your choice.

Activities to do near Trail Creek Hot Springs

If you’re down to expand your adventure, the Boise National Forest has much to offer. 

Plenty of picnic tables and fire pits are located nearby to prepare your own food. 

For those looking for more adventure, you can rent paddle boards or kayaks to explore the nearby waterways and Warm Lake. 

No matter what your outdoor preferences are, Trail Creek Hot Springs and its surrounding areas offer a range of activities to make your stay an unforgettable experience.

Dos and Don’ts at Trail Creek Hot Springs

Trail Creek Hot Springs is a natural treasure. There’s something exceptional about soaking in natural hot springs, surrounded by the beauty of nature. However, it’s important to remember that these hot springs are delicate ecosystems that must be treated respectfully. 

To help ensure that everyone can enjoy these amazing natural wonders for years to come, here are some dos and don’ts to remember.


  • Follow Leave No Trace principles: When visiting Trail Creek Hot Springs, it’s important to remember to leave the area as you found it. Remove all trash, including any leftover food or beverage containers.
  • Respect other visitors: It’s important to remember that these natural hot springs are shared spaces. Be respectful of others, including their privacy and personal space.
  • Test the water before getting in: Water temperatures vary greatly from one hot spring to another. Always test the water with your hand or a thermometer before getting in to avoid accidental burns.
  • Wear appropriate footwear: Trail Creek Hot Springs terrain can be rocky and uneven. Protect your feet by wearing proper footwear, such as water shoes or sandals with good traction.
  • Be mindful of wildlife: Trail Creek Hot Springs is located in a remote area so wildlife may be present. Keep a safe distance and never feed or approach any wild animals.


  • Use soap or shampoo in the hot springs: These products can harm the delicate ecosystem of natural hot springs, so it’s important to avoid using them.
  • Drink alcohol: Alcohol can increase the risk of dehydration, which is especially dangerous when soaking in hot water. It can also impair judgment and lead to unsafe behavior.
  • Bring glass containers: Glass containers can easily break and pose a safety hazard to humans and wildlife. Opt for plastic or metal containers instead.
  • Remove rocks or other natural materials: Leave the natural surroundings of the hot springs untouched. Removing rocks or other materials can damage the ecosystem and disrupt the area’s natural balance.

Final Takeaway

With its natural mineral content, wide temperature range, and stunning views, Trail Creek Hot Springs is the perfect place to spend your well-deserved day off. And its accessibility is a huge pro, too. 

So if you desperately need some peace and a connection to nature, consider this gorgeous natural detox as your best bet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Trail Creek Hot Springs open?

Trail Creek Hot Springs is open all year, but the road might be closed due to weather conditions.

How do you get to Trail Creek Hot Springs?

To reach the Trail Creek hot pools from McCall, use Highway 55, south of Warm Lake Road, located just north of Cascade.

Is Trail Creek Hot Springs closed?

No, Trail Creek Hot Springs is always open to the public.

How long is the Deep Creek Hot Springs Trail?

Deep Creek Hot Springs is on a 3.6-mile out-and-back walk near Hesperia, California, whereas Trail Creek Hot Springs is in Idaho. Thus, always double-check the names of the springs, as some sound alike but are located in different states.

Where is Trail Creek Hot Springs, Idaho?

Trail Creek Hot Springs is situated along Trail Creek in Boise National Forest in Warm Lake, Idaho. The exact address is Cascade, Idaho 83611, USA.

How far is Trail Creek Hot Springs from McCall, Idaho?

From McCall, Idaho, Trail Creek Hot Springs is about a 65-minute drive.

Is Trail Creek Hot Springs free to use?

Yes, there is no entrance fee for Trail Creek Hot Springs.

Are pets allowed at Trail Creek Hot Springs?

Pets are welcome on the trail but not in the pools.

Is Trail Creek Hot Springs clothing-optional?

Yes, Trail Creek Hot Springs is clothing-optional, just like most of the hot springs in Idaho. So, be prepared for nudity.


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!

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