Idaho Hot Springs

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs - Clearwater National Forest

Jerry Johnson is one of Idaho's most popular natural hot springs and consists of three hot springs sources, each with their own soaking opportunities. Featuring pools with rock walls, some with sandy clear bottoms and others with silt. The 1st of 3 sources, known as the waterfall pools, are submerged until late summer (end of August), while the other 2 sources have pools that are available for soaking year-round.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Pictures

One of the best hot pools at Jerry Johnson One of the best pools at Jerry Johnson
Another hot soak in deep in the forest Another one of Jerry's finest hot pools
Hot pool with a view Be EXTRA careful when hiking down to the pools
The last hot pool at the end of the rainbow Final pool, third source
The first source and hot waterfall-fed pools The first source and hot waterfall-fed pools
Another look at the first hot springs source Another look at the first hot springs source
Source two, pool two Source two's most awesome hot pool
Submerged source one The waterfall-fed pools (source one) are submerged during spring runoff
Warm Spring Trailhead Pack Bridge The hike to Jerry Johnson begins by taking the Warm Springs pack bridge over the river
Jerry Johnson trailhead pullout sign This sign marks the parking area pullout off highway 12
Warm Springs Trailhead Sign The sign greeting you on the other side of the pack bridge

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Information

General Description

Located within the Clearwater National Forest in Central Idaho, the hot springs pools are at the end of a beautiful and short 1+ mile hike - arranged in sequence starting with the waterfall pools. Years ago it was a favorite of backpackers on their way into/from the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. In the late 90s, the FS initiated nighttime closure and made camping at/near the hot springs illegal in an effort to protect the badly abused hot springs. It remains under nighttime closure today.

Summer FYI

During the summer you'll meet people from all over the United States and even the world. The rest of the year this hot springs is dominated by the people of Missoula, Montana. In particular, partying college students - most of which are responsible for nighttime closure.

Clothing-Optional Information

Jerry used to be signed as clothing optional, but in 2009 the signage was removed from the trailhead. Nude is typically the norm here. If you're going au natural be prepared to share a soak with little Timmy and the family. This place gets packed! I've seen it both ways and mixed as well. All I can really say is if you are going to Jerry don't expect to not see naked people.

Seasonal Information

The waterfall pools from the 1st (of 3) sources are best during late summer... and are submerged during spring runoff. Nighttime closure is currently in effect due to overuse and abuse problems. Open from 6am to 8pm. Winter can bring snow and very dangerous roads. Consider snowshoes and ALWAYS check road conditions prior to departure. May brings spring runoff and insane riding conditions to the nearby rivers. Every hot springs and camping area is typically packed during this time.

Camping Information

There is an official campground of the same name 1 mile from the Warm Springs pack bridge trailhead between Mile Markers 150 and 151, along with many other nearby official campgrounds and primitive campsites further up and down the road. No camping at the hot springs - nighttime closure in effect. It should be noted that there is NO shade at the official JJ CG, which can be a very hot place come July/August. The current location of Jerry Johnson Campground has only been open since 2006-2008, but has experienced water contamination issues and has been closed the last few years. The previous location of JJ CG was actually very close to the Warm Springs Trailhead bridge. It was closed due to overuse and abuse-related issues and is in a recovery status.

FYI, There are no pit toilets or restroom facilities of any kind at the trailhead or hot springs. Pack it in - pack it out!

Local Services

East on highway 12 is the closest gas and food at Lolo Pass/Lolo Hot Springs (20+ miles from Trailhead).


Currently, there is no fee to park at the Warm Springs Creek pack bridge and access to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. Please pick up all trash and take good care of this special place so it can remain intact and free to access for years to come.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Soak Stats

  • Season: All (check road reports late Fall through early Spring)
  • Type: Hike (short hike to the pools)
  • Elevation: 3,200 ft
  • Land: Clearwater National Forest
  • Fee: None
  • Restrictions: n/a
  • Usage: High
  • Visibility: High
  • Temp: Varies per pool per source
  • Water Clarity: Clear to Semi-Clear
  • Odor(s): Slight sulfur
  • pH: n/a
  • Area Features: See nearby section below
  • Closest Food/Gas: Lolo Pass
  • Trash: High
  • Bugs: Moderate
  • Wildlife: High (deer and elk)
  • Camping: Clearwater National Forest camping nearby
  • Clothing-Optional: Yes
  • Pit Toilet: None


  • Continue following the trail past the hot springs into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and countless backpacking opportunities, starting with a seasonal waterfall.
  • Lolo Hot Springs
  • Lolo Pass Interpretative Center
  • Lowell, Idaho
  • Kooskia, Idaho
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Wilderness Gateway Campground (largest in Idaho)
  • Lochsa River
  • Clearwater River
  • Weir Creek Hot Springs
  • Stanley Hot Springs

Directions to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

The Trailhead parking lot is known as Warm Springs Pack Bridge and is located between Mile Markers 152 and 153 on the north side of Highway 12 and is approximately 25 miles west of Lolo Pass, or 78 miles east of the Highway 12/13 junction at Kooskia.

After parking, cross Highway 12 and the pack bridge over the Lochsa River, stay on the west main trail and continue for about 1 mile to reach the waterfall pools (source 1 of 3). Continue another .5 miles to locate the additional pools which are visible from the main trail. The trail is typically in great shape and has very little elevation loss/gain.


View Idaho Hot Springs in a larger map


A Quick Look at Jerry

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, located in the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. Lots of friendly folks (and illegal campers/trashholes!), but still a great soak and good time.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in Idaho

Early June visit to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in central Idaho.

Clearwater National Forest Hot Springs in North-Central Idaho

Features the hike, source and pools of two north-central Idaho five-star soaks; Jerry Johnson and Weir Creek Hot Springs. Both are located in the Clearwater National Forest.