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Home: Idaho Hot Springs: Mile-16 (Fire Crew, Sugah) Hot Spring
  Public Hot Springs

Mile-16 Hot Springs in Idaho

Season: Summer, Fall Type: R (roadside)
Boise National Forest Overall Rating: A
4,150 ft Water Temperature: 101 to 107
Warm Lake/Yellow Pine Area Usage Level: Moderate (Heavy seasonal use)
Krassel District Avg. pH: 7+

Picture Viewer

Sept. 2012

Sept. 2012

Sept. 2012

Ghost Feet @ Sug

pH of 7+ Excellent!

02.04.07: Icy surprise

03.24.07: Fill er up!

02.04.07: Speechless

02.04.07: The Hot Springs Guy commeth

02.04.07: Splatter

02.04.07: Pool with a view

06.19.06: A grrl's best friend

06.19.06: How the pool is fed

06.19.06: They float

06.03.06: Submerged despite sandbagging attempts

06.03.06: First time I've seen M16 underwater

05.14.05: How sweet it is

05.14.05: S Fork Salmon River in background

12.19.04: Steamy riverside soaking

06.21.03: Tina & Dan enjoy a hot soak

04.21.02: Tough to beat

04.21.02: *sigh*

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[ View 06.19.10 Mile-16 Hot Spring Video Clip ]
[ View 12.16.07 Mile-16 Hot Spring Video Clip ]
[ View 02.04.07 Mile-16 Hot Spring Video Clip ]
[ View 06.03.06 Mile-16 Hot Spring Video Clip ]

General Description
An almost always perfect temperature soak located in the fringe of the Boise National Forest northeast of Cascade, Idaho. The sole rock mortared pool features a rock, sand and gravel bottom and a light coating of algae. This scenic soak is situated right next to the beautiful South fork of the Salmon River.

In 1980/1981 Mile-16  was located and cultivated by Al Borup, the late 70s and early 80s fire crew chief of the Krassel work station. The large rock in the north end of the pool took him and two others an entire day to move, which is still an integral part of the original pool that exists today. Thank you Al, this hot springs is a special place to many. Al has told me that the name Fire Crew was because of how fast people caught wind of the new soak. What he doesn't realize is that the Fire Crew nickname is because of him.

The name Mile-16 or 16-mile comes from when the road to the hot springs was not paved... back when the hot springs was exactly 16 miles down the road.

Dates Visited: Trash Levels: Bug Levels:
09.2012 multiple visits low moderate
07.2012 multiple visits low heavy
10.16.10 none (!) none
July 2010 multiple visits EXTREME moderate
06.19.10 none (!) moderate
07.14.09 - 07.15.09 none (!) EXTREME!
05.01.09 low light
05.03.08-05.04.08 low very light
12.16.07 low none
04.28.07 low very light
03.24.07 none (!) very light
02.04.07 low-moderate none
08.05.06 low light
06.16.06 & 06.19.06 low light
06.03.06 high (!) light
07.15.05 moderate light
05.14.05 low none
03.27.05 low none
12.19.04 low none
08.18.04 low-moderate none
08.17.04 low-moderate none
06.21.03 moderate none
04.04.03 low none
09.16.02 low none
09.05.02-09.06.02 low none
04.21.02 low none

Water Clarity:


Slight Sulfur

Wildlife Sighted: Deer, Elk, Moose, Fox and Black Bear

Seasonal Notes
Accessible all year - CAUTION - please note that the Warm Lake highway and FSR 474 N travel during winter will require a 4x4 and chains to get though safely. The roads are narrow, slick and almost always snow covered. This hot springs is best visited during the warmer summer and fall months. The pool occasionally submerges during spring runoff.

Camping Notes
There is plenty of Boise National Forest camping nearby: official and primitive - no camping at the springs.


07.2012 and 09.2012
Many soaks were enjoyed at this incredible and wonderfully unique place this summer. Some alone, some shared. Of note was soaking with some X-Games kayakers and a giant family of mostly rude folks that treated Sug like their own bathtub/toilet. As you can imagine, they were schooled with some friendly knowledge. Love. This. Place.
Rating A+

5 stars all the way, a little busy for this time of year but well worth the wait. No trash was the proverbial icing on the cake.
Rating A+

Super-awesome soak! The water pH level was approximately 7+ (see picture above), not bad at all! The pool temp clocked in at 106, where the last few times it has been between 101 and 102.

There is currently heavy construction on the access road. Multiple culverts are in the process of being replaced in addition to the closure at Buckhorn bridge due to a mud slide. Would be great if the Boise National Forest website denoted this. Expect delays for most of the summer.

Despite the elongated journey and the pool just barley keeping its head above water, M16 delivered its typical 5 star soak. I encountered one large family of fishermen that were friendly for the most part. They couldn't believe people actually come out here to hike, backpack and soak, shocker! I think they accidently stumbled upon the pool, but looked too scared to soak.

Also worth noting, one of the lodges on nearby Warm Lake converted to a biker bar. As such, there was an abnormal amount of motorbikes ripping through curvaceous forest roads. Enough to bring out the fuzz, which I've never seen out here once in the last decade. It's bad enough already with folks and their big rigs on these tiny streets, please be careful regardless of your mode of transport.

I encountered lost street bikers on dirt forest roads miles away from Warm Lake a couple times all the while a rainstorm lurked in the distance. It only takes a couple minutes for these roads to turn to mush. To be clear, Warm Lake is accessible via pavement all the way.
Rating A+

07.14.09 - 07.15.09
No complaints here.
Rating A+

The access road (FSR 474 N) is closed due to road construction. Crews are currently working as fast as possible to repair the road before snow sets in. All of the main culverts are being replaced due to damage sustained from summer wildfires.

In spite of seeing more campers than ever before and a run on the hot springs, we were able to squeeze in a sweet evening soak. Just a reminder that the forest service access road will be closed from July 30 through October 15, 2007 for repairs.
Rating A+

What a weird and wonderful place Idaho is. Where else can you soak in a hot springs, get some sun and play in the snow all on the same day? The air temperature was about 65 and the water around 104. This was one of those rare times where there's still mountain snow on the ground, the roads are clear and sun is warm. This is the small window before spring runoff; which last year buried Mile-16 for one of the first times that I'm aware of.

The soak was stellar, and I found NO trash and a freshly filled pool to boot. Did I say there was no trash! Awesome! M16 has some great caretakers. However, I found tons of angler trash along the South Fork and a couple creeks nearby. Shame on you fishermen - I've found so much angler trash over the years. Get it together and show the land you take from basic respect. Sheesh.

Please note, the South Fork Salmon River Road (FSR 474/674 North) will be closed the majority of THIS SUMMER due to road construction. So, from July 30 through October 15, 2007 all of the hot springs in this area will get a break.
Rating A+

The drive in? No problem. The drive out... YIKES! It was cold on the way in and warm on the way out; meaning the 3-4 inch thick ice sheets on the road got slick and slushy once the air temperature warmed up. Was it worth it? You bet. But, next time I think I'll wait until at least March before making a run at this soak. The drive out was just too scary. Add single track roads with oncoming traffic to the above equation and I think you'll understand my line of thinking. The soak was stellar, and was actually the hottest I've ever experienced, clocking in consistently at 106 and 107. Garbage was moderate and usage seemed low.
Rating A

My backpacking partner and I enjoyed a surreal, moonlit soak at M16 after backpacking to Rice Peak Lookout. As we were arriving a family from Montana here for Yellow Pine's annual Harmonica Festival was on their way out after enjoying one of Idaho's best.
Rating A+

06.16.06 & 06.19.06
Grade A soaks, views of the North Fork of the Payette River and a weekend battle for the hot springs. The rock walls of M16 were once again above the flow of the river providing for a most excellent soaking experience. I'm afraid this place is getting pretty popular, there were more people soaking over the weekend than I've ever witnessed. So, what's that mean? Get in line or cram in... just great. At least I didn't find much trash to cart out. Plus, the soaking was awesome.
Rating A-

Mother nature is finally giving Mile-16 hot spring a much deserved break. I've been to this hot spring many times, and this is the first time I've seen it underwater. It looked like there were several unsuccessful attempts at elevating the pool walls by use of sandbags in an effort to avoid the rampant spring runoff. I only hope that the thin mortar-reinforced walls are able to withstand the might of the river. One big stick is all it would take.

Unfortunately, the absence of a soak hasn't deterred trash mongers. There was more trash here than I was prepared to deal with, complete with a nasty diaper. What is wrong with some people? Please don't leave the city or your local township if you don't know how to pick up after yourself. Jeeze. What worries me more is the thought of those same people breeding. Thank you all that do pick up after yourself, especially those who pick up after everyone - you are the reason why exists; in the spirit of enjoying hot springs through preservation, conservation and education.
Rating X

It's always nice to visit good ol M-16; this visit however was one of my least enjoyed. Upon arrival we picked up more trash than I've ever witnessed here. Plus, someone tinkered with the metal pipe that delivers the hot water into the pool. They diverted the main flow from the pipe that feeds the pool to a lower pool that can only be usable in low-water conditions (spring runoff will destroy anything below the mortar reinforced pool). They did a crap job; the big pool is now below 100 when it used to be a reliable and perfect 102, and the new lower pool's water temperature is a mere couple degrees above that of the river. Nice going guys. Not only was the environment altered, trashed and trampled, but the housing in which the main pipe 'plugs' into the source has been cracked and damaged. I have a real strong feeling that Chinook anglers are responsible for this as the big fishing season just ended. The anglers always leave the area trashed - every year, never fail. I know there are environmentally friendly anglers out there; but they are too few in number.
Rating C+

Excellent! What more could you ask for? I found out on this particular trip that the National Forest (Payette) cleans and cares for this hot springs on a regular basis. Please help do your part by not bringing in glass containers, refrain from using any kind of soap (including bio soap), pack out what you pack in and pick up any trash you see. The law in this neck of the woods are quite liberal and proud of it - expect a ticket if you are caught littering or doing worse.

Tarps, soap and bio soap do not break down completely in the wilderness. Instead, their remnants grow fungus that is foreign to this type of environment. This foreign fungus soon overtakes the natural fungus and hence dramatically effects the waterways, fish and animals that all depend on it. If you must use a tarp take care not to leave it behind. If you must use soap please use bio soap, but at least wash yourself a couple hundred feet away from any creeks, rivers, lakes, hot springs or any other water sources or waterways.
Rating A+

What more good can I say about this hot springs? It's always awesome and hot! I should mention that it was a dangerous drive in, one that I really didn't need to risk, but once I was in the middle of it I had no choice but to keep on plugging through, see 03.27.05 Trail Creek for more travel details. Always bring chains!
Rating A

We lucked out and had great roads all the way to the hot springs save for a few patches of ice and snow. Be careful driving on FSR 474 N! I've driven this road tons of times and never have I come so close to getting hit by another vehicle because they were driving way too fast on the single-lane, ice and snow-packed road. I was very lucky that there was room enough for me to drive off the side of the road because I would have been hit for sure at least 1 of the 3 or 4 near misses. Oh yes, the soaking was STELLAR! M16 doesn't disappoint in the winter months - just drive carefully! We had the pool to ourselves and although we didn't see other soakers there was evidence in the snow that there has been people here fairly recently.
Rating A

08.17.04 (evening) & 08.18.04 (morning)
Ultra sweet soaking! We enjoyed M16 in the evening after returning from a backpacking trip to Buckhorn Hot Springs & Lake. It felt so good soaking in the perfectly tempered water. We soaked again the in morning and bore witness to a large Eagle making it's way south while flying above the South Fork of the Salmon River. Low (river) water conditions allowed for a pool to surface below the main attraction along with another pool just a few feet away fed by a different source. The latter had a temperature close to perfect and could sit 2 to 4 people, while the pool below the main was roughly the same size but had luke warm to chilly water temperatures. This is truly one of the great ones. On a sad side-note, the nearby campgrounds were literally filled with trash from campers that couldn't handle the rain; we found kid's toys, brand new tarps, coolers filled with rotten food and all kinds of other goodies.... shame on you people! Thank you so much to all of you that are stewards of the land and pick up trash regardless if its yours or not.
Rating A+ (despite a slight rise in trash levels)

Excellent! We camped nearby and hiked on over to enjoy M16 2X, once in the afternoon and once at night. We SO lucked out! Just a few miles down the road were tons of people that were waiting for the salmon to run in the South Fork Salmon River... at the check point we drove though on our way up the Fish & Game representative told us that they were expecting 2 to 3 THOUSAND people to come though the area each day that the salmon were running. Dang! We tried for a soak in the morning on the 22nd, but the 6 vehicles scattered along the road deterred us.
Rating A

Grade A Soak. What a way to spend my birthday! I don't know what more good I can say about this HS... it's truly one of my favorites. I actually wish it was a little harder to get to.
Rating A+

I've said it before and I'll say it again... "Sweet Soak". The only noticed change since my last visit was that the temperature increased by 1.5 degrees (which provided for optimal soaking mind you). A local fellow was just leaving upon arrival, but beyond that this HS was all mine.
Rating A+

09.05.02 - 09.06.02
Sweet soak! What more can I say about this one? We lucked out again and had this baby all to ourselves at night and in the morning. The only drawback is how close the paved forest road is. Only a couple things were different since last visiting; the spout has been moved slightly towards the river, the temperature of the pools is a couple degrees cooler and the river itself was lower because in April spring runoff was beginning to occur.
Rating A+

This was awesome! Whoever built / maintains this soak deserves a gold star and a pat on the back. We arrived around 9am, stayed a few hours and had the place completely to ourselves. This is one of the best soaks experienced in a long while. Even better, no trash was found! We did see some campers heading down the road on horseback towards Molly's Tubs HS, Molly's HS and Vulcan HS. It should be noted too that I have read a few other reports on this HS and they all tell of highly trafficked visits, which makes me think of how lucky we were during this particular outing.
Rating A

Average Rating: A

Traffic Updates

Empty pullout and pool, sweet.

06.11.04 & 06.13.04
Empty pullout and pool on the 11th, two vehicles and 5 soakers on the 13th.

Busy place! There were 5 trucks in Mile 16's tiny pullout.


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No Soap, Shampoo or BIO-Soap/Shampoo Allowed in Hot Springs! Avoid Being Fined!

Public hot springs are not bathing facilities and do not have 'plumbing' like that of commercial, improved hot springs. Soap and shampoo (including biodegradable soap and shampoo) do not completely breakdown naturally. This pollutes our water systems (ingested by fish, animals, humans) at or near the source. This is also illegal in most wilderness and public lands areas.

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