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Home: Idaho Hot Springs: Skillern Hot Springs
  Public Hot Springs

Skillern Hot Springs in Idaho

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall Type: H (hike)
Sawtooth National Forest Overall Rating: A-
5,900 ft Water Temperature: 100-106 (cliff pool - seasonal riverside pools vary) pH: 6.5
Fairfield / Featherville / Big Smokey Mountains Area Usage Level: Moderate

Picture Viewer









05.13.02: The trailhead sign

05.13.02: Take the high-water trail unless you like lots of fording

05.13.02: Yours truly

05.13.02: Natural dish in the rock face created by the outflow over time

05.13.02: Great day - excellent soak

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[ View 06.25.13 - 06.27.13 Skillern Hot Springs Video on HSG or on YouTube or in the Video Player ]
[ View 09.25.09 - 09.26.09 Skillern Hot Springs Video Clip ]
[ View 09.18.06 Skillern Hot Springs Video Clip ]

Skillern Hot Springs Description

A solid rock walled, waterfall-fed pool with a log dam and gravel/solid rock bottom awaits at the end of a 2 hour hike in the Smoky Mountains in the Sawtooth National Forest. The seasonal river pools at Skillern hot springs feature rock walls and gravel/sand/silt bottoms. All pools shallow and seat approx. 2-4 people each.

Dates Visited: Trash Levels: Bug Levels:
06.25.13 - 06.27.13 none! moderate
09.25.09 - 09.26.09 very light light
09.18.06 light moderate
05.13.02 none! none

Water Clarity:


Slight Odor

Wildlife Sighted: Deer and elk

Seasonal Notes
Seasonal Forest Road closure from October through mid-May (open date in May depends on snow level, usually May 20th). Prime soaking season is between late July though fall.

Camping Notes
There is great primitive camping sites up and downstream of the hot springs, and an official campground with toilets at the trailhead. There are also plenty of campgrounds and primitive sites to choose from in the surrounding Sawtooth National Forest.

Skillern Hot Springs Trip Reports

06.25.13 - 06.27.13 View the Complete Trip Report on HSG
Rating A+

09.25.09 - 09.26.09
Totally awesome. I backpacked out to the hot springs and enjoyed some excellent fall hiking and daytime soaking. I say daytime because the best soak at Skilly was a mere 99/100. Not so great for early morning/late at night soaking, but primetime for sunny day soaking. There was quite a bit of motorcycle and angler traffic, along with one other backpacker. Most of whom I met were considerate, except for the person on the motorcycle that was riding around on Skillern Creek Trail (off limits to motorized vehicles) and was spotlighting my tent at 6am. A lot more people than I am used to seeing in the backcountry for sure.

I remember sitting on a log bridging Skillern Creek, pumping water and watching the leaves fall into the creek then begin their journey to Big Smokey Creek when 3 motorcycles came screaming out of nowhere, blasted through Skillern Creek kicking out rocks and mud all over. Leaving the air filled with smoke and the thick stench of gasoline. Yeah, sure - riding bikes is fun, but completely disturbing a forest wilderness with noise and pollution is unacceptable. EVERY time I have hiked/backpacked on non-motorized trails I catch at least one person on a motorcycle ripping it up. This was a rare trip in which I didn't see hardly any wildlife... I wonder why? And, just what happens to a human, horse or animal that meets up with 3 speedy motorcycles up on the high trail? Shame on you dirtbag motorcycle riders for polluting such a natural place, double shame on the National Forest people that allowed this to happen in the first place.
Rating A-

06.01.07 - 06.02.07 Trip Report and Pictures by Soker Grrl

It's been almost 5 years since my last visit to this incredible place and Skillern hasn't changed a bit - thank goodness! The hike was awesome, soak stellar and my most noteable memory from the trip (besides the insane wind) was soaking the day away while watching Hybrid Cutthroat make their way upstream.
Rating A-

Skillern was sweet! The 4 or so hour round trip hike was nothing short of scenic, and this time of the year you are almost guaranteed to be the only one out there. Small spots of snow dotting the landscape were visible throughout the duration of our hike.

The FS lady we ran into at Canyon Campground (cute girl stationed at Shasta) said we were the only campers in the whole Sawtooths! I thought that was pretty stellar. However, I did catch a glimpse of a group of campers/partiers leaving Worswick HS on our way in. They left all of their trash in their fire pit, some half burnt with the smell of burnt plastic still fresh in the air.

Anyway, the two lower pools below the source where cold meets hot were too submerged for use, but the upper pool around the bend nestled in the side of the rock face was good to go. I think we must have spent all day there. That would explain the insane sunburn on one side of my body. Please treat this area with care.
Rating A-

Average Rating: A-


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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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