Nestled within the 756,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Stanley is a small mountain frontier town surrounded by the natural beauty of four mountain ranges and the headwaters of four major rivers.
A quiet setting of pristine natural landscapes, the town is an idyllic base for exploring the region’s intrepid attractions and features several of the state’s best hot springs for unwinding after engaging in the area’s more demanding activities.
From simple primitive pools along picturesque rivers to full-service thermal resorts, visitors can find soothing relaxation at these six hot springs near Stanley, ID. (Distance from Stanley in brackets).
6 Hot Springs Near Stanley, Idaho
1. Mountain Village Resort
Visitors don’t need to travel far from Stanley to experience the region’s mineral spring waters. In fact, the Mountain Village Resort operates directly in town and includes natural hot springs among its diverse catalog of amenities.
Nestled along the Salmon River, the Mountain Village Resort offers visitors a full-service stay in town, complete with onsite lodging, dining, and even the only mineral soaking option offered directly in the community.
Tucked away just a short distance from the resort’s main building, the property’s mineral spring pool is housed in a tiny wood structure that semi-covers the thermal tub. The pool averages between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year and can sit up to eight soakers.
The hot springs are not open to day visitors, and hotel guests must make a reservation to soak in the mineral waters. Luckily, the resort offers overnight accommodation in 61 comfortable lodge rooms and several camping opportunities. So be sure to reserve your soaking time when you check-in.
2. Boat Box Hot Spring (4 Miles)
Also known as the Elkhart Hot Springs, the Boat Box Hot Spring is just a short drive out of town and offers a much more rustic thermal soaking experience than the one found at the Mountain Village Resort.
Nestled along the quiet shores of the Salmon River, the Boat Box Hot Springs are a man-made thermal pool formed out of an old ocean buoy cabled to several of the region’s large rocks. Filing the pool is a constant flow of natural mineral spring water transported from its source through a plastic pipe.
Upon filling into the tub, the thermal water averages about 110 degrees. However, this elevated temperature can be lowered to more comfortable temperatures by adding the cooler water of the river into the bath.
While it may not be as comfortable as the thermal pool at Stanley’s Mountain Village Resort, the Boat Box Hot Springs provide a rustic mineral soaking experience in the soothingly quiet setting of the Sawtooth Valley.
3. Cove Creek Hot Springs (9 Miles)
Also located along the picturesque Salmon River, the Cove Creek Hot Springs is a collection of primitive thermal pools built out of rocks placed by past visitors.
Also known as the Basin Creek Hot Springs, this collection of thermal pools is perfect for enjoying a natural soaking experience in the pristine environment of Sawtooth Valley and is only a short drive from Stanley.
The Cove Creek Hot Springs has one large main pool and one or two smaller pools that change between visits. The pools are filled with natural spring water that averages a scorching 140 degrees from the source. Visitors can cool these elevated temperatures by shifting the rock wall to allow more cold river water to flow through.
While the springs make for a fantastic day trip from Stanley, the Sawtooth Valley offers a fantastic natural setting for camping at night. Unfortunately, visitors are not permitted to pitch their tents by the springs, but they can arrange for a site at the nearby Basin Creek Campground nearby.
4. Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch (10 .3 Miles)
Located on a 900-acre ranch, the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch combines the full-service stay of the Mountain Village Resort with the idyllic natural setting of the region’s primitive thermal pools to provide one of the most surreal mineral-soaking experiences in the state.
Nestled between the Sawtooth National Forest and the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch is the ideal setting for exploring the region’s numerous natural attractions. It offers several outdoor activities, including hiking, rafting, horseback riding, and more.
There is no better way to unwind after a day of these outdoor adventures than by soaking in the property’s natural hot spring pool. Measuring 20 x 40 ft, with and depth ranging from 3 to 9 feet, it is surrounded by natural landscape views, completing the soothing tranquility of the mineral waters. The pool averages between 99 and 104 degrees throughout the year.
As a full-service resort, the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch offers a massive collection of onsite services and amenities, including several lodging and cabin rentals and three meals a day included in the nightly rate.
5. Sunbeam Hot Springs (12.7 Miles)
Of the natural hot springs near Stanley, the Sunbeam Hot Springs are perhaps the most popular. Nestled along the Salmon River, this primitive hot spring complex is comprised of several natural mineral pools that have been carved out of the region’s rocks and boulders.
The pools are filled by natural spring water that flows down the hill from a higher elevation. While the water averages around 160 degrees Fahrenheit from its source, adding the cooler water from the nearby river provides a more comfortable soaking experience.
While the Sunbeam Hot Springs is a clothing-optional facility, they are also some of the most popular hot springs in the area, and bathing suites are strongly encouraged.
Guests seeking a more controlled soaking environment than the natural outdoor pools may opt for a more private experience at the complex’s nearby bathhouse. Featuring two tubs that can fit up to two people each, these soaking options feature hot and cold-water control for a more personalized bath.
6. Sacajawea Hot Springs (42.2 Miles)
While located slightly further from Stanley, the Sacajawea Hot Springs offer another fantastic thermal soaking opportunity at a collection of natural thermal pools along the Payette River’s picturesque banks.
Like many of the natural springs in the area, the Sacajawea Hot Springs are contained in natural rock walls constructed by pasts tourists and local volunteers.
Like many of the region’s thermal pools, this natural mineral spring features elevated temperatures averaging about 149 degrees from the source. However, this unbearable heat can be tempered by shifting the pool’s rock wall to allow more cold river water to flow through.
Despite being about an hour’s drive from Stanley, the Sacajawea Hot Springs offer an idyllic setting for enjoying the therapeutic property of the region’s mineral waters while embracing the quiet ambiance of the region’s pristine natural environments.