Northern Idaho Natural Hot Spring: Geothermal Waterfall at Jerry Johnson Springs

hiking, Hot Springs, idaho, Pacific North West

There is nothing quite like relaxing in an all-natural hot spring in the middle of the mountains while it’s snowing. It’s a dream… well for me!

One of the many hot springs at this location.

I was told about these hidden hot springs from some locals while I was living in Montana. I seem to find the best and most beautiful when I rely on locals rather than the Internet. Not everyone wants to share all of his or her hidden gems with the world, but luckily for you I’m willing to share a few. If I hear of them being trashed in anyway, I will remove all the locations on my posts! Leave no trace.

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

Getting to the Springs

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs are located of Hwy 12 in Northern Idaho, just outside of Lolo Montana. You can get to them driving from Lewiston Idaho or from Lolo Montana. TIP: If you are going in the winter time, double check online to make sure the Hwy is open so that you can actually get to them.

If you are having a hard time finding the exact location, download the AllTrails app (green icon). This app shows pretty much any hiking trail you can imagine, and they include reviews, photos and other important information. Once you have the app, type in Jerry Johnson Hot Springs and once you find it, click on directions and it should open up into whichever map app you use on your smartphone.

Video of the steamy waterfall gushing into the hot spring.

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

There isn’t service, so make sure not to end your GPS because you won’t be able to get the directions again once you hit the mountains… or even sooner. I didn’t have service for a good while. And yes, your maps should still continue to work if keep it going even if you don’t have service.

Once You Are at the Springs

There is a marked parking lot with a restroom at the trailhead; you can’t miss it if you know where you are going.

Make sure to bring A LOT of water. I usually bring my Hydroflask to hot springs, it keeps my water super cold regardless if its in the hot spring with me or not.

The hot springs are about a mile in so make sure you have shoes built for hiking… or snow if there’s snow. You can’t see the hot springs directly from the trail but you can see the steam and find your way down to them once you get to that point in the hike.

There are some pretty icy spots in the winter, and a few minor steep spots. My micro spikes helped so much! They hook right over my hiking boots.

The hot spring I went to in my photos was in the first set of springs (There’s bigger ones further up). These ones aren’t always accessible because the creek water gets too high certain times of the year. I went in the first week of January; I think winter would be a safe bet! But there are other very beautiful ones you can go to even if that one isn’t there.

The water was about the same temperature you would expect a hot tub to be. I even got hot and had to get my upper body out of the water from time-to-time to cool off.

Don’t be intimidated if there are a lot of cars in the parking lot. Not everyone is there for the springs; it’s also a beautiful hike. I had the spring all to myself and saw tons of people hiking. My brother said the same thing when he went.

Be sure to bring a lot of water! The combination of hiking and sitting in a hot spring can dehydrate you very quickly. It’s also smart to bring a dry bag (they make dry bags specifically for this) for your phone and keys, there are not a lot of fully dry areas to set your still, the springs are right on the river!

Have fun and stay safe!

Get the Hydroflask I have on Amazon

Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains

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