Idaho Mountaintop Hot Spring: Hike up to Goldbug Hot Spring

hiking, Hot Springs, idaho, nomad, Van Life

Goldbug hot springs tops the cake for my favorite hots spring in the United States (at least thus far in my adventures). Adding an amazingly breath-taking view on top of a fully natural hot spring makes it stand out among the rest. Hopefully I will be able to make it back many more times while I’m still breathing on this beautiful planet.

Goldbug Hotsprings, Idaho

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I have gotten numerous messages from people about geotagging. I understand when people don’t want to share their locations to hidden gems, but that’s not my mentality. I love to share my spots and get more people off their phones and out enjoying the great outdoors. I won’t be directly geo-tagging on Instagram …. But I will gladly share on my website!


Goldbug Hot Springs are located about 30 minutes south of Salmon, Idaho. Salmon is a cute tiny little mountain down in east-central Idaho off hwy 93. You can get there from multiple directions! I went in January and the mountain roads were still accessible, they have a lot of winter road gear up there. I would still recommend going with good tires and preferably four-wheel drive if you are going in the winter time. Summertime should be a breeze!

The address is: 34 Warm Springs Rd, Salmon, ID, 83467.

The parking lot is just about a quarter mile off hwy 93.

There are some other breathtaking Hot Springs in Northern Idaho that are stunning as well!

Local Attractions

I went to Bertram’s Salmon Valley Brewery in Salmon the night before I went on the hike. They had delicious beer! They had a good-sized menu as well with a variety of options.

The whole downtown strip was cute! I would recommend walking up and down it and chatting with the locals.

Gear to Bring

Your Beautiful Body

-Swim suit


-WATER (lots of it, those hot springs plus a hike will dehydrate you). I always bring my Hydroflask to hot springs. It keeps my water ice cold even when it’s down in the hot water with me!

Get the Hydroflask I have on Amazon

-Snacks. Climbing up a mountain and sitting in a hot spring can really deplete your energy. Before hiking back down I would recommend eating something, even if it’s small! It will help a lot with your energy when going down. I have found that hikes back after a hot springs seem way longer, your body gets super relaxed in those baths!

-Hiking shoes. I wear Keens, they have great grip and tread. They don’t have my exact ones on amazon but click here for ones that have shorter ankles length but the exact same show other than that!

-Micro Spikes. This hike can get slick in the winter. I hooked my micro spikes right onto my hiking boots! Helped so much.

Winter and Spring:

You don’t NEED spikes but they make the trek easier and quicker. The start of the hike is steep as well as the end right before you get to the springs for about ¾ of a mile. I had my Yak Tracks on and passed a lot of people who just had regular shoes or even hiking shoes on. The mud in the Spring makes it very slippery as well.

Goldbug Hot Springs, Idaho

 I also brought my trekking poles, which are always a huge help on any hike regardless of snow or if its steep. I’ve found that using my trekking poles helps even out the strain from the hike over my entire body, rather than just my legs. We all want toned arms to go with our hiking legs, don’t we?!

Summer and Fall:

You just need the basics from my list above. Make sure you still having hiking shoes on, as there are some steep and rocky spots. Lots and lots of H2O!!! I was running low on water so I put some fresh snow in my Hydroflask, but if you don’t have fresh snow you won’t always have this luxury! Hydroflasks are great because they either keep things super cold or super hot! I love mine so much and use it every single day.

On the way up there are numerous waterfalls that are surrounded by greenery. You feel like you are on a tropical island, but really you are on a small mountain in Idaho. Take your time and sneak into the little waterfalls!

There are 8 different pools you can choose from, they get hotter the higher up you go.

You’ll know your are at the main hot springs when you cross a small wooden foot bridge… it’s super obvious.

Have fun and stay safe!

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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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