Friday, June 15, 2007

Skillern Soaking

On the edge of the Sawtooth National Forest, 60 miles from Fairfield, ID lies Skillern Hot Springs. For 2.8 miles you'll hike above and along Big Smokey Creek, enjoying beautiful views.

I took along my trusty pack and a few friends for an overnighter. Primitive camping was abundant, and only 1/4 mile from the pool! We found two pools along the water, one was definitely soakable clocking in at 102 degrees. The other waterside pool was not as warm since creek levels were still high from winter run off. Perched upon a cliff edge, slightly tucked into a small cove, the main soaking pool was a toasty 104 degrees. Slight improvements had been made since my last visit in September 2006. Logs had been placed as a wind break, and the pool appeared to be slightly wider. The minature hot waterfall still cascaded into the pool lightly splashing its soakers. The water was clean, clear and free of algae. Tiny spiders scurried across the rocks throughout the source and hot overflows. I even saw a poor snake that had curled up to get warm, but alas, the water was too hot for it. The entire area was green and bursting with spring time life.

Skillern is a wonderful spring or autumn day hike or pack trip. Keep in mind that this area gets very warm in the summer months, the trail has little to no shade, and a great portion of the trail follows a ridge with no trees. This is a family friendly area, and you'll more than likely run into people throughout the weekend. We saw a few Saturday on our way out. Though the trip was short, the hike was great, the pool relaxing, and the company enjoyable.


Hot Springs Guy said...

Good ol Skilley

Mike G said...

Hello, soker grrl.

The missus and went to Skillern on a day hike a few years ago. We found the cliff pool too hot. I'm surprised that your report says it's comfy now.

Despite the creek water, we labored a couple of hours, moving all the rocks we could to fashion a pool, catching the hot and leaking cold. Since she likes it warmer, I gave her that side of it, and we just had to move a bit to keep things mixed.

I realize it's highly unlikely; but did you happen to find a lady's watch? The kind a nurse wears. No, it's not highly unlikely, it's astronomically unlikely.

When it's hot and the creek isn't too high, there's a shadier alternative along part of the trail. Ford the creek twice, and you get a break from the sun, thru a deep grove of trees.

Have you heard of springs further up the creek? They are on some maps.

Have you been to Bear Valley HS? Another hike of about 2 hours, good camping, great springs. Where was the camping near Skillern -- up or downstream?

Have a great summer!

Genny said...

Hi Soker Grrl,

please contact me about one of your photos.

Bret Miller said...

soker grrl,

have you ever dealt with the "red spider mite" that everyone talks about being around hot springs? we would like to take our dog with us to bear valley springs , but we are worried about the mites infesting her. what are your thoughts?