Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Lowell, Idaho 83539

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A day hike to popular soaks in a scenic valley. Swimwear common—it's a mixed bag. The first batch of rock-lined soaking pools, known to many as ”the waterfall pools,” are down the bank from the trail, right at waterline by the end of summer.

These late-season pools are easy to miss if unoccupied. They need a creek water mix to drop into the comfort zone, as 115-degree F water gushing from holes in the steep bank pours directly into one pool after the other."

More Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Touring Hot Springs - Montana and Wyoming (Falcon Guides)
Jeff Birkby
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"A series of primitive hot springs pools scattered along the banks of a rushing creek in a valley of statuesque cedar trees. Like neighboring Weir Creek Hot Springs, Jerry Johnson is not technically a “Montana” hot spring, but many Montanans claim it as their own because Missoula is the closest sizable city to this Idaho soak."
Day Hikes around Missoula, Montana (Day Hike Books)
Robert Stone
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"Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is a popular destination 23 miles southwest of Lolo Pass in the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. The area has a series of primitive pools along the east bank of Warm Springs Creek near its confluence with the Lochsa River. The trail crosses a suspension bridge over the Lochsa and follows Warm Springs Creek to the pools. Several of the rocklined hot pools sit beneath thermal waterfalls in a beautiful forest setting. A 1 0-foot-wide pool sits on a hillside away from the creek overlooking a cedar grove. The clothing-optional pools are restricted to day-use only."
Hiking the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness (Falcon Guides)
Scott Steinberg
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"The trail to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is the single most popular hike in the Clearwater National Forest, and at any given time you can expect to share the hot springs with at least two or three other parties—even in the dead of winter. The hike is quite pleasant and is well within the abilities of younger children; even the slowest individuals should be able to reach the hot springs in less than 45 minutes. The falls on Warm Springs Creek, located 2.4 miles farther upstream, make a fine turnaround point for a longer and slightly more challenging trek."

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Trip Reports

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The trail was well kept and clean. After the long walk in, the hot springs are well worth the walk. The only real downside was that they were somewhat crowded...interestingly enough though, when we were there, clothing was "optional".
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We went in a weekday and enjoyed the place only for ourselves until dusk. It's a memorable experience to see the rise of the stars and the moon from inside the warm pond, submerged in the incommensurable forest.
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Beautiful easy hike in. Not too terribly crowded. We soaked in the last of the three pools. It wasn't as hot as we would have liked but still warm enough to keep from getting cold in the rain! First pool is in the river and the hike down may have been slightly difficult but worth it for its beauty. Second pool was full of naked folks... we weren't in to that. There was a family in the third pool with little kids so that is where we felt most comfortable.
A definite must do again!
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Sno-pack only 25% of normal this winter w/ night temp of 10 F and sunny days at 35 F. Icy trail and poles recommended. Short, scenic hike heavily peopled on weekends due to proximity of U Of MT, Missoula. Several small pretty pools that didn't tempt me to soak my 'roids as I like water temp of 140 F or higher - may be better in the Summer. Can hike a couple miles further to the Falls. For a better experience try Stanley hot springs further West off Hwy 12; moderate difficulty and about seven miles up a roaring crick. Prepare to meet horses and again busier on the weekends.
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Very easy hike - even with an ankle recovering from surgery... very pleasant hot springs - only a few other people even on Labor Day weekend, but not deserted either, if that's what you're looking for.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
150 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Hot Springs
Lochsa Ranger District, Clearwater National Forest
Local Contacts
Selway - Bitterroot Wilderness. Clearwater National Forest.
Local Maps