Elkhorn Boat Box Hot Spring

Stanley, Idaho 83278

Elkhorn Boat Box Hot Spring

Elkhorn (Boat Box) Hot Spring Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Includes: Alpine, Sawtooth, and McGowan Lakes, Goat Lake, and Cramer Lakes. A riverside hot tub and pools below the highway, near the eastern Sawtooth trailheads. Swimwear essential. This is the first of several hot dips along the Salmon River Scenic Biway that begins east of Stanley.

One or two seasonal pools and a year-round hot tub tucked between boulders mark the highly visible spot. Scalding hot, 136-degree F water is piped under the highway to the tub, and the only way to cool it is to scramble back and forth to the river with a bucket. If somebody has made off with the bucket, you’re out of luck. In 2000, a round tub replaced the old square one."

Elkhorn (Boat Box) Hot Spring Trip Reports

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We took off from the Redfish Lodge on Thursday afternoon at about 2:00. We decided to pay the extra 10 bucks for a round trip ride to the Inlet Transfer Camp, which saves 5 miles both ways. The well maintained trail starts right out of the Inlet Transfer camp and remains steep for the first quarter mile or so, gaining about 200 feet. We then hiked 3.6 miles to FlatRock junction along the Redfish Creek Trail. There were a fair number of people out hiking, but it was a beautiful day. We saw a deer about a mile from Flatrock Junction and it stalled to continue eating until we finally scared it away and it disappeared. Flatrock Junction is a section of creekbed that runs over steps of flattened granite. It is quite beautiful, but we still had another 3.4 miles to go. We ate a snack and quenched our thirsts before crossing the creek to join up with the Cramer Lakes Trail.

An hour later and we were just passing the lower Cramer Lake and a couple of occupied camp sites. We were aiming for the upper lake in hopes that our favorite spot was still available... after seeing a couple more individuals at the middle lake, we acknowledged that there would likely be lots of people on this trip. Finally reaching the upper lake, we discovered that indeed, the spot we had envisioned was taken, but we ended up at another incredible spot right next to the waterfall that falls from the upper lake to the lower lake. This was the perfect background to the tacos and chocolate cake that we prepared for the evening.

The next day we hiked up past Upper Cramer and over the divide to Hidden Lakes noting several other no name lakes on both sides of the saddle. From here we decided to hike to the unnamed lakes at the base of Mt. Cramer and determine if we wanted to make the ascent. The two lakes were absolutely beautiful and incredibly clear. We hiked to the saddle above them, which is mostly just a scramble on loose rocks and scree. My partner opted to hang out at the lake and I continued on up toward the summit over a 400 ft tall boulder field to the top of Mt. Cramer. The views from the summit were tremendous... and the summit registry was like none other that I've seen. Hikers had left small items of convenience (compass, lotion, chapstick, jolly ranchers, etc.) as well as a couple of notepads worth of names and comments. Imogene, Profile, Cramer Lakes, Hidden Lake & Victoria Lake were all visible from the second highest peak in the Sawtooths. The hike down was essentially just a gravel glissade, which helped save time and made me very ready for the dip I'd take in the lake 20 minutes later. Temps were in the high 70's and 80's, but the sun was out making it feel even warmer. The rest of the weekend we opted to do shorter hikes around the Cramer Lakes proper area and amazingly enough, Saturday turned out to be the least populated day of all!

Elkhorn (Boat Box) Hot Spring Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Hot Springs
Sawtooth NRA.
Local Contacts
Sawtooth National Forest.
Local Maps

Trail Log