Kirkham Hot Springs is a landmark of sorts among Idaho's many wild hot springs.
Here, environmental destruction due to excessive popular concentration is a problem.
Of the large number of undeveloped hot springs scattered throughout the mountains north of Boise, one of the most famous is probably Kirkham Hot Springs.
You can see it across the South Fork Payette River while driving the Idaho State Highway 21; there is a huge hill of mineral deposits.
Because of its easy accessibility and spectacular appearance, it is very crowded on weekends.
This caused serious environmental damage, and the US Forest Service, taking the situation seriously, closed the adjacent campground.
Fortunately, a day use is permitted.
Crossing the bridge on foot, which was closed to vehicles, I found the campground intact on the other side of the river.
Day use is $5.00 per vehicle。
I fed the bills into the fare box and posted the stub in my car parked on the shoulder of the road.
Several small springs were found on the slope behind the former 16-site campground.
Let us call these mountain-side pools for convenience.
The spring water runs directly down the slope to a series of primitive rock pools.
The gushing point was nearly 122 degrees F, but the temperature had dropped to the proper level in the pools.
Clothing is required.
It is in an open area, so it will have to do.
Hot water spills out of the mountainside pools and travels through a channel to the South Fork Payette River.
At its confluence are riverside pools.
This is the heart of Kirkham Hot Springs.
An observation deck, interpretive signs, and a boardwalk were in place.
Above the riverside pools were several other sources with higher temperatures and higher gushes.
The boiling water gushing from the top of the hill was 157 degrees F.
It flowed down to the river, spreading out like a fan on the rocky slopes.
Here, the water from the mountainside pools, sliding down from the left, mingled with the hot water coming from the hill on the right.
A tremendous sight of steam rising up from the water.
The rocky terrain was very slippery due to the hot spring algae, so please walk with caution.
There were several pools of hot water suitable for soaking in the cascade-like area, and people were dipping in the warm waterfalls.
The temperature of the pools varied from channel to channel, and there were places where the water was too hot to enter.
There was also a rock pool close to the surface of the river.
Indeed, it was watered with river water, but with such clean water quality, I had no complaints.
I particularly liked this small pool, located downstream on the trail from the riverside pools.
Few people noticed its existence, and I was able to take the time to enjoy the tasteless, odorless, hot water.
With this spectacular view, it is no wonder it is too popular.