Wild hot springs in the mountains with fresh traces of wildfire damage.
Enjoy the solitude here.
Warm Lake, Idaho is the largest lake in Boise National Forest and, as its name implies, is heated by geothermal water that comes from the bottom of the lake.
The lake water is not so hot at 72 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and is used for fishing and water sports.
There are some Forest Service-operated campgrounds in the vicinity, in addition to the North Shore Lodge, established in 1936, and Warm Lake Lodge, established in 1911.
Traces of Effort
To get to Warm Lake, turn onto Warm Lake Rd from State Hwy 55 in Cascade and drive east for about 40 minutes.
Along the way, you will pass by the relatively well-known Trail Creek Hot Springs.
Not many people visit this lake because of its cul-de-sac location.
The hot springs we will be visiting are located on the South Fork Salmon River, which runs west across the hill from Warm Lake, and along parallel Forest Road 474.
There are two wild hot springs in the area, one being Molly's Hot Springs.
From Warm Lake Rd, drive south on Forest Road 474, exit your car at the first intersection, and cross the nearby bridge.
The other is marked by a parking space in front of it, commonly known as Molly's Tubs.
All photos are from the Molly's Tubs.
The hot springs were located down the slope from the road to the river.
The water spurted out to the right of a hill made of travertine, forming many rock pools.
The water temp at the gushing point was 131 degrees F.
The sulfur smell was favorable, but it was too high for soaking.
Someone led the hot water with hoses and created pools where it mixed with the water from the stream.
There was also a modest source on the right side of the travertine hill.
The hot water here was piped into the Jacuzzi tub, which had an out-of-place atmosphere.
There were buckets of river water and a changing area.
I soaked in a bizarre scene, with traces of wildfire damage still visible in 2019.