• Pete Creek Hot Springs is a hot mineral waterfall at the Middle Fork Boise River
• You need to ford the river to get to soaking pools
Pete Creek Hot Springs also known as Vaughn Hot Springs is one of many scenic geothermal spots dotted along the Middle Fork Boise River right off the road. The hot mineral water flows down the hill and falls off the cliff into the river. You can enjoy this unique soaking location in the beautiful Idaho nature and sometimes even see local residents - deer, elk, fox, and a variety of birds.
The hot mineral waterfall cascades 30 feet down into the pool at the cliff's base. The pool consists of rocks placed by volunteers in a circle to capture geothermal mineral water. Typically, it tends to be a bigger pool about 15x10x3 feet, but it is different every season. With the higher level of the river, this pool gets washed off and every summer it should be rebuilt.
There is also another smaller soaking pool near the top of the cliff. It is called Eagle's Nest and it is big enough for two people. You can notice it from the road by a rock wall with a white PVC pipe sticking out of it. Unlike the bottom pool, this pool is not getting destroyed by the river. Please make sure to drain it before you leave to prevent algae from developing.
Water temperature in the pools varies greatly by the time of the year and river level, ranging from 100°F to 138°F. Since the Eagle's Nest is isolated from the river, it is much hotter than the larger pool. To adjust the temperature at the nest, simply use rocks to divert the water flow from the pool.
While being close to the road, both soaking pools require some effort to get there. First, you need to cross Middle Fork Boise River. From late August to early October, you can ford directly from the road to the waterfall. If you walk 300 feet downstream you will find an easier ford. If you want to get to the Eagle's Nest, you will have to climb up the cliff.
CAUTION. Fording the river can be VERY DANGEROUS if done incorrectly. High water and strong currents can sweep you away with ease. Boulders and rock in the river can be unstable and/or slippery. Only attempt to cross the river if you know what you are doing!
There are no services at this location. Bathing suits are highly suggested since Pete Creek Hot Springs sits right next to the road. The surrounding area has plenty of developed and primitive camping sites.
Pete Creek Hot Springs | Facts
Location: 32 miles west of Atlanta • Idaho • USA
Accommodations: Developed and primitive campgrounds in the surrounding area
Hiking distance: Short
Road access: Any vehicle
Day-use fees: None
Elevation: 3,700 ft (1,128 m)
Directions to Pete Creek Hot Springs
- Travel east on Highway 21 to Mores Creek Bridge
- Cross the bridge and turn right onto Spring Shores Road/Middle Fork Boise River Road toward Atlanta
- Continue 35.7 miles on Middle Fork Boise River Road to the destination on the left.
There are no signs, but you can clearly see waterfall on your left across the river. Park your car at the pullout and ford the river. This hot springs is located 1.6 miles away from Loftus Hot Springs.
GPS (parking area): N 43°44.3339' W 115°35.046' | 43.739, -115.584