11 Miles west of Ketchum Idaho you will find a popular little Hot Spring called Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs nestled in the Smoky Mountains of the Sawtooth National Forest.
I visited Frenchman’s Bend with my husband mid-January of 2015, and the road was in great condition… however, we came upon an accident involving a Subaru sliding into a one-ton truck along one particularly blind corner. I did not think the road was that bad… but growing up in Alaska I may have a skewed view on driving conditions.
Once you reach the parking lot, which only has room for 5 or 6 cars, grab your water bottle and walk down the road to the hot springs! It is only a 2 minute walk.
The rules of the springs are:
Water flows from three springs – one spring is on the roadside of Warm Springs Creek, and the other two are accessed by wading across the very chilly creek.
Water temperature is variable. The springs bubble in at 124 F/51 C, but the pool temperature is easy to lower by shifting rocks in the dam. The natural pool nestled in the creek-side boulders right below the road was the soaking spot of choice that day… it is wide and shallow, rock-walled, with a gravel and sand mixed bottom.
I really enjoyed this hot spring soak. I met many interesting people while soaking… mostly skiers and riders like me, looking to soak tired legs after playing on the long runs of Sun Valley Resort.
Note: Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs and Warfield Hot Springs are the same. Though some maps refer to them as Warfield Hot Springs, the Forest Service refers to them as Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs. The road tends to flood in the spring and is closed during spring run-off from the middle of March to the end of June. Also, the hot springs are primitive and there are no facilities. The springs are open daily from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm… enforced by the Forest Service. No access charge.
Don’t forget to explore the quaint little town of Ketchum… It is full of
eccentric locals, happy dogs off leashes, and great second-hand stores. I picked-up this retro ski suite for my pal Stacey at the local thrift shop: