Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs, Ketchum Idaho

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.

© Nicole GeilsAccessed by driving down Warm Springs Road; the last 7 miles is a dirt road that is snow-packed in the winter and muddy in the spring/fall.

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.

© Nicole Geils

© Nicole GeilsI took the opportunity to soak-up some Vitamin D while waiting for the tow-truck to clear the Subaru.

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:

© Nicole Geils

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.

© Nicole Geils

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.

© Nicole Geils

© Nicole Geils

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.

© Nicole Geils

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.

Some local color you will see along Warm Springs Road.

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:

© Nicole Geils

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