Idaho is famous for its hot springs. The state boasts several hundred of these naturally heated geothermal pools. This includes Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs, which are nestled in the Smoky Mountains of the Sawtooth National Forest. The hot springs are located 11 miles from Ketchum, Idaho, 7 miles of which are a dirt road that will take you within a few hundred feet of the pools.
The Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs are especially magical in the winter. The road leading up to the springs is usually drivable, even in the snow, and the winter chill provides a refreshing contrast to the warmth of the water. If the road conditions are less than ideal, this is a great opportunity to bundle up and hike down the road through the snow-blanketed landscape.
When you get to the springs you will find three pools lined with snow-dusted rocks along Warm Springs Creek. The water temperature enters the pools at a toasty 124°F but can be controlled by shifting rocks in the dam. If you’re feeling brave you can take a quick dip in the freezing waters of the creek before seeking refuge back in the soothing warmth of Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs.