Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Salmon National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Easy hike. Steep in the very beginning and very end, but pretty flat in between. The pools were relaxing with a great view!

I’ve heard about this trails for years and we decided to make the trek out this past weekend. We decided to camp so that we could wake up in the morning and get right on the trail. The trail it’s self is very easy. The first bit is switchbacks and then it levels out for almost the rest of the hike. The last 1/4 mile is uphill but doable. It took us 40 minutes to make it to the springs. We left around 9am and there were a couple people at the springs. When we left, around 12:30 there were tons of people both at the springs and heading up the trail. Definitely go earlier. Absolutely beautiful and worth it!

One of the best hikes I've ever done.. Very very steep for beginner hikers or non hikers like myself but well worth it if you push yourself. Last half mile is the hardest. Clearest most beautiful water you can find at the top of a mountain. Bring lots of water for the hike and stop as you need in the shady stops a long the trail.. Everyone we met was so friendly and kind. Dogs were there but no issue of any kind.

Beautifull short hike, and those views from the springs...

Beautiful hike and hot springs, but lookout for the woman riding the 4-wheeler who can be kind of rude. She comes up to most cars when they arrive to tell them they can’t camp there (which is fine, because you can’t and there are already signs). We hiked up and spent the night above the springs but when we came back the next day and were unpacking/making a sandwich she came back and said she hated to tell us “again” but we either have to hike up to the springs or leave. She said we couldn’t even have our lunch and walked off before I could reply. I understand the locals not wanting people to hang around or camp, but as far as I could tell the private property doesn’t start till you enter the hike and there’s no reason to be rude. Needless to say we finished our sandwiches and left. Overall a great experience, just don’t camp or make a sandwich in the parking lot!

Multiple small pools once you reach the top, definitely an early morning hike, or end of the summer season. The uphill can get gnarly with 95+ sun beating down.

Worth every step! Views are amazing! Kids can make it. For our 8, 6 and soon to be 4 year old, it took about 90 minutes to go up and 60 minutes to get back down. 1.9 miles each way. We carried our 13 month old in a Piggyback and had a great time swimming as a family. It’s one of our favorite places we’ve ever been. We will be going back ASAP! -bathroom at the trailhead

The end is worth the walk. My daughter who only hikes b/c she is with us did not want to leave once we found the multiple bathing pools. We met people from many parts of the country. There are a couple of pools that you can access by going through or around another pool that are worth the effort. Especially the one connected to the first one you come to in the right. You can see the pool but once you cut over to it (not as part of the trail) it has multiple waterfalls along with a cave you can enter. Inside the cave is a nature made hot tub that is deeper than the others though only 4 to 6 can fit in it. The tub itself has another waterfall that pours into it always giving you fresh warm water.

backpacking
2 months ago

amazing place. a bit hard to get to and its very rocky both driving there and hiking the path. ship lake was amazing. i did get in the water and these little leach things would attach to me so be cautious. hike was a bit hard with gear and all so i would say make these bare minimum 2 days. i took about 3 days. loved it.

great views, and clear paths - gets a little steep toward the spring - be sure to bring water!

hiking
2 months ago

Incredible trip! The views the entire hike in are unreal. There were 9 of us that went in for 4 days. All between the ages if 25-45 with decades of experience hiking. This was a very tough hike to accomplish in one day. We left the trailhead at 12:30 after leaving Boise around 6am. The last 15-20 miles of dirt road is very rough. We popped a tire on one of our vehicles so it's recommended that you have a full spare and supplies on hand. We arrived at Ship Island around 8:30pm with minimal stops. I understand that it says its 10.2 miles but we clocked it on 4 different devices. Watch, GPS, Topographical app and Garmin and we came up with 11.87 all the way up to 13.1 miles. You will notice signs along the way that say how much longer to Ship Island with a question mark..... so my guess is, people have debated for a while the true distance. Bill bird lake which is roughly 2/3 of the way in is the first real water source unless you divert a half mile off to Wilson lake to get water so pack LOTS of water! If you don't get an early start in the day, or you aren't in the best physical shape, I would recommend going to Wilson lake on day 1 before going all the way in to Ship Island. On the way out, we went to Wilson lake to make our last day a little easier. Fishing and view was incredible at Wilson lake. We didn't experience any bugs and we didn't see a soul until we were walking out. Ship Island: The best camping spots are on a trail to the right/north side of the lake. There are two great spots about a quarter and half mile around. Water front and the 2nd spot is directly across from the island which we swam out to. You can also walk out to the Island from the south side of the lake. A must see is the waterfall at the west end of Ship Island. It's about 300 yards down the rock slab. You can cross the creek and hike down to the waterfall. We went down and went in the cave under the waterfall. Make sure you hike up the ridge on the west side of the lake to get a breathtaking view of the crags. We saw lots of wild life. Wolf, deer, elk and bighorn sheep. Really amazing! Fishing was incredible at Wilson, Ship Island and Birdbill lake. I've hiked all over Idaho over the last 25 years and I would rank this in my top 3 of all time!

Came here on a weekday evening and had the whole place to our own. The hike up was short(ish) and the views were excellent!

hiking
3 months ago

superb moment, rare!

This is a trail that anyone can enjoy. It's got tiny bit of a workout, but is mostly a pleasant stroll. The hot springs are special and I could see spending a couple hours trying out different pools. My experience was sadly somewhat marred by a bully from a nearby town who arrived at the parking lot with some Gatorade drinking children. He grumbled about my dog and told me I should go back to where I came from adding that it was his land. I followed the rule on the sign and my well behaved dog was on a leash, but his menacing persisted and he was very agitated by the time we arrived at the springs.

easily one of the most beautiful spots on earth. the hike can be a little strenuous in hot weather but the terrain isn’t bad at all. totally worth it

easily one of the most beautiful spots on earth. the hike can be a little strenuous in hot weather but the terrain isn’t bad at all. totally worth it

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

great little hot spring nestled up in a canyon, fair amount of traffic and the trail was fairly easy. little steep about 3/4 through. not much flat ground once at the hot springs, trees for hammocks and a couple hidden campsites a 100 yards up. measured two and a half miles on the gps on the way out.

The hike: Fairly challenging in some parts, but the payoff is well worth it. It begins with a few switchbacks and then flattens out for a good while. The last quarter mile or so, shortly after you cross the second bridge, is pretty steep and has a lot of loose rock. When you hit the stairs, you’re almost there. It took us 50 minutes to get up and 35-40 to get down. There are some camp sites along the trail as well as above the springs. The pools: Beautiful crystal clear water at a variety of temperatures. I’d recommend going early in the morning to beat the crowds, and also bringing a pair of water shoes/extra sandals as the rocks can be slippery.

hiking
no shade
private property
rocky
3 months ago

It was a great experience to be in a hot springs

This is a wonderful trail. Well planned out with lots of beautiful scenery the whole way to Ship Island Lake. Gorgeous country and I recommend it. even worth the long drive... :-)

Trail sucks but the top is worth it

hiking
private property
rocky
4 months ago

July 4. Lovely hike. Began trail around 9:45 a.m. and there were only 3 people when we arrived (lucky us)! On the way down (noon) we encounter about 25 people headed up to the springs. There is a bathroom at the beginning of the trail; it’s clean, spacious, AND has rolling toilet paper. Dirt and rocky trail. Camping spots in the valley south (right) of the trail are flat and likely the preferred spots. There is some shade along the hike but not a lot. If you’re not accustomed to the elevation of the area, you’ll likely have to move at a slower pace. No problem though. The end is worth it! The pools are lovely and, surprisingly, deeper than most hot springs. Temperatures vary but both of the ones we tried were comfortable. Garmin tells me it took us 57 min (2.1 miles) to make it up and decide on the pool we wanted to enjoy with approximately 900+ ft elevation gain. It was 45 min for 1.85 miles from the pool to the trailhead.

hiking
private property
rocky
4 months ago

Goldbug never gets old though it is wayyyy too busy now. Don’t go in the middle of spring because the big pool is cold then!

hiking
4 months ago

Short trail with a couple steep grades. Lake is very high with flooded timber along most of the shore line. Last 1/2 mile of road is very rough and rocky. Consider parking and waking that last portion. Beautiful spring along the trail just before getting to the lake

Such a great spot!!

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