Goldbug (Elk Bend) Hot Springs

MODERATE 83 reviews
#1 of 15 trails in

Goldbug (Elk Bend) Hot Springs is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Salmon, Idaho that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.5 miles
958 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips


hot springs



wild flowers



no shade

This is a short but challenging hike to a beautiful hot springs. The first part of the hike is on private property, so please be quiet and considerate so that the owners will continue to allow access. There is a restroom and ample parking at the trailhead. The hike begins as a straight uphill climb through sage brush. Bring lots of water and snacks and take your time. After the initial uphill the trail levels out and follows a seasonal creek. The last part of the hike is a very steep uphill to the springs themselves. This part of the hike is challenging and you will want to make sure you have plenty of water. The springs themselves are amazing! There are many different pools, some hot some cold and some with both hot and cold water coming in. This area is very popular so you will be sharing the springs with lots of other hikers, so bring a bathing suit. You can camp in the area, but you may want to camp in the flat part before the hot springs as the springs themselves are in a canyon with few flat spots.

nature trips
6 days ago

The pools are very well developed. Someone had moved rocks which kept the pools cool unfortunately. Was verbally accosted by a curmudgeon with 3 dogs. He had issue with my making hot cocoa before we hiked up. Self-appointed authority... Busy, even on a Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

27 days ago

Amazing! Kid Friendly, there is some nudity if that might bother you, but I'd say it's the exception rather than the rule. 100% worth the trip and the hike. There are several pools to try and some hotter than others. We took my 1 year old and did fine, amd we found some cooler pool areas save for her to be in.

28 days ago

It was lovely the whole way there. The last quarter mile or so was a little steep, but other than that it was great. I’ve been there in March, and again in August. Absolutely beautiful both times. Lots of wild flowers in August..... and naked people.

1 month ago


2 months ago

It was a beautiful hike, we went early in the morning so we wouldn’t run into traffic. The pools are perfect, great way to spend a free day!

2 months ago

Beautiful loved the whole day. Next time will spend the night.

2 months ago

Great hike, so rad when you get to the hot springs. Beast of a last climb, but so worth it. Pools are almost as hot as a hot tub! Refreshing & rejuvenating.

2 months ago

Spectacular trail. Follows raging creek up the hill to falls and beautiful hot springs.

3 months ago

my absolute favorite spot in the world, great hot springs, trail isn't too hard just steep in the beginning and very end....

4 months ago

Nice hike. Good weather, a few nude people. It was fun.

5 months ago

Good trail. Amazing view and hot springs at the top.

5 months ago

It was a really beautiful hike! The hot springs are absolutely surreal. It was snowing when we went, so it was pretty magical. On our way back, it got pretty dark, but the moonlight and stars illuminated the mountain range - it was incredible!

7 months ago

Unless you're carrying a full pack for overnight, it's a pretty easy hike. I made the hike at a quick pace without stopping. At the top you are rewarded with the most scenic soak of your life, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can make your own trail and continue up for an even better view. Many people camp on this trail and it's a good spot for it, though camping is banned in the near vicinity of the hot springs themselves.

9 months ago

Trail is in good condition and the hot springs is a nice destination. It you really want, I think you can hike beyond the hot spring.

10 months ago

I absolutely loved this hike! Most of it was relatively easy just the last maybe half mile was steeper. Beautiful view as well.

11 months ago

Really enjoyed it, not too difficult, hardest part was the last half mile. Sat in the hot springs very nice reward.

11 months ago

Awesome hike! The first portion was beautiful hiking between the mountains. At the end there's a pretty steep incline but our 3 and 6 year olds were able to do it! The springs were a beyond fantastic reward after a fun hike!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Great hike!

Monday, August 14, 2017

fun hike

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Short hike and beautiful view from the springs!

Friday, July 28, 2017

We made the little over three hour drive from Idaho Falls. We got to the TH about 10:30am and had our six year and nine year old boy with us. The trail was somewhat steep to begin with and than even out quite a bit. The last half mile was very steep and rocky. We struggled lol but, took lots of breaks and continued up. The last half mile was by far the most difficult part of the hike but, were not super experienced or in that good of shape. When we got to the pools is took us 1 1/2 hours-2 hours with lots of breaks. The pools were so beautiful. My kids loved them. They ranged from very hot, cold and warm in that order. My kids played for a few hours and we headed out. Lots of fun. BTW most of the hikers that day really struggled at the end... so if you think your gonna die before you get to the pool your not the only one!;)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Went 4 days ago. Loved the springs, would need to stop often if I brought my 5 & 10 year old along. Totally worth it. We went at 6am, the view was amazing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

One of my new favorite hot springs! Easy to find and a short jaunt to the pools. The initial trail is steep, evens out, then a good climb up to the pools. A few little camp spots about a mile in but right next to the trail. 3 different temperature pools, waterfall was gorgeous and relaxing to sit under while soaking. We saw a few snakes, but easy to avoid and let them go on their way. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

We loved this hike. We took three of our kids with us. The youngest is 6 and he made it the whole way. The pools definitely made it worth it for him. Pretty steep at the top but worth the hike.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Really not a hard hike for those who are in good shape. It took my 2 friends and myself just over a half hour to get up. We trail ran most of the way back down and it took 15ish min. The hot springs are super nice! (Best pool in my opinion is the first one you come across on the trail.)

Monday, June 12, 2017

One of the most amazing hikes ever! Definitely in my top five.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Steep at the end but the views are worth it! Relax at the end.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

great trail, only peak is near the end of trail but then you get to relax in the springs. hike back is easy.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Great hike but more crowded than I expected.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Amazing views, plenty of friendly people!! steep hike but worth the journey! Going to leave the dog home next time though a lot of traffic and less head ache if i had left him

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