Absolute Paradise is Hidden Off the Road to McCall
A few months ago, one of my friends posted pictures from her girls' weekend on Instagram and it looked like she was at some fancy, five star resort. After reading the hashtags on her post, I realized she wasn't that far from the Treasure Valley!
She was at Gold Fork Hot Springs, located just 18 miles from where my friend Liv and I were staying for The Huckleberry Jam! Gold Fork looked so beautiful in Tanya's pictures, that I just had to see it for myself. After we took a quick detour to McCall for breakfast at Fogglifter Cafe (if you don't want to wait all day at Pancake House, this little cafe has some really good food on their breakfast menu like the Bob's Eggs Benedict) and some shopping at 44º North, we decided to make the drive to Gold Fork.
How to find Gold Fork Hot Springs Step 1: Get REALLY, REALLY lost!
I'm notorious for having to rely on Siri and my GPS to get me basically everywhere. (When my fiance lived in Nampa, I legitimately used my GPS to get to his house right up until the week before we moved in together.) The directions seemed easy enough. Coming from McCall, take a left off of Highway 55 to Davis Creek Lane and then a right onto the dirt road named Gold Fork Road. Well, little did I know that Gold Fork Road really does fork - making it two different roads.
Sure enough, Siri took us down the first one that was marked "Public Access Road. Private property surrounding road. Stay on road. No trespassing." Well, since the directions when you call Gold Fork Hot Springs say you'll end up on a dirt road to get there I assumed we'd gone the road. Except the road got REALLY narrow and REALLY rough. When I realized that we were one of two cars on that road, I started to panic a little bit. I'm a nervous driver to begin with and I haven't done many country roads in my lifetime so when my friend realized the road we were on a road connecting to nothing, we decided to turn around. I also made her drive because I was freaking out and thought the car was going to fall in the river. Turns out there's a very real possibility we ended up on the private land that two billionaires brothers from Texas bought and really don't want Idahoans to be near. Needless to say, I REALLY need to stop paying attention to my GPS so much.
How to find Gold Fork Hot Springs Step 2: Actually follow the signs and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Idaho!
Once Liv got us back to where we were supposed to be and we actually saw a sign for Gold Fork Hot Springs, I was able to breath a little easier. We went on an adventure to find it, but finally arrived at the Gold Fork Hot Springs parking lot. From there the day was everything I hoped it would be!
For $10 admission (and $3 to rent a towel, they really do think of everything there) we got to enjoy a few hours in Gold Fork's six pools. Immediately outside the main office is the largest and hottest pool. A small section of it is cornered off and is even hotter than the big pool. The large pool blends beautifully into the rocks it's naturally surrounded by.
Go down the stairs and you'll find my favorite of the pools, the sand pool! Significantly cooler than the large pool, but still quite warm, this pool's bottom is entirely covered with beautiful white sand like the "beach" surrounding it. It was so relaxing to sit there and dig my feet into the sand in the mountain air.
Go down the next stair case and you'll come to three beautiful cascading stone pools. Each of them has a ledge that spills water down into the next. The water also gets cooler as you move down to the bottom pool. It was the perfect place to cool down before we got ready to hit the road back to Boise.
My only regret? That I had finished all my snacks and drinks back at The Huckleberry Jam! Gold Fork does allow you to bring snacks and alcohol to their location. The only rules? It can't be in class container and food must be kept three feet from the pools themselves.
If you haven't been to Gold Fork, it's totally worth the adventure. Here are some snaps I took during our day on the "beach."