Elkhorn Boat Box Hot Springs in Stanley Idaho

One unforgettable way to discover the wonders of Idaho is to visit Boat Box Hot Springs. It is also known as Elkhorn Hot Springs. It looks like a metal bathtub filled with hot water through a pipe that can fit up to two people.

Located in Stanley, Idaho, this small but picturesque set of hot springs is a great way to spend the day enjoying the beauty of nature. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about visiting this incredible natural wonder.

Boat Box Elkhorn Hot Spring
Boat Box Hot Springs - Elkhorn Hot Springs Samuel Tintinger

What is Boat Box Hot Springs?

Boat Box Hot Springs is one of the most iconic hot springs in Idaho. The hot springs are located in Stanley, Idaho, within the Sawtooth National Forest. The area is known for its stunning scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The spring water is heated by geothermal energy deep in the earth and is at a comfortable temperature for soaking year-round.

Salmon River Walking
Natural hot springs in Stanley Idaho Andrew Silver

Elkhorn Hot Spring has been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike for many years. In summer, the spring is a great place to cool off after a day of hiking or fishing in the nearby mountains.

In winter, it is a cozy place to relax surrounded by snow and enjoy spectacular views of the river and mountains. You can enjoy this pleasure all year round.

The filling and emptying of the pool is also up to you. If you think the water is dirty, you can empty the pool. Then you can fill the pool in about 20 minutes. You will try to fill the pool with a white pipe. You will try to direct the hot water flowing into the river into the pool. When you prepare the angle correctly, you can make a comfortable filling.

If the water is hot, you can try to balance the temperature by pouring very cold water from the river into the boiler with the help of a bucket. Do not try to make it lukewarm, warmer will give more pleasure.

Since filling and emptying requires time, if you want to visit this place, it would be better to choose the times when it is secluded and there are few visitors. Early weekdays are the best times for fewer visitors.

What should you take with you to Boat Box Hot Springs?

You will have a much more comfortable time if you have the basics with you.

  • The water temperature is around 120 degrees, so it has a very relaxing effect. But it is not in a hidden place, it is open. The highway passes right next to it, so we recommend you to enter with your swimsuit. Swimwear is our priority.
  • If you want to reach here after hiking in this area, you should have sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from UV rays due to the high altitude of 6100 feet.
  • There are no facilities in the area. So you need to bring plenty of drinking water and food. If you stay in hot water for a long time, you will become dehydrated without realizing it.
  • A quick-drying towel is also a necessity to dry yourself after enjoying the hot spring.
  • To get down to the pool, you have to walk over the rocks. Non-slip shoes or sandals will prevent you from falling and injuring yourself.

Things to consider during your visit

Make sure you pick up your garbage. I don’t even need to remind you, but it is a very sensitive issue. Here are some other important points.

  • When using hot springs, do not use chemicals such as soap, shampoo and other substances that can have a negative impact on the environment. This will corrode the metal and more importantly pollute the river and nature.
  • Be sure to check the temperature of the water before entering. You do not want to get scalded.
  • If you are coming here with your car, you should not park your car on the road. Since it is on a curve, vehicles left on the road jeopardize traffic safety. There is a space where a few cars can fit. Leave your car there if it is empty. If it is full, do not leave it on the road, postpone it for another time. This is already a sign that the hot spring is crowded.
  • If you are going to visit this place, here is an important issue you should pay attention to. This place is not properly marked on Google Maps. Download the map of the area for offline use and save or pin the coordinates. You can use it when you don’t have a cell phone signal.
Salmon River Stanley
Salmon River

How to get to Boat Box Hot Springs?

If you get to Stanley, the rest is easy. From Stanley, head north on Highway 75. The boiler will be on your right after 3.5 miles, just on the edge of the river.

Boat Box Hot Springs coordinates

The coordinates of Boat Box Hot Springs are 44°14’41.22″ N 114°53’09.72″ W. You can reach this pool by following the coordinates. It is located on the banks of the Salmon River. You can see Boat Box Hot Springs map below.

Where to stay in Boat Box Hot Springs?

If you want to stay in the area and benefit from other facilities in the area, you can stay close to Boat box hot springs. There are tent and hotel facilities.

Sunny Gulch Campground Idaho Stanley
Michael Hudak
Stanley Campgrounds For Rv
Lorrie Kalmbach Ehlers

However, as Stanley is a very small town, there are few options, so make your reservation in advance in case you cannot find a place during high demand periods.

Campgrounds near Boat Box Hot Springs

There are several campsites in Stanley. You have the choice of tent or caravan camping. Depending on what you expect, you can choose one of them if you want to stay in such places.

  1. Sunny Gulch Campground, A preferable campground in Stanley. It is very close to the river. However, the river is not within sight. Suitable for both tents and caravans. Each campground has a picnic table. There are no services such as electricity and water. 4.4 miles south of Stanley.
  2. Salmon River Campground is 5 miles from Stanley and 1.2 miles from the hot tub. Salmon River Campground is another RV campground right next to the highway.
  3. If you want to be a bit further from the road, there is another campground nearby called Casino Creek Campground. This campground is on the opposite side of the river and a bit far from the road.
  4. Biraz daha kuzeyde Riverside Campground ve Mormon Bend Campground var. Dilerseniz bunlara da göz atabilirsiniz.

Hotels near Boat Box Hot Springs

If you are looking for a hotel/motel you have several accommodation options downtown and on the Salmon River.

Mountain Village Resort Stanley
Mountain Village Resort in Stanley

Hot springs near Stanley

There are several hot springs in the area. Cove Creek Hot Springs, north of the campgrounds, is a small and beautiful spring. The ground is sandy and shallow. There are stones around it to prevent cold water from entering and lowering the temperature of the pool.


Boat Box Hot Springs in Stanley Idaho is a unique and must-visit place for anyone who wants to enjoy the beauty of nature and relax and rejuvenate in a hot spring. With its breathtaking views and unusual style, this is one of the best places to visit in Idaho.