Sunbeam Hot Springs offers a unique blend of natural serenity and geothermal wonder tucked away in the heart of Idaho’s rugged wilderness.
Sunbeam Hot Springs took me by surprise during my first visit to Idaho! This hidden gem is nestled along the banks of the Salmon River, and to my surprise, it’s HOT.
In fact, it is one of the best Idaho hot springs I’ve ever been to!
And it gets better: as of 2023, it became the new Boat Box Hot Springs, so now you have more ways to enjoy Sunbeam. I’ll explain more in this post.
Below, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about visiting Sunbeam, including how to get there and what to expect when you arrive.
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Visiting Sunbeam Hot Springs, Idaho: Quick Overview
- Composition of Pools: Five manmade pools, including two unique recycled metal tubs and three rock-lined pools along the Salmon River.
- Temperature: Waters range from a warm 100°F to 110°F (43°C). For safety reasons, it’s essential to test the water before entering.
- Accessibility: No hiking required. The springs are conveniently located a short walk from the parking area.
- Availability: Open year-round, offering a warm retreat in all seasons.
- Pet Policy: Dogs are allowed in the area on a leash, but not permitted in the pools to maintain cleanliness and their safety.
- Facilities: Bathroom and changing room available near the parking lot for added convenience.
- Parking: Ample lot
- Stay: Triangle C Cabins
Getting to Sunbeam Hot Springs
Sunbeam Hot Springs is conveniently accessible, located about 13 miles east of Stanley, Idaho, along State Highway 75.
To reach the hot springs, you can take a scenic drive along the highway, which runs through the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, offering stunning views of Idaho’s rugged landscape.
The springs are situated near the Sunbeam Dam site, and there’s a parking area provided right off the highway.
From the parking lot, it’s just a short and easy walk to the hot springs themselves via a dirt path (pictured below).
Once you arrive at Sunbeam, you’ll notice the changing room and bathroom right on the lot. From there, you’ll take a short path down to the Salmon River where the main tubs sit.
Tub & Boat Box Cauldron
The photo above shows the cauldron that has been MOVED to Sunbeam!
From my experience, the blue tub AND new Boat Box cauldron are where the best soaking experience is. Both tubs have a direct line connecting them to the hot water source.
Please make sure you test the water before going in! You can quickly burn yourself.
You’ll want to regulate the temperature by using the buckets provided to dump snow or Salmon River water into the tubs.
There are rock pools closer to the base of the river you can soak in, but I don’t recommend these. Truthfully, the rocky, sandy bottom of the pools can be unenjoyable.
If the tubs are full, I’d wait to enter them since only about 3 people max and fit inside at a time.
When to Go
The best time to enjoy Sunbeam Hot Springs would be fall and winter when the weather is cooler. Sunbeam Hot Springs is open throughout the year, including summer.
However, summer can be a bit less enjoyable because it’ll be warm outside!
Where to Stay
During my last visit to Idaho, Scott and I stayed in Triangle C Cabins and LOVED our time there.
These are the perfect cabins to enjoy a relaxing getaway in Stanley, Idaho, and relatively close to Sunbeam!
Quick History of Sunbeam Hot Springs
Sunbeam Hot Springs has a rich history intertwined with Idaho’s natural and cultural landscape. Its story begins with the native tribes who first discovered and utilized these thermal waters.
These indigenous peoples revered the hot springs for their healing properties and as sacred sites for centuries.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sunbeam Hot Springs became a notable stopover for miners and travelers as settlers moved westward.
The name “Sunbeam” itself is said to have originated from the way sunlight dances across the water’s surface, creating a shimmering effect that captured the imagination of those who visited.
Now managed by the U.S. Forest Service, it has been preserved as a public natural resource, allowing visitors to continue enjoying its therapeutic benefits.
FAQs About Sunbeam Hot Springs Idaho
How Much Does It Cost To Go Into Sunbeam Hot Springs?
Sunbeam Hot Springs is free to enjoy! There is no cost with visiting.
Where are Sunbeam Hot Springs?
Sunbeam Hot Springs is located along the Salmon River in Stanley, Idaho. This area is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The Sawtooth region is renowned for its stunning mountain scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. The hot springs themselves are easily accessible, making them a popular destination for both locals and visitors seeking a natural hot springs experience in the scenic heart of Idaho.
What is The Temperature of Sunbeam Hot Springs?
The temperature of Sunbeam Hot Springs ranges from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to much hotter. Still, you can control the temperature by using a bucket to add cool water to the tubs.
When visiting Sunbeam Hot Springs or any of the famous US hot springs, make sure you practice good spring etiquette! And again, please make sure you test the temperature before getting into any of the springs!
Trust me when I say it’s easy to burn yourself (not fun).
If you’re looking for another fantastic spring to enjoy, I recommend you check out my guide on Kirkham Hot Springs.