Get a dose of pine-scented, mountain air with an easy hike out to Moon Dipper Hot Springs along the Middle Fork of the Payette River Trail. From the parking lot, hike along a well-trodden trail up and then down a ½ mile to pass the Boiling Hot Springs Cabin. A note of caution: water coming from Boiling Hot Springs reaches 190 degrees and is one of the hottest in the state.
What Makes It Great
Continue past the cabin along the trail as it weaves in and out of dense forest and meadows along the river. In the springtime and through early summer, wildflowers bloom in red, yellow, blue and purple bursts of color. Keep your footing as the trail climbs up and over a number of steep, sandy rollers that drop sharply down steep banks to the river below. In several places, the trail has narrowed due to small amounts of washout or erosion. Dipping down in a number of spots, there is easy access for dogs to get a drink and for you to splash cold water on the back of your neck as the hiking heats up.
It takes just over a mile to reach Li’l Dipper Hot Springs from the cabin where there is a great sandy spot for having lunch alongside the river. Li’l Dipper isn’t quite big enough to soak in, so if you’re planning to get into a hot springs, continue up the trail a couple minutes further and cross the creek either via the downed logs or by fording it at Moon Dipper Hot Springs. Just a few more steps down the trail brings you to Pine Burl Hot Springs that features two nicely sized pools and pipes for adjusting hot and cold water flow. Both Moon Dipper and Pine Burl are great for soaking.
On your way back to Boise, stop in Horseshoe Bend for a well-deserved and AMAZING pie from Volcanic Farms.
Who is Going to Love It
This trail is a perfect workout before getting to soak in the hot springs, so it's easy to have a half or full day adventure here.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
A number of camp spots are available for a backpacking overnight just before Moon Dipper and near Pine Burl – pack out what you pack in. If backpacking isn’t your thing but you’d like to camp out, try Boiling Springs Campground just before the trailhead parking area – or any of the other many campsites along Middle Fork Road.