If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different and taking the road less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to share your own off the beaten path stories. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, with GPS coordinates.
Rocky Canyon Hot Springs – Garden Springs, Idaho
The hot springs in Idaho are in such abundance. Located in Garden Springs, Idaho. This 4 (reasonably sized) tiered hot springs all vary in temperatures and will require a very cold river crossing (make sure it’s safe before crossing) It sits right above the Middle Fork of the Payette River. Guess what? There are several free, dispersed campsites nearby for boondocking/dry camping. Most of them are also RV friendly. This is good for us since we boondock our way through the USA.
You have to freeze before you can get warm. In order to get to this hot spring, you have to cross a river. The river may or may not make your feet numb! Ha! Totally worth it! As with any hot springs, if you’re shy about naked peeps, don’t go. If you’re worried about your kids seeing the occasional naked man or woman, head to a local public pool instead.
Getting There / Staying There: Located just under 11 miles North of the little town of Crouch.
Boondocking GPS: 44.252283, -115.891129 or 44.247927, -115.891907 We would always recommend not arriving on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Especially in the summer.
Boondocking BONUS: (near Hagerman) Look at this beautiful place!! Easy access, 10 day maximum stay, flat, paved, and scenic. Bell Rapid’s Access, and if you like to Kayak or have a boat, you have free access here! Look at that view!! GPS: 42.7932413. -114.9361663. Also, there is real clean pit toilets here, trash (very small cans for small amounts of trash) is available.
Elmer’s Fountain, Mullan, Idaho
This is just such a neat thing to see! Elmer Almquist built these fountains. He was a silver miner and resident of Mullan. These beautiful, artsy water features were erected in remembrance of one of Almquist’s closest friends, who today is remembered only as Arnold. Arnold was Elmer’s best friend and the original owner of the land the fountains are on. These year-round fountains are made from old mining salvage and are located on close to 600 acres of forested land just off of the highway. The water comes from nearby Gold Creek. Which as it comes down the steep slopes from Gold Creek mine, maintains enough pressure to run the fountains. This is such a unique and definitely off the beaten path sight to see.
Balanced Rock, Castleford, Idaho
You just gotta say “defying gravity” when looking at this! Weighing an estimated forty tons, this natural Idaho wonder formed by ancient waters and strong winds makes for a perfect day-trip. The park itself is right along Salmon Falls Creek in South Central Idaho, and offers picnic areas as well as a short hike to the Salmon Creek canyon rim. This is a perfect half day trip but so worth it. Take a lunch, sit by the creek and wonder how the heck that top heavy rock stays there!
Malad Gorge, Hagerman, Idaho
This is often overlooked in favor of the larger Hell’s Canyon. Malad Gorge in the Thousand Springs State Park. A stunning river canyon forged by an ancient volcanic eruption, eroded and smoothed by the Snake River and its smaller tributaries. Malad has exhilarating views from the crest, as well as small waterfalls pinpointed throughout the 250-foot deep gorge. Did we mention we love waterfalls? Also don’t miss the Devil’s Washbowl for yet another incredible viewpoint, which continues to grow with time.
Center of the Universe Manhole – Wallace, Idaho
Here’s a fun one! The mayor made the declaration in 2004. The story behind this is so unique and funny that I thought I’d just leave it for you to discover on your own. Is it really the center of the universe? You should go find out!
Idaho Potato Museum
I mean it IS Idaho! Ha! So maybe this isn’t really off the beaten path, but who can go to Idaho without seeing the worlds largest potato chip? It’s a 25-inches long Pringle dating from 1991. Really fun for the kids, and … the kids at heart! Plus the history! Who knew there could be so much potato history?
We would love to hear your “off the beaten path” locations too! Please leave us a comment below on your favorite Idaho locations, and remember to Live Simply, Give More, and Expect Less.