Camping at Challis Hot Springs

Back in 2009, I was researching my planned trip Out West that June, looking for a place to stay along US93 as I headed north from Southern Idaho through the Continental Divide and into Western Montana. The hotels along the route looked to be not only few and far between, but also pricey. I couldn’t imagine paying almost $150 for a Super 8. (I have trouble spending over $100 a night anywhere, my average in the US is about $60) As I was tracing my finger across the route, I passed a small little dot and the symbol for a campground that said Challis Hot Springs, and I was intrigued.

I did a little online research and found the website for the campground ( I made my reservations for a night in the campground, and looked forward to that night of camping the entire trip.

The Salmon River

The facility, which includes the campground and a small B&B, is located between the Salmon River and Hot Springs Creek in the heart of some of America’s most beautiful mountains.

The location for me was perfect. I was coming from Craters of the Moon National Monument (which was great, by the way) and was heading toward Big Hole National Battlefield in Southwestern Montana. I’d been traveling US Highway 93, which is filled with stunning vistas of this remote part of the country.

The highlight of the stay had to be the two naturally heated pools. The “Big Pool” (shown above) was the cooler of the two, at between 100-102 Fahrenheit. It was unique because the bed of the pool wasn’t flat concrete, it was pebbles, which was explained to me as necessary for ‘constant flow’. I also tried to soak in the “Hot Pool”(pictured below), which was between 105-107 Fahrenheit, but that was just a little above comfortable for me.
I had a great experience at Challis Hot Springs. While in the Hot Pool I was talikng with a local who came to bathe in the pools often and he told me that I had picked the perfect time of the year to visit the campground, as a couple of weeks later I would have been battling the ‘heavy’ crowds of the tourist season.

I’m sure that’s relative. The campground is in such a remote location, that I can see it being full, but nothing like the throngs of people that would be camping in a similar campground in the Eastern U.S.

My camping vehicle, the van

I’d recommend this stop to anyone in the area. It would also make a great stop for families as well.

I was warned by campground management that anyone planning on coming during the summer might want to make reservations in advance, as they routinely fill up from late June through Labor Day.

3 Responses to “Camping at Challis Hot Springs”

  1. eriksmithdotcom says:

    The campground is awesome, and the area around it is also extremely gorgeous, Great hiking and fishing in the area. Enjoy!

  2. This sounds like is the best place for camping! My family would love it here. We've been planning to go camping but we just can't seem to find the right spot. Dipping in the hot spring would be a great way to relax! This camping trip could be our best camping trip ever.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can vividly remember you telling me about his site. I love revisiting it with you. Maybe, just maybe one day we'll be able to visit. Until then, keep my memories alive.

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