A Road Trip That Left Us Stranded, Almost

jerry johnson hot springs hike
The bridge over the Lochsa River

Frigid weather is still upon us and sometimes the warmth of summer seems so far away. The warmth of an all natural hot spring sounded like a wonderful idea. David and his wife Trisha invited Josh and I to enjoy Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho.

Jerry Johnson Pack Bridge
Josh enjoying the views

It was a week before Thanksgiving, where the stores started to flood with people looking for the best sales and deals on food and gifts, when the holiday season was peaking over the mountain and the responsibility to deal with it all can leave you wanting to get away. And that’s just what was in store for the MtnTalk Crew.

Hiking to Jerry Johnson along Warm Springs Creek
David hiking to Jerry Johnson along the Warm Springs Creek

The weekend before Thanksgiving, David planned our trip to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. Josh and I have never been to one before and could not be any more excited! We thought an over nighter would be cool to do but decided that we can enjoy it in a day trip. Our trip to the hot springs from Coeur d’ Alene was going to be about 4 hours, so we thought. When a 4 our road trip turns into a 7 hour trip instead, things tend to not go as planned. But what an adventure it was!

waterfall hotsprings in idaho
Hot Waterfall near Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

We head out of Coeur d’ Alene around 9am, after we stop off at a local coffee stand to pick up our morning joe, burritos, and an acai bowl.  We head south thinking it was a faster route and without using our handy dandy GPS, we start our adventure! Its pretty easy for all of us to keep conversations going so our ride went smoothly until we got lost. Yup, lost! We finally started to use the well needed GPS. Apparently we needed it from the get go because we added another hour or so onto our trip. Oh well, we are on track now. YAY! How did people get around back in the day anyway?

Family Friendly Hot springs in Idaho
Lower Jerry Johnson Hot springs

Finally, we are on the long stretch to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. What a relief! Driving along the Lochsa River on a windy road and with the most incredible views of ponderosa pine, cedar trees and so many more, its hard to take this place for granted. I mean, how did we get so lucky to have beautiful coniferous forest? We are so stoked to dip our bodies in natural hot water that comes from the Earth. There is nothing like it! And now we are about 40 minutes to our destination, Josh noticed the gas light is on from the back seat! David was so calm about it like it was no big deal, and then it hit him. The tank is almost empty! He had to pull over to the side of the rode to think things through because we were pretty much out of gas at this point. Who knows how long we were driving with the gas light on?! I’m pretty sure Trisha grounded David from planning our next adventures! I guess too much chatting can distract us from things like gas. Good thing Josh is pretty observant because we could have ran out. Savior Josh, as my aunty likes to think of him because he kind of looks like Jesus.

Lower Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Taylor, David, and Trisha enjoying Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

We ended up having to turn around unfortunately. And let me remind you, this road we are driving along, is a ghost road, (is that even a thing?). Towns were scarce, gas stations were almost nonexistent on this road and no cell service. I’m not going to lie, I started to sweat a little. Tension was high, daylight was low, and the LCD screen with the gas meter on it just had dashes for the amount of miles left; basically that means you better find a gas station right now. I then activated my bird vision and saw a tiny little gas station sign that had an arrow pointing to the left. David was pretty impressed with my outrageously talented bird eye skills! So David swerved onto that street like we were in Fast and the Furious. Thankfully, we made it to the gas station without puttering!

jerry johnson waterfall pool
Hot water flowing from the Earth, along side the trail

Alright! Back on the road again! This time, we are already 6 hours into our day trip, just driving. Thats okay, because we are so close to dipping our frozen little piggies into naturally warm water. Once we get to the parking lot, we stopped to use the restroom, because knowing me, I would have to go once we got to the hot springs. Once we got to the hot springs, daylight was dwindling and the air got colder but being surrounded by natural beauty is what gets me. We finally got to relax after our crazy 7 hour road trip. Thanks to David! What would our adventures be like if we never got lost? Being lost is an adventure in itself and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
The crew hanging out

To get to the hot springs, you trek across a bridge that goes over the Lochsa River. Its a short 1 mile hike along the beautiful Warm Springs Creek. Just follow that all the way until you get to the hot springs which happens to lie right along side the trail. So no one should get lost on this hike and if they do, must have been one too many hits if ya know what I mean? Anyways, this place is a must see. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Check it out before the snow melts. There is nothing better than enjoying natures finest!

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
David relaxing in the water
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs dude
Josh taking a dip in Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Taylor enjoying the water

Written by Taylor Abrahamson


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