This hike begins at the confluence of three spectacular tributaries of the Owyhee River—the North, Middle and Main forks—and the scenic hot springs at the end, situated beneath a waterfall, are well worth the wade across the Owyhee River.
The primary route into the hot springs is a 3-mile, four-wheel drive route best enjoyed by walking to take in the dramatic Three Forks Dome and the jagged canyon below. From the camp spot on the gravel bar near the BLM outhouse, walk east along the road for a half mile and cross the bridge over the North Fork Owyhee. Walk another quarter mile, following the fork to the right, and ford the Middle Fork.
Continue uphill for three-quarters of a mile to junction and gate. Head right toward the canyon. For the next 1.5 miles, the route will skirt the edge of the canyon rim with the river below and to your right. Descend into the canyon and head downriver, where you will see the springs on the other side. Be cautious in fording the river to the inviting pools. Time to kick back and enjoy the big skies.
This hike makes a great loop if you want to float the final 2 miles down river to the boat launch.
If walking along a four-wheel-drive route isn’t your thing, consider walking up the canyon to the springs. From the boat ramp, ford the Middle Owyhee and walk through the towering canyon walls along an intermittent path. After about 2 miles you will see the cascading falls of the warm springs on your right.
Notes and Advice:
- Do not attempt the drive in anything short of a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle.
- Do not attempt in even slightly wet road conditions.
- The Three Forks Hot Springs and much of the riverbank leading upstream are on unmarked private land. Although the owners have allowed hikers to visit the hot springs, there is no guarantee this will always be the case. Please pack out what you pack in, observe fire restrictions, and respect the landowner’s rights.