Winter is a great time to hit up your local hot springs. Living in the Spokane area however will require some travel. The closest natural springs are located by Missoula Mt. There are some springs on the western side of Washington too. Considering winter travel conditions in the area, Jerry johnson and Weir creek are your best bet.If you’re looking for something more commercialized and easily accessible there’s always Quinn’s. Quinn’s hot spring is about 30 miles east on I90 after Lookout pass in Montana. Lookout pass is usually well maintained because of the ski resort and freeway. There’s another option near Plains Montana if your on the way to Kalispell/ Whitefish. Symes is a nice sulfur bath and the hotel is reasonable and quaint. If your willing to travel farther there’s. Lolo hot springs. This option is quite a bit cheaper then Quinns and is located on highway 12 in Montana by Missoula. However if your looking for adventure and natural beauty you must visit Jerry johnson.Located 60 miles south of Missoula/Lolo Montana it’s actually in Idaho on Hwy 12. From Spokane you could also get there via Lewiston Id. Coming up through Kamiah, but that is a long winding yet, beautiful drive. In the winter Hwy 12 can be inaccessible. So check the website and road conditions first. Lolo pass is a backcountry recreation mecca for snow-sports so it’s usually well maintained. There is a cut off-road from I90 Petty-Graves road, but I don’t suggest it for winter travel (4X4 vehicles definitely recommended). However the Lumberjack saloon bar and event center is dope. Keep an eye out for large heards of elk, and random moose. Type Jerry johnson hot springs into google Maps.Lodging is available at the Lochsa lodge . The foods pretty good and the cabins are a decent price. There’s lot’s of camping spots available along the highway. There’s also plenty of primitive camping sites too. In the summer the area is frequent to white-water rafting. There’s plenty of outfitter’s to choose from. Also this highway is used frequently by xcountry bikers, so keep your eyes open. Don’t kid yourself though, there’s no cell service in the area. So be aware of the 911 call boxes off the highway, if not for yourself but others. From the Lochsa lodge the Jerry johnson hot springs is south, just over 15 miles. There’s a pull out parking area with a rest room at the warm springs trailhead. From the lot cross the suspension bridge and bear to the right. The left leads a lenghty stock trail around the springs to the pack bridge. The hot springs are a little under a mile easy hike. Be prepared, make sure to pack plenty of water. The trail can be hazardous in the winter. What’s the harm in having your snowshoes and yak tracs at least in your car. I all-ways suggest bringing your hiking poles and a good day pack. I like my Luxon daypack, and I bring my bath robe. You may find yourself hopping in and out of the springs. Also wear good boots, traction is key to a good, safe, fun trip. Pack in some sandals and plenty of snacks. I brought what goodies were left from my Cairn box.Jerry johnson consists of 3 very different, water sourced pools. Though they don’t have a distinct sulfur odor. The first pools are a sharp drop down by the river. Their steam gives them away nestled below the trail. There are safe trails down if you look. You’ll be rewarded by a scrumptious steaming waterfall. Depending on the season and the maintenance done by other spring goer’s, you might find some good soaking pools built up. The water is averaging 115 degrees from the falls mouth.
The next pool is almost always a great soak. It averages around 106 degrees and is easily built up because of the sand. At last there is one more pool a little farther up that averages 102 degrees.However you may find yourself avoiding some nudist’s and partier’s, when picking your pool. There’s no camping at the spring’s due to the partying problem. Your close to the colleges, however most the partying happens at night. The weekends can be a bit busy here, and the early bird catches the worm.Weir creek hot springs is located 9 miles south on Hwy 12, from Jerry johnson. It’s not well-marked, and you’ll miss the turnout if you blink. There is a bathroom and a kiosk, with parking for 6 or so cars. Camping is permitted here. There is only one soaking pool that maintains temps over 105 degrees. This pool is deep enough in places to come up to your shoulders. Depending on the season and timing, people may be camped surrounding the cliff like spring area. The trail to Weir is only a half a mile long but can be difficult. Especially in winter, when the trail becomes an ice slide. Be careful the nearest hospital is 80 miles away and again no cell service. Locals usually add ropes in severe technical area’s. Don’t get cocky, I’ve watched a guy fall down that slope into an icy creek. Not pretty. This is where those yak traks are needed. All in all this is a great winter trip. That’s why I continue to return. I hope you find this information helpful when you plan your own trip!