hiking

Vicki at Council Mountain Hot Springs.

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I certainly hope it is still safe to take a hike. It’s hard to imagine that you could pick up a bug miles away from the nearest town. But what do I know.

With all the fear of the COVID-19 virus, it is hard to know what is safe and what is not. I always thought skiing was relatively safe. Sure, you might break a leg or Bono off a tree and break your neck — but catching a virus is the last thing you’d worry about.

Out of precaution Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Targhee and now Brundage, Tamarack and Bogus Basin have all closed shop.

So what are you to do — binge watch Netflix all day?

Thankfully, hiking is not off limits; at least not yet. It’d be hard to close down a forest. That’s good news and there are some hiking trails open now.

One of my favorites is Council Mountain Hots Springs south of Council, Idaho.

On this hike you’ll be at least 15 miles from the nearest town and I doubt there are many other hikers this time of year. You’ll have the “social distancing” covered.

Council Hot Springs, also called Laurel Hot Springs, is at a low elevation so it is probably accessible now or at least in the next couple weeks. It is best to make this hike in the spring, fall or early summer.

A fire roared through the area a couple years ago and there isn’t a whole lot of shade. It can get pretty hot come July.

The hike is a short one, about 2.5 miles each way, and it is not very steep.

The hot pools at the end of the trail are refreshing. High water in the spring may rearrange them a little.

The trail follows high above Warm Spring creek. The trail meanders a bit due to recent forest fires. Don’t get too close to the bank along the river especially in some of the high spots. It looks like the bank could give way in some places.

You can’t miss the hot springs. You’ll see the steam.

Bring a lunch, towel and water shoes to wade. The rocks are slippery.

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