- Aria Zoner
Progress on The Hot Springs Trail Reviewed
In this post, I layout some of the major updates and additions that have been made to The Hot Springs Trail over the past few years and put forth a new idea that I hope to complete this coming one. Unlike The Siskiyou Peaks Trail, which is fairly set in stone, the HST still has room for improvement in a few spots plus the potential for additional multi-sport options.
As the new year begins, I'm taking inventory of the trail. Seeing that there’s improvements and additions across the board lets me know that this is a living thing that I’m dealing with, and not something that’s always going to stay the same.
Nature Mystic on The Nevada Trail
Beginning from 2016, each year is divided into categories based on the nature of the improvement or addition. If you have updates or options to submit, do so as a comment to this post.
Major Changes – 2016
The summit of Montgomery Peak was successfully completed during a border-to-border journey and was added to the route. This peak also increased the highest point on the HST to 13,447ft.
A new route was established in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area in Idaho which eliminated travel in the burned-over McCalla drainage. This new option follows horse-grade trails and although it’s a few miles longer than the original route, it’s a much more pleasurable hike.
Due to the reliability of both commercial and private trips, whitewater rafting down the Middle Fork and the main Salmon River were added to the guidebooks as an official option. Also visited while on this option is a bonus hot spring area that’s only accessible by boat and would be area 101 if thru-soaking the rest of the trail.
New High-water Alternates:
2 bridge-less river crossings in the High Sierra, both of which may be impassable during peak melt-off, were successfully averted during peak melt-off following new options which are now official alternates that have been added to the guidebook.
New XC Detours:
During my own 2016 journey, bypasses were established that can allow you to detour around each of the HST’s XC segments. These have been added to the guidebook and can be used to make day long or weekend loops.
New Resupply Options:
As a result of following the Middle Fork of the Salmon River as far downstream as you can, which the trail now does, the Flying B Ranch is visited. This private guest ranch offers meals and snacks to travelers going along the river.
Included now as an XC bypass option when approaching Mullen form the Stateline Trail, in Idaho, this new option accesses the Lookout Pass Ski Area. *This option is likely going to become the official route in 2018.
Major Changes – 2017
Recently serviced by the Los Padres National Forest, the Pothole Spring Trail becomes the preferred way to exit the Agua Blanca Canyon (Section 2 of the CCT) and is added to the guidebook.
A new section of trail is built approaching Lake Isabella, CA which removed the XC segment that previously went over Hooper Hill.
In cooperation with the Secret Pass Ranch, the Secret Starr Trail becomes the new route into the East Humboldt Range in Nevada. This new option eliminated a few miles of road walking and tied in with a second reroute which eliminated travel on the hard to navigate East Humboldt Highline Trial. The new option is a few miles shorter and accesses several stunning lakes.
Thanks to help from hikers Buck-30 and Bernie Krausse, a new route was established thru the Jarbidge which I’ve called the Jarbidge Extension. While the bike option continues as always, the new hiking option accesses the town of Jarbidge and meets Idaho a few miles west of the ICT, but connects to the ICT just 4 miles after the border.
After meeting the wilderness ranger, floating down the river on an inflatable SUP, the Jarbidge River becomes an official pack-rafting option. This 100+ mile float connects the town of Murphy Hot Springs to the Bruneau River.
Known as the Ketchum Arm, a new bike extension/resupply access was established and is now included in the guidebook. This option allows for an epic ~10 hot spring area bike loop or a thru-visitation to the town of Ketchum.
Thanks to the keen research of 2017 HST thru-hiker Buck-30, details on how to send yourself a resupply box to Cedar Grove, in the High Sierra, were added to the guidebook.
The Raines Market, in Eureka, Nevada, has moved 1 mile to a new building. This well-stocked store can still be visited en route, and without having to repeat and miles.
With the addition of the Jarbidge Extension, access to the Jarbridge Post Office became available.
New Hot Spring Areas:
With the addition of the Ketchum Arm option, 7 new hot spring areas were added to the guidebook; giving the trail a 100-area total when it comes to the hot spring areas that can be visited while traveling along the HST.
Major Changes – 2018
What’s in store ahead for The Hot Springs Trail?
The only thing on the horizon at the moment is a new reroute that will connect Jerry Johnson Hot Springs to Lolo Hot Springs Resort. This will access 2 other resupply opportunities and an appropriately named mountain, Hot Springs Point.
Improvements on the HST
Improvements on The Hot Springs Trail can range from the tread that’s experienced to the route that’s followed, from the options that are available to the quality of the guidebook that’s describing it. Your patience, understanding, and participation during this process is appreciated.
In years to come, as other hikers have made their journeys and contributions, I foresee this trail becoming something that almost anyone can complete.
Although this trail can be traveled in a purist hiker fashion, it can also be enjoyed a number of other ways. However way you plan to use this trail, just remember to check the Updates Page before heading out, to see if anything new has been added.
As you see, creating this trail has been quite the journey!
Interested in following the Hot Springs Trail’s progress on IG? Go here…
Thanks for your support & Happy New Year!