Warm Springs Meadow

Location: Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
Distance: ~5-6 miles one way
Elevation gain (loss): 850 feet
Date: July 28-30, 2008

Warm Springs Meadow across from my campsite

Warm Springs Meadow in the White Cloud Mountains is not spectacular by White Cloud standards. But I went on the three day, two night backpacking trip there to survey surrounding streams for bull trout. The entire area that I hiked through in the three days was devastated by the 40,000+ acre Valley Road Fire in 2005. There were no living trees except for those isolated in the middle of the meadow, but there were fantastic wildflowers everywhere.


The hike begins at an elevation of 8,100 ft at the top of the Fisher Creek Road and descends 850 feet to the middle of the meadow. Most of the elevation change is in the first couple miles, while the trail along the valley bottom only gently loses elevation, and the meadow is mostly flat. The initial descent is a part of the very popular Fisher Creek mountain biking loop, so beware of bikers coming up on you from behind.

The upper part of the trail

There is a small established campsite among a group of surviving trees in the meadow next to Warm Springs Creek that I stayed at. On the first and second days I also continued past the downstream end of the meadow. Below the meadow the valley is narrow and steeper (photo below).

The lower portion of Warm Springs Creek

The weather was fantastic for the entire trip. On the second night I was sitting by the fire when two elk passed within 100 feet of me seemingly ignoring me before crossing the stream. I spent the third day on Martin Creek before hiking back to the trailhead.

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