Free BLM Campground & Sharkey Hot Springs in Idaho.

Nice, little, free, campground in Idaho n a creek.

Nice, little, free, campground in Idaho on a creek.

So on Tuesday the 27th we left the Grand Tetons and drove to Sharkey Hot Spring in Idaho. We got there in time to take a quick dip in the glorious hot springs and then we set up camp in a free BLM campground about 5 miles away called Agency Creek. It was a great time in the Hot springs and we had the very pretty little campground all to ourselves. If this one is full, there are several other campgrounds on Highway 28 just south of here and one of them is free also.

Taking a dip...oh the humanity!

Taking a dip…oh the humanity!

Neither Judy nor I are big fans of hot springs, but her brother owns a hunting cabin very near to here and on one of her visits to him he showed her Sharkey Hot Springs. She instantly fell in love with it and when she saw how close by we would be driving she wanted to show it to me as well.


Like I’ve said before, growing up in Alaska did not leave me with any desire to spend any more time in water than absolutely necessary. I’d never even been in a hot springs before! But it was important to her so I agreed to a dip. When you live in this tiny of a space with another person, you have to do everything you can to keep each other happy and this was the least I could do! Besides, I had to do it so I could get pictures for the blog. Oh how I suffer for you, my dear readers!

It's a dirty ob, but somebody's got to do it.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Now, let me be perfectly honest, and tell you a big part of why I don’t like water is because you have to wear a bathing suit and I’m fat! Running around in a bathing suit makes me very self-conscious about my weight. I know, it shouldn’t matter, I should accept myself just the way I am and not care what other people think about me. Easier said than done! I haven’t worn a bathing suit with my shirt off in public in probably 40 years; and I hope to never do it again!

Agency Creek Campground. If it's full there are other free campgrounds in the area

Agency Creek Campground. If it’s full there are other free or cheap campgrounds to the south on Highway 28.

So it was with fear and trembling I got in a bathing suit and stepped into the hot springs. I was very lucky because there was nobody there at first. Traveling this early in the spring season has lots of advantages and no crowds has been the best one.

There is a $3 charge, but for that you get a very clean and well-maintained area.

There is a $3 charge, but for that you get a very clean and well-maintained area. Lewis and Clark stood right here!

I gotta admit that I really enjoyed the hot springs. The temperature was just right. It only took a slight delay to adapt to the heat and then it was very comfortable. After about 20 minutes I started to feel too hot but I just got out for a bit and that seemed to make it fine so I got back in.

Two, hot, clean pools at the PERFECT temperature.

Two, hot, clean pools at the PERFECT temperature.

One other family came in while we were there but for some reason I wasn’t too uncomfortable. There is a $3 charge for the hot springs but there weren’t any envelopes, so we couldn’t pay. It was all very clean and very well maintained. If you just have no choice but get in a hot springs, this was the perfect one!

This is the site across from us. You can see the creek was running very high and overflown into the campground? Do you know what the wood structure is for in the back by the creek?

This is the site across from us. You can see the creek was running very high and overflown into the campground? Do you know what the wood structure is for in the back by the creek?

After the hot springs we drove over to our camp for the night and it was a great one! Beautiful creek in a heavily treed valley, clean bathrooms and somebody had even left firewood. Best of all, it’s free! We had a great night there and moved on the next morning.

Lots of history in this valley!

Lots of history in this valley!


The wet spring meant it was a good year for wildflowers like Lupine.

The wet spring meant it was a good year for wildflowers like Lupine. The sage smelled good too!

If you are a history buff we were on the Lewis and Clark Backcountry Adventure Road. This is the valley that Lewis and Clark used to cross the continental divide on the way west and there is a lot of history around here. More information on the Adventure Road here:


Here is a map to find it (it’s very easy). I hope you enjoy the photos, there are more at the bottom of the post.

Obviously she was looking for mama and was very puzzled and conderned when she couldn't find her. She stopped and searched everywhere for her.

While we were taking the picture of the sign above, we noticed three deer in the valley below us. It was a mama and her two yearlings. One of the yearlings got confused and lost mom and headed straight up the hill toward us. So I waited for her to come into view to get some photos. She was jumping as she ran searching over the sagebrush.

She ran right up to where I was waiting and stopped. and looked around. Obviously she was looking for mama and was very puzzled and concerned when she couldn't find her.

She ran right up to where I was waiting (hidden behind a bush) and stopped. and looked around. Obviously she was looking for mama and was very puzzled and concerned when she couldn’t find her.

Finally, the yearling spotted mama and bolted back to her at full-speed ahead!

Finally, the yearling spotted mama and bolted back to her at full-speed!



I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

35 comments on “Free BLM Campground & Sharkey Hot Springs in Idaho.
  1. GrinningPanther says:


    Great pictures as always, and your self-deprecating honesty and humor made this post all the more engaging.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Grinning panther!

    • John and Julie says:

      Bob your blog really helped us out of a jam…we needed a camp spot for the night and really wanted to spend some time at Sharkey HS in a desperate search for camping info I came across your awesome blog we followed the map found the camp site of our dreams got up early and went to the hot springs, thank you, thank you Bob! You Rock! J&J

  2. DASA says:

    Awesome Trip so far Bob! Love the hot springs photos, especially the one with the “no dogs” sign above your head! Is Judy trying to say something?


    That wooden structure in your flooded campground shot is for dressing out large game animals. You hang the animal from it’s hind legs from the two loops on the top cross bar and get to work “cleaning” it out. Having the creek with fresh water nearby is a big help with this type of messy job, as you might imagine.

    Looking forward to your Canadian adventure!

    • Bob Bob says:

      DASA, I wondered how many people would comment on the “No Dogs” sign!

      Right you are about the hanging post for butchering deer! Alas, you don’t win a prize!

  3. I’m a hot springs fan. This one goes on my list.
    Al Christensen recently posted…RST Renovation: Project 1My Profile

  4. Wendy Wunderlich says:

    Nice pictures, looks like you and Judy are having fun.

  5. Libby Nester says:

    Wow! I love the pictures. I am enjoying the journey to Alaska. I was never very interested in the West until I started following your blog and RVSueandcrew.

    I think the hotsprings must be awesome. So glad Judy convinced you to do this. I loved hearing the description.

    Take care and enjoy the journey. Post lots of Photos, too.


    • Bob Bob says:

      Libby, you don’t have to twist my arm to post photos! I’m such an ego maniac! I also love RV Sues blog. I just can’t figure out how she makes it so darn interesting!! She doesn’t really do much, but I’m always anxious to get her next post!

  6. Calvin R says:

    Thanks, Bob! I’ve never been in a hot spring either, but it sounds good. I’m a bit self-conscious about my weight, too, bit I can get over it if I have a good enough reason. I need to resume learning to swim, too. We shall see what happens. Thanks for the pictures, too.

  7. Peggy says:

    Another entertaining post, Bob! I love your honesty. I’ll bet most people are self-conscious in a bathing suit. My husband always seems to keep his t-shirt on when we go for a swim in the ocean. I’ve been in some hot springs before but it was more like sitting in a smallish soup pot, not very clean, with a bunch of strangers, most of them nude, and I wasn’t crazy about it! This was back in my 20’s. But your experience sounds pretty good.

    Happy trails!
    Peggy recently posted…Here Comes Tourist SeasonMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      It really was very good there. The BLM does a great job of keeping it clean.

      • Dave says:

        Thanks from the BLM Rec Crew that cleans Sharkey.
        A formal request: Can you change your photo caption above? We clean Sharkey every Wednesday morning like clockwork.
        We get many out of state visitors that are unaware of this. Perhaps a few can see it here before they come soak.

  8. Buffalo Bob says:

    Bob, what a great trip and photos. I look forward to each new post.

  9. Bill says:

    This Hot Springs isn’t more than a a couple of hours drive from our home and I was unaware of it. I’ ll be visiting soon.

  10. Shawna says:

    Beautiful area! And very sweet of you to be accomodating of Judy’s interests. NICE! Love your blog!!

  11. Monique says:

    Nice pictures. what type of camera do you have? Digital?
    As well, I think we ALL have that opinion of our bodies most times. I’ve always found there are always better but too, always worst ones out there-lol
    How do you find these free spots and how do you know they are free? We are starting our rving next month for the first time.
    Monique recently posted…Your RV/ Camper And Getting Ready For Camping SeasonMy Profile

  12. Ahhhh! I’m such a hot springs junkie! I really, really miss them and hope I can find some around Lake Tahoe soon, if I stay. Otherwise, it’s back to Mammoth and there are plenty around there. You two look adorable in the hot tub and I think you look great, Bob! Splendid photos! I hope to visit that area someday!

  13. Lois says:

    Great review, Bob – I’m putting this place on my list, too… looks like there might be a bunch of there next time you swing on by 🙂 Judy, thanks for getting him to stop!
    Lois recently posted…OG’s First Road Trip: A PicturebookMy Profile

  14. Ron says:

    Bob, dont waste your time worrying about your fat, just remember that it looks better with a tan on it. It’s much easier for me to tan than to diet.

  15. max says:

    Wow !
    The place’s for sale !

    maybe we should just…… 🙂

  16. gail says:

    Does anyone travel eastern U S? Gonna travel east from tx, first trip in van but sounds like no one goes that way. Where are good places around I40 or 30?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Gail, the east is not as pretty as the west, but it has a few great spots. I40 goes near Asheville, NC and the Blue Ridge parkway. That is a must-see from end-to-end!! Washington DC is well worth visiting. The White Mountains in New Hampshire are beautiful as is Acadia NP in Maine. Niagara Falls in NY is spectacular and all of West Virginia is pretty to me. Kentucky is horse country and has it’s own beauty. Adirondack Park in New York is beautiful.

  17. m.a. says:

    So happy you’ve got a lady now to introduce you to some new things! The photos are great. Have a wonderful trip!

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