Historic Hot Springs Becomes Part of Land of the Yankee Fork State Park

Monday May 1, 2023

CHALLIS — Idaho Gov. Brad Little will participate in the May 3, 2023 Rededication of the Challis Hot Springs, which after 130 years gets new life as a unit of the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park.

The event takes place at 11 a.m. at the hot springs, 5025 Hot Springs Road, in Challis.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) took over management of the historic springs in May following completion of the purchase from the Hammond family, whose ancestors homesteaded the property and developed the springs in the late 1800s. The attraction served the mining community, providing shelter and a respite for miners during the peak of the area’s gold rush from the 1880s to 1910s.

“Recent funding from Governor Brad Little and the Idaho Legislature for expansion of outdoor recreation created the chance to buy this recreational and historical resource,” said Susan Buxton, IDPR director. “We are happy to add the springs to our park, which showcases the area’s past and natural resources with ghost towns, mining, Native American history, and an extensive recreational trail network.

Besides the hot springs, the acquisition adds a 54-space, tent-and-RV campground to the park’s amenities. For the remainder of 2023, the springs will operate with little change from how it has run in recent years as IDPR assesses the facility and opportunities for improvements.

 Ron Jenks, manager of the Yankee Fork State Park, sees many possibilities.

“We are going to look at expanding and upgrading the campground with improved sites, more spaces and modern utilities,” Jenks said. “We would also like to upgrade the existing pools and maybe increase capacity going forward.

“Improvements will come soon but today we celebrate this addition, which adds another rich recreational and historical element to the park.”