Sharkey (Tendoy) Hot Spring

General Description: Two cement pools on BLM land, great water but the concrete suroundings are an eye sore.
General Location: East Central Idaho southeast of Salmon
Pool Type: Cement soaking pools
Pool Temps: Very Hot (104° - 106° F)
(Click to enlarge.)
Accessibility: Year round
Restrictions: No Camping
Elevation: 5400 feet.
Distance from road: 0.00 mile.
Map Reference: Salmon National Forest Map, or Goldstone Mountain ID USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle

The Hot Spring:

  Sharkey Hot Spring has a public soaking area that was built by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in honor of Lewis and Clark.  Two soaking pools were constructed that can fit up to eight people each in the open sagebrush canyon above Lemhi Valley.  The pools are surrounded by fencing to keep out any animals.  The site was also outfitted with concrete walkways, a fire pit, and fancy changing rooms and toilets.  Some people may like this type of development but we think it is quite ugly.  Not one plant was planted in the area for shade (the spring runoff can water the plants), and the abundance of concrete is overwhelming.  The BLM probably paid a lot of money to build this area and it could be more esthetically pleasing but a good soak is possible and it is maintained. 

  The source is across the dirt road from the soaking area.  The hot water is piped to an underground mixing pool where cold water is added before entering the soaking pools.  This mixing system cools the water to about 104-105 degrees F but also takes the control away from the soaker, and completely covers the source.  The pools and surrounding area are cleaned by the BLM every Wednesday and therefore Wednesday evening is a very popular night with the locals.  Not many people soak during the day because there is no shade and it can get very hot, but the site does not close so it can fill up with drunks all night on weekends.

  Sharkey Hot Spring has a lot of history.  The spring was very popular in the 1920's, when a local had a lease for the land and a claim to the water rights.  He built a swimming pool with changing rooms and cabins, and piped cold water from a quarter mile away.  Soaking was cheap and the whole area went to soak for many years.  When BLM became a federal agency it looked at Sharkey Hot Spring and decided it was not up to code and returned the spring to its natural state during the 1970's.  Several user built tubs were built in subsequent years with partial success.  We have heard of bath tubs, cattle troughs, and a wooden box.  The problem was always getting the cold water to the soaking pools so they were always very hot, or the only way to cool them was to remove the flow.  Eventually the BLM decided to construct what we see today and got the funds based on the Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway over Lemhi Pass.

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This also makes me sad. As a

This also makes me sad.

As a young girl I was thrown from a horse, shattering many vertebrae.

My Dad would take me to the plunge to soak & generally renew my soul.

Many times that sweet old guy would help Dad get me in the pool, hang up an extra lantern so I could stay as late as I wanted, just remembering what free movement felt like & hearing awesome stories.

What a travesty!

Thank you for this wonderful

Thank you for this wonderful comment Kathleen! One of the reasons we have this website is to hear history about the hot springs from people who experienced them.

It makes us very sad also to see wonderful places with a deep history get destroyed by bad planning and too much concrete.

What they've done here is

What they've done here is enough to make me cry. It was my old great uncle Mart who had "the plunge" as he called it, back through the 60s. They were clean and covered with rustic buildings, with dressing rooms (male and female) and plenty of extra suits if you didn't have one and still wanted to take a plunge for two bits. We used to tease him that he had his two log cabins with no electricity or running water, but a heated indoor swimming pool in the yard. He'd just laugh and check the sourdough starter on the back on the wood stove. He made the best sourdough flapjacks I ever tasted.

The winding gravel road to his cabins would often frustrate my dad, since he had to share it with the sheep.

I wish my brother hadn't mailed this to me. My memories are so much sweeter.

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