Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May 22 – Cress Creek Trail and Heise Hot Springs

It was grey and cool here but no rain. Over at Teton the forecast didn’t look very good this morning but it seems they had a better day, once I looked tonight. We probably should have gone today.

Instead we had an easy day nearby. About half way to Idaho Falls and a few miles off the highway is the Cress Creek Nature Trail and the close by Heise Hot Springs.

The nature trail climbs up a hill covered in juniper and sage, alongside Cress Creek to views out over the vast plain towards Idaho Falls.

This is on BLM land but for something that is a little out of the way they sure spent a lot of money here. The first half mile is cement pavement and wheel chair accessible, although the incline is quite steep. It would be a fun ride back down.


The rock that Jennie is checking out was rather weird.




The grey marks on the hill are compressed volcanic ash (as the sign board told us).


We didn’t get to the creek until the end of the pavement. After this you follow a large gravel loop up the hill.


It is called Cress Creek because there is a lot of watercress growing on its banks.


The trail looks flat. It wasn’t.

An interesting log.



In and out of the trees for some viewpoints.


Notice the pipe and the right of the picture above. As we drove in on the road we saw a few of these pipes coming down the hill and ending at the river with large electric motors above them. At first I thought that they were generators but they are actually pumps to send water way up to the farms on the tablelands at the top of the hill.


They were steep enough and smooth enough that you could slide along them.


The water in the stream was not cold but about room temperature since it’s source is deep down a fault in the earth farther up the hill.


In addition to the watercress we saw a lot of what I think is poison ivy along one section.



At the top of the loop there was a bench and viewpoint so we had some lunch.


I have been trying to figure out what this lone bump we can see far off on the horizon.


Heading back down we got some nice views of the south fork of the Snake River below us.



Winding our way down.


Less trees now and more sagebrush.



And then back down the paved section to the car.


The Heise Hot Springs doesn’t start their summer hours until this weekend so we had to wait a short while for them to open at 2 pm.

They have 3 pools and a water slide. The small hot pool is at 106F, the larger warm pool is at 96F. The largest “summer” pool is at around 82F. The slide and summer pool also don’t open until this weekend but that didn’t matter to us because we would have only used the hot and warm pools anyway.


I was surprised at how many people were here, even on a Wednesday afternoon. Some were obviously regulars as they knew all the staff.

The place is showing its age a bit. The water slide sure could have used a power washing.


But we did have a nice leisurely soak. Me, back and forth between the hot and warm and Jennie, mainly in the warm after an initial heating in the hot pool.


The smaller hot pool is under the roof.


It was only $1o for adults and $8 for seniors. We stayed about 2 hours before heading home.

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