The western hemlock droops beneath wet Cascadian snow. I watch its branch teeter back and then release the snow as steam from the hot springs rises all around me. I close my eyes and lean my head against the smooth stones. Winter camping always makes me feel a little creaky, but Goldmyer is the cure. After a 107°F mineral dip, my joints feel loose and lubricated as I sip coffee back in camp beside Burntboot Creek. Early sunlight flashes off an ice-coated, 900-year-old Douglas fir as I start breakfast. My toes return to reality first, cold even through my wool socks. That’s excuse enough for another dip.
Turn-by-turn From the Dingford Creek Trailhead parking lot
1) Follow National Forest Development Road 5620 through the metal gate, then south along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. After .1 mile, pass Dingford Creek Falls to the east (hiker’s left).
2) Parallel the M.F. Snoqualmie River southeast along Road 5620 for 4.4 miles.then follow the fork right.
3) After .2 mile cross the bridge over the M.F. Snoqualmie River and turn south (hiker’s right) to briefly follow the Middle Fork Trail.
4) After 150 feet turn left following signs for Goldmyer Hot Springs. Continue .25 mile up the hill.
5) At the caretaker’s cabin ring the bell to pay the visiting and overnight camping fees (see Trip Planner, below).
6) Goldmyer Hot Springs are .2 mile beyond the cabin, along a narrow trail paralleling Burnboot Creek.
Campsite: Goldmyer Campsite (4.9 miles)
There are designated sites for 20 tents, with two outhouses. The crowd at the hot springs clears out around 3 p.m. in the winter; camping gives you first dip and solitude for your morning and eveningsoaks.
The Hot Springs
Hot water streams from a crack in an old mine shaft and fills three pools. The uppermost pool, inside the shaft, is 111°F; the middle and lower pools, outside, are 107°F and 104°F. Altogether, they fit up to 20 people. Goldmyer is lined with polished stone and cleaned twice a week. Bathing suits are recommended on crowded days, but the springs’ official policy is “clothing optional.”
The road to the trailhead can become impassable after heavy snowstorms, adding 5 miles each way to the hike.
Trailhead 47.5173, -121.4542 Road conditions The road to Dingford Creek trailhead is unmaintained in the winter; a high-clearance vehicle with chains or 4WD is required. Season Year-round Permits Required ($20 per person for hot springs, $5 to camp); reserve early online or by phone.