We started in the Bagby parking lot and hiked 5 miles in near Betty Creek, pitched camp, and returned to the parking lot the next day.
The first 1.5 miles are on well groomed, wide trails. Everyone we saw was there to use the hot springs--flip flops, bathing suits, and towels around their neck. Once past the hot springs, the trail becomes a singletrack hiking trail and the crowds disappear.
Miles 1.5-3.0 follow the river, has a few streams crossings, and does not gain significant elevation. There are a couple fallen trees blocking the trail. Fortunately, there are notches cut into them providing a stable place to plant your foot to get over. You'll pass several open areas adjacent the river that are suitable for pitching a tent. At ~3 miles Hot Springs Fork turns away and the trail follows Alice Creek instead.
Miles 3-5 are steeper than the first 3 miles, but the incline is still easy-moderate. What makes it more difficult is the amount of undergrowth and obstacles in the trail. This part of the trail does not appear to get much use. There are many fallen trees to climb over or duck under. They all had ways around or through, but it does tend to wear you down if you're carrying a pack. Also, while we were never in danger of losing the trail, there were plenty of stretches of trail where the bushes on either side had grown enough to require us to push through them. Wear long pants or be prepared for scratched legs.
There is a small, southerly viewpoint just before the Betty Creek campsite that makes a good destination if you're looking for a quick out and back while avoiding crowds.
Shared By: Dave Snyder