Forrest Fenn’s Where Warm Waters Halt

Although not the first line of Forrest Fenn’s treasure hunt poem, ‘Begin it where warm waters halt’ seems to be the place most people are starting.  And for good reason.  In the Feb. 27th, 2013, Today Show interview, it is where Mr. Fenn himself began to read, and where puzzlers have stated he has said to start.

This is not to say the previous 4 lines don’t hold value towards the finding of the treasure, but, the actual outdoor search seems to begin with understanding exactly  ‘where’ warm waters halt.

Where can ‘warm waters halt,’ though?’  The poem is like a riddle and so thinking about the different meanings of the phrase, and how it provides direction, is important.  There are actually many interpretations, and therefore possibilities.  Until a person finds Forrest Fenn’s hidden bronze treasure chest, all thoughts have at least some validity.


The following are possible interpretations/thoughts for WWWH:

  • Warm, referring to temperatures of the waters.  Some feel this suggests beginning where there is a ‘hot spring’ or where the water is considered warmer than normal, and ‘halts’.  For example, it could even imply where the ‘warmer waters’ of mountain springs halt, and enter rivers.


  • Warm, referring to color.  Since Forrest is an art dealer, it is not a stretch at all to think ‘warm’ suggests a ‘warm color’.  For example, red is a warm color, so ‘Red’ river … could be ‘warm’ waters.  Where it stops, churn backwards, or rests, could be where a searcher begins.   Any other ‘river, lake, stream’ with a ‘warm’ color in its name would fit, as well.


  • Warm Waters, referring to a specific ‘warm waters’ name of a place, like Firehole.  Taken further, any name of anything, which could be considered ‘warm waters’, like a road named ‘Red Creek (red creek road) or a town’s name which is interpreted to imply ‘warm waters’, like ‘Warm River’.  Wherever these places ‘halt’ then, like the town’s borders, or end of the road, could be where a person begins.


  • Warm Waters, referring to ‘unfrozen’ or ‘melting’.  In the spring/summer, many mountainsides begin to shed their white.  Lakes form at the bottom from the snowmelt; from these warm waters could be a place to begin.


  • Warm Waters halt, similar to the above, but referring to a dam, reservoir, or something of the sort.

Addition/Update: On Dal’s site, scrapbook 68, is the following quote.  It informs us that WWWH (where warm waters halt) of the poem does NOT relate to any dam.

“Many searchers have thought that warm waters halt at a dam because water being released through flues near the bottom of the dam is much colder than water on the surface of the lake.  I have discussed around that subject with several people in the last few days and am concerned that not all searchers are aware of what has been said.  So to level the playing field to give everyone an equal chance I will say now that WWWH is not related to any dam.”  ff


  • Warm as in ‘heartfelt, peaceful, cozy’.  In the book, Forrest talks about places he has fished with his family and alone.  He mentions how they are ‘great places’, how others are now fishing there, and he writes;  “I hope they feel the reverence that I once did and now still do.”  These ‘fishing holes’ hold a ‘warm’ spot for Forrest.  Could they be the ‘warm waters?’  Could it begin at a fishing hole which ‘halts’ a person. (Forrest stopped to fish).  Or something like what is mentioned in the ‘Too Far to Walk’ post.


  • Many people have played the game of ‘hide and seek’.  A player says ‘you’re warm’ if you are ‘close’ and cold, if far away.  Could this meaning of ‘warm’ (close waters) halting in some way lead to a place to begin?


Update/Addition:  On 8/12/2014 Forrest answered a question about ‘where warm waters halt in ‘Featured Questions: Warm Waters and Geography’.  He said, “There are a few words in the poem that are not useful in finding the treasure Phil, but it is risky to discount any of them. You over simplify the clues. There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts. f”



Please know the above are only ideas. I am sure there are many more ways to look at ‘where warm waters halt’ and the above examples should get your mind ‘warmed’ up.   I will continue to add to them.  Feel free to add your own ideas, if wanted, in the comments below.  The poem is vague and so can lead to many different places, all over the Rocky Mountains.  Forrest has said it is difficult to find, but not impossible, so….

Best of luck to you all!

(photo credit:  wikimedia: Brocken Inaglory)


Follow MW on Social Media:

You may also like...

48 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    mamouth springs seems to be where warm waters halt if you read a little on Yellowstone Park, I would like the bracelet if you find it due to my speculations here, maybe he shoved it in the side of fort buildings like a cellar window and it blends in,but traveltine rock wood or stone area, don’t have a book just using poem, Mr. Fenn could give me a holler if I was close. Daniel

  2. Kym says:

    Sorry Dan, Forrest has stated that He wants the bracelet back if found, and he will even pay for it. Myself, I would just give it back. 🙂 Happy Hunting.

  3. Kelly says:

    Home of brown university Rhode Island
    So warm waters has to be in Rhode Island
    Or state below that.

  4. Stacy says:

    Home Of Molly Brown. Perhaps that will start you off.

  5. Kelly is right. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream end near Rhode Island, Home of Brown University.

  6. Joe says:

    I’ve seen it mention that the treasure is in the Rockies somewhere. I have been trying to find where forrest says its in the Rockies but I can’t! Can anyone point me in the right direction

  7. Aaron says:

    Dals wondering around NM…GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!

    Why doesn’t anyone ever consider Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge??? Its in the Rocky Mountains. Warm waters halt in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir (if anyone ever did their research, the Wyoming vs Utah Side). Oh wait…follow the canyon down not too far but too far to walk, again I believe Browns Park is about 15 miles away. NEXT!

    Now it just gets too damn easy. No place for the meek. Do you turds know what’s below Browns Park? That’s right, a little hideout for outlaws back in the day named Fort Misery, aka Davey Crocket! And who would hold up there in the winter (uhm, effort worth the cold) Joe MEEK! Why only winter. Look it up knuckleheads, its floods in the summer (water high). So, cold yes, paddle up your creek, NO! NEXT!

    Who else hungout there. I believe a guy named Cassidy and his buddy the Kid. I think in his book Forrest rambles about an air rifle he got and liked to pretend to be Cassidy. There’s a clue sprinkled in the stories for you. Also, sounds like a Forrest thing to do, admire the type that thru up a middle finger to the law. NEXT!

    Just kidding, I’ve literally guided you to with 50 ft of his treasure….good luck and if you find it it means Forrest Fenn’s Poem took me approximately 4 hrs to decipher, NEXT:)

  8. Lori says:

    Why not New Mexico, the rocky mts. Start there and I read forrest was into history… Has anyone heard of Henry brown? He was an outlaw and lawman and associated with billy the kid? History started in Texas! Very interesting but my money is on Northern New Mexico. If not found by next year, my kids and I are going to travel there, as soon as I can save some money! Start at the bottom, work your way up the Rockies!

  9. mivfr says:

    Why does halt not ryhme with walk?

  10. Gil says:

    Jenny, regarding Brown Park___I’m with you! Brown Park was named for the fur trapper Baptiste Brown also known as Jean-Baptiste Chalifoux (a French Candian Trapper from Taos, New Mexico). He homesteaded down river from Brown Park (his namesake) at the confluence of Vermillion Creek and the Green River that gets it flow upstream from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. I have called the local ranger stations to locate historical markers (blaze) in the area but to no avail. Missing in that location is Heavy Loads, but maybe you could find something I’m not seeing. I flew to Colorado from N. Cal to Steamboat Springs looking at another location. $2,000 later… I will keep to Google Earth untill new expected dollars come in. Good luck to you all.

    • Hey Gil….. Did you check out Pot creek as “the Blaze” when you were on the Green river?

      Funny you were in steamboat springs…. That was one of my solves. Did you put in under the James brown bridge? Then to the highschool that is no place for mr meek? I never went up there but always wondered. It’s Ute Indian land as well.


  11. ryan says:

    Warm water halt? Evaporation? Halts at the clouds?

  12. arslan says:

    Every clue will be revealed exact at 1st June 2015. If Interested to know the facts with proofs than search FB for 1st June 2015 Forrest-Fenns-Treasure-Hunt….. it will solve the mystery & one person to find the treasure exact at that date.

  13. josh says:

    Home of the brown seems to likey mean home of the brown trout. Meaning its in a river or creek. Which also makes sense based on the other clues in the poem. Rocky mountain national park has tons of brown trout and lots of valleys and trails that are too far to walk to their destination… at least in a day or two Haha.

  14. Frank says:

    I have also concluded Browns Park Colorado, but if WWWH is not Flaming Gorge, then what other starting points fit?

  15. The Wolf says:

    My thoughts on WWWH:
    Consider this sample of Forrest Fenn quotes:
    “All of this cyberspace verbiage is conspicuous by the absence of talk about where warm waters halt.”
    “You need to start at the beginning. You need to figure out where warm waters halt.”
    “You have to know where warm waters halt.”
    “You’ll never find it that way. You need to start at the beginning. You need to figure out where warm waters halt.”
    “There are a few words in the poem that are not useful in finding the treasure Phil, but it is risky to discount any of them. You over simplify the clues. There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts”.
    “If you don’t know where warm water halts (sic), you don’t have anything.”

    Ok, ok, Forrest I get it we have to figure out where warm waters halt first. You do not have to tell me ten times!

    In my book, Finding Forrest Fenn, I put a lot of thought into each of my warm waters but as my son pointed out, I was using hot water mixed with cold water to make it warm. This technique makes it difficult to isolate the thousands of sources, but if one was to keep this clue as straight forward as possible and forget hot and stick to warm there are only a few choices.

    A warm spring is straight forward and not many exist. Why a spring? Forrest hinted to us in the book: “In the spring when the weather was warm” (More on the weather later).

    “The grass sees, and the trees and rushing waters of the spring creek also see.”

    This last example shows how Forrest uses the plural waters as a spring creek and last fall he said “if you know where the treasure is better keep it quiet until spring.”

    Now the most important part that must be considered: “halt.” Why halt? It doesn’t rhyme with walk so that word has to be important. Most feel it is either water or warm that halts but is it possible that “halt” explains where the warm waters exist? One meaning is a train stop without a station, but the common interpretation is related to the military and Germany and it is used to tell someone who is “marching” to stop.  From the Mysterious Writings blog Forrest remarked about the clues, “They’re contiguous, I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest so it was easy for me to put one foot down and then step on it to get to the next foot, thats what I did.” Step and foot down are very supportive of marching.

    Marching relates to the month of March when spring occurs and “Spring is the time to think.” Think about how the poem just explained that spring and in fact a “warm spring” to be specific is the source of where warm waters halt.

    So why does everyone ignore this when it is so obvious? Why does everyone continue to over complicate it even when Fenn says not to? There are some more examples that support “warm spring” that I will tie in later but the logical choice is “Warm Springs” Montana. Just far enough away from being blown to bits by the Yellowstone super volcano.

    Warm Springs is adjacent to Anaconda which I explained its significance in the last two blog posts. It has a state hospital which may explain why he said people thought he was crazy for doing this or it may explain why he said he hinted he was beat up mentally. More importantly this huge mound created by the warm water drains into a fishing pond right beside a railroad track or halt. If that is not convincing enough Warm Springs Creek intersects the Silver Bow River and that confluence maybe considered the traditional method of halting. Finally there are two tailings ponds that supported the Anaconda Smelter and I explained in my book why a tailings pond is a very good warm water source and all of these sources support the plural use of “waters.”

    In my book, I outlined Mr. Fenn’s hinting technique, he mentioned on Jenny Kile’s Mysterious Writings blog that “everyone had the same opportunity.” This comment has always stuck out in the minds of many searchers and nearby is a town called “Opportunity.” Beside Opportunity is the Fairmount Hot Springs Resort that has a spa called the Whispering Willows which is linked to the famous “it is what they whisper” quote. The spa also has a type of massage called “Indulgence” which Mr. Fenn has recently changed the name of the chest to. The Fairmont logo also is interesting and may explain all the hints of “F” and circles.

    • Thomas says:

      The Wolf, thank you for that summary.

      What bothers me about Fenn’s comments to WWWH is his statement that “there are many places where WWH”. But emphasizes to start there. If there are many places, then can we assume that only one of the places is associated with a “home of Brown”. “Brown” seems much more specific than does WWH.

      Perhaps FF is frustrated that the full puzzle might not be solved in the manner he wants. Maybe we do need to start at the beginning, but why if the beginning is solved by “many places”.

      I fear that this puzzle is something that makes perfect sense to FF, because he knows where it is and what the clues mean, but that the ultimate location is not singularly described by the puzzle. Put another way, when the location is discovered are we all going to go “oh yes, that’s it, why didn’t I think of that”, or “what?? That is what he meant by the clues? Are you kidding me?”

      I just joined this “quest” yesterday, and have not read the books yet. Perhaps the books in combination with the puzzle could produce that singular solution that would make solving the puzzle worth ones time (if only for enjoyment), but otherwise one is spinning their wheels.

  16. 42 says:

    A topic which was lightly discussed 18 months ago should be given top billing in everyone’s solution.

    This is a huge and generous Give- Away that took me a year to see and prove.

    If you have a completed solution wirh longitude and latitude coordinates – that you need to find the treasure – here is one way to test if your solution works…

    The large BOLD capital letters which begin each chapter in TTOTC are all directional Symbols taken from a “32 point” Mariners Compass rose. True north is Tramontana. Yet another confirmation to Montana. NSEW plus Latin terms for secondary, tertiary directions. (See example linked)

    IF you know where to BEGIN, halt at the correct “section 32” on a surveyors or FS map; plot a cross;
    You can literally follow those directions in order from TTOTC which end at ssw or Ostro-Libeccio on a Mariners wind rose.

    I hope the deeper thinking, serious searchers will use it to prove their theories.

    Keep in mind, Forrest is a navigator, collector, surveyor and loves old treasures. This is the compass that pirates and Spaniards used. >>It pays to study the brilliant man who hid the treasure.<<

    Everything is in the poem, but ttotc was provided as a supplement and is FULL of helpful information.

    • David says:

      Your ideas are a blend of odd, interesting, and plausible statements. I have just recently gotten interested in the treasure hunt. I ordered Fenn’s book and plan to look for additional clues regarding a bearing to the site based on the Public Lands Survey system that divides lands into square sections (quite archaic and also not completed for certain remote parts of the western U. S.). So maybe as you intimate section 32 may be referred to in the book. I can make up my own mind when and if I read the book and where to start based on the original poem. I’ve got a suspicion that if correct, this might also give a clue that the key ground point is located along a township boundary line that is very obvious. Also, a section number is a very non-precise geographic reference.

  17. JC1117 says:

    Hello, 42. Thanks for sharing the ancient map knowlege. I’m looking into weather or not the Ostro-Libeccio (Greco-Tramontana) plane might have something to do with the colophon. It’s certainly worth a look.

    • 42 says:

      Hi JC 1117 – please keep me apprised of your colophon research. My bet, due to fennian 13 yr old humor injected into TTOTC is on the Butt shape – an inside joke between Forrest and Eric Sloane. Twin butte land forms resemble a butt, and a heart. Numerous references to found, foundation, bottom, cigarette (butt), starting at the bottom, the end, etc.. Too many to ignore – and then Forrest’s is clever enough to incorporate elegance thru double omegas, tying it all together.

  18. astree says:


    Thought you might find this mildly interesting (you may already know this). From the wikipedia main page today:

    Did you know…

    … that although Shamokin Creek is a Warmwater Fishery, all of its twelve named tributaries are Coldwater Fisheries?

    I’m aware that some puzzlers use this type of concept for “where warm waters halt”. I’m not in that group, since I believe that type of knowledge is outside the scope of what can be deduced from the poem.


  19. Tim Kertis says:

    For God’s sake .. Warm waters halt at geysers! Warmwaters (lake fish) halt at the confluence of lakes and rivers. Coldwater (fish) live in rivers and streams.

    • Chesney says:

      Tim, With all due respect , Sir… don’t you tink someone already tried that in six years? Don’t mean to be a “Wise A $$, but may it be an old Steam Stop for Locamotives? All IM Humble Opinion.

  20. Norm says:

    I am from Craig CO, and get to Browns PArk often. Here is my thinking
    1. I get where the warm waters end as Cold Springs Mountain
    2. Canyon Down would be Irish Canyon
    3. not to far, but to far to walk would be south of the Canyon to Browns PArk-away from Vermillion Canyon
    4. Below Browns (park)would be the Green River
    5. Then Meek er to the South or I think it may be more towards Upper Disaster Falls in Lodore Canyon which is downstream-which is not for the Meek.
    6. Gates of Lodore and the Rapids
    7. Heavy Loads, Vermilion Creek in the spring carries heavy sediment loads
    8. There was a large fire by Lodore
    9. Your effort will be worth the cold- either across the Green River, or Down Stream towards Lodore–I lean to across, before the Swinging Bridge was closed it was an easy drive and walk to the area below the blaze, numerous caves and shelters. Now just where?.

    Another possibility would be across the Green, there are some caves, a dozen or so with lots of Fremont art and such. There is a large blazed tree(lightning?) you use as a mark to get to the largest cave.

  21. jojo says:

    water never halts
    it always moving ever drawing nigh
    to the lowest point ,closest
    to the home of Brown ,
    the way
    or path it chooses
    with the least resistance closest to nature or earth
    so if you ask a child to read the poem
    he will tell you the gold is in the title its in the chase ff. ff Holds the chase dear and. Wants you to get back nature there’s lots of treasures to be found
    he did it
    the box I empty space waiting too be filled
    waters fill the cups space kids will tell you when you play hide and seek the game is. Over when you find it up is up down in below is in (below) brave in the wood boots on the ground go find your own treasures he’s keeping his 😭😜😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
    you should before your week

  22. Scott boyd says:

    Kinishba ruins , spread out through Arizona, new Mexico and Colorado. Most of it above 5000 believe in a canyon , and I read it’s meaning is brown house.


    I am very to this chase, and can’t seem to figure out where to start. Any suggestions?

    • JC1117 says:

      Welcome, Victor.

      There are many places where warm waters halt.

      Pick one.

      A lot of people like Colter’s Hell and Yellowstone National Park.

      There are a LOT of places in the Rocky Mountains.

      Sorry. That doesn’t help…does it. :/

  24. Bownarrow says:

    WWWH is about the only element that I have confidence in. After I found it I wondered why it had taken me so long to find it.

    Although I now have a starting point, it has not made the task of knowing where to go from there any easier. I have had many ideas, but the relative weakness of the evidence supporting any of these ideas compared to the strength of the evidence supporting WWWH leaves me unconvinced that I have made any real further progress.

  25. Apryl rose says:

    Here is a possible warm water halts ….

  26. sandra says:

    How about it he means, the opposite-so instead of “warm water halts”; you would get; where cold water begins? Or something to that affect?

  27. Tracy Hulson says:

    North of Santa Fe N.M. are the historical WWWH (moving warm water on the train tracks and coming to a halt for high water tower tanks where heavy loads (steam engine train) has to stop every 10-15 miles to fill up. At one of the water tanks is the off road canyon down and it’s a short walk to the River Canyon. I can see trees, mountains, pine and sagebrush.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *