Oregon is famous for its mountainous landscape, natural forests, and fascinating wildlife. Amid these mountains and forests are hot springs known for their healing properties for aching muscles, joints, body, and soul.
From Umpqua National Forest to Willamette National Forest, visitors can find natural steaming pools, where they can spring bathe to improve their blood circulation and get much-needed relaxation. The warmth of the water, breathtaking scenery, the smell of woods, and the tranquility of the forest are the many things everyone needs to experience.
Here are the best hot springs in Oregon to soak your cares away and what to expect during your visit.
The Umpqua Hot Spring boasts three geothermal pools that cascade down the Cliffside Travertine Terrace into the North Umpqua River, with the hottest hot spring at the peak. It is located at the heart of Umpqua National Forest, Southern Oregon, 75 miles away from Crater Lake National Park.
Visitors can use these steaming pools for free. However, vehicle owners/ drivers have to pay a parking fee of $5 or display their northwest forest pass to park vehicles at the trailhead, a two-hour-and-fifteen-minute drive away from Bend.
From the trailhead is a 0.4-mile steep trail through which visitors hike to the steaming pools. However, the path may lengthen up to two miles during snowy weather, when some areas become impassable.
Clothing is optional in the pools, and many visitors prefer going nude. So, don’t be scared to find other visitors in their birthday suits.
Visitors who want to spend days in the area can camp on the Toketee campground, 0.4 miles away from the steaming pools.
While at the bathing site and campground, visitors are advised to use the featured vault toilets or pack their waste to avoid littering the place.
The region does experience wet springs, snowy winters, and sunny summers. And the best time to explore the area is between May and September when the temperatures are moderately hot.
However, the forest service may halt your visit to this hidden paradise for safety reasons. So, you should always check the accessibility of the place with the Oregon road conditions and Federal U.S. forest service before you plan your visit.
Paulina Hot Springs area is perched at the edge of sunken caldera (Paulina Lake), within Deschutes National Forest, and close to Newberry National Volcanic Monument. It features five hand-dug rounded pools of varying temperatures to allow visitors to soak in their most preferred pool. On the same note, the pools are small, limiting them to one person per soaking session.
Visitors willing to explore the Paulina Hot Springs area can do so in the springtime when the hot springs are not submerged in the water and the place isn’t flooded with visitors.
The edge of Little Crater Campground marks the start of the hiking trails to the hot springs. It also offers ample parking space to vehicle owners who visit the hot springs and the campground.
Tourists can access the hot springs through the Paulina Lake Hot Spring Trail or the Hot Springs Spur Trail. The Paulina Lake hot springs trail spans 7.5 miles along the Deschutes forest and is ideal for visitors who want to explore Deschutes National Forest or those who want a more challenging hiking trail.
On the other hand, the hotspur trail stretches 1.2 miles from the trailhead to Paulina Lake, offering the shortest route to this hidden gem.
If you’re tired of being in hot springs, you can try out other amusements in Paulina Lake and its environs, including kayaking, fishing, and exploring attractions in Deschutes National Forest on a recreational vehicle (RV).
Zero fees are charged for touring the area and soaking in the hot springs. However, visitors who decide to stay overnight have to pay some camping fees.
The little crater and Paulina Lake campgrounds are the main campsites where visitors can stay overnight. It’s important to note that each campground charges specific fees for its amenities.
The McCredie Hot Springs is the go-to spot for visitors looking for a hot springing area near Eugene and its environs. It is located in the Willamette National Forest, eight miles to the east of Oakridge and 50 miles to the southeast of Eugene.
The area features up to four shallow, wide, and rock bordered hot springs along the salt creek where visitors can soak and relax. The temperatures of these hot springs keep on fluctuating and can go up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, hot spring enthusiasts are warned to test the warmth of the water before immersing themselves to avoid injuries.
Visitors at the hot springs get to enjoy the onsite parking, which is offered at $5 per vehicle in a day. Soaking in the pools is free of charge and clothing is optional.
Day-trippers who don’t love submerging themselves can enjoy cold dips at the nearby Willamette tributary — the Salt Creek River.
No onsite service is offered at McCredie Hot Springs. For this reason, visitors service are required to pack out all the stuff they bring in, plus any other litter they find in the area, to maintain its pristine quality and preserve it for future generations.
Follow your GPS and head straight to the McCredie Day Use Site to access the McCredie Hot Springs. This is not the actual bathing site, but you can stop over to change your GPS destination to the Shady Gap Road.
The Shady Gap Road should take you to a small bridge across the south side of the salt creek, where you can park your ride. The hot springs are 0.3 miles away from the bridge, and you can access them through the only featured trail.
With fully developed hot springs channeled into two family-size pools, Belknap Hot Springs are the perfect destinations for persons looking for decent soaking spots for their families. It is tucked in Willamette National Forest, along the banks of Mackenzie River, and it’s a one-hour drive from Eugene.
The gem’s duo soaking pools feature concrete tiles to offer a great alternative to visitors who don’t like submerging in the natural steaming pools with silted bases. Visitors who are unwilling to soak in either steaming pools can sit and relax on the luxurious chairs featured on the deck.
Daylight visitors can use the lower pool, while overnight visitors can use both pools.
All the swimmers should dress in swimsuits to enter the pools. Additionally, all the children should be two years old and diaper-free to use the pools. The swimming accessories are available for hire at the front desk.
Visitors who don’t feel like relaxing in Belknap Hot Springs can enjoy cold dips in the Mackenzie River. They can also explore other attractions in the nearby areas, including the lave beds, hoodoo ski bowl, and the Oregon waterfalls near sisters.
Besides the steaming pools, Belknap offers campsites, recreational vehicle lodge rooms, home rentals, cabins, and other facilities accessible at a fee.
Breitenbush Hot Springs is another spot in Oregon where soak lovers can bathe, reconnect with nature and expand their social circles. It lies at the center of Willamette National Forest, 12 miles to the northwest of Mt. Jefferson.
With this rare gem, guests get to enjoy the park’s three steaming pools, each of which can hold up to 10 people. Other soaking opportunities in the place include the four-person four hot tubs featured on a concrete patio and a 12-person cedar sauna.
Solo soakers can enjoy a private time in the claw-foot bathtubs made explicitly for meditation.
The temperature in all the above soaking pools ranges between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimal temperature for washing off bacteria and dirt from the skin.
It’s important to note that all the Breitenbush Hot Springs area services are available on reservation only. That means you should contact the managing team to book a visit and get answers to all questions you might have about the park.
Also, almost all services in this privately owned recreational area are available at a fee. The daylight use rates are $20 per teen (12 to 17 years old) and $40 per adult (18 and above). You can contact the customer care team to ask about the eligibility of the children aged 12 and below.
In addition to soaking, guests in the Breitenbush area can utilize the hiking trails, massage treatments, free organic meals, and other refreshing services on offer.
Those willing to enjoy the warmth of the steaming pools under the stars can rent accommodations at one of the Breitenbush Hot Springs pool accommodation zones, including:
- Outdoor Summer Tent Camping
- Outdoor Summer Platform Tent Camping
- Personal Vehicle Site
- Lodge Rooms
Be advised that Breitenbush Hot Springs does not support internet, cellular service, or any other form of electromagnetic and radio wave transmission. Also, the place does not give room for pets, alcohol, and recreational drugs like marijuana.
All these restrictions are enforced for a good reason — to help you meditate and break away from mundane daily activities.
Bigelow Hot Springs
The Bigelow Hot springs is a day-use-only soaking area. It is perched in the Northern Shores of Mackenzie River, approximately 60 miles east of Eugene. Backpackers can enjoy dipping themselves in the four-person pool featured in the place.
Summer is usually a precious time to tour this lucky find because the waters are moderately hot (between 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit) to give visitors much-needed relaxation. However, this rare find experiences an influx of visitors during the summer, making it hard to access the pool.
So, if you don’t have much time to spend in the area, you can visit the Bigelow Hot Springs in the fall, when most tourists have gone back home.
Clothing is optional in this serene environment, and most visitors enjoy entering the pool unclothed. To access these hot springs, drive along highway 126 of the forest road, which will take you to a parking zone across a small bridge. Park your vehicle at the parking zone and then hike your way to the Bigelow Hot Springs.
Hart Mountain Hot Springs
Hart Mountain Hot springs feature a cluster of steaming pools perched within the borders of the Hart Mountain National Antelope refuge. The main bathing pool is four feet deep. Also, the main pool features landscaped rocks that offer comfortable seating to the hot spring bathers.
One hundred yards from the main pool are underdeveloped and smaller pools, from where visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
The best time to explore the area is during the warmer months, including summer, autumn, and spring. Individuals who don’t like submerging in congestion can wait until autumn when most visitors have returned home.
The pools are limited in space, with the main pool holding up to four bathers per soaking session. This accounts for the long waiting hours during the summer when the area is at its peak.
Clothing is optional in the area. So, don’t be surprised to find other visitors naked.
Besides dipping in the springs, the area also offers other amusements, including rockhounding, fishing, hunting, observing wildlife in their natural habitat, and exploring other attractions in the area.
Reconnect With Nature at the Best Hot Springs in Oregon
Steaming pools offer soaking enthusiasts the best way to relax their aching muscles and joints. They also help the visitors break away from their monotonous activities. While enjoying these best hot springs in Oregon, it’s advisable always to pack everything you bring in, obey the set rules, be respectful, and avoid carrying glass bottles.
Note: Some areas experience natural disasters like wildfires and snowy trails, which may cause closure of the roads and the hiking trails. You should always contact the managing teams to inquire about the accessibility of your chosen destination to avoid frustration at the last minute. It would also help to ask about the hot spring’s regulating policies to conform to them.
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A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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