The 10 Best Natural Hot Springs in Oregon

0
53

Although you can find natural hot springs throughout the United States, Oregon has among the highest concentration of any state.

These mineral-rich geothermal pools are found in a wide variety of locations, including in the middle of the Oregon desert to deep in the Cascade Mountains. Some are extremely remote while others are easy to access from Portland, Eugene, and Bend. To make finding the perfect hot spring easier, we’ve rounded up a few of our very favorite.

Here are 10 of the best natural hot springs in Oregon.

Best Natural Hot Springs in Oregon

All of the hot springs we’ve rounded up here are naturally-occurring. However, many do have basic improvements. These include manmade pools, wooden walkways, and sometimes even bathhouses. Although some of these hot springs are free, others cost a small fee to access despite their primitive, largely undeveloped nature.

1.     Umpqua Hot Springs

Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon

Location: Umpqua Wilderness

Don’t leave Umpqua Hot Springs off your list of the best Oregon hot springs to visit on your next trip.

Arguably one of the most popular in the entire state, this geothermal area consists of one large pool (with covered roof) and several smaller pools. These pools are beautifully terraced down a hillside to the flowing Umpqua River below. You can expect roughly 108°F water temperatures here.

Umpqua Hot Springs does require a short hike to reach. During the summer, this is a short but steep 1/4-mile hike from the small parking lot below. In the winter months, a longer 2-mile hike is necessary. Nude bathing is common here.

Learn more about Umpqua Hot Springs.

2.     Bigelow Hot Spring

Boardwalk Near Willamette National Forest

Location: Willamette National Forest

You’re in for a real treat when you make the trek to the beautiful Bigelow Hot Spring in the Willamette National Forest.

Set on the banks of the McKenzie River, near its confluence with Deer Creek, this popular hot spring is about an hour drive from Eugene. It consists of a single rock-lined pool just a few feet from the river. Locals sometimes refer to this area as Deer Creek Hot Springs instead.

Unfortunately, this is more of a warm spring than a hot spring. If you prefer a long soak, then this will work in your favor. However, those that prefer blistering hot-tub like temperatures might be in for a letdown. That said, the incredible beauty of the surrounding forest is well worth a trip in its own right.

Learn more about Bigelow Hot Spring.

3.     Cougar Hot Springs

Terwilliger Hot Springs in Oregon

Location: Cougar Reservoir

Also referred to as Terwilliger Hot Springs, Cougar Hot Springs is another incredibly popular natural hot springs in Oregon.

Although you’ll have to deal with heavy crowds, especially during the busy summer months, visiting this series of six geothermal pools is well worth it. A $6 fee, paid to an attendant at the beginning of the trail, grants you entry. All six pools have slightly different temperatures plus there is the nearby river to cool down in if you start to heat up too much.

All of this is set in a gorgeous forested setting surrounded by trees. Additional amenities include two changing facilities with included restrooms, making this a semi-developed hot spring if we’re being honest. Nude bathing is common here so understand that going in. The pools are cleaned on a regular basis by the hot springs staff.

Learn more about Cougar Hot Springs.

4.     Bagby Hot Springs

Bagby Hot Springs in Oregon

Location: Mount Hood National Forest

Tucked away deep inside the beautiful Mount Hood National Forest, the historic Bagby Hot Springs draws visitors from all over Oregon.

This popular Oregon hot springs is notable for a handful of manmade develops, including wooden tubs for soaking, to make the experience more comfortable. All of the soaking tubs are located on a wooden deck and many have partially-covered roofs. All of this surrounded by ancient old growth trees and sun-dappled light. 

Getting to Bagby Hot Springs requires a short hike to reach. Car camping is available near the parking area while backcountry camping is available just past the hot springs.  

Learn more about Bagby Hot Springs.

5.     Breitenbush Hot Springs

River Water Flowing Over Rock

Location: Willamette Foothills

Breitenbush Hot Springs is an Oregon institution for lovers of the outdoors.

This geothermal paradise is located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Mount Jefferson in the stunning Willamette Foothills. It consists of three rock-lined pools and a handful of tubs just off of the Breitenbush River. All of this set in an area of immense natural beauty is sure to make this hot spring adventure a one in a lifetime treat.

Note that Breitenbush Hot Springs is more developed than others on this list. In fact, it toes the line of a hot springs resort thanks to its temperature-controlled waters (101, 105, 108°F pools), on-site showers and restrooms, and nearby dining and lodging options. 

Learn more about Breitenbush Hot Springs.

6.     McCredie Hot Springs

Road Through Willamette National Forest

Location: Willamette Foothills

McCredie Hot Springs is small and primitive but it’s well worth a stop while traveling through the Willamette National Forest.

As one of the best rustic hot springs in Oregon, McCredie is very popular thanks to its convenient location next to the highway. It’s also less than an hour’s drive to Eugene, making it a popular destination for locals and college students alike. Visit early in the morning on a weekday if possible to avoid crowds.

Despite its popularity, McCredie Hot Springs is little more than two rock-lined pools, one on each side of Salt Creek. Temperatures change day by day. You can also change the temperature on the fly by adjusting the rocks to let in more river water. Or, jump into the nearby river when you get too hot.

Learn more about McCredie Hot Springs.

7.     Barnes Warm Springs

Antelope in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

A trip to southeastern Oregon isn’t complete without a stopover at Barnes Warm Springs near Malheur.

Just minutes from the small town of Frenchglen, Barnes Warm Springs consists of a small rock-lined pool with incredibly clear waters. A sandy bottom ensures you won’t cut up your feet while visiting.

This warm spring is located in an absolutely fantastic setting. Unlike many Oregon hot springs tucked away in forests, the 0.8-mile hike to Barnes boasts long, open views all around. You’ll pass the historic hotel on your way in and the warm springs itself is located near an abandoned homestead. Animal visitors, especially deer and antelope, are common here.

Learn more about Barnes Warm Springs.

8.     Antelope Hot Springs

Antelope Natural Hot Springs in Oregon

Location: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Reaching Antelope Hot Springs, also called Hart Mountain Hot Springs, isn’t for the faint of heart.

Visiting this top Oregon hot springs requires a long drive down rough dirt roads that are often inaccessible (even by high-clearance 4-wheel-drive) after heavy rains or snow. The remote location is the icing on the cake in terms of its inaccessibility. But the remote location has its benefits. No matter the time of the year, there’s a good chance you’ll be the only visitor.

And, boy, the difficult drive is worth it. Antelope Hot Springs has two main pools, one hemmed in by rock and concrete, both kept between 100°F and 105°F. Unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape are available from wherever you choose to relax. Pit toilets, rustic campgrounds, and dispersed camping are all located nearby.

Learn more about Antelope Hot Springs.

9.     Paulina Lake Hot Springs

Paulina Lake in Oregon

Location: Central Oregon

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more tranquil hot springs in all of Oregon – nay, the entire Pacific Northwest.

Deceptively located on the shores of Paulina Lake, this non-commercial hot spring is tucked away on the lake’s sandy beach among tall reeds and grass. The pools themselves are very primitive. They’re usually just dug out of the rocky sand and sometimes lined with logs.

Most of the pools (there are about 5 total) are small and fit just one person. The water temperature ranges from 90°F to 110°F (however, it’s usually on the cooler side). Cool off with a swim in the lake when you get too hot. This area is also notable for the Paulina Lake Loop Trail, a 7.8-mile loop that circles the entirety of this gorgeous lake.

Learn more about Paulina Lake Hot Springs.

10.  East Lake Hot Springs

Spring Water on Stones

Location: Newberry Volcanic National Monument.

Visit East Lake Hot Springs for a much different experience than most of the other best hot springs in Oregon provide.

For starters, the water here is truly hot. Expect temperatures of anywhere from 100°F all the way up to 120°F. Make sure to test the water before entering and follow all hot springs safety best practices.

These hot springs are located on the shores of East Lake. You’ll usually have to dig your own soaking pool out of the sand (and line it with rocks and logs). Dig your pool closer to the lake to better regulate the temperature. Even though the hike in is short at a little over ¼-mile, you’re unlikely to see other soakers, as most people head to nearby Paulina Lake Hot Springs instead.

Learn more about East Lake Hot Springs.

Best Developed Hot Springs in Oregon

Hot Springs Barn Structure at Summer Lake Hot Springs in Oregon

Not a fan of primitive hot springs? Prefer something a little less rustic?

Then a visit to a more developed hot spring might be for you. Luckily, Oregon is home to a host of hot spring spas and resorts just waiting for you to take a dip.

Here are a handful of the best developed hot springs in Oregon:

  • Alvord Hot SpringsLocated in southeastern Oregon’s remote Alvord Desert, Alvord Hot Springs is a unique hot springs resort that blends a rustic atmosphere with modern amenities and services.
  • Crystal Crane Warm SpringsAnother remote hot springs in Oregon, Crystal Crane Warm Springs has long drawn visitors from all over the country to relax in its therapeutic waters. This Burns-area hot springs also offers a variety of bunkhouses, cabins, and glamping options. 
  • Cove Warm SpringsLong a landmark in northeastern Oregon, Cove Warm Springs is a popular place to soak in the natural mineral springs. The large pool is naturally heated to a comfortable 86°F for all-day family-friendly swimming. Limited tent and RV camping is available onsite, although plenty of other lodging is available in nearby La Grande.
  • Jackson Well SpringsThis Ashland hot springs resort is unbeatable for year-round swimming in a naturally-heated geothermal pool. Daytime swimming is perfect for children of all ages while after-dark hours are clothing optional and reserved for adults only. Other amenities include on-site camping (including tepee rental) and spa services (including relaxing massage).
  • Summer Lake Hot SpringsYou’ll be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque natural hot springs in the Pacific Northwest than Summer Lake Hot Springs just two hours away from Bend. These natural mineral springs heat several large pools across the property, including natural stone-lined pools as well as a covered concrete pool in a historic barn-like bathhouse.

All of these developed hot springs are perfect for those that prefer a slightly more luxurious hot spring experience compared to trekking to a natural hot spring – some even have on-site lodging, such as rustic cabins!

Check Out Our Favorite Hot Springs in Other States!

Natural Hot Springs in Oregon

Sure, Oregon has a lot of great hot springs to explore – but so do many other states. Here are a few of our favorites:

Still want more info on the best natural hot springs? Our ultimate guide to natural hot springs is filled with safety tips, etiquette best practices, and how to find the best off-the-radar hot springs in the United States.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here