Sure, hot tubs were cool in the 90’s teen movies of your youth, but the times are changing. Natural hot springs are the new trend, and we want to help you get the inside info on where to try them out in Oregon. Be forewarned: a lot of Oregon’s hot springs come with a “clothing optional” rule (i.e. are not family-friendly), and we’d always recommend bringing a friend when exploring the springs, as some are pretty remote and without cell service. Back to it, whether you’re hoping to absorb the natural powers touted by some hot spring enthusiasts or just looking to go for a dip, here are some of the best places in Oregon to get your hot spring fix.
Crystal Crane Hot Springs
The springs at Crystal Crane offer public and private soaking options and are well developed and maintained. A large communal pool is accessible for a $3.50 day fee, and the private bathing rooms are offered at a $7.50 day use fee. For the full experience, grab some friends and stay in the on-site teepee. Crystal Crane is one of the more family-friendly options among Oregon’s hot springs, and the main pool is large enough that it usually isn’t too crowded.
Cougar/Terwilliger Hot Springs
Located in the Willamette National Forest, Cougar/Terwilliger Hot Springs are tucked among old growth trees and overlooks Rider Creek waterfall. A $6 day use fee with get you access to the five soaking pools that are located about a 1/4 mile from the parking area. Just note that the pools are closed on Thursday mornings for cleanings, and nudity is a popular choice at this particular location.
Bagby Hot Springs
Located at the end of a 1.5 mile hike that meanders through old growth cedars, Bagby Hot Springs is a great choice for a first time hot spring experience. They offer a variety of pools and private bathing rooms for a $5 day use fee. Bagby is a popular spot, so plan to go in the morning or the winter to avoid some of the crowds. Nudity is common, though technically only allowed in the private bathing rooms. The hike alone is worth the trip, and there are several swimming holes along the trail if that’s more your style.
Umpqua Hot Springs
Accessible both from the North Umpqua Trail and a day-use parking lot, Umpqua Hot Springs is a cozy cluster of several pools overlooking the North Umpqua River. Just a short trek uphill from the parking area, you’ll spot the roof a the wooden structure that protects Umpqua’s main pool from the elements. Smaller pools terrace down into the main one, creating lots of soaking space for visitors to enjoy. Sitting high above the river and Surprise Falls, Umpqua offers spectacular, bird’s eye views of the surrounding area.
Deer Creek Hot Springs
Also called Bigelow Hot Springs, this pool is nestled along the edge of the McKenzie River. It’s more warm than hot, but it’s a perfect pool to relax and watch the river flow by even on a more humid summer day. There’s no fee and it’s a short easy hike to access, but keep in mind that its small size means it can get crowded on a busy day.
Willow Creek Hot Springs
Miles away from much of the civilized world, Willow Creek Hot Springs features a single pool out in the middle of southeast Oregon’s high desert region. It’s remote enough that you’ll likely have the wide pool totally to yourself, and the temperature stays pretty constant at a near perfect 102 degrees. Plan ahead for the remoteness of this one, as the closest gas (and unreal milkshakes) is in Fields, Oregon.
Alvord Hot Springs
Small and secluded, Alvord Hot Spring is a hidden gem in SE Oregon. Located at the eastern base of Steens Mountain and on the western edge of the Alvord Desert is a small but well maintained hot spring pool. There is a day use fee of $5, which is well worth it for a soak offering such expansive and gorgeous views. Be sure you have a full tank of gas before making the trek out, as things get pretty remote in this part of Oregon.