Hot springs are one of nature’s best gifts to humankind. Bubbling right out of the earth are these natural hot tubs, just waiting to soak away your cares while you relax surrounded by forests, mountains, starry night skies, and the like. Oregon has many amazing hot springs situated in several equally amazing settings. From well-known hot spots (pun intended) like Bagby Hot Springs to hot springs, you’ll have to work to get to, and even clothing-optional hot springs, find your toasty bliss with this list of the best hot springs in Oregon.
Bagby Hot Springs
Bagby Hot Springs is most likely the most well-known and popular of Oregon’s many hot springs. Located in the Mount Hood National Forest, it's about two hours from Portland, which contributes to its popularity. To get there, you’ll need to walk 1.5 miles through the forest, which is beautiful, but keep that in mind in poorer weather! Once you arrive, you’ll find three bathhouses with wooden soaking tubs. There may be a wait during peak times, but once you dip your toes into a tub of your own, it will be worth it. Bagby Hot Springs is under construction as of 2019, so check before you go to make sure all soaking tubs are open.
Belknap Hot Springs
While many hot springs are not developed at all or only sparsely developed, Belknap Hot Springs offers a well-developed alternative. Located about an hour east of Eugene, its two soaking pools are tiled and look much like swimming pools complete with decks and chairs to relax in. Belknap is part of a property that also has gardens, some lodge rooms, RV sites, cabins, home rentals, and campsites, so it’s an easy hot spring for not just a soak, but a vacation. For most of the year, only guests of the lodge can use both pools, while anyone with a day pass is relegated to the lower pool. Swimsuits are required, and children must be out of diapers (or swim diapers) to enter. Nearby, play in the McKenzie River; see lava beds or waterfalls near Sisters, Oregon; or even go skiing at Hoodoo Ski Bowl about 30 minutes away if the season is right.
Breitenbush Hot Springs
Breitenbush Hot Springs is located in Mount Hood National Park and only a couple hours from Portland. You’ll find hot springs, but also a retreat for both day visitors and overnight guests. There are three natural hot springs on the 154-acre property—one is a silent pool where you can relax and ponder life’s mysteries in peace, while the other two allow conversation. All of the springs are ringed by river rocks and overlook a meadow. There’s also a steam sauna and a cold pool for a quick plunge to complete the experience. This retreat and conference center also offers well-being programs from yoga to dance, organic and vegetarian meals three times a day for guests, massage, hiking trails, and even a labyrinth modeled after the one at Chartres Cathedral in France.
Cougar Hot Springs is also known as Terwilliger Hot Springs and is a solid favorite, meaning you likely won’t be the only person there. It’s approximately an hour away from Eugene and offers six pools to soak in. The pools are surrounded by rock walls, of sorts, and cascade down a ravine, so that each is a little lower than the one next to it. The temperatures vary with the hottest pool being 112 degrees F and the "coldest" is 90 degrees F. The pools range from 3 to 12 feet across and are up to 3 feet deep. A perk of visiting these hot springs is that the hike into the Willamette Forest to get to them is only about a 1/4-mile. Clothing is optional.
Located in Harney County, Crane Hot Springs is a small resort that’s all about relaxation. There are a few options to soak in the hot springs here—a cedar-enclosed bathhouse, on the back porch of your overnight accommodations, or the large hot springs pond. The pond is more than 300,000 gallons and 7 feet deep at its center (so even the tallest people can fully submerge!). Accommodations on-site include RV sites and campsites, but also a surprising variety of places to stay from a fifth-wheel camper to romantic cabins with soaking tubs on the back porch to a private teepee with an equally private soaking tub. The surrounding area is filled with natural attractions, hiking, and a wide-open high desert.
McCredie Hot Springs
Less than an hour out of Eugene, McCredie Hot Springs is in the Willamette National Forest, and unlike most hot springs on this list, they are free to visit! However, the only facilities are a small parking lot and a restroom. There are a few rock-lined and silt-bottomed pools along the Salt Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River. Be warned—the pool temperatures are not always the same and can get as hot as 130 degrees F, so you’d be wise to dip a hand or toe in before you get in. The pools are clothing optional. An interesting factoid is that these hot springs were once the site of an early 20th-century resort. Nearby is Salt Creek Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls in Oregon.
If what you seek is a genuinely rustic hot spring experience coupled with a little history, Ritter Hot Springs is the place for you. The small town of Ritter was established in the 1800s and has been famous for its healing mineral waters ever since. You can still explore buildings from the old city of Ritter nearby, but the hotel itself feels straight out of the Wild West era. You can also stay in cabins or campsites. The hot spring is complemented by a large swimming pool, and don’t miss the “shower” that dumps lovely hot water straight down your back for an instant massage.
While some hot springs are rustic treasures in the middle of nowhere, others offer more of a retreat experience. Summer Lake Hot Springs is one of the latter. Located in the stunningly beautiful Paisley, Oregon, in what’s called Oregon’s Outback, Summer Lake offers 145 acres of sheer beauty…and some hot springs too. The hot springs are rustic with rock walls, yet maintained, and there’s a larger indoor pool as well. They are naturally around 110 degrees F. You can stay right on the property in cabins or vacation homes that all come with geothermically heated floors, or at one of the RV or camping sites. There’s plenty to do in the area, including festivals throughout the year, hiking, fishing on the Chewaucan River, or venture to Picture Rock Pass to see some ancient petroglyphs.
Umpqua Hot Springs
Tucked into the Cascades in Central Oregon about an hour from I-5, Umpqua Hot Springs has three pools that descend a hillside that overlooks the North Umpqua River below. The pools increase in heat the farther you get from the river, and the one on the highest ground has a shelter decorated with artwork over it. While there is a fee to use the pools, the facilities are rustic. Clothing is optional. There isn’t a ton nearby other than straight-up nature, but if you want to stay overnight, the Toketee Campground is your closest bet.