Are You Ready for a HOT Spring in the Pacific Northwest? I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not talking about an uncharacteristically sweaty spring season.

Though it’s likely upon us, and if we’re being real, it probably warrants a whole separate discussion about drought and climate change. But I’m putting being a drag on the shelf for a second to instead talk about some much lighter subject matter: hot spring beds!

If you’ve spent much time here in the Pacific Northwest, odds are you’ve visited one of our strongest points of outdoor pride- a natural hot spring. The PNW is home to some of the nation’s most beautiful and natural spots. Whether in the mood for a quick day trip or a weekend excursion; for something luxurious or a bit more back country, you can make it happen with most likely just an hour or two driving and a few bucks.

And if you in fact haven’t yet experienced these little mineral pools of steamy heaven, you’ll have no excuse not to after giving this list a quick read.

(Note: This article intentionally omits Bagby and Breitenbush hot springs. Both are wonderful places for a soak, but since those locations are arguably the most frequented around the Portland area, I wanted to focus on some lesser-known gems.)

Best 5 Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest

Cougar Hot Springs (Officially named Terwilliger Hot Springs)

Cougar Hot Springs: David Berry1/4 mile hike West from Rider Creek Trail #3319
(541) 225-6300
Day-use only from sunrise to sunset
No overnight accommodation (but nearby camping and lodging available)
All ages
$6 per person
Clothing optional

 

This location is the classic public use/hike-in hot spring. Nestled among the absolutely beautiful McKenzie River Valley’s old growth, six rock-formed pools sit at slightly different elevations and thus provide a range of temperatures to choose from.

If looking to do an overnight trip you’ll have to venture a few miles off site, but I mean, camping most anywhere around the McKenzie is hardly a bummer.

And by the way, I would never endorse going to the site after hours and sneaking in because maybe, hypothetically, in my personal experience it was really easy. So just forget about that right now. However, if you ignore my disclaimer and go do that anyway just please remember to prioritize respect for the location and future visitors.

Umpqua Hot Springs (Sometimes called Toketee Hot Springs)

North Umpqua - Dread and Terror and Hot Springs Trails: Scott HillLocation about an hour East of Roseburg on HW 138; full description here
(541) 957-3200
All hours
No overnight accommodation (but 2 campsites at trailhead)
All ages
$5
Clothing optional

 

Similar to Cougar listed above, this is a naturally formed and public hot spring. For some reason there tends to be more of a party vibe at Umpqua than Cougar, so while it may be a bit less family friendly, it’s still a beautiful and relaxing place to visit.

Carson Hot Springs Golf & Spa Resort

Carson Hot Springs: Rick Hawkinson372 St. Martin’s Springs Road, Carson, Washington
(509) 427-8296; carsonreservations@bhsr.us
Pools open 9 am- 8 pm every day
Overnight accommodation available
18 and over only
$20- 25 day-use varied pricing
Clothing optional; separate facilities for men and women

Don’t be deterred by the title! I know I’m not the only one who loses my nature-retreat-erection upon hearing the word “resort,” but you won’t find any pretense or stuffiness at this super charming spot. The history of the place is adorable and its century old facilities remain standing. What’s more, it’s also worth noting that there’s no soaking under the stars at this location, all soaking is done indoors in individual clawfoot tubs.

And in the words of a friend, “It’s so good- they swaddle you!

Yup, swaddle: For $20 during the week or $25 during the weekend, from the hours of 9 am to 6:30 pm, you can get a 25-minute soak in the mineral tub followed by a 25-minute linen “wrap.”

And if you’re looking to stay overnight the rooms are reasonably priced at about $80 to $200 including tax.

Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa

Bonneville Hot Springs Resort Pool: Ninja M.1252 East Cascade Drive North Bonneville, Washington 98639
(509) 427-7767; reservations@bhsr.us
Pools open 8 am- 9 pm every day
Overnight accommodation available
All ages with time restrictions
$25- $45 day-use varied pricing
Bathing suits required in common space

 

 

Remember what I said about ignoring the word “resort” in regards to Carson Hot Springs listed above? Don’t do that so much with Bonneville.

This place is quite similar to Carson in location and services (swaddling available here, too), but the big differences are that it’s family friendly, a little swankier, and a little pricier.

Belknap

Belknap Hot Springs: Don HankinsPO Box 2001 McKenzie Bridge, Oregon 97413
(541) 822- 3512; info@belknaphotsprings.com
Pools open 9 am- 9 pm every day
Overnight accommodation available
All ages
$12 day-use
Bathing suits required

 

This spot is ideal if you’re looking for something between totally public and deluxe private, and has onsite camping and lodging if you’re planning an overnight trip.

This article gives a pretty funny rundown of the history of the hot spring, noting:

“Rollin Simeon Belknap, who traveled from Vermont to San Francisco during the gold rush years, fought in the Rogue River Indian War of 1855 and founded the hot springs resort, complete with a hotel and bathhouse.

In the 1874 Oregon State Journal, for “Those in Search of HEALTH OR PLEASURE,” Belknap wrote, ‘The medicinal properties of the water have been tested by the cure of those who have visited them who have been afflicted with various disease, particularly Female Weakness, Scofula, Rheumatism, Inflammation, both external and internal, and general debility.’”

Who knew all this time the cure for Female Weakness was just a $12 mineral soak away!? See ya there, everyone!

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