Oregon is home to an abundance of natural hot springs, and many of them are nestled near mountain creeks or along rivers. Some require hiking in, while others have convenient parking lots adjacent to the pools. Whether you prefer a completely natural hot spring lined with rock, silt, and gravel, or a more manicured option with beautiful wooden tubs and decks to relax on, you can find what you’re looking for in Oregon. Don’t be surprised when you realize that Oregon’s hot springs tend to be clothing-optional — but feel free to keep your swimsuit on if you prefer. After settling into your Oregon vacation rental, remember to bring a towel as you make way to these phenomenal natural hot springs.
1. Terwilliger Hot Springs
Terwilliger Hot Springs, also known as Cougar Hot Springs, sits at the end of a quarter-mile trail in Willamette National Forest, which is southeast of Salem and just west of Bend. Six beautiful soaking pools let you relax in temperatures ranging from 85 to 112 degrees while you gaze up into the treetops overhead or let yourself be mesmerized by the Rider Creek waterfall spilling into the lagoon. These popular pools are not for the modest, however, as they’re clothing-optional – though the park rangers do ask that you keep any public nudity hidden from the Aufderheide Scenic Byway nearby. Alcohol is also prohibited at these hot springs, so keep that bottle of local wine in your car to enjoy back at your vacation rental. Check with the park rangers before you go to make sure the roads and the pools are open.
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2. Deer Creek Hot Springs
Deer Creek Hot Springs, which is also known by the name Bigelow Hot Springs, is an intimate pool that holds just a few people tucked away on the banks of the McKenzie River. Find this cozy pool about 60 miles from Eugene. Parking is free, and it’s just a short stroll from the parking lot down to the river and the hot spring. Deer Creek is another clothing-optional pool, so most people don’t consider it appropriate to bring the kids along. Feel every muscle in your body relaxing as you ease your way into this perfectly heated pool, which is a natural 102 to 104 degrees during the summer. During winter, the ambient air temperature often chills down the pool to make it less comfortable for soaking.
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3. Bagby Hot Springs
If you’ve chosen the Clackamas River Basin as your beautiful vacation destination, take a side trip to Bagby Hot Springs. The hike in along the Collawash River runs about 1.5 miles, so you need to be in pretty good shape to enjoy this secluded spot. Keep your camera handy, as the trail provides some spectacular views. You can visit Bagby Hot Springs at any time because the site is open 24 hours a day. The springs fill private soaking tubs inside three large cedar bathhouses, so this spot is popular even during the winter. Once you’re on the bathing decks, Bagby is clothing-optional, but clothes are required in all open areas. Expect a bit of a wait during summertime or holiday weekends. Don’t be surprised to see volunteers from the Northwest Forest Conservancy stopping by to help ensure a positive atmosphere.
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4. McCredie Hot Springs
If your journey to your vacation rental takes you along the Willamette Pass Highway southeast of Eugene, you’re in prime position to visit McCredie Hot Springs. These springs are shallow and lined with natural rock, and their silt bottoms make them safe and easy to move around in. The temperature of these pools can vary along a pretty wide range, so ask others you find how hot the water is, or even take a thermometer along to test before you dip a toe in. As is often the case in Oregon hot springs, clothing is optional. The hot springs, which lie inside the Willamette National Forest along Salt Creek, have a long history, as they were one of the attractions of a resort (and a bordello!) on this site back in the first half of the 20th century. While the McCredie Hot Springs are free (with a free parking lot as well), don’t come too late, as they’re shut down before night falls.
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5. Umpqua Hot Springs
Get ready for a steep hike that turns out to be worth it when you reach the Umpqua Hot Springs high in the central Cascade Mountains. Your reward is your choice of three ample pools that are situated on top of a mineral deposit near the North Umpqua River. One of the pools has a cover for those times when the weather is less than optimal. These hot pools are open year-round, but be prepared for a longer hike during snow season, as that steep road (a Forest Service access road) isn’t plowed. By now you’ve come to expect clothing-optional hot springs in Oregon, and Umpqua is no exception. Picnic tables await you here, so pack up some munchies at your vacation rental to enjoy a long, satisfying soak.
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