While Oregon is known for its picturesque forests and moody coastline, not many are aware of all of the geothermal activity in the region. Next time you’re checking out skiing in the Cascades or whitewater rafting down the Deschutes River, consider extending your trip to one or more of these amazing hot springs near Bend, Oregon.
Whether you’re alone, on a romantic getaway, or enjoying a trip for the whole family, soaking in the naturally heated mineral water of the Pacific Northwest is an option everyone will be on board with. Oftentimes, lodging is available on-site, or close-by, in the form of hotels, cabins and camping.
Paulina Lake Hot Springs – 39.2 miles
The primitive Paulina Lake Hot Springs sits on the edge of a grassy beach off of Paulina Lake just south of Bend in the volcanic area of Deschutes National Forest. Although the nearby Newberry Volcano’s last eruption was over 1,300 years ago, it continues to contribute to the warm waters.
Seasonal road closures block access for parts of the year, so plan on visiting late spring through early summer. With the sulfurous water at a warm–not hot–95℉, warmer days are best for enjoying your time here.
Drive to the campground then walk or take a kayak to access the springs via the lake. For extra exercise, take the Paulina Lake Loop trail all around the lake. The mountainous views are well worth the 7.8-mile hike. Those looking to overnight under the stars can pitch a tent at Little Crater Campground about a mile from the springs.
Deer Creek (Bigelow) Hot Springs – 66.2 miles
If you aren’t looking for Deer Creek (Bigelow) Hot Springs, you might miss it as it blends into the beautiful banks of the McKenzie River. Damned up with rocks, the water remains between 102℉ and 104℉ year-round. Two to four people can fit comfortably, and it’s about 1.5 feet deep, so bring a friend or two to soak!
Listen to the rushing water of the river go by as you follow up your hot soak with a cold dip just a few steps away. To reach the springs, it’s a very short walk from the parking area. Campers can set up in Paradise and Olallie Campgrounds. Both are a few minutes away and are also in the Willamette National Forest near the small village of McKenzie Bridge.
Belknap Hot Springs – 69.9 miles
Drive a bit further from Bigelow, and you’ll find Belknap Hot Springs, a resort open year-round that’s named after the man who initially developed the area in 1869. With a plethora of overnight cabin options that overlook the McKenzie River, it’s a perfect weekend getaway. Pets are allowed in some spaces, and R.V. and campsites are also available.
Two mineral-rich springs are surrounded by acres of masterfully landscaped gardens that heighten the relaxation that begins in the 102-104℉ water. It’s a peaceful place where you can go off the grid with limited internet access.
For guests looking for some action between soaks, guided rafting tour reservations and mountain bike rentals can be made from the front desk, and there are horseshoe pits and picnic areas on-site. Hiking trails are plentiful, too!
McCredie Hot Springs – 87.2 miles
The McCredie Hot springs are re-built by volunteers each year on both sides of Salt Creek after they are washed away by high water levels in the spring. Two to four pools filled with 100-105℉ water are available depending on the time of year, and with a maximum depth of two feet, don’t count on going neck-deep in hot water if you come in the winter.
While the dense forest that surrounds the springs and the rushing water of the creek is picturesque, you’ll lose cell service, so be sure to have a plan before you go. After pulling off into the parking area, it’s a 0.3-mile, easy-to-follow hike from parking. Bring boots, as it can get muddy!
McCredie Hot Springs is within Willamette National Forest, and nighttime closure is enforced. If you’re up for further exploration, head to Salt Creek Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Oregon! It’s a quick 15 minutes up the road.
Cougar (Terwilliger) Hot Springs – 88.5 miles
Cougar (Terwilliger) Hot Springs is tucked into the wild forest of Willamette National Forest and hosts four soaking pools that step down in levels. The water in the highest pool, fed by the source and Rider Creek Waterfall, is 112℉ and gets progressively cooler as it drains further down, hitting 85℉ in the lowest. Built mainly of bedrock, the bottoms can also contain sand, gravel, and debris.
From the parking area, you can hike up Rider Creek Trail aka Cougar Hot Springs Trail 0.25 miles to reach the springs. They are quite big with a maximum total capacity of 50 people, but everyone must leave at night. Springs are for day-use only–sundown closure is strictly enforced–but camping can be found nearby in the Cougar Recreation Area.
Breitenbush Hot Springs – 90 miles
Breitenbush Hot Springs is more on-par with a sustainability-focused wellness center than a hot spring, offering use of the facilities through day use in addition to personal retreats, massages, and workshops. It’s a worker-owned cooperative where you can reconnect with yourself and nature, there is no internet, limited electricity, and no drugs or alcohol.
Guests have access to multiple types of mineral soaks. SpiralTubs are sunken, stone hot tub-like structures of varying temperatures (100-110℉) while a cold plunge cooled by the river is available for those who are daring. The steam sauna is a cedar cabin over a capped geyser with outdoor bathtubs. Meadow Pools provide a place to soak in silence near the river, surrounded by nature.
Rustic cabins, camping, and lodge rooms are available for anyone wanting to spend more time here. Overnight guests at Breitenbush Hot Springs receive the added benefits of vegetarian buffet meals as well as yoga and meditation classes. Located inside a 150-acre wildlife sanctuary, the 20+ miles of hiking trails stemming from the springs are a wonderful way to relax.
A gift shop, a meditative labyrinth, a sweat lodge, occasional concerts, and a firepit all contribute to the relaxing atmosphere.
Bend is a great place to start a trip to Oregon, but it’s just the beginning. Exploring those craft breweries in one of Oregon’s most popular towns might not be a family affair, but relaxing in some naturally heated mineral water in nature is! So grab your swimsuit and hit the road. Nature is calling.
Discover other amazing Oregon hot springs for your Pacific Northwest itinerary.