10 Magical Oregon Hot Springs That Are Off the Beaten Path

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you and it helps support our future adventures.

There is something magical about walking down a lush forest trail or through a desolate desert landscape and coming upon a natural hot spring bubbling up from underground. Well, in Oregon, this dream can be a reality as the state is filled with hot springs that range from built-up resorts (although none of them are all that bougie) to small rock walls built along the edge of a river to trap the warm water seeping up from the rocks.

Most, if not all, of the hot springs in the state have been discovered in one way or another at this point, but many, due to their remote location, are rarely visited, which makes them the perfect place to escape when you just need to get away.

So, if you’re looking for a hot spring in the remote wilds of eastern Oregon or surrounded by the lush forests of the Cascade Mountains, follow along as we take you on a tour of 10 amazing Oregon hot springs that are a bit off the beaten path.

Terwilliger Hot Springs

Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs in Oregon under snow in winter
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Terwilliger Hot Springs, also known as Cougar Hot Springs, is a clothing-optional hot spring tucked away along the hillsides above the Cougar Reservoir in the Central Oregon Cascades. Getting to the springs requires a relatively easy 1/2 mile walk, although this can be tricky in heavy rain or snow during the winter months.

The hot springs themselves are built into the hillside in a series of four pools that range from over 110 degrees Fahrenheit at the top to the mid-80s at the bottom. There is a day-use fee collected at the trailhead, which helps fund the weekly cleaning of the area and pools.

Summer Lake Hot Springs

Hot springs out in remote Summer Lake, Oregon.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Located between Central Oregon and Southern Oregon, Summer Lake Hot Springs is a rustic hot springs retreat that maintains a tranquil soaking environment by only allowing property guests to use the hot springs. Getting to the Summer Lake is half the fun as it is a 2-hour minimum drive from pretty much anywhere with its location deep in the Oregon outback.

Staying at the resort can be done at one of their well-appointment cabins, at an RV site, or in a tent. Just watch out for the winds that blow in off the playa and can deposit a layer of fine white dust on all of your equipment!

Bigelow Hot Springs

The McKenzie River near Belknap Hot Springs, Lane County, Oregon
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Bigelow Hot Springs is the epitome of rustic Oregon hot springs. The springs bubble up under a small rock overhang right along the frigid waters of the McKenzie River. A rock wall has been constructed from river stones to keep the water in, but depending on the river flow, season, or whims of the hot spring gods, the pool’s temperature can fluctuate wildly.

There is only one small pool that can accommodate around 6 people, so if you visit on the weekend, prepare to share the pool or wait your turn. Luckily, this area is gorgeous, and you can never go wrong with a short hike along the river while you wait.

Umpqua Hot Springs

Hot springs along the North Umpqua River, a popular nature destination in the national forest.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Umpqua Hot Springs, located along the famous Oregon Waterfall Highway, is one of the most popular hot springs in Oregon and for good reason. The springs themselves are absolutely gorgeous, with deep blue waters that cascade down a number of pools cut into the hillside. These hot springs are some of the warmest in the state with temperatures reaching 115 degrees in the upper pools.

If you’re looking for solitude consider visiting early on weekdays in the shoulder season. During the winter months, the road to the hot springs shuts down, so reaching them requires hiking a couple extra miles each way. Although maybe that’s just all part of the experience!

Belknap Hot Springs

Camping at Belknap Hotspring in Oregon
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

After a scare from the Lookout Fire in the summer of 2023, Belknap Hot Springs, located along the McKenzie River in the Central Oregon Cascades, is ready for another season of inviting hot spring enthusiasts to its relaxing grounds. Tucked away in the middle of this lush forest, this hot springs resort features soaking pools for day visits and overnight guests, a secret garden area, and a bridge over the beautiful Mckenzie River.

In an effort to enhance the experience for resort guests, day passes can only purchased for a single hour on any given day.

Paulina Hot Springs

Paulina Peak reflected in Paulina Lake
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Located within the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, Paulina Lake was formed when the Newberry Caldera collapsed, much like nearby Crater Lake. Today, this lake is a much-visited spot by Central Oregon locals looking to escape the summer heat to fish, boat, and relax in this beautiful environment.

As an added bonus, there is a natural hot spring that bubbles up near the northern shoreline of the lake. While it may not be the most beautiful hot spring pool, it does make for a fun soak, provided you can get to it. It is only accessible by either a 1.5-mile or 7.5-mile hike, depending on which way you’re traveling around the lake. Depending on the depth of the lake the hot springs may be fully exposed or still partially underwater when you visit.

Bagby Hot Springs

Popular natural hot springs Bagby hidden in forest
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Bagby Hot Springs is one of the closest springs to Portland and was shut down for nearly 4 years due to heavy vandalism. Thankfully, a new concessionaire has taken over the site, revitalizing the pools and promising a more peaceful environment for visitors. The hot springs themselves are a treat to visit as they are located at the end of a nearly 1.5-mile trail through a lush Oregon forest.

The hot springs are piped into two separate bathhouses that contain both log and round tubs for visitors to use.

Three Forks Hot Springs

Owyhee River canyon, Oregon
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Three Forks Hot Springs takes the cake as the most remote and inaccessible hot springs on the list. With miles of driving on remote dirt roads, miles more of hiking along the river, and a final river crossing at the end, you’ll definitely earn your soak if you manage to make it to this jaw-dropping spot.

Much of the lands along the hike to the springs are private so be a respectful visitor so future access can be preserved.

Alvord Hot Springs

Young woman soaking in the Alvord Desert Hot spring in southeastern Oregon, with view on the Steens mountain
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

The Alvord Desert has been beckoning adventure seekers for decades, and the nearby Alvord Hot Springs has served as a refuge for those who don’t want to spend the night camping in the middle of a playa, hoping their tent doesn’t blow away. The springs bubble up into a set of manmade concrete soaking pools that look out over this stunning Eastern Oregon landscape.

Because of its small size, access to day-use visitors is limited, so they recommend calling ahead to confirm availability.

Hart Mountain Hot Springs

Hot Springs Oregon Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Like many Eastern Oregon sights, Hart Mountain Hot Springs is a very, very long way from anywhere. But at the end of the day, that is part of the appeal: You spend the day driving through desolate landscapes only to stumble upon this desert oasis surrounded by a whole lot of nothing.

The hot springs consist of a concrete pool with a natural floor where you can watch the water seep up from the rocks. Just a few feet away, there is also a natural pool that is quite a bit shallower and 100% natural in every way. While you may run into another hot spring seeker out here, the odds are good that you’ll have these pools all to yourself.

About the author
Derek Carlson
Pacific Northwest native, cross-country skier, hiker, mountain biker, wannabe fly fisherman, writer and owner of Roam the Northwest