The 2024 Guide to Visiting Crystal Crane Hot Springs

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Nestled amidst the wild remoteness of eastern Oregon lies a hidden gem awaiting those seeking solace and rejuvenation: Crystal Crane Hot Springs. This hot spring is tucked away in the middle of a sagebrush prairie and stands out as an oasis beckoning travelers along this lonely stretch of highway.

As you embark on a journey to Crane Hot Springs, you’ll find yourself traversing from the lush forests of Western Oregon, through the high deserts of Central Oregon, and into the remote landscapes of Eastern Oregon, setting the stage for a retreat like no other.

Crane Hot Springs may be miles from nowhere but the journey is well worth it once you’ve arrived.

Soaking Pool at Crane Hot Springs
Photo credit Crane Hot Springs

Where is Crane Hot Springs

Crane Hot Springs is located in the Southeastern portion of the state approximately 25 minutes outside of Burns, Oregon. From Portland or Bend, the drive is around 5 1/2 hours or 2 1/2 hours, respectively.

Prepare for a very remote drive either way as the roads out to the hot springs are lightly traveled even on the busiest of days.

Crane Hot Springs Pool at night
Photo credit Crane Hot Springs

In fact we were questioning whether Google Maps was even correct during the last stages of the drive as it felt like the scrub brush prairies were going on forever and there was no way a hot spring would be out there!

But eventually, like an oasis rising out of the desert, the teepees and steam rising from the hot springs were the telltale signs that we were on the right path.

About the Hot Springs

Oregon is home to hundreds of natural hot springs scattered across the state. Many of these exist in remote areas with minimal improvements while others have been built up as destinations.

Crane Hot Springs was originally built up as a hot spring resort in the 1920’s. Over the years it has taken on a variety of iterations but the work to make it the resort that it is today began in earnest in the late 1990’s by current owners Dan and Denise Kryger.

Crane Hot Springs and cabins
Photo credit Crane Hot Springs

The main soaking pool was totally rebuilt by the current owners and is deep enough for adults to swim and move around to the warmer and cooler parts of the pool. The hottest parts of the pool (near the waterfall from the pumphouse-looking building and by the rocks near the entrance to the pool) are extremely warm bordering on too hot (not a bad thing!)

For those looking to spend a night or two, the resort features a variety of lodging options from cabins to lodge rooms to teepees with private hot tubs fed with water from the warm springs (this was our lodging option and it was fantastic!), to RV and tent camping spots.

Visiting the Springs

Crane Hot Springs welcomes both overnight and day-use visitors to use the main soaking pool or private soaking tubs.

We found the prices to be very reasonable, around $40 for a day pass for a family of 4 with two adults and two kids.

If you’re staying the night then admission to the public pool is included. This also allows you to enjoy the pool 24 hours a day. We highly recommend enjoying a night soak as the night sky views out in this remote part of Oregon are incredible.

Our Visit to Crane Hot Springs

We made our first visit to Crane Hot Springs on an unseasonably chilly early April weekend. On our drive out from Bend, we passed through numerous snow squalls that made parts of the drive a little dicey at times!

Once we arrived at the springs it was cold, windy, and cloudy but I would consider that about the perfect weather for hot spring soaking!

Our Lodging at the Springs

Eagles Nest Teepee at Crane Hot Springs
Photo credit Crane Hot Springs

Our lodging for the night was in the Eagles Nest Teepee which is situated near the parking lot (this area is so remote that traffic noise is not an issue at all!)

We were a little nervous going in as there was no mention of any heat source in the teepee and the forecast called for temperatures outside to be in the teens. We ended up way overpacking as we brought sleeping bags just in case the kids ended up getting cold.

It was all for naught though as the teepee, which has two queen beds, has both electric heated blankets and a large forced air heater that kept us plenty warm during the night.

The best feature in the room though is the large soaking tub that can be filled with water directly from the hot springs. This meant that we could fill it, go soak in the public springs, then hop in the warm tub after a chilly walk back to the teepee.

The teepee also has a firepit outside so we were able to have a campfire and keep the kids busy and fed with hotdogs and marshmallows.

Private Soaking tub with view
Photo credit Crane Hot Springs

Dining Options During Your Stay

There is no restaurant at Crane Hot Springs so be prepared with your own meals or you’ll be driving to pick up some food in Burns.

There is an indoor kitchen area and outside grills that can be used to cook meals. We really enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and chatting with folks who were making their way back north after spending the winter down south in warmer weather.

The kitchen is equipped with pots, pans, plates, silverware, and some basic condiments that other folks have left behind. There are also tables and chairs if you want to dine there rather than bring food back to your room or camping spot.

And Now the Most Important Part – The Hot Springs!

The hot springs themselves are obviously the main attraction here at the resort! We were pleasantly surprised by how large the main pool was and how nice the facilities were.

The pool has a couple of entry points and gradually slopes down to 7 feet deep in the middle. It was nice to be able to swim around the pool a bit and find different areas with warmer and cooler temperatures.

The pool, on average, sits at around 98 – 100 degrees but there are a few areas that get quite a bit hotter.

picnic tables, soaking pool, and RV parking at crane hot springs
Photo credit Crane Hot Springs

Even though the resort was fully booked when we visited the pool never felt crowded or busy.

We especially enjoyed our night soak as this part of Oregon has incredible night sky viewing and it is surreal to be out in the middle of nowhere soaking in a hot springs while looking up at some of the most incredible stars you’ll ever see!

What to Bring to the Hot Springs

YMMV but here’s what we brought on our trip to the hot springs:

  • Swimsuits (duh)
  • Robes and sandals: it can be a chilly walk from your room to the springs in the cooler months
  • Towels: some rooms include towels but we liked having extras as we were in and out of the springs A LOT
  • Preprepared Food: less time cooking means more time soaking!
  • Firewood: make use of those fire pits!
  • Flashlight: it’s a very dark walk back to your sleeping spot after a nighttime soak
  • Jetboil & coffee: There is coffee available at the front desk but we liked enjoying a cup of our own in the soaking tub. It was also nice to warm up a cup of noodles for the kids.

Other Things to Know

  • There is no alcohol allowed in the hot springs
  • Day use hours are from 7am to 10pm daily
  • There are no services near the hot springs so fill up your gas tank in Burns
  • Book your lodging early as it, especially the teepees, is a very popular destination

Booking a Stay at Crane Hot Springs

All bookings for the hot springs are done directly on the Crane Hot Springs website. The more popular rooms get booked up early so plan ahead!

There is no need for advanced reservations for day-use visits.

Other Things to Do Near Crane Hot Springs

Crane Hot Springs sit just north of the Steens Mountains and Alvord Desert which offer some wild adventuring opportunities like hiking, more hot spring soaking, visits to remote Oregon towns, and playing on the Avord Desert playa.

To the north of the springs is the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness which is, in our opinion, one of the most underrated hiking and camping spots in the entire Pacific Northwest.

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