Here’s an idea for your adventure bucket list: Oregon has 43+ hot springs! Did you even know Oregon has hot springs? Before moving out west, my impression of this state were other things, like “Keep Portland Weird,” craft breweries, a growing cannabis industry, camping and hiking the local mountains than the naturally occurring hot mineral springs. My perspective has shifted, and maybe I can help shift yours!
The start of the hot springs adventures
Reportedly, the USA has over 1,000 hot springs across 28 states – and many of them on public lands. While visiting a friend in Colorado, we had the chance to partake in a local hot spring there. Our first taste of how wonderful.
Further on the drive west, we were looking for a place to camp or stay the night. A hot springs in the eastern part of Oregon popped up! While relaxing after a soak, we perused a big photo book of the state’s hot spots.
The next time I went to one was during Burning Man, when I won a chance to go off-site and visit Fly Ranch and its lithium-rich geyser fed hot springs. While chatting with a fellow soaker, he told me about hot springs in southern Oregon that people often stop at overnight on their way back north after Burning Man.
In keeping with my “See America Differently” I am now adding exploring Oregon Hot Springs to my adventure bucket list. Pssst, one of the ones we visited is listed on my favorite app – Roadside America.
Taking to the Waters
Read any of the websites or historical information about hot springs, and almost all will tout the healing benefits of soaking in the waters. Native Americans believed that the healing waters should benefit all, and declared such areas as sacred so all tribes could participate, even warring factions. Pioneers often promoted the minerals as healthy, which may have been good since their access to advance medicine was basically non-existent.
“Because of the unique nature of hot springs, the exact content of each one will vary to some degree. But regardless of the little differences, most Oregon hot springs contain over 13 different minerals: sulfur, silica, calcium, sodium, bicarbonate, boron, magnesium, selenium, potassium, bromine, fluorine, lithium, and iron.” – Oregon Discovery . Lithium? Isn’t that an antidepressant? While it is used by pharma for various mental issues, it is considered a “feel good” ingredient. The trace amounts in hot springs may improve your mood, but not at a dose level. Or, as a guide once said, “Careful, the hot springs may incur ‘Never-wanna-leave-itis.”
A stop at an Eastern Oregon hot spring
Crystal Crane Hot Springs, Burns OR
Southern Oregon Hot Springs
Hunters Hot Spring, Lakeview OR
Summer Lake Hot Spring
Are you inspired to try a hot spring? For us, we’ve checked off three and have 39+ more to go.
Not in Oregon? Try finding one near you with this map: