My first experience at a hot springs was in Glenwood, Colorado. A huge resort with man made pools, it was pretty awesome to be able to be in a pool and not have that initial shock of cold when you jump in. After that experience, I didn't seek out more hot springs. I didn't even realize that there were natural or rustic ones out there. Now, exploring Oregon, we have realized that it has plenty hot spring options. All around the state, you are probably close to at least one.
Oregon Hot Springs
We have put the hot springs in two different types: (1) Public Hot Springs. This means that they are natural pools, not created by humans and (2) Private Hot Springs. This includes pools, tubs and ponds. They are both natural hot springs but what you soak in is what changes. The natural category is always free. The Man made are not and can come at an expensive price.
Public Hot Springs
Let's start with Public Hot Springs. We have enjoyed a couple. Be aware that all public natural hot springs in Oregon are clothing optional at any time of day. Some of these hot springs also come with the smell of sulfur or other natural minerals.
Willow Creek Hot Springs
By far the most beautiful we have been to, Willow Creek is not easy to get to. With two hot pools and muddy bottom, it feels amazing during any season. Camp next to the hot springs or just a short walk away for free.
Paulina Lake Hot Springs
To get to Paulina Hot Springs you have a easy hike. If you do the entire loop around Paulina Lake it is about 6.5 miles and the hot springs are half way. It's easy to find, but you may have to create your own pool. The lake can wash away the ones people have made. You can also just find the couple spots where the hot water is entering the lake. There were about 4 pools when we were there.
Umpqua Hot Springs
This is an extremely popular hot springs. You will find nudists, drunks and people just taking pictures. Just a quarter mile hike from the parking lot in an area that is easy to get to, you won't be alone.
Private Hot Springs
While natural hot springs in nature are pretty amazing, sometimes it's nice to be in private hot springs. Usually there is less of a smell and most are not clothing optional.
Crystal Crane Hot Springs
This is hands down our favorite private hot springs we have been to. Surrounded by farming, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. With clear skies and a pool that is usually around 105 degrees, it makes for an amazing soak. There are multiple options for camping and lodging, so make a weekend out of it.
Summer Lake Hot Springs
These hot springs are more like warm springs. Probably better on a hot summer day, they were not that welcoming on a cold winter day. The pools had beautiful views, but were cramped with only 4 adults being able to fit in one of the three pools. The indoor pool was closed. Also, this private hot springs is clothing optional after 9pm.
Alvord Desert Hot Springs
Situation right in between Steens Mountain and Alvord Desert, there are three tubs. One out in the open and two that are enclosed by metal walls. There is a cost to these springs and it varies from day to day or person to person. I have heard anywhere from $8/person to $20/person.