Oregon is a number one RV travel destination for a lot of reasons. According to the Oregon RV Alliance’s Come2Oregon.com, our state has the perfect combination of natural beauty; temperate climate; friendly locals; great RV parks; award winning food, beer and wine; and endless outdoor activities to keep you occupied.
As we’re rolling into 2017, we want to spend a little blog time talking about some of those special places that make Oregon stand out in RVers minds as a must-go destination. Because the state has such a wide variety of landscapes to choose from—the stunning Oregon Coast, the snow covered Cascades, the subtropical Coast Range, the high deserts of Central and Eastern Oregon—you can have your choice of activities, whether you’re craving the beach, the mountains or the river. This week, we’re going to talk about one of the gems of the Pacific Northwest in general, and Oregon in particular: natural hot springs.
There are geothermal pools all over our state, and many are close to major cities, including Eugene, Bend, Salem and Portland. Some of our most beautiful hot springs are “rustic” spots that you’ll need to take a short hike to get to, but others are hot spring resorts that offer excellent RV overnight accommodations. Some are natural rock pools where clothing is optional, and others offer a more formal or private soaking experience. If you think spending an afternoon or evening relaxing up to your neck in a hot spring sounds like a good way to get rid of the stress of your day-to-day, then pack up the RV and get ready to hit the road, because February and March are great times to appreciate our hot springs to their fullest. Here are some ideas for hot spring resorts that are easy to access for RVers.
Western Oregon Hot Springs Resorts: Belknap
We’re going to start close to home in this category. Belknap Hot Springs Resort sits on the banks of the McKenzie River, just an hour and a half from Guaranty RV. Being on the beautiful McKenzie means you’ll be near golf, hiking, trout fishing, guided whitewater rafting and more, making Belknap a great home base for RVers. The resort is open every day of the year and features two mineral hot springs, as well as 80 beautiful landscaped acres for you to wander. Bathing suits are required. Day use hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but guests staying overnight on Friday and Saturday may use the pools until 10 p.m. The upper pool is for overnight guests only.
The resort has a small grocery store and serves a continental breakfast for its lodge guests. However, be aware that The River Grill is closed during the winter months and re-opens when weather permits. So if you’re longing for a winter soaking experience, plan to eat in your RV or make a quick drive (6 miles) down to Blue Sky Market or Takoda’s Pizza to eat out.
Cost for an overnight RV stay for two is $40 with full hookups. Additional guests are $8 a person. Hot springs access in included in your stay. Your dogs are welcome, but expect to pay $10 per pet per night. For more information on RV camping or to make reservations, visit their RV Sites page.
Other RV camping options near Belknap Hot Springs Resort include Paradise Campground and Holiday Farm RV Resort.
Western Oregon Hot Springs Resorts: Breitenbush
Breitenbush Hot Springs is a more “rustic”, holistic resort that is nestled along a tributary of the North Santiam River, near Detroit, Oregon, just two hours from Guaranty RV. It operates as a retreat and conference center, but is also open for day visits. Surrounded by National Forest land, this resort gives you the full effect of the Coast Range mountains, with three stone-lined pools and four soaking tubs that have an amazing view of Douglas firs and Western hemlocks. Additionally, Breitenbush offers a steam sauna, organic vegetarian meals, yoga and meditation facilities and workshops, hiking trails, a stone labyrinth, massages, hydrotherapy treatment and more. If you’re travelling on the next full moon, be sure to reserve your spot for a traditional Native American Inipi ceremony.
Bathing passes are sold for day visitors, but you will need to check availability ahead of time and make reservations for a relaxing, stress free visit. The pools and steam sauna are clothing-optional areas, but the clothing-optional policy does not extend into other areas of the resort.
Although Breitenbush has a lodge, this resort doesn’t offer RV parking on site. Fortunately, both Breitenbush Campground and Cleator Bend Group Campground are within two miles of the resort, making them an ideal basecamp for RVers from mid-May through mid-September. Plus, they offer great wading, swimming, hiking and trout fishing.
Central Oregon Hot Springs Resort: Summer Lake
Summer Lake Hot Springs is a 145-acre resort in what is known as Oregon’s Outback in south-central Oregon, just two hours from Bend. Archeologists say this area has one of the oldest records of human habitation in North and South America, going back more than 14,000 years; while you’re at the resort, be sure to see the nearby petroglyphs. A land of alkali lakes and wide vistas, Lake County offers amazing topography, including the ancient, artesian hot mineral springs that feed the large soaking pool and the outdoor rock pools at Summer Lake Hot Springs.
The owners of Summer Lake are committed to living in balance with the ecosystem around them and have incorporated passive solar principles, natural products, and environmentally conscious materials in their design, including geo-thermal heat in their overnight cabins. Because this resort promotes healing and relaxation, they provide activities, festivals and more to help you leave the day-to-day behind.
You must wear a swimming suit in the pools during day-use hours (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.), but the pools are adults-only after 9 p.m. and clothing is then optional. The pools are open 24 hours a day for registered guests.
The RV park at the resort offers full hookups with 20 – 50 amp electric and pull-through sites available. The cost for two people is $45 plus tax, and $20 a night for additional guests. This includes access to the bathhouse and the rock pools. Your pets are welcome, and there is no fee required if you’re in the RV park. You can make reservations here.
Eastern Oregon Hot Springs Resort: Crystal Crane
Crystal Crane Hot Springs is located in Harney County, in the south eastern corner of our state, just 25 miles southeast of Burns. If you love nature and dramatic vistas, the high deserts of Eastern Oregon are a must-see. And if you’re a bird watcher, a hunter or you love fishing, you’ll think you’re in heaven in Harney County. Crystal Crane Hot Springs is not far from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Steens Mountain, one of the highest peaks in Oregon (which is saying something in a state known for its big mountains). And if you’re tired of the city lights, this wide-open country makes for some amazing star gazing.
Crystal Crane offers both a natural, 7’-deep hot spring pond, and private, cedar-enclosed soaking tubs in a bathhouse. The water contains more than half a dozen minerals that help ease your aching body and mind. And when you’re not in the pool or tubs, you will have complimentary access to coffee, and use of the camp kitchen and commons room. Although this hot springs resort feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, the campground does provide free high speed wifi.
You can choose an RV site with power and water for $28 a night (double occupancy, pull-through sites) or full hookups for $32 a night (double occupancy, back-in only, and a two-night minimum stay). Extra guests are $10 a night. Pets are welcome for $3 a night. Day use times are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. but overnight guests have unlimited use of the facilities, including the hot springs pond, the commons area, camp kitchen, restrooms and showers.
Another Oregon Hot Springs RV Resort to Keep an Eye On: Grande Hot Springs
Built as the Hot Lake Recreational Vehicle Resort in 1985, the Grand Hot Springs Resort is making the transition to become a spectacular hot springs RV resort. Originally, Hot Lake was the site of the famous Hot Lake Hotel, considered to be the “Mayo Clinic of the West”, partly because of its healing mineral waters. Currently, water from Hot Lake is used to heat all the buildings on the property, and provides water for the showers, pool and spa. You can only soak in the hot spring if you reserve the resort yurt, but plans are in the works for 2017 to build communal and private soaking areas.
This RV resort is already a great destination for RVers to take in the gorgeous Grand Ronde Valley in northeast Oregon. The resort features 100 grassy, 90-foot long, pull-through, full-hookups sites, and 30 & 50 amp service options. Overnight fees for double occupancy start at $32. If you’re near La Grande, Oregon, this is a great place to stay. And if you love RVing and hot springs, this is a resort to keep an eye on in the future.
For More Information on Oregon hot springs…
If you’re interested in hitting more of Oregon’s hot springs, be sure to check out the Soak Oregon website to see every hot spring in Oregon, as well as a statewide map of hot springs, individual hot springs maps, GPS coordinates and more.
We also recommend Touring Hot Springs Washington and Oregon: A Guide to the States’ Best Hot Springs 2nd Edition by Jeff Birkby, which features forty of the best hot springs in the Pacific Northwest and has more information about hot springs resorts as well as more remote hot springs. Hiking Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest: A Guide to the Area’s Best Backcountry Hot Springs, by Evie Litton and Sally Jackson, is another great resource for getting to more than 140 hot springs in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia.
Oregon is an RVers’ dream destination for so many reasons, not the least of which is our access to amazing, natural hot springs. If you’re on your way to one of the hot springs resorts in our area, stop and visit us in Junction City. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Photo Credit: Don Hankins