I have a slight obsession with hot springs. On our recent West Coast van road trip, we made sure to visit Umpqua hot springs, one of the popular hot springs in Southern Oregon.
The Umpqua hot springs are extra special. These geothermal pools are on a hillside deep in the forest overlooking the North Umpqua River. By count, I think there are about 8 seperate pools, which is far more than any other hot spring I have visited. There’s even a secret pool that nobody knows about that I’ll be sharing with you!
In this guide, I’ll be sharing step by step directions on how to find the Umpqua hot springs, realistic advice on what to expect, tips for the best time of day to visit and of course, tons of photos and other area tips to help you plan a great hot springs adventure!
My husband and I live in San Francisco. We rented a campervan and did a big road trip all around Northern California and Oregon. I’ve seen Umpqua hot springs pictures on Instagram so we made sure to build in a day to visit the Umpqua national forest.
We actually planned on doing a whole trip to Crater Lake first but most of the roads were still closed due to winter! Bummer.
We ended up finding a great camping site with good reviews at Diamond Lake campground instead. It’s about 30 minutes drive from the hot springs and made a great place to spend the night after an afternoon soak at the pools!
We almost stayed at a wild camping spot near Umpqua (you can camp for free anywhere in the United States if you park on BLM or Forest Service land!) We also considered Toketee Lake Campground, but, we needed showers so we opted for the formal site at Diamond Lake (and it’s a hidden gem so I was very happy with the choice!)
How To Get To Umpqua Hot Springs Oregon
These hot springs are near Crater Lake, in central Oregon amongst the Cascade Mountains.
We camped nearby after a day exploring Bend, Oregon. There aren’t any major cities in the forest so you’ll have to drive in for the day or plan to find nearby Umpqua hot springs lodging instead (this cabin on Airbnb is cute, or you can stay at the Diamond Lake campsite!)
Eugene to Umpqua Hot Springs: 232 miles (4 hours 18-minute drive)
Bend to Umpqua Hot Springs: (121 miles) 2 hours 22 -minute drive
Portland to Umpqua Hot Springs: (282 miles) 5 hours 25 – minutes drive
Bandon to Umpqua Hot Springs: 147 miles ( 3 hours drive)
We visited in the summer and didn’t need snow tires or chains but keep in mind that these hot springs are in the mountains. If you visit in the winter, you’ll probably need chains and you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on weather reports.
Umpqua hot springs weather varies a lot. During our trip, we saw sun, snow, rain and hail all within 30 minutes. It was wild! Just be prepared for your season of visit to stay safe.
Check real-time Oregon read conditions here! This was very handy for us.
Umpqua Hot Springs Map
You’ll probably lose service at some point so make sure to lock your GPS on and screenshot my directions below so you can find the springs! (You can also download this whole blog post into a PDF which will be helpful if you lose cell service!)
Where Is Umpqua Hot Springs (Exact Directions!)
- Once you’re in the forest, take Hwy 138 towards the springs.
- Look for brown signs toward Toketee Falls
- Turn into NF-34 / Tokette Ridgon Road
- Soon you’ll come to a Y in the road. Take the left-hand Y
- Continue driving until you get to another Y and this time, take the RIGHT turn.
- At some point, you’ll pass a gate. If you are visiting in Winter, you will need to park your car here and hike into the trailhead. If it’s summer, you can keep on driving to get to the North Umpqua Trailhead / hot springs parking lot.
Note: this is where the road went from paved to TONS of potholes. Drive carefully!
- After 5-10 minutes of driving, you’ll pass the small parking area on your left-hand side. It’s a bit hidden by trees, but you can spot the bathrooms from the road. You made it!
If you want a pass, which will be handy to visit other Oregon sites, get the Northwest Forest Pass. You can buy it online in advance or you can pick one up at a local REI.
Make sure to display your forest pass on your dashboard OR pay the $5 BEFORE you hike into the springs so you won’t be ticketed.
Umpqua hot springs is a DAY USE only area, open from sunrise to sunset. Keep in mind that in the winter, the sun sets much earlier. Please be respectful of these hours. Abuse could lead to this area being closed to the public which would really suck.
Hiking Into The Hot Springs
After you have paid, it’s time to hike into the North Umpqua hot springs! The springs trailhead is a short hike but steep, so here’s some tips:
Wear sturdy hiking boots for the walk. This area of the country gets really wet year-round, so you can seriously injure yourself if you choose to hike in sandals.
Bring a waterproof bag to store your camera and dry clothes! Again, this area is naturally wet, but the area around the pools is even wetter. You’ll want to keep your things dry! We didn’t have a formal waterproof bag so we used trash bags!
Bring towels to dry off after your soak. You’ll want this so you don’t have to hike back soaking wet!
Bring extra dry clothes to change into after you return to your car. I recommend bringing a large dress to the hot springs, something you can quickly throw on over your swimsuit after drying off and keep you warm on the quick hike back to the car!
Don’t forget an extra pair of dry socks!
Pack in enough water to keep you hydrated. Geothermal pools can get up to 105 degrees. It’s like a giant naturally forming hot tub. You don’t want to get seriously dehydrated!
>>Read this: Guide to visiting the Travertine Hot Springs
Hot Springs Etiquette
If you haven’t been to any hot springs before, it’s important to go over some unofficial ground rules to make sure you have a safe and fun time, but also so other people can enjoy the hot springs as well.
1. Keep It Clean
First of all, hot springs are special. Some around the country are free to visit, others like these hot springs, are paid but extremely affordable. But, the forest service doesn’t have to allow the public to visit them. Please be respectful and safe so the hot springs can stay open for everyone to enjoy for years to come!
Hot springs have a reputation of being a place of poop, trash, beer cans, and broken glass. If you choose to drink, please don’t bring glass. (It’s like a pool – it can get stuck in the water an injure other people!)
Pack out what you pack in and try to leave it cleaner than when you came!
2. Clothing Optional
Be prepared for naked people. Hot springs are clothing optional! I’ve encountered fully nude visitors at every single hot spring I’ve ever visited before, so you probably also will.
In fact, at this visit, Robin and I both had full on conversations with a group of butt naked people soaking. And to answer your question, yes it does float. But as long as you aren’t weird about nudity, you shouldn’t have any issues!
3. Don’t Be A Dick
As I say a lot… don’t be a dick and you’ll be fine. Don’t trash the springs. Be nice and let others into the pools are you in. Don’t blast music or be rude to other visitors.
Don’t litter or throw things into the pools. Don’t toss things over the side. If you’re taking pictures, don’t photograph the naked people. Like, be a good human and you should be fine!
When To Visit Umpqua Hot Springs
You can visit them year round, as we mentioned. If you are trying to figure out what time of day you want to visit, reference our breakdowns below:
Ideal if you want the whole hot springs to yourself. Most sunrise soakers are photographers who want to capture that log hanging morning mountain fog over the hot springs without tourists photobombing their shots. This will require a very early start to your day and you may have to hike up in the dark!
Ideal if you want to still avoid major crowds but aren’t up for a 4am wake-up time! You still may catch some morning fog lingering and will most likely share the springs with just a few other people. Also a good time to take photos!
Ideal if you aren’t a morning person and/or don’t care if the hot springs are crowded. Over the course of the day, more and more people will arrive. We went at around 3 pm and every pool was filled with bodies (it took a lot of clever work to photograph the photos without other people in them!)
Ideal if you are looking for a party! Over the course of the afternoon, the hot springs will fill up. Soakers will leave and what will be left are the people there to drink beer and enjoy happy hour at the pools. Keep in mind you have to leave at sunset per park rules, so you may have to hike out in the dark. Be careful!
>>> Normally when we visit hot springs, we like to go at sunrise or morning to avoid the crowds. That’s just a personal preference!
The Secret Hot Springs
So, as I promised at the beginning of the post, there is a secret hot spring people don’t really know about.
On the left side of the springs is a rope to help you climb down to the river. I thought it was just a trail to the river but, it turns out, there is a SECRET hot spring under all the pools up top! It’s next to a cave and it levels with the river.
I later found photos and it looks awesome. A girl mentioned this secret spot right as we were leaving otherwise I would have climbed down.
If you are visiting, go check it out and tell me what you think of this secret pool!
Other Things To Do Near Umpqua Hot Springs
Other than taking a good soak, Toketee Falls is just next door and is totally worth a visit on the same day! In fact, people frequently call Umpqua the ” Toketee Hot Springs ” because they are literally right next to each other.
I think it would be more enjoyable to go from Toketee Falls to Umpqua hot springs. Work up a sweat on that hike to the falls and take a good soak!
Other fun things to do are in the Diamond Lake / Crater Lake area. Diamond Lake is STUNNING and I think highly underrated. If you’re willing to drive a bit more, you can visit the famous Crater Lake National Park.
Other PNW & Oregon Hot Springs
Looking for more PNW hot springs? We haven’t personally visited these yet, but these Oregon hot springs and other Pacific Northwest area ones are on our bucket list to visit during another adventure! We’ve been recommended ones from friends who say these are the best hot springs in Oregon and beyond!
Terwilliger Hot Springs – Oregon
Also known as the Cougar Hot Springs Oregon, these hot springs are in the Willamette National Forest. Day pass is $7.
Bagby Hot Springs – Oregon
Bagby Hot Springs Oregon are in Mount Hood National Forest (closest to Portland hot springs, perfect for a day trip from the city!) The pools aren’t natural in the ground like at Umpqua, but instead, water is piped into round hot tubs that look like giant wine barrels. They’re still outside, though! A mix between an Oregon hot springs resort and natural roughing it hot springs.
Harrison Hot springs – British Columbia
Harrison Hot Springs Resort is a formal hotel that pipes in hot spring water. Great if you are looking for a 5-star trip AND hot springs! Would be a great option for a winter trip when hiking into other trails may be hard or impossible.
Goldmyer Hot Springs – Washington
Goldmyer Hot Springs is about an hour outside of Seattle. It’s a 4.5 hike into the hot springs, which helps to keep the rowdy crowd at bay, which is why this site is generally pretty clean and empty.
Alvord Hot Springs – Oregon
Highest on my bucket list right now! Out in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oregon, these hot springs are a hassle to get to with a big pay off due to the top-notch Steens Mountain views from the tub. 10/10 going here whenever we do an Idaho / Eastern Oregon road trip!
Radium Hot Springs – British Columbia
Holy moly, these look amazing! Another hot springs site in Canada, this one is closer to Banff National Park inside Kootenay National Park. I highly recommend visiting Radium Hot Springs during the winter to capture tons of cool snowy photos.
Austin Hot Springs – Oregon
Tucked in Mt. Hood National Forest along the Clackamas River, Austin Hot Springs Oregon is another natural hot spring. As of May 2019, the Tribes of Warm Springs have closed the hot springs to the public. Not sure if it will be open again in the future.
Belknap Hot Springs – Oregon
Belknap Hot Springs Oregon is another hot springs Oregon resort. It’s in McKenzie Bridge between Bend and Eugene along the McKenzie River. The hot spring pools are man-made and look like swimming pools (but have hot mineral water instead!)
Heading into Eastern Oregon? Consider driving a bit further into Western Idaho to visit the famous hot springs spa resort called “The Springs“. This one is on my hotel bucket list!
Or, head into California to visit Orr Hot Springs resort, Travertine Hot Springs or Wild Willy’s Hot Springs (later is my personal favorite I’ve ever visited!) Or, you can visit Calistoga which is famous of thermal mineral water uses.
Know of any other amazing hot springs in Oregon or hot springs near Crater Lake that I missed? Any more gems in the PNW area? I feel like I’m constantly learning about new hot springs to add to my list. Leave a comment below so other readers (and myself) can possibly visit!
I couldn’t find any Oregon coast hot springs to visit when we went down HWY, so let me know if I missed some!
The Umpqua Hot Springs should be on everyone’s Pacific Northwest bucket list! So should any of these other natural hot springs in Oregon and beyond. Just go visit a hot spring, ok? You’ll love it!
If you have any questions about visiting, leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help!
PIN THIS GUIDE FOR LATER!
Vlog Video Transcript
(for my hard of hearing readers!)
Welcome back to the Whimsy Soul Channel. Today I’m going to be showing you what Umpqua Hot Springs is all about, how to get there, if you can tell the road to get there is very bumpy, and some general tips along with how to find them.
Oh, potholes. If you are new here, my name is Kara. This is my husband Robin. Whimsy Soul is a lifestyle blog, and we live in San Francisco, but we rented this baller camper van, and today we are visiting Umpqua Hot Springs which is about 45 to 60 minutes south of Crater Lake National Park. I have seen this hot springs on Instagram all year round, and it’s been on my bucket list so today we are finally going.
Woohoo, let’s show you how to go and find these hot springs. So this is the Umpqua Hot Springs parking area. If you don’t have a pass, you’re going to have to walk over to this area, grab an envelope, fill it out, and put $5 in it. Make sure to bring a pen. Pretty close to the Umpqua Hot Springs Trailhead is this bridge. When you get across the bridge, take the right. The hill up to the hot springs isn’t long, it’s just steep, and you probably are going to want some hiking boots.
Robin, I’m really out of breath.
These are the hot springs. We made it. As you can see, it is very crowded. We went in the afternoon. If you don’t want any people there when you go, I suggest going up sunrise or early in the morning. There are eight different pools. Some get hotter than others, so you don’t have to worry about temperature control.
The hot springs overlook this gorgeous view of the Umpqua River. It’s just amazing. It sits high on this cliff, and it’s absolutely gorgeous to overlook all of these pretty trees, especially in the morning when there’s a lot of fog. Here’s a pro tip. You’re going to want to bring extra dry clothes, some towels, and some dry socks to change into after your soak or you can just wrap a towel around your waist like I did.
Okay, so we’re heading out of the hot springs. I have a towel skirt on. Very packed, right?
We are thinking we might come back in the morning hopefully when it’s less packed. But yeah, just be prepared for crowds. Definitely, be prepared for crowds.
I hope this helps you plan a really great Umpqua Hot Springs trip. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram at The Whimsy Soul. I also have an entire blog post about this.
If you want to read and get written directions, I linked the blog post in the description. I hope you visit and I hope you have a fun time at these hot springs.