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Eugene Weekly : Feature : 5.5.11

Get Out! Eugene Weekly's Outdoors Issue

Get HookedûBackwoods bass fishing in Oregon

Horses for Dummies Saddle up and ride in Lane County

Getting Hot Thawing out in Lane County springs

Come Hell or High Water The vigorous ritual of the Northwest barbecueû

 

Getting Hot
Thawing out in Lane County springs
by Shannon Finnell

May marks the time of year that Eugeneans can finally think about taking off their clothes. Lane Countys hot springs are a great excuse for doing just that. Strewn about the area, theyre usually no more than a 50-mile drive away. û

photo by rob sydor I robsydor.com

Terwilliger (aka Cougar) Hot Springs in the Willamette National Forest is a popular hot springs site with several pools of varying temperature. Bathing suits are pretty rare here, but the Forest Service prevents it from becoming a den of sin by closely monitoring attempts to break prohibitions on alcohol, drugs and evening soaks. Its about a 55-mile drive; take Highway 126 to Forest Road 19 (between mileposts 45 and 46) and take a right. Drive to the dam (3.4 miles) and take another right, then drive on the west side of the reservoir to find a trailhead and parking lot. Day passes from the National Forest are $5.

McCredie Hot Springs, near Oakridge, is HOT! Temperatures sometimes reach 114 degrees, a shocking change for bare Willamette Valley bottoms. There is a slippery trail into the site and a very swift creek, so this might not be the best spring for children. Take Highway 58 to the springs parking lot between mileposts 45 and 46. A sign pointing to McCredie Station Road is next to the parking lot.

Wall Creek Warm Springs claim to fame is its beauty, not its temperature. The cooler pool is a great summer soak, and the half-mile hike into the area will expose visitors to a beautiful forest. From the light at Highway 58 and Crestview in Oakridge, turn left and then take a right on First Street, which becomes Salmon Creek Road/Forest Road 24. Take that to Forest Road 1934 and take a left. From there its about half a mile to the trailhead and another half mile to the springs.û

Belknap Hot Springs and Lodge, on the McKenzie River, is the place to go if youre concerned about being exposed to the horrors of the human body ‹ its bathing suit mandatory. It has two mineral hot springs pools and a lot of gardens, if hot gets too hot and a sojourn is necessary. Overnight accommodations are also available, with a weekend two-day minimum. The cost to soak is $7 for one hour or $12 per day, 9 am to 9 pm. About 55 miles east of Eugene, see belknaphotsprings.com for directions & info.

Deer Creek Hot Springs is just beyond the Belknap Hot Springs, but its architect is Mother Nature. Its nestled in the bank of the McKenzie, so the river water cools down the hot springs too much to be pleasant during the winter, but during the summer and fall, when the rivers at its lowest, things heat up again. The pool is about 8 feet by 12 feet, so it can get crowded if all of Oregon wants to soak at once. Nudity is normal here. About 58 miles east of Eugene on Highway 126, take a left onto Deer Creek Road and look for the path on the left just past the bridge.

Kitson Hot Springs is now on Boy Scout land. Theyve made the old bathhouse into a bat sanctuary. EW sure isnt going to tell you where it is. Keep out, unless you have a thing for trespassing ‹ and bats.û

Bathers soak in the pools at Cougar Hot Springs