Few things in Oregon are as beautiful as its landscape. With mountains dotting the background of any forested wilderness that lies ahead, just visiting one of its many rural regions is breathtaking. And it's quite possible that there's nothing better after doing this than finding a hot spring that has beauty equally matched by the lush greenery that surrounds it. After a beautiful hike through the woods, this is no better a sight to see and Umpqua Hot Springs are there to soothe those aching muscles.
Just imagine coming up to this towering spring of water in the center of the forest and feeling the heat from its thermal pools before you even stand next to it. Taking a dip in this hot spring is the best way to release all of that tension and the surrounding nature and wildlife only help to distract from the mundane of everyday life. If this is everything you didn't know you needed during an already perfect Oregon hike, then Umpqua Hot Springs should be on your list.
This Hidden Spring Has Some Phenomenal Views
It's almost hard to believe that something so perfectly beautiful exists in a place like Oregon, which is already so stunning. But, believe it - Umpqua Hot Springs can be found deep inside Umpqua National Forest, so hiking there is the best (and only!) way to find it. The hike to the hot springs isn't the easiest and hikers will ascend to an elevation of 2,640 feet, but the views from the top will be well worth the journey. In this case, it's not the journey that matters, it's absolutely the destination.
From the top, hikers will have astounding views of the river that runs just below, as they sit on a cliffside, soaking up the healing powers of Umpqua, overlooking the valley. Speaking of which, the water that runs through the springs is full of beneficial minerals that are picked up on the way to this thermal pool. According to Culture Trip, these minerals are believed to help both internal and external issues, including skin ailments and indigestion. The evidence of this is all over the hot springs due to its unique orange and red coloring, a result of minerals being left behind as water drips over the side of every crevice.
While it might seem unusual for a hot spring to be in the middle of an Oregon forest, you only need to look just below the surface to make sense of it. Set on a volcanic ridge, volcanos such as Mount Saint Helens, in the nearby state of Washington, erupted back in 1980 - which is evidence of ongoing volcanic activity. Hot springs can also be a result of this, as hot water full of minerals bubbles up from beneath the surface along the fault lines.
These are easily found thanks to their unique appearance, which is due to the chambers that hold heat (and water) below the surface. They're also easily found thanks to the unique scent this water gives off, and two things are responsible for that: silica and sulfate. While it might be off-putting initially to smell like a hard-boiled egg, the health benefits are pretty undeniable.
The Hike To The Springs
The easiest way to get to Umpqua National Forest is by taking the two-hour drive from Bend since it's roughly a five-hour trip from the city of Portland. This drive is a small price to pay for the ultimate destination, though, since the hot springs themselves are less than a mile from the trailhead parking lot. With that being said, as mentioned before, the springs are located at a fairly high elevation - which means that while the hike is short, it's not necessarily ranked as 'easy.' Culture Trip recommends taking good hiking boots along for the ride along with a pair of trekking poles for easy navigation on steep parts of the trail.
Another thing to note is that the weather changes constantly in this part of Oregon so while it might be sunny and warm once you've headed out, a change of (warmer) clothes is always a good option. Once you hikers get to the springs, they should also be aware of the fact that clothing isn't exactly required to take a dip - so don't be surprised if someone has opted for something other than swimwear! While there's no fee to use or hike to the hot springs, there is a five-dollar fee to park in the parking lot at the trailhead.