While hot springs are found in abundance scattered throughout the diverse topography of Oregon, the most beautiful of these thermal pools are all found in the towering landscapes of the Cascade Mountains. And thanks to its location to the north of these majestic peaks, the state capital of Portland is the perfect destination to base as you immerse in the spring’s mineral waters.
Not only are the Cascade Mountains home to some of the most breathtaking natural springs in the state, but it also hosts the majority of Oregon’s international tourism industry and is world-renowned for their natural attractions, outdoor adventures, and a plethora of vineyards in its Willamette Valley wine country.
Whether sampling the local varietals or braving one of the region’s daring hiking trails, a visit to Portland is sure to be jam-packed with plenty of exciting activities that, while beautiful, can also be very exertive.
These six hot springs near Portland, OR, are the perfect way to escape the bustling city and enjoy the region’s quieter, more serene side. (Distance from Portland city center in brackets).
The Top 6 Hot Springs Near Portland
- Austin Hot Spring
- Bagby Hot Springs
- Breitenbush Hot Springs
- Deer Creek Hot Springs
- Belknap Springs
- Cougar Hot Springs
1. Austin Hot Spring (78.6 Miles)
The closest hot spring near Portland is just three hours from the city in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The Austin Hot Springs feature several primitive pools nestled along the shores of the Clackamas River, all of which are geothermal and heated by volcanic activity beneath the earth’s surface in the region.
It is important to note that not all the pools at Austin Hot Springs are swimmable, thanks to unbearable heat. While some of the pools exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the springs nearest the river mix with the colder water to produce safe soaking conditions. Still, it is crucial to take caution before entering the Austin Hot Springs.
Unlike many primitive springs in Oregon, the Austin Hot Springs are relatively easy to access, with most of the journey being vehicle accessible. Visitors need only drive along Clackamas River Road past the River Ford Campground until they come to the pristine springs.
2. Bagby Hot Springs (78.8 Miles)
Also located in the Mt. Hood National Forest about three hours south of Portland, the Bagby Hot Springs is one of the oldest hot spring bath houses in the state and offers visitors an array of comfort amenities while boasting a pristine natural environment more often associated with a primitive thermal pool.
The springs were first discovered in the 19th century by a local hunter who the site would later be named after. In the decades that followed, several facilities were established in the area that attracted visitors thanks to the water’s curative properties.
While these original buildings have long since disappeared from the site, the modern bath houses that service the springs provide guests the opportunity to soak in the region’s historic mineral waters while admiring the natural foliage of the national park.
While most of the journey to the Bagby Hot Springs can be made by vehicle, the last 1.5 miles must be undertaken by foot along a well-maintained trail through the forest. Upon arriving at the springs, guests are rewarded with three large bathhouses.
Each bathhouse is fed by three main springs ranging from 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 138 degrees. Luckily the waters are cooled to more bearable temperatures before being excreted into the tubs.
3. Breitenbush Hot Springs (107 Miles)
While further from the city in terms of distance than other springs featured on this list, the Breitenbush thermal pools are the most accessible hot springs near Portland and require only a two-hour drive to access.
Tucked away in Willamette National Forest, the Breitenbush Hot Springs is a full-service retreat and convention center that provides several comfort and luxury amenities while accentuating the natural beauty of the national forest.
The springs are offered within the resort in seven unique pools in two distinct regions. All the pools at the lodge vary in temperature but average between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additional services within the complex include several lodging and camping options, extensive spa treatments, yoga retreat opportunities, and several hiking trails that explore the further wonders of the forest.
4. Deer Creek Hot Springs (145 Miles)
Also known as Bigelow Hot Springs, the Deer Creek Hot Springs is another fantastic thermal pool tucked away in the idyllic Willamette National Forest, about two and a half hours from Portland.
Nestled along the McKenzie River, the Deer Creek Hot Springs are a primitive mineral pool that forgoes the added amenities to highlight the region’s pristine natural beauty.
The small pool fits 2 to 4 people and offers a quiet respite in which to enjoy the soothing waters. The spring averages comfortable natural temperatures of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, the pool can get much cooler in the winter thanks to occasional breaks in the rock wall that protect it from the river.
The Best time to enjoy the Deer Creek Hot Springs is during the spring and fall when the waters are guaranteed to provide a comfortable soak. While no amenities are offered within the spring’s complex, visitors planning to spend the night can book a site at the Paradise Campground nearby.
5. Belknap Springs (150 Miles)
The Belknap Springs is another full-service luxury resort operating out of the naturally beautiful Willamette National Park. It is one of the best hot springs near Portland that combine comfortable soaking experiences with luxury accommodation and breathtaking vistas.
Open year-round, the Belknap Springs features two picturesque pools fed by the natural spring and boasting mineral-rich waters ideal for soothing weary bones. Unfortunately, only one of the pools is open for day visitors, while the second swimming hole is preserved for overnight guests.
Accommodation options featured on the resort’s property include 18 lodge rooms, eight guest cabins, and several camping opportunities.
6. Cougar Hot Springs (167 Miles)
Also known as Terwilliger Hot Springs, the Cougar Hot Springs is a fantastic primitive pool alternative located near the Belknap Springs Resort in Willamette National Forest. Despite its rustic setting, the Cougar Hot Springs are relatively easy to access and require only a short quarter-mile hike to reach.
However, thanks to its preserved nature and ease of access, the Cougar Hot Springs are also one of the most popular thermal pools in the state and can often experience heavy crowding by locals and tourists. Still, the site is famous for a reason and is an absolute must-visit hot spring near Portland for visitors staying in the city
16 km from Cougar Hot Springs
"The place is a paradise right next to the McKenzie river, across the river is a mountain - very romantic scenery."
Cougar Hot Springs features six unique soaking pools that vary in temperature from 85 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees. The springs are protected by the national forest and require a small admission fee that provides unlimited access to the springs’ pools, the hiking trail and parking lot, and the nearby lagoon.
Those looking to spend the night in the area should book a campsite at the nearby Cougar Recreation Area.