- Happenings

“Diving In” to the Umpqua Hot Springs of Oregon

Hot springs

Oregon is a stunning, unique state when it comes to the natural features it offers. Oregon boasts a chain of 19 volcanoes stretching across the state, but many of the mountains (i.e., Mount Hood and Three Sisters), are still active and provide geothermal heat, which creates hot springs throughout the region.

Rumored as being sacred healing places to Native Americans, these springs and pools are not only visitor attractions but also places of cultural importance. The ever-so-popular, historical, Umpqua Hot Springs (AKA: Toketee Hot Springs) are one of southern Oregon’s main natural attractions. Located in the middle of Umpqua National Forest in the awe-inspiring Cascade Mountains, these natural hot springs are a “must-see” stop along the 80-mile North Umpqua Trail – which is open and utilized by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Day visitors are also welcome to access the springs via the half-mile trail that begins at the day-use parking lot.

Hot springs

Although hot springs may seem like they’d be all the same, Umpqua Hot Springs is another matter entirely. Several pools that look like “terraces” leading down toward the river are filled with natural hot water. Once secreted from prying eyes, this site has become extremely popular. In fact, the area became so overused, and the U.S. Forest Service had to ban overnight Umpqua Hot Springs camping. Therefore, those two trails (whether in it for the 80-mile haul or wishing to just park and take the short hike), will lead you to a wooden shelter which protects the hot springs.

A total of seven pools now exist at Umpqua, each around 108-degrees, and are fed by a hose system that feeds hot water from the source underneath the hillside. As you soak, you’ll be able to enjoy a view of the North Umpqua River and may even get a glimpse at the unforgettable, Surprise Falls.

This is a remarkable destination but, if visiting Umpqua Hot Springs and camping nearby, responsibilities must be met. To better highlight the area, Umpqua Hot Springs is located one hour from the I5 corridor; the hot pools are located on a mineral deposit above the North Umpqua River. The fees are minimal ($5/vehicle/day or Northwest Forest Pass), and by contacting the Toketee Ranger Station, you can always be kept up-to-date in regards to the latest weather conditions.

Any doctor will tell you that a hot bath can work wonders on the body and soul. So when you can soak in a natural pool, like the ones at Umpqua, surrounded by the beauty and peace of nature, it’s a given that you’ll emerge from the water re-energized. That kind of help makes this location a sight to be “seen” and thoroughly enjoyed.

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