The Cougar Hot Springs or the Terwilliger Hot Springs in Oregon is one of the most popular thermal springs in the region that are often flooded with people, be it the summer or the winter season. Accessible via a 0.25 miles trail, the entire route to the springs is amidst the lush green woodland where only filtered sunlight reaches the ground, creating a greenish and darkened glow on the pathway. The Rider Creek waterfall is also located higher up and the water falls down into six different soaking pools.
The trail to the springs is dense with vegetation and covered with gravel. It is not suitable for wheelchair-bounded individuals. Though the slope of the trail is mostly low, it is a bit steeper in certain places. Also, access to the pools is via narrow, rocky steps.
Hot Cougar Springs in Oregon features 6 different pools, which are separated into distinguishable steps through solid rock walls. The temperature in the lowest pool is around 85oF or 30oC, and gradually increases to 112oF or 44oC for the uppermost pool. The width of the pools is between 3 feet and 12 feet and the depth is around 2 feet to 3 feet. The floor of the six pools is bedrock in most places. But you can find sand, gravel and debris in certain areas as well.
The rates for soaking in the spring are $7 per person. Upon payment, you get a day pass, which is valid till sunset. This pass provides access to the parking lot, trail, hot springs areas and the lagoon. Payment can be made on site.
The springs can only be used during the daytime. On Thursdays, they are closed from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm for cleaning purposes. The springs are open throughout the year; however, the Forest Service Road 19 may be closed if there is heavy snow and too much ice. Clothing is optional in the area, but mandatory on the Forest Road 19.
An information kiosk has been set up on site. The staff on duty can answer your queries. Clothing racks, garbage receptacles and vault toilets are available. If you want, you can hike the surrounding trails during the daytime, but pack appropriate footwear.
The parking lot is around 0.2 miles away from the trail areas. Capacity is limited.
Accommodation is available in the form of camping at the Cougar Recreation Area. The rates per night are $15.
What Else Should You Know about Hot Cougar Springs in Oregon?
• Alcohol isn’t allowed in the region.
• If you plan to visit hot cougar springs in Oregon frequently, you should consider buying an annual pass for $66.
• There is no drinking water in the area.
Directions to Cougar / Terwilliger Hot Springs
– From the Blue River, head east roughly 4 miles until you hit forest road 19 (Aufderheide Dr.)
– Head in 5 miles and you will see signs for the hot springs with parking available
– There is roughly a quarter mile hiking trail called Rider Creek Trail that will take you to the site
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