Despite Portland offering a myriad of activities and events, sometimes it’s necessary to escape the city for a moment of tranquility amid nature, especially if it’s at a nearby hot spring. Fortunately, Portland’s close proximity to the Cascade Mountains makes it one of the best cities for accessing hot springs in Oregon.
Within a three and a half-hour drive from Portland, visitors can reach five unique resorts and primitive pools. Ranging from posh and luxurious to isolated and undeveloped, visitors are sure to find a hot spring that suits their needs.
And if you’re visiting during the winter and are looking for an adrenaline rush, add a stop at any one of these ski resorts near Portland. Nothing is better than soaking in mineral-rich waters after a long day at the slopes.
Here are 5 hot springs near Portland, OR, in order of proximity:
Wind River Hot Springs: 58 miles | 1.15 hours
Situated just across Oregon’s border in Carson, Washington, Wind River Hot Springs is one of the best sets of primitive pools near Portland, thanks to its close proximity. Located just over an hour away from the city, this beautiful hot spring is great for adventurous explorers looking for a relaxing, riverside escape.
Made up of two bedrock pools, Wind River Hot Springs is an oasis set directly on the bank of the Wind River. The pools hover between 102°F and 105°F, an ideal temperature for soaking, especially when considering the opportunity for a little hot/cold therapy by jumping into the adjacent river.
Unfortunately, accessing the pools can prove tricky since they sit directly below the high-water line of the river and are surrounded by private property. For a small fee, guests can park at the nearby Carson Hot Springs Resort and, assuming conditions are safe, ford the river to access the springs. Otherwise, visitors must stay below the high-water line and carefully walk along the riverbank to the pools.
There is no camping in the immediate vicinity of the springs, but there is a small campground located on the private property that abuts the springs called Wind Wood Rivers. This campground has five sites and very basic amenities. Ultimately, despite the accessibility issues, this is a great, isolated hot spring for the visitors willing to put in the effort required to access it.
41 Shipherd Falls Rd, Carson, WA 98610 (Map)
Carson Hot Springs Resort: 58 miles | 1.15 hours
Just like Wind River Hot Springs, Carson Hot Springs Golf & Spa Resort is also located in Carson, just a little over an hour away from Portland. Thanks to its location and rich history dating back to 1876, this site is one of the best choices for Portland natives looking for a high-end hot springs vacation.
Boasting multiple pools, tubs, luxurious accommodations, spa facilities, and a golf course, Carson Hot Springs Golf & Spa Resort provides an all-around top-notch experience.
Carson’s primary draw is the healing minerals contained within the geothermally heated water found on-site. Guests over the age of 18 can choose to swim in one of the pools or have a relaxing soak in the vintage clawfoot tubs found inside of the resort’s bathhouse. Furthermore, Carson’s has an onsite hotel featuring queen and king beds as well as private hot tubs, perfect for anyone who wishes to extend their trip for a few days.
Moreover, visitors should take advantage of the spa services offered at the resort. Carson’s has a variety of massages, a sauna, and facial waxing for those looking to really pamper themselves. Besides the spa, the resort is also famous for its Elk Ridge Golf Course, a huge course surrounded by Washington’s natural beauty.
St. Martin’s Springs Road, St Martins Springs Rd, Carson, WA 98610 (Map) | (509) 427-8296
Bagby Hot Springs: 81 miles | 3.15 hours
Unlike the previous two hot springs, Bagby Hot Springs is actually located in Oregon. Set in the stunning Mt. Hood National Forest, Bagby Hot Springs is a primitive site located southwest of Portland. Thanks to the 1.5-mile hike from the trailhead, Bagby Hot Springs is the perfect spot for any visitor hoping for a soak surrounded by beautiful, lush forests.
Bagby Hot Springs is made up of three wooden bathhouses encompassed by towering trees. Two of the bathhouses feature community pools, while the other contains five private tubs for those hoping for a more individual experience.
Since Bagby Hot Springs is a little over three hours from Portland, it might be a good idea to extend a visit by camping overnight near the springs. Luckily, Bagby Campgrounds is located just 0.5 miles away, though backcountry camping is available at Shower Creek, which is around a quarter of a mile from the bathhouses.
Guests should keep in mind that Bagby Hot Springs is isolated, and there is no cell phone service nearby. Nevertheless, the beautiful wooden bathhouses that comprise Bagby Hot Springs are worth the hike, just make sure you pay the small fee required before you leave the trailhead.
Mt. Hood National Forest – 40 miles from Escatada, OR 97022 (Map)
Austin Hot Springs: 89 miles | 3.5 hours
Similarly positioned within the Mt. Hood National Forest, Austin Hot Springs is a far more primitive, undeveloped, riverside hot spring. Located just a few miles further from Portland than Bagby, Austin Hot Springs is another great choice for city-dwellers looking for a little outdoor adventure.
Composed of a variety of pools separated from the Clackamas River by stones, Austin Hot Springs provides a decidedly simple experience. While some of the warmer pools occasionally reach temperatures of 200°F, the pools closer to the river are cooler. Like most other primitive hot springs, there are no bathrooms or facilities and, to avoid injury, soakers should check the water before jumping in.
Nearby, visitors looking to spend the night can say at the Riverford Campground, a small NFS-operated campground that has ten sites. Reservations are not available, so the campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a basic vault toilet, but the campground has no other amenities.
It should be mentioned that, since Austin Hot Springs is free, it can become crowded on weekends and holidays. For that reason, visitors who wish for more privacy should visit during the week. Overall, this simple hot spring is a great option located around three and a half hours from Portland.
Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon 97023 (Map)
Breitenbush Hot Springs: 114 miles | 2.5 hours
Unlike the previous sites mentioned, Breitenbush Hot Springs is a full-service hot spring resort located in Detroit, Oregon. While it may be the furthest from Portland by mileage, its proximity to main roads makes it only two and a half hours from the city center.
Breitenbush Hot Springs features seven geothermally heated mineral pools spread out between two different areas. The sacred meadow contains three pools, all of which can hold between six and ten people, while the other four pools are situated next to the river on a concrete patio. As is common with many similar hot spring retreats and resorts, clothing is optional in the pools.
Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center offers a variety of diverse lodging options including dorms, camper vans, and campsites. There is no cell service, and WiFi is not available throughout the resort to enhance the natural experience.
Breitenbush offers a huge range of amenities, bringing this resort to the next level. Guests can choose between taking yoga classes, participating in retreat workshops, relaxing in the sauna, or even reserving a massage. If those aren’t appealing, the resort’s position on the edge of the Willamette National Forest affords ample opportunities for exploring nature.
53000 Breitenbush Rd SE, Detroit, OR 97342 (Map) | 503-854-3320
No matter where you decide to go during your Portland adventure, soaking in any one of these hot springs is sure to help you relax and unwind. Whether you’re looking for an undeveloped, primitive experience, or wish to be spoiled with spa services and private soaking tubs, the hot springs near Portland have something for everyone.
And if you have a little extra time on your hands and wish to see where else you can visit, here’s a list of the top hot springs in Oregon. Happy soaking!
BY WILLIAM REAVIS