Located in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest in Washington, bordering the Alpine Lakes Wildnerness and only an hour and a half away from Seattle, you will find the Scenic Hot Springs. This hot springs site is located on private property, and visitors must ask for permission and pay a fee to visit this site.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is known to have some of the most beautiful views in the Cascade Range and offers an abundance of outdoor activities. This 400,000-acre forest is filled to the brim with wildlife. With a multitude of varying tree species, it is also home to countless creatures, such as deer, elk, mountain goats, and black bears.
Starting in the 1890s under the name Madison Hot Springs, a large building was constructed to house visitors looking to soak in the natural springs. The lodge would heat the water before piping it to bathhouses, giving those traveling along the railway a moment of relaxing reprieve.
In 1928, the Great Northern Railway dug an 8-mile tunnel under Stevens Pass which led to the destruction of the lodge, and the site was forgotten until the 1980s. What had once been a popular stop along the Great Northern Railway, the springs had been abandoned for 50 years before being ‘rediscovered’ by hot spring enthusiasts.
In 2001 the landowner put a stop to illegal trespassers. This was due to liability risks and the lack of building permits on decks built haphazardly around the hot springs.
Over the next 12 years, they decided to open up the hot springs by invitation only, maintaining the site and allowing access to its pristine healing waters once again. Being close to Seattle has allowed many city dwellers the opportunity to reconnect with nature.
The Hot Spring Pools
There are 3 pools located at Scenic Hot Springs, all resting side by side with a wooden deck next to them. The large, black plastic tubs are fed the hot mineral water through a large yellow pipe and the tub closest to this source is the hottest.
You would be hard-pressed to find the Scenic Hot Springs on your own and to get directions you need to ask the permission of the landowner or you will be trespassing. There is a long waiting list, so it is important to book your trip in advance. Once accepted, you will receive detailed instructions on where to park and where to hike to get to the hot mineral water.
It is a 2-mile hike each way, 100% uphill, and during the winter you will need to bring snowshoes as the snow can get very deep. The hike is along a power line route and also through the forest itself. Once you reach the soaking area, you will feel nestled deep within nature, with a 360° view of the beautiful alpine forest around you.
Address: Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest, Washington | Address given by property owner
Season: Year-Round | Day use only
Property Type: Private | Must ask the owner permission