Relax And Recharge at This Enchanting Oregon Hot Springs

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Adventures

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There are few things in life I can think of that are as peaceful and relaxing as soaking your cares away in a natural hot springs. If you love being outdoors, exploring hidden corners of our great state, or simply lounging around in a pool of hot water, Bigelow Hot Springs on the banks of the Wild and Scenic McKenzie River is waiting for you. 

cloudy hot springs
cloudy springs, Amanda Castle Google Local

Along the McKenzie River, you’ll find no end to recreational activities whether it’s hiking, mountain biking, camping, or rafting. But if you’re looking for a less strenuous way to enjoy nature, there are a few notable hot springs that are all worth checking out. One of the smaller and less visited of these is called Bigelow Hot Springs (also referred to as Deer Creek Hot Springs). No, this isn’t the biggest of the springs in the area, but it is beautiful and inviting and lets you take in the splendor of nature. 

McKenzie River
McKenzie River, Joe Fleming Google Local

It’s worth noting upfront this isn’t the hottest hot springs you’ll find along the river. In the winter and spring, when there’s been a lot of snow melt, it’s merely warm and good for a dip, but it won’t be the spa-like experience you may have in mind. If the river level is high and the constructed rock wall around the springs hasn’t been built up sufficiently, the incoming river can displace all the nice hot spring water. 

RELATED: Oregon Hot Springs - Nature’s Soothing Remedies for Mind, Body, and Soul

couple soaking
Couple soaking, Dan Dickinson Google Local

To get the most out of Bigelow, you’ll want to visit in the summer and early fall where average temperatures of the spring are a welcoming 102 to 104 degrees. The source of the hot water comes from the back area of the pool which is kinda like a small cave, so the further you can get into this hidey hole, the warmer you'll be. Additionally, it may smell like sulfur, but if you’ve been to a fair number of springs you know this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. The sulfur smell is a natural byproduct of the geothermal activity that’s happening below. 

fall soak
fall soak, Hanna Lytvynovych Google Local

The hot springs here is just one pool on the smaller side, so be mindful of this when planning your trip. Several people can fit comfortably, but for strangers you probably wouldn’t want more than four or five people in there. It can get busy on the weekends, but if you go midweek you stand a better chance of having it all to yourself. That said, if you are crowded out, there are other fantastic hot springs nearby you can try like Cougar and Belknap

RELATED: McKenzie River Trail - Hiking, Biking, Camping & More

How To Get to Bigelow Hot Springs:

Bigelow Hot Springs is a little over an hour’s drive east of Eugene, or an hour and 30 minutes west of Bend (this depends on what time of year you go since OR-242 is closed in the winter months). From Eugene, you’ll take OR-126 E for 54 miles, then take left on NF-2654 and follow that for 0.2 miles. From Bend you’ll start on US-97 N to US-20 W and follow this for about 50 miles, then you’ll stay left to merge onto OR-126 E for around 15 miles before taking a right on NF-2654. There’s a parking area just to the left after crossing the bridge. 

bridge, Ed Magana Google Local

Unless you've been to the hot springs before, it’s a good idea to download an offline map to ensure you can find your way there. However, once you get to the location, there’s plenty of parking available and it’s fairly easy to access the actual springs, just follow the McKenzie River Trail to the right of the bridge and it will take you right there.

Note that there are no facilities here which means no bathrooms or trash cans, so it’s your responsibility to keep it clean! The lesson here is to be a good steward of the land and always leave the place better than you found it. Other than that, get ready to luxuriate in the healing waters of Bigelow Hot Springs! 

feet, Karob Austin Google Local

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Written By Diana Flowers

Diana is a writer living in Portland with her delightful son and crotchety cat. Growing up in the area, family vacations were often to nearby destinations reachable by car. She has since expanded that love of local road trips and has been all over the great state of Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest, frequently pairing backpacking trips with exploring new towns and regions.

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