Bagby Hot Springs Reopens to the Public for the First Time Since 2020

Bagby Hot Springs Oregon
Image courtesy of Bagby Preservation Inc

As reported by the Statesman Journal, Bagby Hot Springs, one of Oregon's most cherished public hot springs, is accessible and open for the first time in over four years. Nestled within the old-growth forest of Mount Hood National Forest, Bagby officially reopened on May 1st.

The springs initially closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic and remained inaccessible because of road damage caused by the Riverside and Bull Complex fires in 2020 and 2021, respectively. However, the springs themselves were untouched by the fires. Known for its distinctive wooden soaking tubs and rustic bathhouses, Bagby has been revitalized, with two of its three soaking areas now open.

Image courtesy of Bagby Preservation Inc

The 16-site campground at the trailhead is also open, and visitors can pick up a $5 soaking pass or stock up on supplies at the Ripplebrook Store. The store also offers free internet access. Bagby Preservation Inc., managed by Mike and Tamarah Rysavy, took over stewardship of the hot springs, with a vision to restore them to their former glory.

The Rysavys have modernized the springs with new hot and cold water systems, replacing old pipes with more durable plastic and galvanized ones. They've also removed hazard trees, scrubbed the tubs, and ensured the presence of a camp host and staff to maintain a peaceful atmosphere starting Memorial Day.

Currently, two soaking areas are open. Bathhouse #1 features a large round tub that can accommodate up to eight people, while Bathhouse #3 offers a round tub for eight, along with three single tubs. These communal spaces invite visitors to share in the soaking experience.

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Image courtesy of Danielle Denham at That Oregon Life

Bathhouse #2, previously known for its private rooms, remains closed due to structural issues since 2018. The Rysavys are hoping to either rebuild or replace it, but the process may take some time. In the meantime, they plan to create temporary platforms for soaking at the site.

Mike Rysavy encourages visitors to embrace the communal nature of hot springs soaking. "Invite others to join, or limit your soak to 30 minutes," he advises.

The $5 soaking fee can be paid in cash at the trailhead, and starting Memorial Day Weekend, visitors can also pay by credit card at the Ripplebrook Store. The store is located about 25 minutes from the Bagby Trailhead. Camping is available at the 16-site campground, but not in the parking lot, day-use area, or near the hot springs structures. Dispersed camping is allowed at least a quarter-mile from the springs and campground.

Image courtesy of Bagby Preservation Inc

If you're planning a visit, carefully follow the main route to Bagby: From Estacada, take Highway 224 for 26 miles past the Ripplebrook Guard Station, then follow Road 46 for 4 miles to the junction with Road 63. Turn right on Road 63 and follow it for another 4 miles to the junction with Road 70. Turn right again and follow Road 70 for 6 miles to reach the Bagby Trailhead. It's a 1.5-mile hike one way to the hot springs.

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As someone who loves soaking in Oregon's many hot springs, I haven't visited Bagby in at least six years. I'm eager to see its rejuvenated charm and soak in those iconic wooden tubs once more.