Post Summary: Amazing Pacific Northwest Hot Springs and Where To Find Them
Ahhh…hot springs. A favorite pastime of many who live in the Pacific Northwest.
Forest soaks are a perfect way to recover from a long hike, a long ski day, or simply to get away from it all and rest.
As Berty and I explore deeper into our little corner of the world, we’ve discovered a beautiful collection of these Pacific Northwest hot springs everywhere!
We know there are hundreds to choose from, but in this post, we wanted to start by sharing the best hot springs in the Pacific Northwest that are worth a visit.
As we visit more Pacific Northwest hot springs, we’re going to update this post with information about them, and how we can be respectful of these places to use and enjoy for years to come.
Thanks for helping us accomplish this together!
10+ Pacific Northwest Hot Springs You Must Visit
First of all, let’s start with some hot springs etiquette.
From our experience, Pacific Northwest hot springs can vary greatly – from backcountry soak to commercialized spa.
Nonetheless, there are always the same rules/guidelines in place to make soaking an enjoyable experience for you and everyone else. Here are some things we’ve learned:
Before We Begin…6 Tips For Hot Springs Etiquette
1. Keep Them Clean.
Natural springs and the connecting waterways cannot support soap/shampoo…even the biodegradable kind.
Don’t treat it as your bathtub! Nothing should be added to the water except yourselves.
**This also refers to pets getting in hot springs as well. Keep your furry family members out for their safety and the safety of others.
2. Pack It In And Pack It Out.
We’ve encountered PNW hot springs where beer cans were littered everywhere and the water was filthy.
Keep it clean for yourself and for other visitors by packing out all your trash. You can even bring an extra trash bag to help out others who have left their waste behind.
3. Leave It Better Than You Found It.
Some places have been cut off from access because of public misuse.
Help it continue to be enjoyed for years to come by being respectful of any boundaries, structures, or waterways in place.
As stated above, do your part by setting the standard for a clean and enjoyable hot springs experience. Pack out your trash, and make an effort to pack out things left behind too. We felt this was worth repeating.
4. Clothing May Be Optional.
Depending on the location, you may encounter soakers in the nude. You will more than likely see this if you are heading to a harder-to-reach PNW hot spring or backcountry soaks that require a hike in.
If there are children present, be considerate of the wishes of the parents (and your own safety) and stay clothed!
5. Be Respectful Of Other Visitors.
Everyone comes for their own reasons. It could be to enjoy your time with friends, or escape it all and enjoy the scenery.
A friendly hello is always welcome, but be respectful of people who wish for a silent soak.
6. Be Aware Of Hot Springs Capacity.
Some locations can only fit so many people (some as little as one soaker!)
Make sure to do a little research beforehand about size, capacity, and popular times for your Pacific Northwest hot springs locations. This can help you determine the best dates for your visit.
The Best Pacific Northwest Hot Springs Locations
Here are the BASIC features of hot springs that we find in each state:
- Washington Hot Springs: Most are located in the Olympic or Cascade Mountains. Many are private and in need of prior permission to use. Most are by hike-in only, often long distances. The temperatures tend to be mild in temperature.
- Oregon Hot Springs: Most are located in the Cascades, and scattered in Eastern Oregon. Pools vary in size and temperature. Some are private, and most are natural and on National forest land.
- Idaho Hot Springs: Some don’t count this state as the PNW, but we do. 🙂 The Idaho Batholith geology makes this area overflowing with piping hot springs. More than 200 exist in Idaho alone. Many are easily accesible, with a mix of commercial and natural.
- British Columbia: Most are located in the Coastal Range and the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountain springs are more commercialized and the ones near the coast are a little bit harder to reach, and more in their natural state.
1. Umpqua Hot Springs
Tucked away in the Umpqua National Forest, this natural hot spring in Oregon is an extremely popular spot for soakers from all over the PNW.
We found these Oregon hot springs to be more heavily trafficked than other spots, but they still had gorgeous views of the river and hillside.
To reach this destination, you need to drive your car on an unkempt forest road (aka POTHOLES) for about 2 miles. After the parking lot, it’s a short 1/2 mile trail to reach the hot springs.
Make sure to have a Northwest Forest Pass or America The Beautiful displayed on your car to avoid a ticket! Entry is $5.00.
** The forest road is not plowed during the off-season, so if you’re planning to come during the winter months, add an extra 2 miles to your hike!
2. Trail Creek Hot Springs
Interested in a backcountry soak?
These natural Idaho hot springs will lead you deep down a road in the mountains (20 minutes east of Cascade, Idaho) but also come with easy accessibility. From the pullout, it was a steep but short walk down to the pools.
Of all the natural hot springs we’ve visited so far, this one has got to be the cleanest!
The hot springs and creek run right next to each other, with a simple concrete/stone structure separating the two.
There is extremely hot water coming from the pools, but there has been a valve built that connects the river water to the pool. You can open and close the valve to make the temperature to your liking!
Trail Creek Hot Springs is free of charge and you can park your car on the side of the road.
For a popularity gauge: we arrived on a Tuesday evening and there were already 4 cars. If you want these Pacific Northwest hot springs to yourself, we suggest getting there early, and coming on a weekday!
3. Scenic Hot Springs
Scenic Hot Springs (in our opinion) is one the most beautiful hot springs in the Pacific Northwest.
Just imagine soaking in the middle of a secluded forest with jaw-dropping views!
Here, there are three giant black plastic tubs that continually fill with natural spring water. We’ve noticed these to be of varying temperature – the feeder pool being the hottest and the farthest pool being the coolest.
To get to these hot springs in Washington state, you must turn off an unmarked forest road near Steven’s Pass and hike for about an hour into the forest.
Located on private property, a visit here requires permission by the owners (reserve your spot at this site) and it costs $5-$10 per person.
We’ve written a detailed post about what you might expect here – you can read about it at the post below!
Read More: Scenic Hot Springs In The Cascade Mountains
4. Kirkham Hot Springs
One of the most anticipated stops on our last road trip was Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho.
This location is a popular spot for Boise, Idaho dwellers to come and escape to the mountains.
2 hours away from this city, Kirkham Hot Springs has 10 different pools, each with a different varying temperature to enjoy.
We were impressed by the capacity this place could accommodate – when we visited there were about 12 people, but we didn’t feel like it was crowded at all!
Kirkham Hot Springs was clean, the water was clear, and we enjoyed the natural pacific northwest hot springs for the afternoon.
There is a $5 fee to park your car, and there are bathrooms on-site.
Read More About This Place: What To Expect At Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho
5. Alvord Hot Springs
Alvord Hot Springs is located in the Steens Mountains in Southeast Oregon.
It’s extremely remote, which means that it’s a long drive coming from pretty much anywhere. The closest big cities are Boise, Idaho (3.5-hour drive) or Bend, Oregon (4-hour drive).
This desert-like place is different from a lot of the other Pacific Northwest hot springs you might encounter.
The natural geothermal water is pumped into two giant pools. One is built in the open-air with a wooden platform and bench, the other is more private with steel siding.
There is also a covered area to the side to protect your things from the elements.
Alvord hot springs is located on private property, which means there is an admission fee ($8.00 per person as of January 2019).
If you’re into secluded spaces and having a pool all to yourself, Alvord is worth that drive. Read more about it below.
6. Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs
Mountain Village Hot Springs Resort is located in the tiny mountain town of Stanley, Idaho.
This hot spring is channeled from the nearby river and sourced into a single hot-tub like pool with a covered wooden structure.
The large barn-like double doors swing open to an incredible view of the Sawtooth Mountains on a clear day.
To guests of the resort, the hot springs are free of charge and reserved by the hour. Admission is paid for outside guests, who must also reserve by the hour.
We highly recommend a visit as close to sunrise as possible. The mountains in the distance light up with an alpenglow that only the earliest of risers get to experience!
Read More: A Winter Escape in Stanley, Idaho
7. The Springs, An Idaho City Resort
The Springs in Idaho City is a widely popular commercial hot springs resort in the Boise National Forest.
Here, the thermal energy is sourced into several pools: one huge pool, a warmer large hot tub, and several private pools.
This resort is clean, professional, and an incredible way to relax in style. If dirt and outdoors aren’t your thing, but a relaxing soak is, The Springs is your place.
8. Gold Fork Hot Springs
If you’re looking for beautiful and convenient northwest hot springs, this is the place for you!
Twenty minutes east of Idaho’s Highway 55 is an appealing facility called Gold Fork Hot Springs.
This is a natural hot spring, but the geothermal pools are harnessed and guided into beautifully created man-made pools for a clean and accessible soak.
They have all temperature options within their several pools – from the hottest one called “the lobster pot” to the farthest one that’s suitable for anyone.
Gold Fork has amenities to make your experience an easy one.
Changing rooms, towel rentals, free locker rooms, and boardwalk access to their many pools. This place takes cash and checks only, so come prepared with $10 per person and extra if you want to rent a towel or buy snacks!
Read More: 6 Incredible Idaho Hot Springs To Explore
9. Burgdorf Hot Springs
**Read very carefully for current 2022 health precautions and reservation changes**
Burgdorf Hot Springs is a rustic backcountry escape an hour’s drive north of McCall, Idaho.
It’s a perfect blend of natural and commercial PNW hot springs – the pools are continually fed with fresh (and piping hot) spring water a 150 gallons per minute.
There are two really hot small pools and a large pool that’s the perfect temperate for a good soak. Pool use is only for overnight guests, there is no day-use reservations available at this time,
Here, the caretakers take great care in creating a backcountry experience for their day users and overnight guests. Many of the original log cabins on the property still exist today and are available for rent.
Winter Tip: During the snowy season, this place is only accessible via snowmobile. It’s an incredible experience to take the trip out here during the season, and soak in the pools surrounded by snow!
All the cabins are heated by a wood-fired stove, and the pool changing rooms have a toasty fireplace inside to keep you warm too.
Come see this amazing piece of Idaho history for yourself!
10. The Boiling River In Yellowstone National Park
Okay, this one is in Wyoming. Quite the stretch from the Pacific Northwest rainforests west of the Cascades.
But if you are making your way out to these amazing Pacific Northwest hot springs, we suggest going just a tiny bit farther east to Wyoming. Here, you can experience the wild Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park, a geothermal ground spring that mixes with the nearby Gardiner River.
Here, you can find hot pools along the river’s edge that vary in temperature and size. This is a popular place for soakers (if you’re in on the secret, like you!) who want a little bit of adventure, or a fun twist to the regular Yellowstone National Park itinerary.
11. Hot Springs Cove, Vancouver Island, BC
A trip to Hot Springs Cove is one of the coolest adventures you can take on Vancouver Island!
To begin, you’ll need to start your journey in Tofino, BC, and book a water taxi (or a floatplane!) to reach the hot springs. The boat ride will take 1.5 hours and requires a 2-kilometer hike through the rainforest to reach these amazing hot pools on the oceanside.
A trip here is an all-day event, so make sure to book your adventure to Hot Springs Cove as soon as you plan your Tofino weekend trip!
12. Hart Mountain Hot Springs
With Hart Mountain Hot Springs, you actually get two hot springs for the journey of one!
Hart Mountain Hot Springs is located in Central Oregon, with the nearest major cities being Bend, Klamath Falls, and Burns. Located deep in the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, this rarely visited spring has two pools. One has a surrounding stone structure and the other pool is 100 yards away as a natural pool.
Both pools have their own unique features and feel, so spend some time visiting each! The stone-walled pool is nearly 4-5 feet deep, so keep an eye on little ones if you bring your kids!
13. Willow Creek Hot Springs
Also referred to as Whitehorse Ranch Hot Springs, Willow Creek Hot Springs is located deep in the Southeastern Oregon high desert.
This singular pool is split into two parts, but the pool in total stays at around 102 degrees. This is a great hot spring to visit if you want to avoid large crowds – the journey here is far enough that only the dedicated make it!
The pool is located on BLM land, with several free campsites surrounding the greater area around the hot springs. Amenities include a pit toilet and fire rings in some pull-in campsites.
This place is a popular destination for elk hunters, so early commuting in-and-out of the area is frequent during the summer months.
Looking for find free campsites near PNW hot springs?
The Free Camping Collection from Dyrt PRO is our absolute favorite way to find free camping, especially in remote hot spring locations!
The Dyrt has a Free Camping Collection of 5000 drive-in accessible locations that include free campgrounds and free dispersed sites.
Plus, the Free Camping Collection shows you boundaries of free dispersed camping areas on a map and tells you when a camping permit is required (and if so how to get one).
Try the PRO Free Camping Collection for free, no strings attached — use our code “mandagies” to get 30 days free.
14. Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is located next to Lolo Pass, which is in the Northeast corner of the state, on the southern end of the Panhandle. It’s actually much easier to get to Jerry Johnson from Missoula, Montana than from anywhere else in Idaho!
These Idaho hot springs require a 2.6-mile walk on a flat, easy trail. In the winter, the snowpack can make the trail icy, so wear micro-spikes to help avoid slipping and falling.
There are three sections of pools: the cliffside collection, the riverside collection, and the “big pool.” Each come with their own unique traits, depths, and temperatures, and we suggest testing them out to find which one you like best.
15. Boat Box Hot Springs
The tub can fit 3 soakers, but any more than that and you are in for a tight squeeze.
This place is perfect for visiting on a cold day because the steam will rise beautifully off the river, and the sound of the flowing river will give it an extra-relaxing feel.
**This location is run and maintained by locals and is extremely small.
Take extra care when visiting Boat Box and be courteous of the capacity it may hold. Because of its size, even the smallest bit of damage or misuse can have a big impact on the space.
Planning your visit during an off-season time can give you a better chance of enjoying this tiny Idaho hot spring by yourself!
More Pacific Northwest Hot Springs
Listed below are more PNW hot springs we have yet to visit. Come back often as we will update this post with pictures and details as we visit more and more. Enjoy!
- Sol Duc Hot Springs, Olympic National Park, WA (Commercial)
- Goldmyer Hot Springs, WA (Natural/Commercial located in the Snoqualmie National Forest
- Bagby Hot Springs, OR (Natural/Commercial)
- Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, ID (Natural)
- Sloquet Hot Springs, BC
- Goldbug Hot Springs, ID (Natural)
- Lussier Hot Springs, AB
- Olympic Hot Springs (located in the Olympic National Park, but may contain harmful bacteria)
- Carson Hot Springs (commercial) A historic destination located in the Columbia River Gorge
What To Pack For A Pacific Northwest Hot Springs Trip
One of the biggest reasons to visit PNW hot springs is to actually get IN the water! Make sure to bring a comfortable suit that you can soak in for hours on end.
We like to pack this red one (see below) because it’s bright, beautiful, and stands out really well against natural PNW hot springs backgrounds.
Note: Don’t bring your most expensive, pristine white suit. Well, you can technically do whatever you want, but these natural minerals and chemicals in the water may discolor delicate fabrics.
Quick Dry Towel
Whatever you choose, this is definitely an item you don’t want to forget!
One of the worst parts of getting out of the hot springs is putting your shoes back on! You’re feet are wet and cold, and you just want something easy to wear!
Carry-All Tote Bag
A great way to pack all your hot springs essentials is to choose a waterproof, easy-to-back tote bag!
Sustainability Tip: Pack an extra garbage bag to pick up left behind trash! The best way we can set a new standard for hot springs cleanliness is by leaving it better than we found it. Let’s do it together!
PARTING WORDS ABOUT PACIFIC NORTHWEST HOT SPRINGS
*Talking about Pacific Northwest hot springs seems to be a controversial topic.*
Lots of soakers don’t like locations being shared, naturally for fear of their favorite places being ruined by reckless visitors.
Berty and I believe that blog post or no blog post, these places will be discovered and visited by many people as social media and sharing is a part of today’s culture.
Our blog is dedicated to sharing beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest, and with that comes a responsibility to educate readers and share expectations of how we can enjoy places respectfully.
We’re here to be a voice and an example of how to properly treat locations so that people can enjoy them for generations.
I mean, if people are going to find out about them eventually, we at least want to make sure our audience is informed about good etiquette and practices when enjoying these natural hot springs.
There are so many more Pacific Northwest hot springs for us to discover! Which ones are your favorite?
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