Post Summary: What To Do In The Umpqua National Forest in Oregon
So, we were on the hunt for some hidden forest hot springs in Oregon. We were coming back to Seattle from finishing our iconic Pacific Coast Highway road trip, and we were exploring inland for some PNW hot springs!
We hadn’t seen the ocean in a while, but we definitely reveled in the spectacular Yosemite National Park, and we were eager for our next relaxing stop in the Umpqua National Forest!
Things To Do In The Umpqua National Forest
*Before this trip began, we bought the America The Beautiful Pass. This pass lets you get into National Parks free of charge. What we didn’t know is that it also works for all National Forest, Seashore, and any other Federal Recreation land! This meant that we were able to get in for free!
(We are only sharing two stops in this post of MANY you can visit in this forest. Keep reading for more suggestions on other things to do/places to see here!)
Umpqua Hot Springs
Umpqua Hot Springs is a naturally occurring cluster of geothermal pools hidden away in Oregon’s national forest. We were stoked to finally be back in Oregon and check this place out!
The Umpqua Hot Springs trailhead is located down a 2.2 mile rocky, pothole-filled road. If our van could navigate the rough road, yours can too.
After parking, we managed the short hike in our flip flops and arrived at the pools about 15 minutes later.
Berty and I were looking forward to this stop since the trip began.
However, after finally reaching the hot springs, it was not quite what we expected it to be.
From a photographer’s perspective and with the right angle, this place is really something. When we arrived though, we noticed that previous users left garbage and beer cans strewn about, and the quality of the water was less than ideal.
We were bummed to see all of the garbage, and disappointed that people didn’t care about keeping this place clean for others to enjoy.
This is a great reminder to all reading that in order to enjoy a place for years to come, please pack out any garbage and leave a place better than you found it. We all play a part in preserving the earth’s beauty!
Our second stop in the Umpqua National Forest was Totekee Falls. This waterfall is conveniently located on the same forest road as Umpqua Hot Springs, so after a quick drive, we were already at the trailhead.
But first, breakfast…
Read More: How To Prepare Coffee On The Road
After a little more than a week of living out of our van, we had finally started to get the hang of cooking on the road! We had a pretty cool setup – Caravan Outfitter installs drawers, a pull-out counter, and a fridge in the back of all their models!
Pretty much daily, we used our small jetboil, enamel coffee mugs, and this pots and pans set. We had our little refrigerator in the back of the van to keep things like milk and eggs cold. But most of our meals required boiling water and mixing stuff together. (Healthy, right? LOL)
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Like the trail to Umpqua Hot Springs, the trail to Toketee Falls was quick and easy.
After a few sets of built-in stairs and a stroll beside the Clearwater River, we arrived! Toketee Falls is a two-tier waterfall that dumps over towering basalt columns.
These occur naturally over time and are pretty cool to see in real life.
Camping In The Umpqua National Forest
If you want to stay close to Umpqua Hot Springs, one of the closest campground is Toketee Lake Campground. However, there are so many backcountry spots in the area, and we wrote a guide to find free camping that you can use to research your own cool spots!
One way we like to find nearby campgrounds is by using an app called The Dyrt. We are obsessed with the pro membership because we can browse campsites offline (perfect for last-minute campsites!) and use the Road Trip Planner feature. Try their pro membership free for 90-days when using our code MANDAGIES90!
We loved our time visiting the Umpqua National Forest! We only scratched the surface during our short visit, but there are so many things to do here.
Here are some other activities you can do in the Umpqua National Forest:
- All-season sports at Diamond Lake
- Hiking Mt. Thielsen
- Go camping in their many reserved sites
- Biking, boating, fishing, climbing, and so much more!
What parts of the Umpqua National Forest have you explored? Where should we check out next? Anywhere else in Umpqua National Forest that we missed?
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