Post Summary: What To Expect at Umpqua Hot Springs In Oregon
Visiting Pacific Northwest hot springs seems like a rite of passage when traveling on the west coast. Heck, there are so many forested thermal pools you could plan a trip around just them alone!
If your adventure takes you to Southern Oregon, we’re revealing one of the most photographed hot springs locations in the state.
This collection of geothermal pools sit right on the edge of a rock face, spilling 105-degree water into the North Umpqua River below. It’s truly a sight to see and a must-do on any Pacific Northwest bucket list!
In this post, we’re sharing all about Umpqua Hot Springs, what to expect, and essential tips to know before venturing out to this iconic spot!
15 Essential Tips For Visiting Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon
How To Get To Umpqua Hot Springs
Umpqua Hot Springs is located in Central/Southern Oregon, in the Cascade Mountain range.
It’s part of the Umpqua National Forest, near attractions like Toketee Falls, Surprise Falls, and Misty Grotto Falls.
To reach Umpqua Hot Springs, you must drive from the nearest city into the forest. Here are some itinerary examples of how many miles it is from each of these Oregon cities:
- From Bend, Oregon: 2 hours 20-minute drive – 121 miles
- From Eugene, Oregon: 4 hours 14-minute drive – 232 miles
- From Medford, Oregon: 2 hours 14-minute drive – 109 miles
- From Portland, Oregon: 5 hours 22-minutes drive – 282 miles
The parking lot for the Umpqua Hot Springs trailhead is made of dirt and gravel, and full of potholes. Make sure to drive slowly and watch to avoid those extra deep ones!
Umpqua Hot Springs is for day-use only, available from sunup to sundown. Please respect the times to ensure it stays available for public use.
If you wish to go camping near the hot springs, click here to learn more about camping in the Pacific Northwest, or keep reading below!
Camping Near Umpqua Hot Springs
If you want to stay close to Umpqua Hot Springs (maybe you want to visit for sunrise AND sunset!), 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 love the pro membership because it unlocks super useful features like offline campground browsing, BLM and national park maps, and even a road trip planner! Try their pro membership free for 90-days when using our code MANDAGIES90!
Things To Know When Visiting Umpqua Hot Springs In Winter
The average temperature for the Umpqua National Forest in winter is in the high 20s and low 30s. This is perfect conditions for icy roads, so come prepared for winter driving and be careful!
It’s also important to pack an extra pair of dry clothes in your car, in case your spare gets wet on the journey. Save this link below, to get real-time weather reports and road conditions all throughout Oregon state.
1. Plan Your Visit During Clear Weather
Like stated above, the wet conditions of the Umpqua National Forest making it a perfect place for icy road conditions. On rainy days or cold winter months, the road could be in bad shape! Before heading out to visit Umpqua Hot Springs, check Oregon Road conditions for a safe passage.
2. Purchase The Right Pacific Northwest Pass
It’s important to remember that a visit to the Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon requires a Northwest Forest Pass OR it is $5 for a day pass (in cash).
These passes are very easy to obtain. You can purchase one online, or pick them up at a local vendor. Think places like REI, Big 5, or click here to find a local store that sells passes. You can even purchase a day pass and print it out at home!
Make sure to properly display your pass on your car’s dashboard or hang your pass from the review mirror. This will ensure you won’t be ticketed!
3. The Road Is Rough And Bumpy
Of all the Oregon hot springs we’ve visited, the road to Umpqua Hot Springs was the absolute worst. (And that’s comparing it to ones we saw on our Eastern Oregon road trip out in the desert!) The access road to the parking lot is short, but filled with deep potholes. Go super slow on this road to avoid a flat tire!
4. The Parking Lot Is Small
The parking lot at Umpqua Hot Springs Trailhead is small, enough for about 10 cars. It’s unlawful to block the road, so if the lat is full, you’re out of luck! To increase your chances of getting a spot, come during the weekdays, and early in the morning for fewer crowds.
5. Bring Proper Shoes For Hiking
The trail to Umpqua Hot Springs from the parking lot is not long, but that doesn’t mean proper shoes should be forgotten. This 0.3-mile trail (0.6 total round trip) is fairly steep, with 206 feet in elevation gain in this short trail. Wearing hiking shoes will make the quick but steep trail much easier!
Once you arrive at the hot springs, there’s also more of a chance of losing your footing on the slippery surface near the pools. Protect your feet and make sure to wear proper shoes to avoid injury!
Like you will read below, this place is notorious for leaving garbage, so wearing proper shoes will prevent you from accidentally stepping on glass or other garbage.
6. Carry Gear In A Waterproof Bag
On a trip to Umpqua Hot Springs, make sure to protect your items from the elements. It is common for this place to be rainy and wet!
There’s a small shelter to shield your items from the rain, but there’s a good chance it will already be in use when you arrive. To ensure your things don’t get wet while you soak, pack a waterproof bag to keep your things protected.
Last-minute trip? Garbage bags work just fine, and better yet, they are CHEAP!
7. There Is More Than One Pool
Did you know that Umpqua Hot Springs is a series of several pools? The ones closest to the top tend to be the warmest, and get gradually cooler as you reach lower pools. This is likely because the source water is fed from the top and cascades down, losing heat as it goes.
8. This is A Busy Location
Because of its natural beauty, social media, and simply its well-known name, Umpqua Hot Springs is a popular Oregon hot springs location! Expect to see others at the pools, and make sure to follow proper hot springs etiquette when sharing a space with others. For a better chance of getting the pools to yourself, go on an off-season, during the weekday, and early in the morning.
9. It’s Located On A Cliffside
Umpqua Hot Springs is located on a cliffside, right about the North Umpqua River. Similar to Pine Flats Hot Springs in Idaho, they are both located on cliffs, but Umpqua has larger, rounder pools that seem to stack up on one another. As you go between pools, remember to watch your step – the rocks are extremely slippery!
10. The Water Is Murky
The bottom of the Umpqua Hot Springs pools are silty and murky. As you move about, the dirt kicks up in the water, making it brown and cloudy. This doesn’t necessarily make it unsanitary on it’s own, but definitely do not drink this water.
11. There is an Outhouse On-Site (Albeit a Gross One)
If you have a bathroom emergency, there is an outhouse up the trail from the pools, but prepare yourself for a nasty experience…and definitely bring your own toilet paper! We’ve also been there when it’s been locked, so don’t count on that one! There is a much nicer pit toilet at the trailhead parking lot, so if you need to go I would suggest that one.
Have a bathroom emergency? Read our essential camping hygiene tips here!
12. Other Hot Springs Are Close To Umpqua Hot Springs
Umpqua Hot Springs is not the only hot springs in the area! There are several others gorgeous & natural hot springs in Oregon, especially located in the Cascades. If you are planning an Oregon road trip, consider adding Cougar Hot Springs, Bigelow Hot Springs, and McCredie Hot Springs as potential stops.
13. Bring A Garbage Bag For Your Trash (And Others!)
Umpqua Hot Springs is unfortunately notorious for their piles of beer cans and garbage left behind by inconsiderate users (double yuck).
Let’s gather together and stop that reputation this year! If you are planning a visit, we encourage you to pack an extra garbage bag to collect trash on your way out. This will help keep the area clean and make a wonderful experience for the next visitors as well.
Making a habit of packing out trash will encourage other hot springs users to keep the area clean too. If people see this place is cared for, others will extend that sense of care too.
14. Follow Proper Hot Springs Etiquette
Pacific Northwest hot springs require delicate care and conservation! These areas are popular around the world and it’s important to follow these hot springs etiquette guidelines to ensure future visitors have a great time too.
If you can’t abide by these rules during your visit to Umpqua Hot Springs, we encourage you to wait on your visit until you can. Here’s a quick list of must-follow rules for hot springs soaking!
- Keep It Clean. They cannot support soap & shampoo. Nothing should be added to the water except yourselves.
- Pack It In And Pack It Out. Keep it clean for yourself and for other visitors by packing out all your trash.
- Leave It Better Than You Found It. Help Umpqua Hot Springs continue to be enjoyed for years to come by being respectful of any boundaries, structures, or waterways in place.
- Clothing May Be Optional. Depending on the location of the hot springs, you may encounter soakers in the nude. (Which you likely will at Umpqua Hot Springs).
- Be Respectful Of Others. Everyone comes for their own reasons. Be respectful of people who wish for a silent soak.
- Be Aware Of Hot Springs Capacity. Some locations can only fit so many people (some as little as one soaker!) Don’t be a pool hot and allow others to take a turn.
15. Pack A Pair of Dry Clothes For Your Return
Nobody likes sitting in a wet suit for hours, especially in a cramped car on a road trip! For extra comfort, pack a pair of dry clothes to keep in the car, and change when you return. Store wet clothes in a plastic bag, and remember to wash them to strip away the chemicals from the water.
16. Explore Other Natural Attractions Nearby Umpqua Hot Springs
Umpqua Hot Springs is just one of the many amazing things to do in the Umpqua National Forest! Keep scrolling for suggestions on other locations nearby, including hidden Oregon waterfalls, hiking trails, and other scenic stops.
Map of Umpqua Hot Springs
Looking for driving directions to Umpqua Hot Springs? We’ve included a map below to help you plan your epic Oregon road trip!
What Else Is Near Umpqua Hot Springs?
Umpqua Hot Springs is just one of many amazing locations to discover in Central and South Oregon. If you are looking for more adventures nearby, here are some of our suggestions below:
This incredibly short hike requires little effort for a huge reward. It is also located just a short drive away from Umpqua Hot Springs, in the Umpqua National Forest.
Remember to purchase a Northwest Forest Pass from the local ranger station (or print one out online)!
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Cape Perpetua is an awesome place to explore if you love coastal features like tide pools, coves, and secret caves. The most well-known features at Cape Perpetua are Thor’s Well, Cape Perpetua Lookout, and Devil’s Churn.
Crater Lake National Park.
Crater Lake is the one and only national park in Oregon State. It’s famous for the caldera from the collapsed Mount Mazama, which is now a pristine lake with a small island in the middle.
Road conditions can be dicey even until July, so check the weather before visiting!
Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor.
Located on the rocky southern Oregon coast, Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor is an incredibly photogenic place, ideal for ocean sunsets!
Want a new adventure? Take a road trip down the entire Oregon Coast! We’re sharing our itinerary here.
Eugene, Oregon is a large college town (University of Oregon) known for its amazing beer, truffle festival, and proximity to tons of Oregon adventures.
Take a day trip from the city to visit places like Salt Creek Falls, Sahalie and Koosah Falls, or go west towards the Oregon Coast.
Ready to extend your time in Oregon? Head to the coast and discover the amazing beaches and hikes on the Oregon coast!
We’ve created an entire route with attractions, beautiful hidden Oregon locations, places to stay, and so many more helpful resources to plan your trip!