Photo by Melanie Griffith
Hot springs are hot attractions throughout the PNW, and the cold Winter weather makes soaking in these geothermal pools that much better! These beautiful pools of naturally warmed water are breathtaking. However when visiting, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Do not add anything to the water or bathe in the hot springs.
- This also means no pets in the water, many locations will suggest not to bring any pets along at all.
- Food and drinks should also not be kept out of the hot spring. If you must bring snacks, check the rules for the hot spring you are visiting and carry a trash bag with you to pack after yourself.
- Please keep in mind that the hot springs are for soaking not for swimming, be mindful of your fellow hot spring goers.
We all owe it ourselves to preserve these natural attractions. In this article, we'll be sharing some of the best hot springs in the Pacific Northwest.
1. Trail Creek Hot Springs - Idaho
We had to put this one at the top because it one of the cleanest you'll find in the PNW region. Located in Idaho, this hot spring is tucked deep in Payette National Forest's mountains, east of Cascade, Idaho. The hot springs are close to the creek, with just a concrete structure separating them. The pools' water is quite hot, but it has been modified to incorporate a valve that can bring river water into the pool. This way, you can open the valve to release some cold water till the spring is just the right temperature for you.
It's open to the public free of charge. If you want to enjoy this spring to yourself, it's advisable to visit it on a weekday early in the day. The upper pools tend to be crowded, but you might get some privacy if you go to the lower banks.
Photo by Emily and Burt Mandagie
Cavern Fed Pools of Goldmyer Hot Springs
2. Goldmyer Hot Springs- Washington
Great treasures come well-wrapped, and the Goldmyer is a national treasure. To unwrap this one, you have to drive 60 miles east of Seattle to the North Cascades' foothills. After this, you'll trek a15 miles on an unpaved road that leads to the trailhead. Five miles into this trailhead, and the wrapping comes off this gift to reveal a hot spring in heaven on earth.
It comes with simple campground facilities for an overnight stay. It is run by the Northwest Wilderness Program, a nonprofit. You have to make a reservation before hitting the road, a Northwest Forest Pass, and a high-clearance vehicle. Fees are $10 -$15/day per person, and they only take 20 people per day.
There are limited amenities, so make sure to pack the things you'll be needing. There's an open-air cabana, campsites with places to hang food, stocked outhouses, picnic tables, and a bike rack. This is the perfect getaway spot, as there is no cellular or internet connection available.
3. Cougar Hot Springs - Oregon
It is also known as the Terwilliger Hot Springs and comprises six pools with different temperatures. So, you're sure to find a bank that is just the right temperature for you. Each pool walled in rocks feeds the one below it to create a descending level of heat. At the highest level, it's a scalding 112 degrees. At the lowest, it's an enjoyable 90 degrees. With your toe, you can measure to find the right pool for you.
This Oregon hot spring tucked in Willamette National Forest. The floors of the pools are mostly made of bedrock. However, small amounts of gravel, sand, and debris can also be found there. Alcohol is not allowed, and it is only available for day use. Camping is also restricted to the developed campgrounds in the Cougar Recreation Area. The trail to this spring is 25 miles long and is not maintained for wheelchair use. The rock steps are also narrow and might pose a challenge to anyone with mobility challenges.
Upper Pools at Terwilliger
Photo by @mecca.r.r
4. Paulina Lake Hot Springs - Oregon
This hot spring is free to the public. You can enjoy a warm soak while enjoying the view of the lake. These pools were dug out along the shores of the Paulina Lake and East Lake. It is mostly friendly but can get hot when water from the adjacent lake does not get into it. The hot spring is restricted to summer and early fall, right before snowfall.
This hot spring is located near the Newbury Volcanic Monument in the Deschutes National Forest. These pools are situated remotely and attract limited visitors, making it ideal for those desirous of an exclusive experience. You can combine this trip with a visit to the Deschutes National Park. For the most memorable experience, visit this spring between May and July. In other months, the hot springs can be submerged under the Paulina Lake.
5. Scenic Hot Springs - Washington
Just like the name suggests, this is one of the most beautiful hot springs in the PNW. It is tucked within a secluded forest that offers mind-blowing views. Here, you'll three giant tubs feeding each other of varying temperatures. The main feeder is the hottest, while the last pool is the coolest.
To get to this hot spring in Washington State, you have to turn off an unmarked forest road near Steven's Pass and hike for up to an hour into the forest. It is located on private property, so visiting requires permission and reservation. This costs between $5 - $10 per person.
This hot spring is bounded on all sides by the National Forest by Stevens Pass. Daily, only ten guests are allowed. If you're coming as a group, then be sure to make a group reservation.
Pools overlooking Steven's Pass
There you have it, our list of thermal waters in the Pacific North West that are sure to make it onto your bucket list.
Due to COVID-19, travel restrictions may apply. We advise all to check availability and hours before travel. Please practice COVID-19 precautions and safety.