Have you ever imagined stepping out of the thick of Portland to take a dip in a hot spring and deeply relax? The thought may be so tantalizing that it can stop you from living your creative dreams. ut, with great news for outdoor fans near Portland, this wish isn’t too far-fetched! without traveling long distances, there are hot springs for soaking just outside the city. Read on to learn more about these secret gems and how you can experience them up close.

What are Natural Hot Springs and Where can you Find Them Near Portland, Oregon

There are many developed and undeveloped hot springs in Portland.

A developed hot spring has artificial improvements around a natural spring, including private soaking tubs and pools as well as walkways. The water temperature is monitored and sometimes regulated with other water sources. The owners keep the area clean and disinfected. Some also provide additional amenities like towels and lockers.

Undeveloped hot springs are also referred to as backcountry springs or wild hot springs. They can be very remote requiring you to pack in. You can only go to the ones on public lands unless you have permission to go on private property. So make sure you know where you are and where you’re going.

The majority of primitive hot springs near Portland are just a bit of a drive. Aus in Hot Springs is near Mt Hood and does have camping options. Sin e it’s free, it can get pretty crowded on weekends.

If you don’t mind driving an hour or two, there are quite a few in Central Oregon, including Bagby Hot Springs.

If you want to stay closer, check out Breitenbush Hot Springs which is developed and can provide an amazing experience.

What to Bring With you When you Visit a Natural Hot Springs

Visiting natural hot springs is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. To ma e sure you have an enjoyable experience, However, tot’s essential to be prepared with the right items.

Bring along some sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Even f it seems cloudy, the UV rays can still give you a sunburn. Also, remember to protect your eyes with sunglasses.

You will also need shoes if you’re hiking in, and water shoes for the pool. The rocks can get very slippery.

It’s also helpful to bring some snacks and drinks, as well as lots of towels for drying off after bathing in the hot springs. Ensure that you don’t have anything made of glass. It can break and cause a hazard for bare feet. And definitely bring lots of fresh water as soaking in hot water can dehydrate you.

If you wish to soak in the nude, be aware of what’s happening with other people. Are t ey wearing suits? Are there kids? Is it appropriate for the situation? You w ll also need to check if it is allowed. Undeveloped hot springs closer to parking lots and trailheads tend to be more clothing-on than clothing-optional. So if you want to go au natural in nature, you may need to hike a bit before choosing your place to soak.

Now for the list of don’ts. Don’t bring soap or shampoo. This s a natural hot spring, not a tub. It’s also not a toilet. So please go outside of the pool.

There will be more options if you’re in a developed hot spring, but you will still want to be respectful of the property, the springs, and other people.

The Benefits of Soaking in a Hot Spring

The natural minerals will relax any stiff muscles. It’s like soaking in Epsom salts on steroids.

Generally speaking, you should limit your soak to less than half an hour. It de ends on how hydrated you are if you’ve been drinking alcohol, and how hot the springs are.  Play it safe to ensure your safety.

Some experts recommend at least twenty minutes of soaking for optimal therapeutic effects. Other experts recommend no more than 15 minutes before getting out and resting for an hour before going in again for another 15 minutes.

A lot depends on the temperature and the concentration of minerals. If the water s closer to your body temperature, then you can hang out as long as you’d like because there won’t be the heat dehydrating you or raising your blood pressure.

Making the Most of Your Hot Springs Experience Near Portland

If you’re not alone, be respectful of those around you. You’re having a shared experience. If they are quiet and contemplative, you don’t want to be loud and jarring.

If no one is around, think about what kind of experience you want to have. Are you alone and want to meditate? Are friends around? It can be good to enjoy their company and laugh. You may want to talk beforehand about expectations for your experience.

Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings if you’re in a primitive hot spring. Eat and drink only what you have brought. Make sure you clean up everything behind you.  And if you can, bring a friend. It’s good to have company and someone to watch out for you.

Be friendly to others who share in your pool. You may make a new best friend.

In private tubs, there may be limits to the number of people in the pool. Be mindful if it’s at capacity and people are waiting ahead of you.

Do your research before you go. If the hot spring is on public land, make sure that the roads are passable. Find out if y u need to pay for a permit to go onto the land. Some places are requiring the permit to be purchased online before you go. If not see if it’s cash only.

Then, go have a fun adventure playing in nature’s natural hot tubs! And, if you’re looking to explore great hot springs just an hour and a half outside of Portland, this video gives a great guide of Bagby Hot Springs:


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