Want something fun to do this weekend or anytime you are able to get away for something new and interesting? Then go for a hike to a close-by natural hot spring and soak away your stress in a peaceful setting. And you don’t have to go all that far!
Natural hot springs are pools of hot water fed by natural underground springs. They have a high level of minerals like calcium that can relax your muscles. The water is heated geothermally. So yes, that means you’re near some volcanic action, but it’s not quite what you think. The body of water is way down by the Earth’s mantle. It’s heated causing it to rise.
Some hot springs are really hot. For example, you wouldn’t want to climb into Old Faithful in Yellowstone. You could literally be boiled alive or at least seriously injured.
You will want to look for a heated spring filling a natural basin providing a lovely experience for sitting, soaking, and relaxing.
Are There Natural Hot Springs Near Portland?
There are both developed and undeveloped hot springs near the Portland area. We’re blessed with a bounty of both.
A developed hot spring has manmade improvements around a natural spring including tubs and pools. The water temperature is regulated. And the area is kept clean and disinfected. Some also provide additional amenities like towels.
Undeveloped hot springs are also referred to as backcountry springs or wild hot springs. They can be remote. And you can only go to the ones on public lands unless you have permission to go on the private property.
The majority of natural hot springs near Portland are just a bit of a drive, such as Lovawalla Hot Springs, Breitenbush Hot Springs, and Geary Spring. If you don’t mind driving an hour or two, there are a number more South including Bagby Hot Springs.
What Should I Bring When I Go to Hot Springs
You should bring water shoes with you. Some natural hot springs have very slippery rocks, and your safety is most important. And have a bathing suit with you as well as towels.
If you wish to soak in the nude, be aware of what’s going on with other people, kids, is it appropriate for the situation, and 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 want to walk a bit before choosing your place to soak.
Don’t bring soap or shampoo. This is a natural hot spring, not a bathtub. Think of it more as a hot tub or a jacuzzi. It’s also not a toilet. So please go outside of the pool.
If you want to enjoy a snack and a beverage while soaking, make sure you bring plastic or a bag and leave the glass at home. It could break and leave a hazard for you or someone else. Hot water affects your tolerances, so if you do drink or partake in some smoking, know that your limits will be less than you’re used to.
Also, bring plenty of water to drink. You can quickly become dehydrated in a heated pool of water.
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.
How Long Should I Soak In A Hot Spring
Generally speaking, you should limit your soak to less than half an hour. It depends on how hydrated you are if you’ve been drinking alcohol, and how hot the springs are. Play it safe to ensure your safety.
For therapeutic effects, experts recommend at least twenty minutes of soaking. Other experts recommend no more than 15 minutes before getting out and resting for an hour before going in again for another 15 minutes.
If the water is closer to your body temperature, then you can hang out as long as you’d like because there won’t be the heat impacting your blood pressure or dehydrating you.
Should You Shower Off After Relaxing In A Natural Hot Spring?
Most experts recommend not showering off right away. This allows the value of the nutrients and minerals in the water to slowly absorb into your skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you may need to rinse off sooner. And if you were in a hot spring with a lot of sulfur, you may want to shower off to prevent potential irritation to the skin.
Can You Camp Near a Hot Spring?
There aren’t any natural hot springs with camping close to Portland that we could find. So if you go off on a long weekend adventure and bring your camping gear, then know that yes, some natural hot springs are near campsites.
Do your research before you go because you don’t want to camp if it’s not allowed.
For good etiquette, set up a good distance away. You don’t want to camp right next to the spring. That’s not cool for other people who are there enjoying the hot spring.
Making the Most of Your Hot Springs Experience Near Portland
Be aware of how people are around you. Remember you’re having a shared experience If they’re being quiet and calm, you don’t want to be loud. If no one is around, think about what kind of an experience you want to have. It can be disrespectful of others to have a raging party with friends when others are around. And it’s an awkward situation for all.
Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings if you’re in a natural hot spring. Eat and drink only what you have brought. Make sure you clean up everything behind you. And 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.
You may see signs limiting the number of people in the pool. Be mindful if it’s at capacity and people are waiting.
Before you go, do your research. If the hot spring is on public land, make sure that the roads are passable. Find out if you need to pay a permit to go onto the land. Finally, see if it’s cash only.
Then, go have a fun adventure playing in nature’s natural hot tubs!