Some parts of Oregon get awful damp and drizzly in the winter months, so it’s a good thing the state is peppered with the perfect antidote to seasonal blues – natural hot springs.
If you’re down in the Willamette National Forest area just southeast of Eugene, swing by the McCredie Hot Springs for a delicious soak. These pools are easily accessed by the nearby highway, and are located right next to Salt Creek. You can reach the area via a quick hike from the McCredie day use are.
The hot spring pools themselves are rock-lined, with silt and organic debris lining the bottom, so expect a very natural-feeling experience. The pools vary in size, from 35 feet to three feet, and most are fairly shallow. The deepest pool is only two feet deep.
Expect varying temperatures across the pools, with some as hot as 130 degrees. The pools are fed by water directed out of a concrete cap block, with the water being the hottest closest to this point, and cooling slightly across the other pools. But do expect to possibly need cold water from Salt Creek to make the soaking experience comfortable. (You can add this by adjusting the rocks lining the pools to let the chilly creek water splash in.)
This area – like many of Oregon’s hot springs – is clothing optional. But keep in mind it’s very close to the highway, and within sight of Salt Creek visitors. Also, be prepared to share the space with fellow hot spring lovers. The proximity to roads means these hot springs are frequented by adventuring families, truckers and an assortment of Oregon hippies alike. This may mean it’s tough – but not impossible – to get solo time in the pools.
You can find the McCredie Hot Springs eight miles east of Oakridge on Highway 58 between milepost 46 and 47. There’s a small dirt parking lot that’s free to use, as well as a vault toilet for public use. The hot springs are approximately 200 yards from the parking area.