Creating a tour of Pacific Northwest Hot Springs

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Pacific Northwest Hot Pools Tour

Choose your destinations, ride, soak

Creating a theme for your next multi day ride can always be fun. Over the years riders have concocted Bar-b-que rides, mountain pass rides, tours of car shows and on and on.

After a long summer of 6 and 7, 12 hours a day work weeks, it was time to break out. I love a good hot pool and a few soaks were in order. Now there's a theme I can run with!

So I came up with a list of no less than 10 hot pool locations I like to visit, parred it down to three and hit the road for four days. The distance between each location was only 150-200 miles. Enough to get some road time in, while leaving plenty of time to soak.

For this article I won't be discussing my actual route, but rather what all the possibilities are so you can come up with your own.

Before getting to that, here's a few tidbits to consider.

Many of the locations are in resorts. The list is broken out with resort style soaking locations and then some back country destinations for those who would rather rough it. Of you could do a little of both.

Hot pool does not necessarily mean it's fed by a hot spring, although a number of them are. But the ones that are not are just as enjoyable. Many locations feature temps just below 100 degrees, so it's possible to soak for an hour or longer if you like. Some will even let you bring a beverage in a plastic cup poolside. And in some cases that could be an alcoholic beverage. When you're in a hot pool it's advisable to enjoy responsibly for your own good.

Many of the locations get busy on the weekends. To outsmart the rat race, consider planning your route to run Sunday to Wednesday or Thursday. It makes it easier to craft a trip up at a moment's notice, since lodging will more likely be available if you're booking your rooms not so far in advance.

This is vacation. No need to try and get an iron butt in along the way. Craft out the rides between locations with the twistiest, most tertiary roads you can come up with. A Benchmark state atlas and knowledge of using GPS mapping software like Garmin's City Navigator or Base Camp goes a long way here. Keep the daily distance down so you have plenty of time to relax and soak. A nice soak in the morning, then riding to the next location and having time to get another soak in at the end of the day is really a treat.

Most locations have a restaurant on site, however their hours and days can vary depending on the season. Know that ahead of time so you can plan to carry in in your own meals and beverages if need be.

Some locations may be clothing optional. See the resorts website to know for sure.

This is a list of some of our favorites. There are many more. A full list of hot springs around the world is available on, but does not includes none-natural source locations.

One last word of caution. Getting pictures of the hot pools you enjoy is a nice idea, but be sure to keep your camera or smart phone a fair distance away from the pool. Sometimes they get so excited, they want to take a swim themselves.

Resort style locations

Belknap Hot Springs, Belknap Springs, OR

Situated near the beautiful and fun McKenzie Pass, this resort features two rectangular pools feed by the nearby source just across the river. Lodging, camping and RV spaces are available. Restaurant hours change by the season, but the resort itself is open 365 days a year.

Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit, OR

To get here you get to ride the ever-so fun FS 46. There are three pools on the property. Guests get a lesson in how to modulate the temperature of each pool. There is a restaurant, but it's vegetarian fare, so pack some meat protein if you must, or pick up some at the store 20 miles southwest in Detroit.

Doe Bay Hot Springs, Orcas Island, WA

Grab a ferry and wind your way around Orcas Island to reach this desolate resort on the east side of the island. The view out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca is stunning from the three soaking pools and their deck area. Things get pretty busy here in the summer with a music festival and other goings-ons. Despite limited restaurant hours, there are plenty of nice places to eat in Eastsound itself.

The Edgefield Hotel, Troutdale, OR

A favorite for its design and landscaping, this stunning pool never lets us down. Done as only McMenamins can do, the pool is plumbed with PVC, meaning chlorine usage is reduced and replaced with salts. Really nice way to go. The property is teaming with several restaurants and hidden away public houses.

The Grand Lodge, Forest Grove, OR

This former Mason's retirement home got a fat makeover in the 90's and that included the installation of a Japanese soaking pool. The best way in from the north is to head for Vernonia and enjoy all that Timber Road has to offer. From the south, snake through the Eola Hills and leave the numbered routes behind.

Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison, BC

This classic resort has been a favorite for more than 100 years, when a couple of guys fishing the lake stumbled upon the natural source. It's an international destination and seems to be pretty busy all the time, so book in advance. Indoor and outdoor pools including an on-site health spa that taps the source as well. Food onsite or a short walk into town.

Kahneeta Resort, Warm Springs, OR

The Native Americans in this neighborhood north of Redmond really know how to run their reservation in style. A full size swimming pool and several jaccuzis are all fed by a natural source and the west side of the resort. Dining is available onsite, which is good as it's some miles to the main town. Lodging, RV tent camping and tee-pee rentals are available.

Riverside Lodge, Stevenson, WA

This small series of cabins along the Columbia River all come with their own hot tubs sitting right on the river. It's a pleasure to relax, watch the river roll by and watch an osprey or eagle fishing now and then during your soak.

Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, WA

While the nearby Bonneville Hot springs gets their warm water from a natural source, Skamania simply warms up the tap water to fill this lovely soaking pool that sits a few hundred feet above the Columbia River with a stunning view east down the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. And the roads in the area can't be beat.

The St. Francis School, Bend, OR

Wind your way through the Oregon Cascades and put this one on your destination list. The soaking pool is like no other, seemingly indoors, it's that oculus in the center that allows Mother Nature to come inside by way of sunshine or rain.

Roughing it

All the aforementioned pools are in concrete, accessible by paved roads and operated under health department laws. For those of you who want to get a little dirty, perhaps hike a bit and bask on the natural rocks that create the soaking spaces, these pools are for you. Although we note cities, they are simply the closest civilization, but can be some miles from the actual hot spring.

Fisher Hot Springs, Plush, OR

Ride the dirt road across the high desert, between French Glen and Plush, then slip into this deep chasm of warm goodness. Camping is available nearby.

Gold Myer Hot Springs, North Bend, WA

Due to recent flooding activity on the Middle Fork road, it's a bit of a walk to get here. And then you get to ford the river. The pool at the resort is a treat and great way to warm your legs back up. The facility is limited to 20 visitors a day and paid reservations are required.

Nakusp area, BC

There are more than a dozen natural source springs in the Nakusp area. Perfect, since there are a lot of great roads to master in the area.

Olympic Hot Springs, Pt Angeles, WA

Since the termination of the Elwa Dam, it's a little tougher to get to these rugged pools. You'll need to park at the roads end and hike in several miles for access. Biking and hiking, that's what it's all about here.

Umpqua Hot Springs, Oakridge, OR

Located just north of Crater Lake on Basket Butte Road just off SR 138. As rustic as it is, watch the reviews online for this one as the health department has been known to close it down now and then due to water quality. Getting here by way of the unpaved Windigo Pass road can be a really good time. Accessible from the west using several paved options from Oakridge, Cottage Grove and Dorena Lake.

PT/October 2015

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