7 Best Hot Springs in the PNW

They’re not as common here as in Yellowstone, but our thermal waters are worth seeking out

By Danielle Centoni August 5, 2018


This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article is part of the cover story for the August 2018 issue. Find more from the story hereClick here to subscribe.

Steeping yourself in steaming pools of mineral water under a canopy of evergreens is one of those pinch-me moments that make life in the Pacific Northwest feel like a dream. And lucky for us, we’ve got pinch-me moments aplenty. The geothermal activity that gave rise to our majestic mountain peaks also spawned a bounty of hot-water baths scattered across the region. To help you find the perfect place to soothe your muscles and restore your soul, we rounded up a list of some of the best hot springs the Northwest has to offer. Pack a towel and bathing suit—or not. Clothing is optional at many of the hot springs.

For the day hiker:
Olympic Hot Springs
This easy 4.8-mile (round-trip) hike along a gravel road in Olympic National Park’s Elwha River Valley takes you to more than a dozen small rock and sand pools interspersed among evergreen trees. Temperatures range from 100 to 112 degrees, and the depth of the water varies from a few inches to at least a foot. If you want to camp nearby, make a reservation at the Boulder Creek Campground. Clothing optional.
> If you go The trailhead is about 20 miles south of Port Angeles. For more information, visit Olympic National Park entrance fee is $25/vehicle, good for seven days.

For the intrepid hiker/backpacker:
Goldmyer Hot Springs
Here you can steep yourself in lush wilderness, waterfalls and rock pools with temperatures ranging from 104 to 111 degrees, but you’ll have to work for it. Drive 60 miles east of Seattle to the foothills of the North Cascades, then trek another 15 miles on an unpaved U.S. Forest Service road to the trailhead. After a 5-mile hike through old-growth forest, you’ll find hot springs heaven, plus a primitive campground for overnight stays. Run by the nonprofit Northwest Wilderness Program, reservations are required, as is a Northwest Forest Pass and a high-clearance vehicle. Clothing optional.
> If you go Make a reservation at or by calling 206.789.5631; fees are $10–$15/day per person; limited to 20 people per day

For the easy-access soaker:
Terwilliger (aka Cougar) Hot Springs
Not far from Eugene, Oregon, five rock-walled pools, with temperatures varying from 90 to 112 degrees, cascade down a lush green gully in Willamette National Forest. With its easy quarter-mile access trail, toilet facilities and gorgeous scenery, it’s one of the most popular hot springs in the state, so don’t expect solitude. Clothing optional.
> If you go Eugene is about a four-and-a-half-hour drive south of Seattle; the hot springs ( are an hour east of Eugene. Free, but parking is $7.

For the social soaker:
Umpqua Hot Springs
Deep in southern Oregon’s Umpqua National Forest, these hot springs are but a steep quarter-mile hike from the parking area. At the end of the short trek, you’ll be rewarded with three 100- to 115-degree cascading pools carved out of travertine rock. Perched above the North Umpqua River, they offer stunning views of the forest and Surprise Falls across the way. Keep in mind that the low cost, easy access and lack of an onsite caretaker mean these popular springs can get used pretty hard. (Clothing optional.)
> If you go Roseburg, Oregon, is about a five-and-a-half-hour drive south of Seattle; the hots springs are an additional hour east of Roseburg. Find more information at Free, with $5 parking fee if you don’t have a Northwest Forest Pass.

For the national park connoisseur:
Sol Duc Hot Springs
End your scenic hikes through lush Olympic National Park with a stint in one of the three mineral soaking pools, ranging from 99 to 104 degrees (there’s also a 50-degree freshwater pool), at this venerable resort. You can add on a massage, sit down to a hot meal in the on-site restaurant, and even stay overnight in the lodge, cabins or campground.
> if you go Sol Duc is in the northwest corner of Olympic National Park, about an hour’s drive west of Port Angeles, and a three-and-a-half -hour drive from Seattle. Fees are $11-$15. Find details at; reserve a room or campsite at

For the wellness guru:
Breitenbush Hot Springs
The wellness vibe is strong at this quiet retreat, where you can combine your mineral soak with massages, vegetarian meals, yoga, meditation, sauna and a stone labyrinth. Come for the day or book a personal retreat, including a stay in the lodge and meals.  
> if you go Breitenbush is an hour’s drive east of Salem, Oregon, and about a five-hour drive from Seattle. Day fees $22–$38 per adult; reservations are required. Visit or call 503.854.3320.

For the golfer:
Carson Hot Springs
At this resort in the Columbia River Gorge, you can step back in time with a soak in the clawfoot tub in the 1930s-era bathhouse. Or take a dip in the indoor mineral soaking pool. It’s the perfect way to unwind after spending the day at the resort’s 18-hole Elk Ridge Golf Course, which overlooks the stunning Gorge. Some of the rooms even have hot tubs filled with the spring’s mineral water on their private decks overlooking the Wind River.
> if you go The resort is about 50 miles east of Portland, and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle. Fees are $8-$15 for the general public; free for overnight guests. Find information at

To keep public hot springs from being shut down, we have to treat them with respect. Pack out everything you bring in, leave the alcohol and glass bottles at home, remember that freedom to be naked doesn’t mean freedom to be lewd, and be prepared to pay day-use fees or get a Northwest Forest Pass.

Follow Us

Direct, Connect, Reflect

Direct, Connect, Reflect

It’s easier than ever to reach these sun-splashed sensations from Seattle

Need to escape Seattle this winter? Need some inspiration to pack a carry-on and cash in those miles? Here are four nonstop flights for nonstop escape. In June, Alaska Airlines announced new nonstop service to Nassau, Bahamas, beginning Dec. 15. Board one of these flights at 9 a.m. and land just six hours later. Even…

Winter Escapes

Winter Escapes

These cold destinations are pretty hot this time of year

Winter in Seattle is a magical time for holiday lights, cool walks with hot beverages, and the occasional dusting of snowfall on our beautiful parks. Winter is also, paradoxically, the ideal time to get out of town. As the skies darken and the days get shorter, the lure of adventure tempts. Here are some ideas

Running in a Wetsuit, Swimming in Shoes

Running in a Wetsuit, Swimming in Shoes

Swimrun has become a popular endurance sport

Four friends are sitting around a bar in Sweden, sharing a few drinks and catching up. One turns to another and says, “Do you think we can swim and run 75 kilometers up the coastline of Stockholm?” After a few more drinks and perhaps a little chest puffing, a plan was set in motion. The…

Missoula’s Moment

Missoula’s Moment

The city is full of amazing wilderness and a sense of adventure

The wagon trail leading from Seattle to Missoula, Mont., is well-traveled. When Missoulians crave the city slicker vibe, they pony up and head west. When Seattleites want to slow things down, they head over the pass to Zootown, as Missoula is affectionately known. There is a kinship between Seattleites and Missoulians; we love our communities…