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Deer Creek Hot Springs, Oregon

Deer Creek Hot Springs (also known as Bigelow) is on the McKensie River and is one of the easiest to get to hot springs I've encountered. The spring is visible from the forest service road bridge across Deer Creek and is only a 70 meter hike on a decent trail. There is ample parking just past the trail head and since you are so close to your car you needn't worry about your car being vandalized while soaking. Unfortunately, "car clouting" is almost a fact of life now, and it's hard to really relax in the woods when the possibilty of returning to a vandalized car is on your mind.

The soaking pool is in a grotto beside the river. The pool has been user-modified with boulders to provide a substantial and moderately deep soaking pool that can hold four to six friends comfortably. When the river is high this pool might be submerged; when I was there in October it was well above the river level.

The pool bottom is a sandy mud but the water is quite clean and almost odorless. The springs temperature was warm and made a very pleasant soak. The pool is in sight of the bridge but doesn't seem to deter skinnydipping. The morning I was there the pool and the trail were completely devoid of trash. I'd like to think that this is normal, but the skeptic in me thinks it was an anamoly.

This is a perfect "first time" pool for someone who hasn't experienced a natural hot spring before: easy access, no smell, perfect temperature, clean bottom, and surrounded by nature.