Central Oregon’s Belknap Hot Springs is a popular non-luxury destination on the banks of the beautiful McKenzie River, developed enough to be comfortable, but remote enough that you still feel like you’re escaping the world!
Enjoy a clean, mineral soak with family or friends, and spend some time seconded in the secret garden, admiring the flowers and greenery as the river rushes by.
What To Expect
Belknap Hot Springs has two shallow, clothing-required, mineral soaking (not swimming) pools, fed from a 198°F spring on the opposite river bank and kept at 92°F in the summer and 102°F in the winter. A minimum amount of chlorine is added to the water for hygiene, though you may notice some natural mineral stains on the pool bases which have accumulated over the years.
|59296 Belknap Hot Springs Rd, McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
|Outside McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
|9am – 5pm, year-round
|92 – 102°F
|$10/person (one hour soak, included for overnighters)
The lodge-side pool is exclusively for the use of overnight guests from 9am to 9pm, year-round, while the pool near the overflow parking area is open to both overnight visitors and walk-ins (up to 50 at a time, with space to spare!). There is a one-hour soak limit for walk-in guests between 9am to 5pm (yep, you read that right – only one hour to soak per day!), so if that’s you, even if the pool seems crowded, a wander of the gardens later and no doubt some space will have opened up!
The water is high in lithium, potassium, chloride and sulfate. For a full list of the mineral goodies you can enjoy in the Belknap waters, go to their main page and click on “hot spring pools”.
The deck-surrounded pools are in turn surrounded by some beautifully landscaped gardens, with numerous nooks and crannies to take some time out in, which in turn have the benefit of views of Oregon’s unbeatable Willamette National Forest.
Expect to be soaking with both older and younger guests, though note that under 5s are not permitted in the pools, and the only floaties allowed are pool noodles.
The walk-in one-hour soak fee ($10 at the time of writing) includes access to the shower and bathroom facilities. Towels can be rented on-site for $2.
A garden hobbyist, owner Norm McDougal has worked with his family and staff to develop a collection of beautiful paved and lawned formal gardens with various water features in the lush forest across the river from the lodge and pools. Wander the paths breathing in the clean air, to find the “Secret Garden,” a Greek-themed, terraced feast for the senses…no, we’ll leave the rest for you to discover! Do take a picnic with you (and be sure to pack out what you pack in).
One important grumble numerous guests have had (aside from mentions of the manager’s manners) is that Wi-Fi is only available in the lobby of the lodge and is inaccessible elsewhere. Add to this that cell service is pretty nonexistent and you have cause for concern if you need to be in touch with the world…or you can take the tech blackout as the welcome respite it should be and prepare accordingly, relax and enjoy nature without emails, social media and calls from colleagues interrupting you!
“The rustic resort is charming much in the way your great aunt Edna’s beach house might be. It’s seen better days. There are musty odors, shingles are falling, there’s lots of moss and algae… but none of it is significant enough to keep me from visiting.”– Nico B. on Yelp
Hungry? There’s no restaurant on the property, but during spring and summer there is a food cart selling burgers and sandwiches. Operating hours vary, so check before you go. There are three restaurants within 5-10 miles of Belknap Hot Springs – contact them directly for menus and business hours: McKenzie Station Pub, Obsidian Grill, and Takoda’s Restaurant.
There’s a general store at Belknap offering ice, local firewood (get in there early to be sure you’ll have some for your fire-pit cook-out!) and a limited selection of drinks and snacks. Our advice is to take what you’ll need with you. Also note that the store closes 15 minutes before the lobby every night.
Belknap is the last of a number of hot spring resorts built in the 1870s as luxury mineral spas in Lane County. These were designed for travelers on the stagecoach route that passed along the McKenzie River during the Gold Rush. Visitors also count celebrities like Clark Gable.
Check out the collection of original photographs in the lodge to see the history of the springs.
How To Get There
From Eugene, head east toward Springfield. At 55 miles, you’ll pass the exit for Highway 242 and cross the Lost Creek Bridge. Turn left onto Belknap Springs Road and follow the signs to the resort. All-in-all, it’s a 58.3-mile journey from Eugene.
From Bend or Sisters, take Highway 242 west 40 miles to Highway 126. Go east on Highway 126, cross the Lost Creek Bridge, then turn on Belknap Springs Road and follow the signs to the resort.
Note that while it tends to be well-maintained, Highway 242 is winding and narrow, so drive carefully! Also note that there are two parking areas at Belknap Hot Springs, so if one is full, head up to the overflow!
Can I Stay There?
Yes, though we’re recommending the camping over the dated and not always clean lodge rooms. In any case – we’ll tell you about both and you can roll the dice on which you choose. We’re ever hopeful the lodge accommodation will get a well-deserved upgrade!
The “rustic” lodge at Belknap Hot Springs has 18 guest rooms on three floors (no elevator) that overlook the mountains, gardens or McKenzie River. All rooms include pool towels, a mini fridge (except 15 and 19 which have full kitchens), non-cable TVs (with DVD players) and bathrooms. Bring your own bedding to avoid potential discomfort. AC/heating comes as a stand-alone unit. As mentioned above, there is no Wi-Fi except in the lobby.
Lodge guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast from 7:45am to 8:45am – bagels, muffins, yogurt, fruit, juice, and hot options including biscuits and gravy or an egg and sausage burrito.
There are 2-14 person cabins and pet-friendly Mountain Homes without housekeeping service located throughout the property, though not all of them are available year-round. Bring your own towels and bedding.
Every cabin and Mountain Home comes with a full-sized kitchen with basic necessities covered, including most silverware, dishes, cooking utensils, pots, pans and a drip coffee pot, but even management advises you to bring what you’ll need just in case items walked off with the last guest! Some cabins have AC, some don’t. Bring your own towels and bedding and be sure to have a look on the Belknap website before you book.
While no vehicle camping is allowed at Belknap Hot Springs, RVs are welcome. There is a dump site at their sister property Camp Yale.
The tent camp site is open April 1 to September 30, across the bridge in a peaceful, wooded area next to the river. Use a wheelbarrow (provided) to get your stuff from your car to your site. Quiet time starts at 10pm.
Camp Yale is Belknap Hot Springs’ sister property, 1 mile up the road off Highway 242. There are 16 RV sites with full hookups and 8 modern Mountain Homes including on-site laundry and shower facilities. The park is surrounded by forest and meadows, and boasts spectacular views of the Cascade foothills and Frissell Ridge. Guests staying at Camp Yale have full access to Belknap’s pools and gardens.
Prices may be subject to change and do not include tax. Check with the resort before you go.
|$125 – $200
|RVs (2 guests)
|$40 for water/electric, $45 for full hookups
|Tents (2 guests)
|From $150 – $550
|From $225 – $325
|$10 – 20/pet
Lodge guests who want to get in the pool early can use the lower pool until check-in has been completed. RV guests can park their RV or trailer in the overflow parking lots and use the lower pool as of 12pm. Early arriving lodge or cabin guests can use the lower pool as of 2pm.
Some accommodations are pet friendly. Check the rules before you go if you’re taking your fur babies with you, and note there are penalties should the accommodation show any sign your pet was there after you leave.
To reserve, call 541-822-3961 or book online.
What Else Can I Do In The Area?
The most popular activities here center around the McKenzie River, where people love to go whitewater rafting and fly fishing.
Hikers and bikers will enjoy the 26-mile McKenzie River Trail which passes Belknap Hot Springs. Not so far away is the Oakridge area, the mountain biking capital of the Northwest and a popular destination for “mushroom foraging, fishing, and side-by-side riding.” On your walk or ride through the evergreen forests there, you might spot elk, bears, deer, or mountain lions. Stay back and keep your food to yourself!
There’s also the Willamette Pass ski resort for winter fun.
If you’re looking for more hot springs, we highly recommend Snively Hot Springs, one of the hottest (190°F!) and biggest springs in the state of Oregon. The Terwilliger Hot Springs cascades near Cougar Dam give you four levels of mineral magic in a wooded gorge, while Juntura Hot Springs is close to the US-20, which makes it the perfect place to recharge on your drive through Oregon. McCredie Hot Springs, not too far from Belknap, is also a great place to soak away your aches and stress nestled among towering pines.
The pull of Belknap Hot Springs is the mineral water, flowering gardens and the beautiful riverside setting. It is widely agreed that the accommodations need some TLC and a serious scrub, and the management perhaps needs some lessons in hospitality and customer service norms, but if you’re there in your RV or tent, with your own food and an openness to hot mineral soaking in mineral-stained pools, then you and Belknap will get along just fine.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting A Hot Springs
Every hot springs has its own quirks. Visitors to Belknap Hot Springs, for example, should expect a limited soak in beautiful surroundings and management that can be…let’s say, “sensitive” to criticism. For general “hot springs etiquette,” we highly recommend you take a moment to check out our carefully compiled easy-to-read list of “dos and don’ts.” And always, always respect our nature – pack out what you pack in and LEAVE NO TRACE.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the Willamette National Forest, Oregon, 58.3 miles east of Eugene, 10-minutes outside the tiny town of McKenzie Bridge.
The Norm McDougal family of Springfield have owned Belknap Hot Springs since 1995.
There’s no restaurant on the property, but during spring and summer there is a food cart selling burgers and sandwiches. Operating hours vary, so check before you go. There are three restaurants a 10-minute drive away.
Belknap Hot Springs’ two shallow, mineral water soaking (not swimming) pools, fed from a spring on the opposite river bank, are kept at 92°F in the summer and 102°F in the winter.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these hot springs sites, life happens, weather happens, and property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times, and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!