Where better to soak away your aches and stress than among towering pine trees, rays of sparkling sunshine on rippling, steaming mineral water, and against the background of a rushing river?
McCredie Hot Springs offers just that. A short drive and hike from Highway 58, its numerous riverside pools promise a respite from the road as you dive back into nature.
|Address||Nr Oakridge, Highway 58, Oregon|
|Location||In the Willamette National Forest, 8 miles east of Oakridge on Highway 58 between milepost 46 and 47|
|Open||Year-round, sunrise to sunset|
|Road Access||Easy, 0.5 mile hike required|
|Admission||$5/vehicle (or FREE on the south side)|
What To Expect
You can find the year-round McCredie Hot Springs pools on either side of the beautifully situated Salt Creek just off Highway 58 in the Willamette National Forest.
The easiest pool to get to is the one nearest the “McCredie Hot Springs Day Use” signpost, where you’ll also find a 9-car, one RV paved parking lot with a pit toilet and changing room. Here, you’ll be expected to pay $5 per vehicle, but as it is a small murky pool known informally as “Trucker Spring” due to the number of truck drivers attracted to a quick soak in passing, you’ll likely prefer to drive past in search of something better: Half a mile away, turn off onto Shady Gap Road, cross the creek bridge, walk another half mile (10 minutes) through the forest, and get to the real gems the other side of the river from “Trucker.”
The south bank boasts a man-made dug-out and rock-walled 30-35 feet pool surrounded by snow or wildflowers, depending on the season, set slightly back from the river, and two (or three, depending on the water level) more hot springs pools right on the river, each of around three feet across. None are more than two feet at their deepest.
Temperatures and pool sizes change with the seasons, and in the spring run-off, they can be totally submerged in the river. The largest pool, with the 130ºF source water pouring out of a concrete cap block, is the hottest, and the water cools as it is shared among the other pools. But, be warned – the hot mineral water also bubbles up through the silt, sand, and gravel bottom, and it can BURN! Tread and sit with care!
At the pools closest to the river, enclosed in loose rocks, you can shift one or two stones to let more cold Salt Creek river water flow into the pool, as per your comfort. You can also take a dip in Salt Creek for a shock to your system – just be aware that it is fast-flowing!
Clothing is optional at McCredie Hot Springs, and regardless of its location near the highway, a lot of visitors choose to let it all hang out. Whether you do too is totally up to you.
NOTE: This is a day-use hot springs only, no camping allowed, with no cell coverage. The only bathroom is a pit toilet at the Day Use parking lot on the highway.
A Bit More On That Water
McCredie Hot Springs’ hot mineral-rich water contains magnesium, calcium, silica, and low levels of sulfur, and is known to have therapeutic benefits- easing muscle tension, providing stress relief, boosting immunity, and improving circulation. The silica in particular is great for those with rough or dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema. Magnesium improves muscular health and treats arthritis and other such conditions, while sodium bicarbonate and calcium improve blood circulation.
This being natural, undeveloped hot springs, algae will grow, so don’t be surprised or nervous about it- it’s all part of nature! For the reason of potentially slippery algae and for those hot spring pockets we mentioned above, it’s best to invest in some water sandals to change into once you’ve hiked the forest trail.
Facebooker Clark Nickels gives us some history of the hot springs: “In 1911, a developer from Eugene, John Hardin, filed a mineral claim on the land. The mineral claim allowed him to lease land from the Forest Service, and he used that lease to construct a two-story resort hotel in 1914. A baseball player from Portland, William “Judge” McCredie, took over the lease in 1916 and operated the resort as a baseball camp. Although the resort changed ownership several times over the next several decades, the name “McCredie Springs” stuck. During its heyday in the 1930s, the resort was served by five Southern Pacific passenger trains each day.
“The hotel burned to the ground in 1958, and a 1964 flood destroyed the bridge that provided access to the springs. The Forest Service canceled the lease and razed the remaining buildings. Today, the site remains mostly natural.”
How To Get There
Important to note is that there are two pool areas, and some never get to experience the best of them because of the highway setup and signposting! Read on to guarantee a better soak!
There is a small pool on the north side of the river, the one known as “Trucker Springs,” just a short walk from the highly visual day-use parking lot. However, this shallow, murky pool isn’t the one you see in the McCredie pictures, and it isn’t much to soak in. Instead, you want to head east for half a mile, turn right onto Shady Gap Road, cross the creek bridge, then keep right, moving along the NF-5875 service road. Pull in before the road begins its uphill climb, and follow the dirt trail on the right through the woods toward Salt Creek and the bigger and better hot springs pools (there is a small sign high up on the tree on the road, but it’s a well-trodden trail so you should find it ok).
Excellent visual directions can be seen in this video, please check it out before you go to make the most of your visit!
From Oakridge, take OR-58 east some 10 miles (13 minutes) to the signposted McCredie Hot Springs parking lot near Blue Pool Campground and milepost 46. Here, you’ll find the above-mentioned Truckers’ Spring, and half a mile further on, the Shady Gap Road leading to the creek bridge and the trailhead to the larger pools.
From Eugene, Oregon it will take about one hour (52 miles) to reach the McCredie Hot Springs via the I-105 E and OR-58. Coming westbound, McCredie Hot Springs is 17 miles (about 20 minutes) from the Willamette Pass Ski Resort on the OR-58.
The forested, half-mile walk to the hot springs is easy and quite flat but can be muddy in wet weather, so bring the right shoes!
Can I Stay There?
No. Camping near the McCredie Hot Springs is not allowed. The closest campground is half a mile away on the OR-58, called Blue Pool Campground, though it is closed in the winter. This 24-site first-come-first-serve campground offers shady spots in the forest with picnic tables, pit toilets, and drinking water available on-site. Quiet hours from 10 pm to 6 am. Fees: Single Campsites – $19, Extra Vehicles – $8 / vehicle/night.
There are also numerous other campgrounds along the Willamette Highway.
If those ache-reducing hot springs are working out for you, why not stay a night longer and opt for a cozy home-from-home in Oakridge, 10 miles away?
The Oakridge Inn & Suites, surrounded by forest, offers a pet-friendly, clean environment with a warm welcome guaranteed. The large rooms have a fridge and microwave, as well as a work desk and cable television. The hotel also boasts an outdoor pool with a jacuzzi and an open area with barbecue grills. A simple but filling breakfast is included in the price of your stay. Fee: $97 – $130/room/night. Check here for more details.
The Arbor Inn Motel Oakridge is a self-claimed “small mom-and-pop motel.” There are 43-inch smart TVs in each of the freshly decorated rooms, as well as a fridge/freezer, microwave, toaster and coffee maker, heating, AC, and ceiling fans. Choose from a simple queen room with kitchenette from $84 (2 adults, one child), double queen kitchen (from $101, sleeps 4), or double queen deluxe (from $86, sleeps 4) to a one bedroom suite, bedroom, bathroom with tub, and living area with a full kitchen for two persons from $110. All prices are subject to change based on availability. Children 16 and under stay free. The Arbor Inn also has RV spaces for $43/night. Check here for more details.
You can find some more Oakridge hotel options here.
What Else Can I Do In The Area?
The Oakridge area is the place to head if you’re an outdoor adventurer. Not only do you have the Willamette Pass ski resort nearby, but Oakridge is also known as the mountain biking capital of the Northwest and is a popular destination for “mushroom foraging, fishing, and side-by-side riding.”
The Cascades Outdoor Center offers mountain bike shuttles and custom-guided or non-guided mountain bike trips on all the Oakridge area trails. They also offer guided rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking for those non-bikers out there.
On your way (whether on foot or wheel) winding through the thick evergreen forests, you might be lucky enough to spot elk, deer, bears, or mountain lions. Stay back and keep your food to yourself!
We also recommend a trip to see the 87m Salt Creek Falls, 15 minutes from and 2,000 feet higher in elevation than McCredie Hot Springs, listed among the top Oregon waterfalls and stunning to see no matter what time of year you visit.
If you’re looking for more hot springs action, we highly recommend the steaming Snively Hot Springs, which prides itself on being one of the hottest (190°F!) and biggest hot springs in the state of Oregon. Terwilliger Hot Springs offers four levels of hot springs magic, cascading down a wooded gorge – each pool has a different temperature. Juntura Hot Springs is close to the US-20, which makes it an ideal place to recharge on your drive through Oregon. It is also secluded enough to be relaxing, with minimum noise at night, and in the daytime offering scenic views of the Malheur River and the rolling hills beyond, as well as the most incredible sunsets. Also, check out “Nature’s own hot tub” at the beautiful Bigelow Hot Springs and the popular Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. A giant hot springs pond of 101°F awaits in the magical oasis of Crystal Crane Hot Springs, open 24/7 for overnighters, allowing for luxurious late-night soaks, swimming, star gazing, and spectacular 360-degree full-color palette sunrises and sunsets.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Visiting A Hot Springs
Every hot springs has its own quirks. Visitors to McCredie Hot Springs, for example, need to watch out for hot pockets in the sand where the water bubbles up at source temperature, and you should wear the right shoes for the half-mile dirt trail walk from the road. For more general and very important “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” here. 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, 8 miles east of Oakridge on Highway 58 between milepost 46 and 47.
You are welcome to take your dogs there on a leash, but as the water can be scalding in some places, they shouldn’t be allowed near the water.
Yes, but it is cold and fast-flowing, so be careful!
Yes. In fact, you can expect to see a lot of nudity there, as it is a popular spot for naturists.
There were reports a few years ago of a man indecently conducting himself around female visitors at McCredie Hot Springs. Clothing is optional here, and while such occurrences are thankfully rare, bathe and socialize with caution, and ideally not alone. There is no cell coverage in the area.
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!