Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon

Umpqua Hot Springs are undoubtedly our favourite hotsprings in Oregon. We’ve been to many Oregon Hot Springs, but this one takes the cake for beauty, variety and seclusion.

How to get to Umpqua Hot Springs

Umpqua is approximately 1hr 20 minutes east from the city of Roseburg or about 63 miles. The drive is very easy indeed and is paved until virtually the last few minutes, when the trail turns to a bumpy gravel road. A 4×4 is not necessary to reach Umpqua, but it may give you peace of mind.

Umpqua is also a short 15 minute drive from Toketee Falls (click the link to read more!), which you’ll pass along the way; definitely worth stopping at!

Our experience at Umpqua Hot Springs

We arrived at sunrise (when it opens), and were surprised to find the car park full but quiet. It was obvious that people had camped overnight but hadn’t yet emerged. We took that as our cue to book it as fast as we could to the springs, which we quickly found was about a 1200ft walk. The walk is mostly uphill on uneven ground, but nothing too challenging at all.

As we walked, we passed a couple of guys moving in the other direction and expected to find the springs already inundated with bathers.

We rounded the corner and much to our surprise, we were completely alone (something I’m told is quite a rarity these days)! We quickly dove into the pools and hopped into as many as we could before anyone else arrived. They were the perfect temperature and having it to ourselves was as much as we could have asked for.

Seriously, these hot springs are heaven. The rush of the river below makes for perfect white noise as you sit there in peace.

Oregon’s busiest hotsprings?

Now to the downside. As we mentioned, it’s one of the busiest springs in Oregon, so after initially having the place to ourselves at sunrise, the crowds quickly poured in and filled all of the springs. In fact, so many people turned up that many of the late comers had to simply wait their turn. The peace and quiet quickly disintegrated into a quiet hum of conversation. Even on our walk back to the car park, the trail was lined with dozens of hopeful bathers.

Last time we visited, we arrived a little later in the day and it seemed like we’d walked straight into a hippie commune. The car park was full and we spotted several washing lines hung from trees. It was so busy that we just jumped back in the car carried on to Toketee Falls.

There’s also a fair amount of detritus scattered around that previous bathers left behind, but not enough to detract from our experience at all.

Overall

Overall, our experience at Umpqua was overwhelmingly positive, but as we watched the waves of bathers approach, we realised that our experience might have been an exception to the rule, and that generally this place lives up to its reputation of being overrun with visitors. BUT that’s not to say you shouldn’t go; you might get lucky like we did, and if you don’t care about crowds then you can’t possibly have a bad experience!

One last hidden gem for anyone that’s read this far!

Seeing as you’ve been so good and have read this far, here’s a little secret for you! There’s actually a final hot pool right down at the bottom by the river! Those of you with a keen eye might spot a metal post connected to a rope on the other side of the shelter. The rope leads down to the water and will lead you to another secret spring! Even though the upper springs were totally packed, we still managed to have the lower pool to ourselves. If you’re going to try and make it down there, be sneaky and you might just get it to yourself!

umpqua hot springs

Important information about Umpqua Hot Springs

  1. There’s very limited cell service at Umpqua (read: none), so downloading offline maps of the area will help you find your way there (and home afterwards). We usually try to hit multiple stops in one visit (like Toketee falls), so having offline maps will help you reach other locations afterwards without having to backtrack back to an area with cell coverage.
  2. Umpqua is a clothing optional spring, so expect nudity.
  3. Overnight camping at Umpqua is illegal, but there are plenty of legal camping areas in the surrounding Umpqua forest area. Alternatively, Roseburg is very nearby, and we stayed there comfortably. We saw plenty of people camping in the parking lot and actually camping in tents at the trailhead, but parks employees came by quite early in the morning so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fined.
  4. This is a paid hot springs, but it only costs $5 per vehicle. It’s an honesty policy payment system, but it’s definitely managed. We’d planned to pay on our way out so found a note on our windshield with an empty envelope that prompted us to pay or face criminal action. Bring cash!
  5. The Springs are open from sunrise to sunset and generally have a strict no alcohol policy. I expect this isn’t rigorously enforced, but it’s good to know and ensure that you stay out of trouble.
  6. Break ins are not uncommon, so don’t leave anything valuable in your vehicle.

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