Breitenbush Hot Springs: How to Get There & What to Expect

Offering far more than several geothermal pools, remote Breitenbush Hot Springs is a full-blown wellness retreat with an incredible story. We put this guide together so you know exactly what to expect, from how to get there to what’s included, lodging options, tips from our personal experience, and more.  

Breitenbush Hot Springs
Image source: Breitenbush Hot Springs

Guests often describe Breitenbush Hot Springs as healing, soothing, and transformative. And it’s easy to see why…

With a variety of pools to choose from, a location right on the river, and a 100% technology-free, substance-free environment, a visit here is truly a detox, both literally and figuratively. 

No other Oregon hot springs, developed or natural, offer an experience quite like Breitenbush, casting a proverbial spell on visitors and drawing them back again and again. 

After having Breitenbush Hot Springs pinned on our Google Maps for several years, we finally planned a visit ourselves. We didn’t know much of what to expect, but we were blown away by what we found…

It is so much more than just a hot spring.

In addition to a variety of pools, you’ll find yoga and well-being classes, a dining hall serving a vegetarian buffet, a gift shop, unique lodging options, a beautiful river with pathways lining it, a labyrinth,  sauna, and a sense of community.

In this guide, we’re sharing how to plan your own visit to Breitenbush (hint: you need reservations), so you know exactly what to expect.

Breitenbush Hot Springs Guide

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Breitenbush Hot Springs overview

Soaking in a private tub at Breitenbush Hot Springs

While the pools are technically developed, springs pipe into each one directly from the ground. As far as developed hot springs go, Breitenbush is about as close to natural as it gets. 

The seven pools are spread across two areas, one overlooking a lush meadow and the other a more resort-like setting with stone decks and a gazebo. All the pools have slightly different temperatures, but generally hover between 99-110℉. 

Additionally, there are clawfoot tubs for individual soaking as well as a sauna and cold plunge.

Beyond the pools and tubs, visitors quickly realize Breitenbush Hot Springs has so much more to offer.

There are yoga and other well-being classes you can join, and you’ll likely meet guests who have been visiting for decades. All with the remarkable absence of technology. 

2020 Breitenbush Wildfire

Sadly, in 2020 a wildfire destroyed over half of Breitenbush’s property and historic buildings, many of which were staff housing quarters. 

Pre fire, around 150 staff members lived on site. However, after much of their living quarters were destroyed by the fire, there are only around 50 staff that live at Breitenbush today. 

The good news is, the staff is actively rebuilding and although things look different than they did pre-fire, it is coming along!

The biggest thing you’ll notice are the burned trees on your drive in. Once you arrive at the property, you won’t see much damage or burned areas.

Breitenbush Hot Springs stats

Breitenbush Hot Springs
Image source: Breitenbush Hot Springs

Here are all the important things to know about Breitenbush Hot Springs:

  • Location: Right along the Breitenbush River in the central Cascades
  • Exact location
  • Nearest moderately-sized town: Detroit (11 miles/20 minutes)
  • Access: Drive-up
  • Time of year: Open year-round
  • Lodging: Traditional lodge rooms, yurts, cabins, glamping wall tents, and rustic campsites (no hook-ups)
  • Type of hot spring: Developed, but the water is piped into the pools directly from the ground
  • Number of pools: 7+
  • Water clarity: Extremely clear
  • Temperature (at source): 100-110℉
  • Depth: Deep enough to sit and have the water come up to your shoulders
  • Clothing: Optional
  • Suitable for children? This depends on you and your child. Most visitors soak nude and there are designated quiet zones, so it may be a bit much for some children. On the other hand, the substance-free environment is very family-friendly.

Breitenbush Hot Springs day pass rates

Breitenbush Hot Springs day pass

These rates are for day use, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

  • Adults: $35
  • Children 5-12: $20 
  • Children 0-4: Free 
  • Seniors 62+, military, & disabled: $35
  • Towel rental: BYO towel 
  • Food: Visitors can also add buffet lunch for $14 (youth lunch is $10). We highly recommend doing the lunch – it is fantastic!
  • Day pass includes participation in well-being classes. The schedule changes (so you might not know what is offered until you arrive), but expect things like yoga and calligraphy.

Breitenbush overnight stays

Breitenbush Hot Springs Resort and accommodation

Choose from a variety of accommodation options:

  • tent platform
  • campervan/rv parking spot
  • glamping tent
  • yurt
  • room in the lodge
  • cabin

See rates for staying overnight at the Breitenbush website

Note: The overnight prices may seem high, but remember that they include 3 meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also include 24-hour access to the soaking pools, and any of the well-being classes you’d like to participate in.

How to get to Breitenbush Hot Springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs entrance sign

Before you hit the road, there’s one very important thing to know: GPS may NOT work once you get close to Breitenbush Hot Springs. The last thing you want is to be lost in an area with no service!

Regardless of where you drive from, use your GPS to navigate to the Detroit Lake Marina, but then follow Breitenbush’s own directions, which we’ve included here:

  • From Detroit, take Breitenbush Road (Forest Service Road 46) exactly 9.1 miles. 
  • Just past Cleator Bend Campground, keep your eyes open for the hot springs’ sign on the right. 
  • Cross the bridge just beyond the sign and take a left. 
  • Continue taking a left at every fork you come to, then follow the signs and gravel road up to the Breitenbush parking lot. 

Good to know: Breitenbush Road has some potholes but it is fine for a non 4×4 vehicle (as long as you carry chains in the winter). We personally drove our campervan during the winter (which doesn’t have 4-wheel drive), and it was just fine.

Visiting in the winter?

Road to get to Breitenbush Hot Springs

Monitor the roads at a few days before your scheduled visit. You can also check local weather here

Before our winter visit, we got an email from the staff at Breitenbush with the following message about the roads:

“The road approaching us, Highway 22, is cleared in the winter by ODOT, and they almost always have it open. We plow our own road, FS46/Breitenbush Rd, all winter and sometimes multiple times a day, as needed. It is almost always clear, but may have patches of mushy snow or ice.”

They were very responsive via email, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you have questions.

Directions to Breitenbush Hot Springs

  • Distance from Bend: 91 miles, 1 hour 57 minutes
  • Distance from Eugene: 111 miles, 2 hours 8 minutes
  • Distance from Salem: 63 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Distance from Portland: 107 miles, 1 hour 59 minutes

Things to know about visiting Breitenbush Hot Springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs map
  • There’s (intentionally) ZERO cell service and no wi-fi. Tend to any important calls or emails before your visit, and embrace the opportunity to truly unplug. Don’t worry, there is a satellite phone available for emergencies!
  • Alcohol and all drugs are prohibited. This includes marijuana, regardless of it being legal in Oregon. 
  • Photos are not allowed in the pools. For this reason, we weren’t able to take photos of the soaking pools (just the individual clawfoot tub as well as around the property).
  • Pets are not allowed. The one exception is registered service animals.
  • Volunteering gets you a discounted stay. Breitenbush regularly hosts ‘service weeks,’ where you can volunteer on the property grounds for four hours each day of your stay. In exchange, you’ll get a 33% discount.
  • Breitenbush hosts a LOT of events. From women-only weekends and public drum circles to private retreats, the hot springs really are multi-use. Check the events calendar for availability, and to find an event you may want to join. 
  • You’ll need tire chains in the winter. Breitenbush is in an official Snow Zone, which means the Oregon DOT requires ALL vehicles to carry snow chains from November-March. You may not need them on your tires, but they have to be in the car. 
  • Breitenbush maintains a RideShare program. It’s so remote that there’s almost no chance you’ll get an Uber or Lyft (and zero chance of catching one back!). Check this page to hitch a ride with someone else, or offer a ride to another visitor. 
  • Bedding and pillows are not included with overnight rentals. Breitenbush Hot Springs provides only a fitted sheet, so either bring your own or rent a set for $9-30.
  • Overnight guests are asked to limit electricity usage. Breitenbush uses hydroelectric power to generate a very limited supply of its own electricity, so leave high-wattage devices at home, including hair dryers and electric kettles. 

Breitenbush Hot Springs FAQs

These are common questions asked about visiting Breitenbush Hot Springs.

How many pools are there?

Breitenbush Hot Springs
Image source: Breitenbush Hot Springs

There are seven pools at Breitenbush: three Meadow Pools and four Spiral Tubs. 

Meadow Pools: The larger, more rustic Meadow Pools are made of river rock, perfectly framed by the surrounding mountains, and overlook the meadow. One of the three pools, a designated “silent” pool, overlooks the Breitenbush River. 

Spiral Tubs: The spiral tubs are smaller and deeper, designed like plunge pools. They’re arranged in a circle, or spiral, perfectly lined up with the four cardinal directions. Each of these pools varies in temperature, with one a cold plunge. The idea is to do them in order, as “the perfect wheel.” 

In addition to these seven pools, there are also individual clawfoot tubs you can fill with water, as well as a sauna and cold plunge.

Is Breitenbush Hot Springs crowded?

Hot Springs in Oregon: Breitenbush Hot Springs
Image source: Oregon Live

Yes and no.

There are a limited number of spaces for overnight guests as well as day visitors, so it never gets past capacity. That said, it is often completely sold out (especially on weekends).

When we visited in March, we were surprised to arrive in a parking lot full of cars. It felt kind of surreal because you’re in the middle of the woods on a seemingly remote road, and then boom – all sorts of cars are parked.

Many of the pools were pretty crowded, and there were some we just couldn’t get in because they were full. We had to kind of walk around and snag empty spots when we found them. Be patient and understand that Breitenbush is founded on a communal nature

While you may enjoy a soak all to yourself in the individual clawfoot tubs, there’s a good chance you’ll have ‘neighbors’ in the other pools. 

Also, guests eat all meals together in the lodge, which can get very busy.

Tip: Staying overnight will give you access to the pools outside of the day use hours of 9am – 6pm. This will be your best bet if you want to have a pool all to yourself.

What is the food like?

Food at Breitenbush hot springs

If you stay overnight, your room rate includes 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). If you are visiting on a day pass, you have the option to add lunch for $14, and our advice is to DO IT!

  • Breakfast: 8 – 9am
  • Lunch: 1- 2pm
  • Dinner: 6 – 7pm

All meals are vegetarian and served buffet style. 

I assume the menu changes a bit each day, but when we visited it was a “baked potato bar”. There were all sorts of wonderful options, like the most delicious sauteed mushrooms, a cilantro cashew crema, gourmet sides, and a fresh salad bar. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were blown away.

Coming from people who eat meat and aren’t big on buffets, we absolutely loved it.

Insider Tip: A bell rings when the meal is ready (like at summer camp!). We recommend getting to the lodge and into the queue a few minutes early because it does get busy and some of the sides ran out.  

Do you have to be completely quiet?

No, not in most places.

There were plenty of friendly conversations taking place in all the pools except the silent pool, which is clearly marked.

That said, this is a place many people come for a personal retreat, so be mindful of your conversation volume and those around you.

When’s the best time of year to visit?

Breitenbush Hot Springs log cabin

There’s honestly not a “best” time to visit Breitenbush Hot Springs—it’s magical in every season and open year-round!

That being said, there’s something extra special about a good hot spring soak in the winter or fall, when there’s a chill in the air and possibly snow on the ground. 

If you do visit in the winter months, keep in mind that you’re required to carry snow chains for your tires between November 1 and March 31, no exceptions. 

How far in advance do you need to make reservations?

Breitenbush is popular, and should be booked at least a couple of weeks in advance, if not more. 

When we visited during a weekend in March, we booked about a month in advance. And the weekend we chose was one of the only available options for the month left at that point.

You may be able to snag a last-minute weekday visit, but again, this is not a great option for a spontaneous trip.

Is Breitenbush child-friendly?

Playground at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Sort of. Children of all ages are allowed at Breitenbush, and we personally brought our 2-year-old with us.

While we were there, we only saw one other toddler, as well as two elementary-aged children. 

You know your child best and how they’d do in this environment. I think it is fine for some children, but others may have a hard time.

Our personal experience: 

Our daughter did great, but we have brought her to hot springs before and know that she does pretty well in situations like this. She is pretty quiet and easy-going, and we didn’t have any problems. 

That said, there were several pools we didn’t feel like we could enjoy – like the hotter ones, the sauna, and the silent pool. We also didn’t want to get into pools that were already kind of crowded with a toddler (to respect other guests), so we did feel limited. (Though I guess we could have split up to separately enjoy the pools.) 

It also wasn’t nearly as relaxing as if we had visited on our own. We’re already dreaming of another visit without our daughter!

Things to think about if you plan on bringing a child:

  • Have you brought them to hot springs before? How do they handle it?
  • Will you feel bad if you can’t visit all the pools?
  • How old is your child? Will it be uncomfortable for you (or them) to be around nudity? How do you think this will impact the other guests who want to bathe nude? 

How much time should you spend at Breitenbush Hot Springs?

If you can, spend one night (two days) at Breitenbush. You can absolutely visit for the day, but overnight guests get unrestricted 24-hour access to the pools and tubs, plus three meals. It’s pretty incredible to experience the various pools at different times of day and night!

You’ll also get to soak for a few hours before and after check-in on both days, so you get a lot of bang for your buck by staying overnight. 

Is Breitenbush Hot Springs worth visiting?

Breitenbush Hot Springs
Image source: Breitenbush Hot Springs

Personally, we think Breitenbush is well worth a visit.

That said, it may not be for everyone. There are some especially ‘unique’ things about it, so it largely depends on the type of hot springs experience you’re looking for. 

The main things to consider are its remote location, advance booking requirement, strict policies on not using any technology or substances whatsoever on property (remember, this includes alcohol and cannabis), and the quiet, reflective nature of this place. 

Everyone could use a good detox weekend, but some people want to kick back with a beer during their soak or bring their rambunctious toddlers along. 

Here’s a bit more detail on some of these points. 

The not-so-great parts about Breitenbush Hot Springs: 

  • You have to reserve in advance. You cannot show up without day pass or overnight reservations, so this isn’t an option for a spontaneous trip. 
  • No wi-fi or cell service. Of course, many people view this as a ‘plus’ (we do!), but there is truly no cell service or wi-fi at Breitenbush, so come prepared.
    • Fun fact: We saw a landline telephone mounted on the wall (presumably for emergencies). We haven’t seen one in  a while, so it was kind of fun to show our young daughter!
  • The quiet environment isn’t for everyone. Again, you may view this as a positive, but if you’re visiting with young chatty kids or you’re looking for a lively party scene, you may have a better time at a different hot spring. 
  • The cancellation policy is strict. Overnight stays have a minimum $50 cancellation fee, and depending on when you cancel, your reservation may be non-refundable. All day use reservations are 100% non-refundable and rescheduling isn’t allowed.
  • It’s not exactly cheap. Pricing is all-inclusive for overnight guests, but the day use rates are higher than other hot springs.
  • Rooms lack some amenities. Depending on the room you choose, basics like towels and bed linens aren’t included. You may also have a shared bathroom.
  • There are some strict policies. When you go to book a day pass or an overnight stay, you will have to read the fine print and agree to several different rules.

The good parts about Breitenbush Hot Springs: 

  • True digital detox. We can ALL use more screen-free time to re-center and form deeper connections, including with ourselves. The lack of technology at Breitenbush forces the experience, in the best possible way. 
  • Overnight reservations include three meals. Enjoy dinner the night you arrive, plus breakfast and lunch before departure the next day. All meals are vegetarian and organic. 
  • 24-hour access. Overnight guests can take full advantage of soaking in the pools and sauna, enjoying sunrise or stargazing (and one of the few silver linings about the fire is that the thinner forest means a much larger view of the sky!). 
  • Easy drive from several major cities. Breitenbush is just two hours from Bend and Portland, making it easy to visit even for one day. 
  • Gorgeous setting. Central Oregon, and especially the Cascades, are absolutely beautiful, and the property is completely surrounded by undeveloped national forest.
  • No hiking required. You can simply drive up to the property.

What to pack for Breitenbush Hot Springs

Ben at Breitenbush Hot Springs
Soaking tub at Breitenbush Hot Springs
  • Towel
  • Water shoes or sandals for walking around the property
  • Swimsuit, if you prefer to soak clothed
  • Robe or other type of cover-up (clothes are required everywhere except the pools)
  • Reusable water bottle (no glass or plastic)—spring water is filtered onsite!
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Bedding for overnight stays, unless you plan to rent a set from Breitenbush
  • Unscented, biodegradable toiletries if you’re staying overnight (it is a fragrance-free property)
  • Yoga mat if you would like to participate in one of the well-being sessions

Things to do nearby

The Willamette National Forest surrounds Breitenbush Hot Springs, so there’s no shortage of hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. 

  • Detroit Lake: Fish, paddle, or rent boats on the 9-mile lake, highly regarded as one of the best places in the country to catch rainbow trout. It’s also a great place to get groceries and fuel. 
  • Tamolitch Blue Pool: Home of the famous Blue Hole, one of the most famous Oregon waterfalls is about one hour from Breitenbush.
  • Silver Falls State Park: Just over an hour from the resort, you’ll find the famed Trail of Ten Falls at this state park. 
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Breitenbush Hot Springs | Go Wander Wild
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Have you been to Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon? What was your experience like? Are you planning a trip there and want more advice? Comment below and let us know!

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