McCredie Hot Springs – How to get there & What to Expect

McCredie Hot Springs Feet Soak

If you’re anything like us, there are few things that sound more relaxing than soaking in a natural hot spring. There’s just something about being surrounded by trees and enjoying one of Mother Nature’s many hot tubs. The only word fitting to describe it is bliss.

When it comes to hot springs, Oregon has plenty to choose from, and McCredie Hot Springs is a longtime favorite of locals.

But before you hop in your car, there are some important things you need to know about McCredie Hot Springs, located in Central Oregon. To begin with, it isn’t that difficult to get to, but all of the directions online are really confusing, and Google Maps doesn’t even have the correct road. We barely even found it in the end!

Don’t worry, we’re going to explain exactly how to get there, plus, we’re sharing important etiquette, things to pack, Leave No Trace guidelines, as well as a pretty epic nearby waterfall you should check out.

Alright, let’s get started with this detailed-packed guide to McCredie Hot Springs so you can have an epic (and super relaxing!) experience in Oregon’s beautiful backyard.

McCredie Hot Springs Description

McCredie Hot Springs in the Winter

Situated next Salt Creek in the Willamette National Forest, the hot spring-fed pools have man-made rock walls to keep the natural hot water from escaping. Surrounded by the Willamette National Forest, these hot springs can be enjoyed all year round!

McCredie Hot Spring Stats

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

  • Location: in the Willamette National Forest, off of the Willamette Pass Highway / Oregon Route 58
  • GPS coordinates: 43.7040120, -122.2872629
  • Nearest town: Oakridge, which is 10 miles west of the hot springs
  • Access: easy, .3-mile hike
  • Time of year: open all year long
  • Cost: Free, no permit required
  • Toilets: no toilets at the pools themselves, but there is a pit toilet a short drive away at the day-use parking lot
  • Day use only (no camping overnight)
  • Camping: no on-site camping allowed; Blue Pools campground is .05 miles away and is nearest to the hot springs (closed in the winter), there are many more campgrounds along the Willamette Highway.
  • Type of hot spring: natural/undeveloped, rock walls have been formed to keep the water in, but they are kept mostly in their natural form
  • Number of pools: 2 – 4; This can change depending on the time of year and water levels. During our visit (in February 2019), there were 2 pools with hot water, but we’ve heard there used to be 3 or 4 pools.
  • Water clarity: somewhat murky
  • Temperature (at source): 130ºF
  • Depth: quite shallow, maybe 2 feet at its deepest
  • Odor: we didn’t notice much of a sulfuric smell, and none of my silver jewelry tarnished as it has in hot springs with high sulfuric levels
  • Clothing: optional
  • Suitable for children? It depends. While this hot spring is rated in some places as being child-friendly, just know that clothing is optional, and visitors often drink and smoke in the pools.

How to get to McCredie Hot Springs

McCredie Hot Springs Highway Tunnel
[Drive + an easy .3-mile / 10-minute hike (one way)]

Long story short: Getting to McCredie hot springs is pretty easy once you understand where to go. However, we did a fair bit of searching for directions before we made the trip, and the directions ended up being super confusing. So confusing, in fact, that we barely made it.

As we were soaking, one of the guys in the pool said that it took him until his third visit to find how to get there. So I know we are far from the only ones who are confused by the directions online.

We want to make this easy for you so it doesn’t take you three attempts like our fellow hot spring soaker. Follow the direction below and you should have no problem.

But first, here’s our story so you know what to look out for:

McCredie Hot Springs Day Use Site Parking

On Google Maps, the rest stop labeled as the McCredie Day Use Parking Lot is not your final destination. I repeat this is NOT where you’ll be parking.

They do have a picnic table and a pit toilet (which was pretty unkempt when we were there, but it was February so I’d imagine it’s better looked-after in the summer months). So if you need to use either of those facilities, by all means, make a stop.

The main hot springs are located on the south side of the river (opposite of the highway).

There is a small pool on the north side of the river, just a short walk from the day-use parking lot. However, this pool isn’t the one you see in most pictures, and it isn’t great for soaking (aka it’s not deep enough, the water is very murky, and there is quite a bit of debris). If you follow the directions on many other websites, they will lead you to this pool, and like us, you’ll be very confused.

From this tiny pool, we saw people across the river soaking in the actual hot springs. So we walked up and down the path, looking for a way to cross. Nothing. We were so confused. How did those other people get across the river, we wondered. But with no bridge in sight, we decided to drive to the nearest town, Oakridge to *hopefully* get cell service, which thankfully, we did.

McCredie Hot Springs Shady Gap Road

After a bit more searching, and turning our Google Maps into satellite mode, we found there is actually a small road (not even on Google Maps) that is a half-mile past the parking lot that would take us across the river.

We crossed the small bridge and found a space to park in front of one other car, then made our way down the trail. There is a sign, and it’s pretty easy to find. The hike is a short and easy .3-mile trail that leads directly to the hot springs. Easy peasy.

McCredie Hot Springs Riverside Pools

We were so happy that we stuck it out and made it to the pools because it was actually beautiful and peaceful (well, besides the naked guy next to us who went from vigorously carving a rock to playing his harmonica, not very well…).

But still, with towering pine trees, sparkling sunshine, and the rushing river water, it was a pretty great combo. Oh, and the hot water didn’t feel too bad either!

Sadly, while we were soaking, we saw another couple on the other side of the river who was clearly having the same bout of confusion that we went through. They walked up and down the river multiple times before settling for dipping their feet in the “faux” hot springs.

If only they had access to these directions:

Directions to McCredie Hot Springs

  • Distance from Eugene: 53 miles, 1 hour
  • Distance from Bend: 87 miles, 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Distance from Salem: 114 miles, 2 hours
  • Distance from Portland: 157 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Distance from Oakridge: 10 miles, 13 minutes

Good to know: The Willamette Highway leading up to McCredie Hot Springs has many twists and turns, and lots of large semi-trucks use this route. Be careful and keep your eyes on the road.

Coming from the West (Eugene)

[You are driving eastbound on Highway 58 / Willamette Highway]

  1. Drive 10 miles east of Oakridge.
  2. You will see the McCredie Hot Springs Day Use Parking Lot on the right-hand side of the road.
  3. Stop here if you need to use the toilet, otherwise keep driving .5 miles.
McCredie Hot Springs
Turn Right Here (this view is facing East)
  1. When you see the sign for Shady Gap Road and/or Wicopee Fields, turn right.
Bridge to Parking Near McCredie Hot Springs Oregon
  1. Follow Shady Gap Road over a one-lane bridge, which crosses the Salt Creek River.
  2. Continue on this road as it curves to the right (don’t take a left turn after the bridge). You will now be on NF-5875 road (National Forest Service Road).
  3. The road widens and continues uphill, curving left.
McCredie Hot Springs Parking Spot
  1. Stop and park your car in the wide section of the road (before the uphill).
McCredie Hot Springs Trailhead
McCredie Hot Springs Trailhead
  1. You will see the trailhead to your right, marked with a sign that explains this is day-use only.

Continue reading below to see more information on this hike.

Coming from the East (Bend, etc.)

[You are driving westbound on Highway 58 / Willamette Highway]

  1. After passing the Willamette Pass Ski Resort, continue driving for 17 miles (about 20 minutes).
McCredie Hot Springs Wicopee Fields Sign
  1. Pay careful attention to the road signs, as the sign you’re looking for is small and not obvious.  When you see the sign for Shady Gap Road and/or Wicopee Fields, turn right.
  2. If you see the McCredie Hot Springs Day Use Parking Lot on the left-hand side of the road, so you have driven too far and will need to turn around and drive .5 miles until you see the sign for Shady Gap Road.
    • If you need to use the restroom, drive here first then turn around.
  3. Follow Shady Gap Road over a one-lane bridge, which crosses the Salt Creek River.
  4. Continue on this road as it curves to the right (don’t take a left turn after the bridge).
  5. The road widens and continues uphill, curving left.
  6. Stop and park your car in the wide section of the road (before the uphill).
  7. You will see the trailhead to your right, marked with a sign that explains this is day-use only.

Continue reading below to see more information on this hike.

Map of McCredie Hot Springs

McCredie Hot Springs Location of Shady Gap Road

See a snapshot below of our GPS location pin on Google Maps where Shady Gap Road is located (note how this road is not yet marked on Google Maps).

Insider Tip: Maps.me has Shady Gap Road, so you can download the offline version of the map and follow the correct route.

Important Note: There is a small pullout about .25-miles south of the parking lot where we saw a car parked. We read on one website that in order to get to McCredie Hot springs you had to cross the river near that pullout by scrambling across fallen logs and trees. We would not recommend this, as it can be dangerous, especially when the river is high. Follow our recommended directions above for a much easier (and safer) route to the springs.

The Hike to McCredie Hot Springs

Now that you’ve parked in the correct spot (yay!), you’ve got a short way to hike in. Don’t worry, it’s very easy!

McCredie Hot Springs Hiking Trail

The .3-mile hike to the hot springs is really easy and mostly flat. It took us about 10 minutes each way. When we visited (in February), the trail was pretty muddy in places, so we were glad we wore boots.

McCredie Hot Spring Muddy Trail

Note: On AllTrails, it says the hike is .9 miles, which is incorrect.

Things to know about McCredie Hot Springs…

  • There is no cell signal around here. Download your offline maps and your directions before your trip. We have created a PDF for you so you can have the guide at your fingertips!
  • Clothing is optional. If this is going to make you uncomfortable, you may not enjoy this experience.
  • The water is somewhat murky, as the bottom is a mixture of sand and dirt. We wouldn’t recommend wearing anything that will be ruined if it gets a little dirty.
  • Be careful, as there are some very hot pockets in the sand where the spring water seeps through. Take a moment to scope out a spot that isn’t too hot.
  • There is not a toilet facility at the pools, contrary to what some of the other articles online make it sound like. The pit toilet they’re speaking of is located in the day-use parking lot, which as we’ve already explained, is on the other side of the river from the hot springs and is not where you should park. If you need to change into a bathing suit or use the bathroom, we’d recommend stopping at the day-use parking lot first before proceeding to the hot springs itself.
  • Something a little sketchy… While we personally don’t have much information on this, we think it’s important to bring up. In some of the reviews on AllTrails for McCredie hot spring, there are reports of a man harassing women (making lewd comments and touching himself while watching them). Apparently, this has happened on more than one occasion, so just be aware and perhaps go with another person just to be safe. Again, we have no personal experience to back it up, but we think it’s worth mentioning.

McCredie Hot Springs FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions about this hot spring:

How many pools are there?

Apparently, there used to be three or four pools, but when we visited, some of the walls had washed out a bit (meaning the water inside was as cold as the river!) and only two were usable.

How crowded is McCredie Hot Springs?

McCredie Hot Spring Pools

We arrived on a Monday, and because the directions we were following caused us to get a bit lost, we didn’t arrive until 10:30 a.m. There were two other groups of people – 3 friends and a couple –  so in total, there were 7 of us (though the other couple was in a pool by themselves). 

We’d imagine weekends will be more crowded, as this hot spring isn’t a secret. However, it isn’t very close to any major towns, so it won’t be as crowded as some more easily-accessed hot springs.

What is the best time of year to visit?

McCredie Hot Springs is open to the public year-round, and each season has its own draws (and drawbacks). Summer is beautiful but can get crowded, while cooler temperatures during fall, winter, and spring can make a dip in the hot water even more satisfying.

Does the water smell?

Personally, we did not notice a strong sulfur smell. In fact, we didn’t notice much of a smell at all. I’ve had jewelry tarnish after soaking in hot springs before, but I forgot to remove my rings and bracelets. They showed no signs of tarnish after soaking in McCredie, so we assume the sulfur levels are low.

How much time do you need there?

The answer to this question is going to vary from person to person. In total, we spent about an hour and a half in the hot springs, and that was enough for us.

You’ll want to factor in your drive time as well as if you plan to do anything else in the area (keep reading for a nearby waterfall we’d highly recommend visiting!).

Lastly, if you’re staying nearby, you’ll probably want to spend more time at the hot springs than you would if you need to drive a couple of hours back home at the end of the day. 

What should I pack?

  • Drinking water (you’ll want to stay hydrated while soaking!)
  • Towel and/or sarong
  • Shoes that are fine for walking through mud but are easy to get on and off
  • Bathing suit, if that’s how you feel most comfortable
  • Clothes that are easy to change in and out of
  • Dry bag to keep valuables from getting wet
  • Snacks
    • Psst! Check out our favorite snacks for brining on outdoor adventures!
  • Bag to keep your trash

Where can I get a cell signal nearby?

There is no cell signal at McCredie Hot Springs, so download your maps (or anything else you need) before your road trip.

You can get cell signal in Oakridge (10 miles west of the hot springs), or at the Willamette Pass Ski Resort (17 miles east of the hot springs).

Where is the closest gas station?

Oakridge, 10 miles west of the hot springs, has the closest gas station.

Good to know: If you are coming from the east (headed west), Crescent Junction is the last place to fill up. It is 24 miles from Crescent Junction to McCredie Hot Springs and an additional 10 miles to the next gas station in Oakridge.

Leave No Trace and Hot Springs

There is no trash bin near the springs, so pack out everything you brought in. Yes, that includes fruit peels or nutshells. Why? While biodegradable, they are not native to this environment, and wildlife should not be consuming them or drawn-out near people. Don’t put the animals in harm’s way by leaving anything behind.

And if you want to be extra amazing, pick up any trash you see and pack it out to keep this place beautiful.

Read more about Leave No Trace here.

Have more time in the Willamette National Forest?

Visit Salt Creek Falls!

Salt Creek Falls in the Winter and Snowing Oregon

If you have time, be sure to check out Salt Creek Falls, which is just 8? Miles up the road from McCredie hot springs.

At 286 feet, Salt Creek Falls is the second-highest waterfall in the state of Oregon (after Multnomah Falls) and is a stunning sight. Easily accessible and beautiful year-round, you’ll be happy you made the stop.

Note: A Day Use Fee of $5 per vehicle (or Recreation Pass) is required to park at Salt Creek Falls.

One last thing:  If you’re visiting in the wintertime (like we did), Salt Creek Falls is about 2,000 feet higher in elevation than the hot springs, so you can expect very different weather and temperatures.

When we were at the hot springs, there was a very light snowfall but no snowpack on the ground. Temperatures were comfortable enough for us to wear just sweatshirts on our hike to the springs. However, there were blizzard-like conditions up at the falls and lots of snow.

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Are you planning a trip to McRedie Hot Springs in Oregon? Do you have any other questions for us. Comment below and we”ll do out best to track down answers for you!

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