Bagby Hot Springs is a small and almost fairy-tale like place located in the dense woods. A picturesque getaway destination with primitive facilities to take you back to a time that was simpler. The hot springs have been a sought after location deep in the forest for a number of years.
Brief History of Bagby Hot Springs
The springs were titled after Bob Bagby, who founded them in 1880.
In 1913, a patrol station was built quite near to the site for the use of the fire patrol teams during the summer fire seasons. A new station was later built in 1974, but the original has since been renovated and is featured on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, the public does not have access to this place.
In the 1920’s a bathhouse was built at the springs to make it easier for modern usage of this incredible mineral water. Years later in 1979, the bathhouse was burnt to the ground when bathers accidentally left some candles burning. It took over 5 years to rebuild the original, along with the additional bathhouses that are now present.
Bagby Hot Springs are situated in the Mountain Hood National Forest, approximately 67 miles southeast of Portland and 89 miles northeast of Salem. It is a popular destination point when staying in Estacada.
There is no parking or camping directly at the hot springs, so a short hike is necessary. Parking and camping facilities are located at the Bagby Trailhead, roughly 1.4 miles from the springs which can take about 45 minutes of walking at a moderate pace. The trail is truly magical, taking you through the forest before bringing you to the hot springs and the Collawash River.
Bagby Hot Springs Features
Bagby Hot Springs are available for use 24 hours a day, though the waiting time varies for tubs depending on how many people are visiting at one time. Weekends and summer holidays have been known to get rather busy. Law enforcement officers regularly visit the spring to ensure laws are being obeyed and that it is holding a positive atmosphere.
There are three bathhouses to choose from depending on your needs. The main bathhouse consists of 5 cedar wood tubs, where each of them is in a separate room. The next lower bathhouse has 3 log tubs and 1 big tub situated on the open deck. Αbout 100 yards from any of the other bathhouses you will find opened deck bathhouse with 1 big tub. Nudity is permitted in the private bathtubs but not outside them. No alcohol is permitted at the springs.
The main bathhouse is also known as the Private Deck due to each tub having its own room, and is, therefore, the most popular tubs there. The lower bathhouse deck holds 4 of the original tubs salvaged from the fire in 1979 and is considered a communal soaking bath. The most distant of the bathhouses is also known for communal soaking and is not a private deck despite being located away from the others. It is so far away as it was intended as a place of rest while the new bathhouses were being built.
Access: 365 days, 24 hours
Development: Semi-developed, rustic bathhouses, and wood tubs
Clothing: Required in public places
Service: No services are available; a pit toilet
Accommodations: Campsites - 0.25 miles; Kingfisher Campground - 4 miles east; Motels in Estacada - 38 miles west
Walking distance from the parking: 1.4 miles
Day-use fees: $5 per a person, kids under 11 - free
Elevation: 2280 ft (695 m)
GPS coordinates: 44.9544, -122.1683
Bagby Hot Springs are located:
- 38 miles southeast of Estacada
- 67 miles southeast of Portland
- 89 miles east of Salem
- 131 miles northwest of Bend
- 163 miles northeast of Eugene.
Water Properties & Geochemistry
Water T°: 120°F (49°C) - 138°F (59°C)
Water acidity level: Alkaline (pH=9.7)
Type of the springs: Mixed
Chemical used: None
Average dissolved solids: 260 Mg/L
Silicon (Si)- 81.5 Mg/L
Carbonate (CO3)- 68 Mg/L
Sodium (Na)- 54 Mg/L
Sulfate (SO4)- 30.7 Mg/L
Chloride (Cl)- 14.6 Mg/L
Bromide (Br)- 5 Mg/L
Calcium (Ca)- 3.7 Mg/L
Potassium (K)- 0.8 Mg/L
Fluoride (F)- 0.68 Mg/L
Boron (B) - 0.6 Mg/L
Magnesium (Mg)- 0.1 Mg/L
Directions to Bagby Hot Springs
From Portland. From I-205 take exit 12 in Clackamas. Follow Highway 224 East.
From Salem. Drive on Highway 213 to Molalla. Right turn onto Highway 211, and before Estacada, turn right onto Highway 224.
Drive on Highway 224 east for 26 miles from Estacada to the Ripplebrook Ranger Station. Highway 224 becomes the road 46 after Ranger Station. Continue for 3.5 miles to Forest Road 63, then turn right onto Forest Road 63 and drive 3 miles to FR 70, turn right onto FR 70 and follow next 5.5 miles to Bagby Trailhead. Bagby Trailhead and parking facility are on the left.
Lauren S. Forcella. "Geochemistry of Thermal and Mineral Waters in the Cascade Mountains of Western North America". 1981