Located in the dense woods of the Mountain Hood National Forest, Bagby Hot Springs is a small and almost fairy-tale like place in proximity to the big cities such as Portland, Salem, and Vancouver. A picturesque getaway destination with primitive facilities would take you back to the time when everything was simpler.
There is no parking or camping directly at the hot springs, so an easy hike is required. Parking and camping facilities are located at the Bagby Trailhead, roughly 1.4 miles from the hot springs. It would take from 45 to 60 minutes of hiking at a moderate pace through the fantastic old-growth forest.
Brief History of Bagby Hot Springs
The hot springs were used by Native Americans for centuries prior. According to a legend, there were no weapons permitted in the area of the springs so that many people traveled here to bathe for healing and rejuvenating purposes. The hot springs were named after a hunter Bob Bagby who discovered this great spot and used it for soaking in the 1880s.
In 1913, the guard station was built quite near to the hot springs for the use by the fire patrol teams during summer fire seasons.
In the 1920s, the Forest service employee built a bathhouse and cabins to utilize benefits of the hot springs.
In 1974, a new guard station was built in Oak Grove; the Bagby Guard station had been renovated and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, the public does not have access to this building.
The bathhouse and cabins were actively used until the fire in 1979 which burned wooden structures to the ground. It happened because one of the bathers accidentally left candles burning. It took over 5 years to rebuild the original bathhouse, along with the additional bathhouses that now provide a great opportunity to use incredible benefits of the Bagby mineral hot water.
Bagby Hot Springs Features
Bagby Hot Springs are available for use 24 hours a day and year-round. Weekends and holidays can get rather busy and, sometimes, you need to wait for a vacant tub. 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. 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. The lower bathhouse deck holds four 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.
The hot mineral water, emerging from two sources at about 136 degrees Fahrenheit, flows through wooden flumes to the bathhouses. The flumes are hollowed out cedar logs with length 10 feet and diameter up to 3 feet. Due to the geothermal water is too hot for soaking, the hot water should be mixed with cold water to the comfortable temperature from the springs nearby.
Nudity is permitted in the private bathtubs but not outside them. Alcohol is prohibited at Bagby.
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: 2,280 ft (695 m)
GPS: 44.9544, -122.1683
Bagby Hot Springs is 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.
USDA Forest Service
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
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 onto 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 the Forest Road 63, then turn right onto Forest Road 63
- Drive 3 miles to the Forest Road 70 and turn right
- Follow next 5.5 miles to Bagby Trailhead.
Bagby Trailhead and parking facility are on the left.