Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center is located along the Breitenbush River in the fantastic Willamette National Forest, 9 miles northwest of Detroit, 60 miles east of Salem.
Brief History of Breitenbush Hot Springs
The river and hot springs were named after a hunter with the last name Breitenbush, who explored this place in 1840s. By 1897, the hot springs, under the successful management of John Hollingsworth, had become a popular place for visitors who were looking for relaxation and treatment. In 1904 the upper and lower pools were separated.
The Upper Breitenbush Hot Springs
Part of the upper hot springs was granted to Claude Mansfield by President Theodore Roosevelt. The other part of the upper pools was purchased by the Bruckman family. Later Merle Bruckman built and managed the lodge and spa. During Bruckman's ownership Breitenbush Hot Springs prospered. Breitenbush resort had a large 100-foot pool, post office, grocery store, gas station, restaurant, and dance hall. After Merle Bruckman retired and sold the property in 1950, the resort changed a few owners and eventually closed to the public in 1972.
In 1977 Alex Beamer purchased the property. He focused on self-sufficiency, personal growth, and natural beauty preservation. Together with the volunteers who shared his vision, he restored the property. In 1985 the resort was purchased by a cooperative that supported Alex Beamer's vision. For more than 30 years Brietenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center has been managed by a worker-owned cooperative which includes 50-70 people.
The Lower Breitenbush Hot Springs
In 1897, Mark Skiff received a permit from the Forest Service to use the lower pools. Skiff's camp grew on both sides of the river and became very popular. The resort included 35 cabins, store, footbridge across the river and bathhouse. Unfortunately, big floods in 1970s damaged the upper and the lower hot springs. The upper hot springs were restored in 1977. However, the lower hot springs were never rebuilt. Hopefully, the Forest Service that manages this area will find a way to restore this spot.
Breitenbush Hot Springs Features
Breitenbush has developed a reputation over the years for being a great spot for people who like soaking and relaxing in the thermal mineral water while enjoying natural beauty.
The surface water temperature of the springs is about 180°F (82°C). The temperature of the hot pools, including natural hot spring pools and tiled tubs, is 101 to 109°F (38 to 43°C). The "Silence" pool is the hottest. Breitenbush Hot Springs offer well-being programs like yoga, EDGU, meditation, massage, and different workshops. Other features include a steam sauna, cozy cabins, conference center, library, forest trails, Stone Labyrinth, and gift shop.
Payment is $16-30 per day, although its popularity means that advanced notice is required. Check availability on the Breitenbush Hot Springs website. You can also reserve a cabin or lodge room.
Access: 365 days a year, for day use from 9 am to 6 pm (reservation required)
Development: Retreat Center, soaking tubs, sauna
Service: Gift shop, dining room, library, massage, yoga, meditation
Accommodations: Lodge, guest cabins, camping
Walking distance from the parking: Short
Day-use fees: $16-30 per a person (day use); children under 4 are free, 5-12 are half the adult price. Lodging rates are available on the official website
Elevation: 2225 ft (678 m)
GPS coordinates: 44.781452, -121.975658
Breitenbush Hot Springs are located:
- 10.4 miles northeast of Detroit
- 62 miles east of Salem
- 107 miles southeast of Portland
- 110 miles northeast of Eugene
Address: 53000 Breitenbush Road, Detroit, OR 97342
Phone: (503) 854-3320
Water Properties & Geochemistry
Water temperature: 101°F (38°C) to 109°F(43°C)
Water acidity level: Neutral (pH=7.3)
Type of spring: Sodium Chloride
Chemical used: None
Average dissolved solids: 2650 Mg/L
Chloride - 1300 Mg/L
Sodium - 720 Mg/L
Carbonate - 144 Mg/L
Sulfate - 140 Mg/L
Calcium - 100 Mg/L
Silica - 83 Mg/L
Potassium - 31 Mg/L
Bromine - 5 Mg/L
Boron - 4.1 Mg/L
Fluoride - 3.4 Mg/L
Lithium - 1.8 Mg/L
Magnesium - 1.3 Mg/L
Directions to Breitenbush Hot Springs
From I-5 take exit 253 in Salem. Drive on Highway 22 east for about 48 miles to Detroit Lake. Turn left onto Highway 46 (Breitenbush Rd), and follow approximately 9 miles to NF-2231, turn right, then left, and follow NF-890 to Mi Pst, turn left and the destination will be on the left.
Lauren S. Forcella. "Geochemistry of Thermal and Mineral Waters in the Cascade Mountains of Western North America". 1981