Located on the northern end of the Alvord Desert, Mickey Hot Springs are a series of small thermal systems, that can mostly dry up during dry seasons. After wet years and rainfall, the springs transform into an active thermal area with mud pots, steam vents, and the only natural geyser in Oregon. The soil is dusted with sodium borate (Salt Flat), that, according to BLM, is safe for contact. Mickey Hot Springs received national attention in 1992 when the geyser became active and reached a height of 8 feet.
The best time to see the thermal area in action is springtime, in years when there has been a lot of rainfall. If the time is right, pressure vents hiss with steam, mud pots bubble, steamy creeks flow through the grass, and the mini-geyser releases its power. There are colorful deep hot pools of different sizes (15-20 feet across) and shapes with bright yellow-green edges. The temperature of the clear bubbling water of the pools varies from season to season and can be between 130-206°F (54-97°C). The clear streams running through the mineralizing desert heat up as much as 180°F (82°C).
According to some sources, there is one soaking pool farther away from the deep blue-green large pool, but BLM doesn't recommend soaking at Mickey Hot Springs due to the scalding temperatures and thin ground surface.
No service is available in the hot springs area. The closest gas station and store is located in Fields, 39 miles south.
Camping is not allowed within the fenced area, but you can camp at the Mann Lake Recreation Site, 8 miles north of Mickey Springs or anywhere on BLM land in designated camping areas.
No drinking water is available, be sure you have plenty with you.
The scenes might not be as gigantic as Yellowstone, but watching the colorful hot pools inserted naturally among a series of small boiling mud pots is exceptionally refreshing. Located at the northern edge of the Alvord Desert, to the east of the Steens Mountain, Mickey Hot Springs are among the most notable features of southeastern Oregon.
Access: 365 days a year
Development: Undeveloped, fence, scalding temperature, steam
Accommodations: Not allowed within Mickey Hot Springs area
Distance from a parking: Short
Elevation: 4190 ft (1277 m)
GPS coordinates: 42.6787, -118.3481
Mickey Hot Springs are located:
- 39.4 miles north of Fields
- 102 miles south of Burns
- 363 miles southeast of Eugene
- 366 miles southeast of Salem
- 386 miles southeast of Portland.
Directions to Mickey Hot Springs
Mickey Hot Springs are nestled southeast of Mickey Butte.
From Burns take Highway 78 and drive southeast approximately 65 miles to Fields-Denio Road (also called Folly Farm Road and East Steens Road). Turn right onto Fields-Denio Road and continue 31.5 miles south. Turn left onto the Mickey Hot Springs access road and follow 6.9 miles east around the southern edge of Mickey Butte to the parking area near a BLM signboard.
From Fields take Highway 205 North and follow 1.4 miles to Fields-Denio Road. Turn slight right onto Fields-Denio Road and continue 32 miles north. Turn right onto the Mickey Hot Springs access road and follow 6.9 miles east around the southern edge of Mickey Butte to the parking area near a BLM signboard.
Fields-Denio Road (East Steens Road) is accessible all year by any types of vehicles but the Mickey Springs road may become inaccessible during rainfalls.