East Lake Hot Springs on the southeast edge of the East Lake are series of heated sulfur springs that come up from the lake bottom. Most of the hot springs secured by the lake, but a few could be found on the lake shore when the water level is low.
Over thousands of years ago, a massive volcanic eruption created Newberry Caldera, a geothermal hotbed, one of the most active geothermal areas in the United States. The 5-mile in diameter caldera contains two twin alpine lakes (Paulina and East Lakes) and large lava fields known as the Big Obsidian Flow.
Visitors can experience numerous hot springs bubble up on the shores of Paulina and East Lakes. The best time to visit Paulina Lake Hot Springs is in the period of time between May and July.
East Lake Hot Springs is more welcoming for soaking late summer and fall. In spring, when the water level is high, the hot springs on the shore are submerged with the East Lake. Typically in July, when the water level drops, springs become exposed.
Popular among hot water lovers, the largest and the farthest hot pool is located 0.4 miles west of Hot Springs Boating Site. To get to this point you can either boat or walk. Hike along the shoreline about 15 minutes until you reach a red-brown cliff, jutting out into the lake. Go around the cliff and huge boulders which detached from the cliff. Soon you will see the rock-and-log hot springs, bubbling through volcanic gravel bottom.
Along your way to the large pool, you'll find a few small pools with bubbles coming up through sand and gravel. Usually, those pools with the strong sulfur odor aren't used for soaking.
The temperature of the source that located just under the surface has been recorded as high as 176°F. The water, coming to the largest pool, is very hot - up to 140°F. Fortunately, it can be cooled it quickly by adding cold water from the lake. So, bring a bucket.
The sulfur odor of the largest pool isn't very strong.
Brief History of East Lake Hot Springs
The health resort was built in 1915 on the southeast shore of the East Lake near the hot springs. The bathhouse received natural water directly from the springs. That time the resort had four cabins and a small bathhouse. The owners carried out a plan to build a larger hotel but it was not realized because the resort was burned down in 1923.
There was another attempt to build a health resort in 1942. However, in 1952 a new fire destroyed the property and all plans to develop a large health resort. No any remnants reminding about the old-time except for one of the old boats that is placed in front of the boathouse and old car.
East Lake Hot Springs | General Description
Open: May - mid-October from sunrise to sunset
Managed: US Forest Service
Location: Newberry Caldera
Service: No services at the hot springs
Activities: Soaking, hiking, boating, fishing
Clothing: Swimsuits would be handy
Accommodations: East Lake Resort on the East Lake shore, RV and tent sites
Distance from the parking: 0.4 miles
Road Access: Any vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Recreation Passes in the Fee Areas
Elevation: 6,350 ft (1,935 m)
East Lake Hot Springs is located:
- 40 miles southeast of Bend
- 133 miles east of Eugene
- 202 miles southeast of Portland.
- Travel approximately 23 miles south onto US 97 to Paulina East Lake Road
- Turn left onto Paulina East Road and drive 17 miles east to the Hot Springs boat ramp
- Turn left the Hot Springs boat ramp.
Hike 0.4 miles west of Hot Springs Boating Site along the shore to the prominent cliff. If the water level is low, the trail around the cliff is exposed. Go around the cliff and soon you will see the pool.
GPS (Hot Springs): N 43°43.186' W 121°12.275' | 43.7199, -121.2046
GPS (Trailhead): N 43°43.417' W 121°11.735' | 43.7236, -121.1956
Points of Interest Nearby
Paulina Lake is one of two deep mountain lakes inside Newberry Caldera, within the boundaries of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
There are over 100 miles of trails within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The trail can be used for horseback riding, mountain biking, and in winter for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.