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 are secured by the lake, but a few could be found on the lakeshore 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 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 by lake water. 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 the Hot Springs Boating Site. To get to this point you can either boat or walk. Hike along the shoreline for about 15 minutes until you reach a red-brown cliff, jutting out into the lake. Go around the cliff and huge boulders that are detached from the cliff. Soon you will see the rock-and-log hot springs, bubbling through the 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 a strong sulfur odor aren't used for soaking.
The temperature of the source 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 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. There are no remnants that remind us about the old-time except for an old boat that is placed in front of the boathouse and an 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.