South Harney Lake Hot Springs

• South Harney Lake Hot Springs is one of the hottest springs of the Harney Basin
• Hot mineral water from the colorful pond runs into a natural channel

South Harney Lake Hot Springs
Hot Springs Road
South Harney Lake Hot Springs
South Harney Lake Hot Springs
Hot Spring Pool
South Harney Lake Hot Springs

Surrounded by countless sagebrushes and tall grass, South Harney Lake Hot Springs is located at the southeastern edge of Harney Lake, inside a caldera of the 1,500 square-mile Harney Basin. The basin was formed over 30 thousand years ago by volcanic activity when lava flows separated the watershed of the basin from the Malheur River.

One of the hottest springs of the Harney Basin with distinctive sulfur ("rotten eggs") smell, South Harney Lake Hot Springs is formed by a series of geothermal seeps with a great flow of over 450 liters per minute. The temperature of the geothermal sources is about 140-150 degrees F. The hot mineral water from the colorful pond runs into a natural channel and then diverted into two dug-out pools. The water cools quickly while flowing through the channel and becomes comfortable for soaking further from the source.

There's one hill nearby, but most of the landscape is quite flat, allowing for panoramic views of the vast desert, alkaline Harney Lake, and distant mountains.


Unfortunately, South Harney Lake Hot Springs does not provide the cleanest or safest soaking experience, due to its very high temperatures and muddy interior. Two pools are located a few yards downstream but it looks nasty and not suggested for soaking. Some red mites are also found at the edges of pools.

The plastic tub or any container is one of the options to take a bath at South Harney Hot Springs. You can fill it with hot water from the channel. The water downstream of the pools is cleaner and hot enough at about 100-110°F to take a bath.

It is not recommended to travel to the hot springs until mid-summer. The last 8.5 miles of unimproved road is likely to be either snowy or incredibly muddy during the winter and spring seasons.

Though the hot springs are located on private land, it's available for public use. No signs are indicating if overnight camping is prohibited here but we suggest looking for BLM camping options.

If you ever visit this area, please do not abuse the privilege of accessing the area. Be sure to leave no trace behind!

South Harney Lake Hot Springs | General Description

Open: Year-round
Managed: Private Land
Location: South Harney Lake

Development: Undeveloped
Services:  No services are available
Accommodations: Camping is not prohibited
Clothing: Optional

Distance from the parking: Short
Road Access: High-clearance vehicles, the road can be inaccessible during wet weather
Day-use fees: None
Popularity: Low

Elevation: 4,100 ft (1,250 m)

South Harney Lake Hot Springs is located:

  • 34 miles south of Burns
  • 165 miles southeast of Bend
  • 315 miles southeast of Portland.

Water T° (source): 140-153°F (60-67°C)
Water acidity level: Neutral (pH=7.26)
Type of the springs: Sodium Bicarbonate Chloride
Flow rate: 450 l/min
Chemical used: None

Sodium (Na) - 630 Mg/L
Chloride (Cl) - 590 Mg/L
Carbonate (CO3) - 568 Mg/L
Sulfate (SO4) - 140 Mg/L
Potassium (K) - 13 Mg/L
Silica (SiO2) - 92 Mg/L
Potassium (K) - 13 Mg/L
Calcium (Ca) - 12 Mg/L
Boron (B) - 11.3 Mg/L
Flouride (F) - 3.3 Mg/L
Magnesium (Mg) - 1.8 Mg/L

Adventures Nearby

From Burns,

  • Drive south on OR-205 to South Harney Lake Lane
  • Turn right (west) just before milepost 24 onto South Harney Lake Lane (South Harney Road) and drive 8.2 miles
  • Bear right at the fork and continue 0.2 miles to the hot springs.

After heavy rain, roads can be wet and muddy. High-clearance vehicles are recommended.

GPS: N 43°10.812' W 119°03.456' | 43.1812, -119.0573

"Chemical and Isotopic Data for Water from Thermal Springs and Wells of Oregon ". 1980. United States Departament of the Interior Geological Survey.


  1. While the hot springs themselves are on private land, the water flowing from them then flows through the boundary of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; where the soaking pools have been dug. There is a fence with a gate in it that allows access, so though camping is only allowed on the refuge at the Page Springs Campground I have camped there several times.
    The water is actually too hot to soak in at the source until it has flowed downstream and cooled off some.

  2. According to Harney County Officials, the hot springs is located on private Land, however it is available for public use.

  3. South Harney Lake Hot Springs is not the official name of this feature. Locally it might be called by that name but the US Board on Geographic Names has never brought it up for a vote nor made it official. The name ‘South Harney Lake Hot Springs’ has never appeared on any USGS or other federal map. Just thought you should know this fact.

  4. Actually, South Harney Lake Hot Spring is the name of it as far as the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is concerned – not federal, but official! I first found it using their “Oregon Geothermal Resources” map around 25-30 years ago, map was $4 from the state.

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