Willow Creek Hot Springs also known as Whitehorse Ranch Hot Springs is located in the isolated part of eastern Oregon, at the southeastern edge of the Alvord Desert. Nonetheless, it is still comparatively easy to find if you follow driving directions to the historic Whitehorse Ranch and then farther south. Whitehorse Ranch Road is a good gravel road, but the final 2.5 miles of the dirt road to the hot springs can become impassable during wet weather.
Many miles away from civilization, Willow Creek Hot Springs come with two adjoining pools with blue crystal-clear waters. An oasis in the middle of nowhere, near the rocky hill, surrounded by the high-elevation desert plain, offers an incredible soaking experience allowing to picturesque views of the flat desert, bright low sky, and mountains ridges on the background.
Geothermal mineral water at 110°F emerges from the sandy bottom of the man-made pool which is 14-foot in diameter and waist-deep (30 inches). The water temperature averages between 100°F and 105°F, depending on air temperature. Separated from the main pool by a dam, the second larger pool is receiving water from the main pool. The temperature of the largest pool is a few degrees lower and ranges between 85°F and 95°F.
The soaking pool at Willow Creek Hot Springs is an uncommon high desert indulgence. With its depth, width, nearly at all times near perfect 102 degrees and unaltered save for the hot or cold water mortar dam; it is pleasurable. You also can also enjoy some of the wildlife sightings like wild horses, rabbits, deer, coyotes, and pronghorn.
Free camping is allowed on the public BLM land around the hot springs, on first come, first served basis but prohibited within 100 feet of the hot springs. The 5-mile hiking trail is excellent for long hikes, short walks, and wildlife viewing.
The best time of the year for these trips is from March until October when the roads are accessible.
In order to keep Hot Springs gratifying experience, it is imperative that tourists do not trash them.
Access: 365 days a year
Service:No services except vault toilet
No camping at the hot springs
Distance from the parking: Short
Day-use fees: None
Willow Creek Hot Springs are located:
- 34 miles east of Fields
- 60 miles northwest of McDermit
- 138 miles southeast of Burns
- 419 miles southeast of Portland.
Elevation: 4,495 ft (1,370 m)
Water T° (source): 110°F (43°C)
Water T° (main pool): 100-105°F (38-41°C)
Water T° (large pool): 85-95°F (29-35°C)
Chemical used: None
- Take OR-78 and drive 91 miles to OR-78 and US-95 Junction
- Bear right and continue 21 miles to Whitehorse Ranch Lane between milepost 87 and 88 (87.8)
- Turn right (west) onto Whitehorse Ranch Lane and go 21 miles to Whitehorse Ranch
- Continue 2.8 miles straight to the dirt road on the left
- Turn left (south) and drive 2.5 miles to the destination.
- Take OR-205 south and drive 8 miles to Whitehorse Ranch Lane
- Bear left (east) onto Whitehorse Ranch Lane and continue 23 miles to the dirt road on the right
- Turn right (south) and drive 2.5 miles to the destination.